I’ve never been comfortable with writing about love…at least not love between men and women. Between me and God, love is completely different; it’s the purest, most unconditional love I’ve ever experienced; an axiom in a world of ever-changing theories and formulas. Honestly, with the whole men and women love thing….it’s kind of a mystery to me. But I think that’s how God made it, to be a mystery, I mean.
There’s was once a time, as a little girl, I would dream about what I thought was love, a magical explosion of feelings and one single kiss to bring it all together, to set off an entire journey between two people. It took me a while and a long, painful, horrifying trek to realize this wasn’t the case. Now I’m not really sure what I think of it. I feel like so many people have an idea of what love is inside their head, or inside their heart, but when what they believe to be love is finally coming about, they either run in the opposite direction, in fear of feeling too much, or they discover what they thought was love really isn’t love at all.
When I go onto Pinterest, Facebook, or Google, I see quotes like, “Love is when all you see is the other person and nothing else matters,” “Find what you love and let it kill you,” and “I didn’t fall for you…you tripped me.”
But then there are quotes, there are observations, there are understandings that negate these sayings, these statements that make love seem like a disastrous battlefield, a whirlwind of complication and heartache, or an addiction to another person. My favorite out of these is one a lot of people know, even those who deny my God. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
It’s difficult, sometimes, when all you’ve ever known, or ever wanted to know, is how much God loves you and how His love for you will always be enough. While this isn’t at all a bad thing, one can get into the habit of hiding behind this. By saying God’s love is enough for you, you can very easily hide behind that by saying, “because God’s love is enough for me, there is no need for me to ever date or get married.” Because why would you settle for less when you are part of the best love there is? But that’s when you realize the loves you’re talking about, while they’re derived from the same source, are actually very different. While human love, the mysterious love God created between men and women, is meant to reflect God’s love for humanity, but at the same time incorporate an aspect of love that is only found in human love, apart from God’s love. I don’t know how to describe it; I feel like for centuries upon centuries, from Homer to Shakespeare, from Karen Kingsbury to John Greene, writers and poets have been trying to pin down what draws certain people together, why love is the way it is, what makes it so mysterious.
I see my inability to write about love as a handicap…I feel as if it makes writing a good story less possible for me. But at the same time, I see this handicap of mine as a beautiful opportunity for God to prove me wrong, as He often does. I feel like a lot of people have the phrase, “Love is meant for others but not for me” plastered on the inside of their heart as a reminder that people who love other people get hurt, and getting hurt is bad.
But love isn’t the thing that hurts. Love was created by God to be beautiful, to be a safe haven in a time of great distress, to be a shelter in a raging storm, to be peace and comfort and protection. Sin, selfishness, anger, greed, fear, and lust are things that hurt, that get in the way of loving someone else.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, when you’re caught up in the mystery of love, or when you find yourself confused and afraid of even thinking about loving someone, God gives pretty fantastic advice as to how to love others. The biggest problem comes when you’ve decided, quite adamantly, that you’ll never love another person, that you’re done with it and that God’s love is way better than being in a relationship with another human being, and then you meet someone who makes your thoughts spin backwards, who makes you love God which makes you love them even more. And this is where the walls fall.
God made love for us to enjoy. God made marriage and intimacy and gave it to humanity as a gift. Love is meant to be enjoyed, revered, respected, and honored, not feared. Love is meant to be strength, not weakness. Love is meant to be power, not poverty. Yeah, opening yourself up to love someone, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and flighty and all over the place happy about loving someone is scary. But when you both love God and understand how much He loves you, you won’t have to be afraid or nervous or weighed down.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” —1 Corinthians 13:1,2, ESV