The world has many rules for love. They trickle into our relationships, settle into our ways of thinking, influence our behavior, and can even twist and warp pure love into something interpersonally dysfunctional and personally harmful. We have all fallen into this trap of what the world tells us about love, and sometimes we spend our lives grasping at and clinging to an idea of love that isn’t love at all. We run in circles to conform to an ever-changing version of love that we are told matters the most today, and exhaust our emotions and our time and mental capacity trying to achieve what everyone else says is true love. #relationshipgoals
True love isn’t finding a soul mate or still holding hands after fifty years of marriage. It isn’t celebrating every milestone or giving gifts. It isn’t meeting expectations or accepting every behavior. These are just actions.
When love becomes a series of actions or rules or goals, we are chasing a dream instead of the real thing. We are dissatisfied when real love comes our way, and we miss it. Sometimes we’ve been convinced that there’s something about us that makes us unworthy of love, which is an even more sinister lie.
We have lost sight of what love is at its core.
God is love. And all love is from God.
Love is without fear, punishment, or condition. It is kind and strong. It is free and pure and can grow and blossom even in unlikely situations or relationships. It is found between friends and relatives and spouses and strangers. It is the peace that comes from knowing that you love and are loved. It is neither a checklist nor a set of goals to be met. Love can wait. If it is from God, it is on his timeline. No personal goals or demands from others set its pace or timeframe. It can’t be imposed, and it can’t be rushed.
Each of us has to figure this out on our own; the world ensnares all of us in its weird versions of love early and often, and tells us that we make our own rules about love. Eventually we emerge from the trap and can finally learn what love really is.
Love is the example of Jesus – his sacrifice, but also his life.
We can receive it and pass it on. And we can live in it, if we choose.
Dear God, everything in this world is so difficult. I am grateful that you have provided love to show us the goodness you intend and have made for us to receive. Thank you, Amen.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7