“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
When I was little, I loved every Disney princess story. They all had happy endings involving a prince that had fallen head-over-glass-slipper in love with a young and beautiful girl in a breath-taking dress. Growing up, that was all I wanted. I wanted to be told that I was beautiful and loved, but I think we can honestly all agree we want to be told we are loved. Loved for who we are. Loved despite our faults, flaws, scars, mistakes, pain, and bruises. To be told that our mistakes don’t define us in the eyes of the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with. But it’s pretty hard to have an honest love when our depiction of love is so messed up. It just ends up becoming meaningless and another word we toss around so carelessly.
I chased love like the wind as a young teenager. For so long I had a twisted idea that love was this grand feeling that you felt in your stomach when you saw the “one”. Love made you feel all weird and nervous around that person that you barely talked to. Then it made you feel all awkward and nervous as your heart fluttered so fast you thought you were going to explode. Love was supposed to be a feeling that lasted forever, even when you were older. But one day that feeling was gone. I don’t really remember when but it ceased to exist, I struggled.
The butterflies flew away and I didn’t really know what I had left. I was pretty young and naïve, and since then I learned something that would change my outlook on life and love; love isn’t a euphoric, spontaneous, crazy feeling. It is a deliberate choice, an action, to love each other for better or worse. To choose who you fall in love with and who you stay in love with. Because loving people for who they really, truly, and are transparently, is hard beyond words, but that’s what love is. An action, to love someone for who they are, and to continue working on it no matter what.
Love is not a feeling, but a choice.
Our society has placed a lot of emphasis on feelings and how we should do what makes us happy in the now. Well what if what makes us “happy” completely destroys everything? Happiness and feelings are fickle and fleeting. Real love, the kind we work on every single day through the feelings of highs, doubt, desire, is constant. Love is about weathering the storm next to someone you respect always.
Staying in love has worth & value.
Choosing to love someone for who they are is inexplicably the most beautiful thing. To wake up everyday and to decide to love someone and your life, the good, the bad, the ugly. To struggle some days but wake up other days feeling like the most blessed person in the whole word. Choosing someone no matter what they’ve done or what they have gone through, and to respect them the entire time.
You aren’t going to wake up every morning feeling absolutely gaga over each other, some days there will be struggles and doubts, but that too will change. Those waves of thankfulness and love will inundate you. A love that is alive is continuously growing and changing, deepening from storms and time. Man, that’s pretty dang great.
I had this epiphany recently when I was reading 1 John 4:19 recently because I had felt as though I was not worthy of God’s love, or anyways love for that matter. I felt worthless and so lost. And I’m right, we are not deserving of God’s love because we are human and we make mistakes, but He gives His love to us freely anyways. God offers love without contracts, constraints, judgment, or guilt; an unconditional, everlasting love.
Wow. To be really loved for who we are, even when we mess up and make mistakes, is incredible and hard for us to understand. We are so loved by God who fearfully and wonderfully made us in His own image, who desired us and wanted us.
“For God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only son, that whoever shall believe in him will have eternal life.” John 3:16
God showed us what love is.
God so loved us, that he sent Jesus to take our sins away from us, so that we could live a life with Him in heaven after our time on earth. He loved us despite the pain, the flaws, the lies. This puts me in awe. I certainly don’t perfectly understand it. I do desire it so much and I now choose to work hard at loving others. My epiphany taught me that in the end all that matters is who you loved and how you loved them. In the end, that is all we have.
The money, parties, clothes, looks, or anything superficial won’t matter when you look back on your life. Until we understand this kind of love, we won’t be able to love others the way they need, and we won’t be able to accept people for who they really are.
“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
So we love because He loved us. Every day I live life with love being an action, not a feeling. To love people who are difficult and maybe undeserving because love is the most beautiful and rewarding aspect of life. Love deserves a thousand chances. Choosing to love people as they are and to love them despite all odds is the only kind of love we should all want to give and accept from now on.