Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love and Other Questions I Should Probably Ask...(Part Two)

I really toiled with what I wanted to write about today. I was having massive writers block. I have been writing some deeply personal things lately and I was wondering if was beginning to be too much. I don't mind dumping out my heart, I mean, its kind of what I signed up for when I started this blog. Its just hard to know where to draw the line. I want to always be open and honest about my true thoughts, so at the end of the day, I just have to go with my gut. Today my gut says to dump out my heart again. 

Darn it, gut. 

I was informed by a friend that she thought I held back a little in my last blog. She felt I had more to say on the subject. I told her that I held back on purpose because I was afraid that I was going to run out of stuff to talk about if I didn't keep some thoughts to myself. But, if you know me, the idea I could EVER run out of thoughts is just preposterous. Yeah. That. Where do I begin? I do believe that love, true, real lasting love has a biblical format. Now I'm not talking marriage here. We will get to that later. I'm just talking love. Love is best defined to me in 1 Corinthians 13. I won't quote it all here but I will highlight a particular part:

    "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends."

To the Lord, love is everything. He is love. Love never ends. Verse 8 says so. If that's true, which I believe it is, then its not something fickle thing that we play at. Its something deeper and more holy. Most of us have heard this verse a million times by now. Poor, sick, and dying Mandy Moore read them aloud in A Walk to Remember. Crap, I love that movie...

Oops...I was making a point, wasn't I? Oh yeah. Have you every really dissected that verse? 

Dang, that's some really hard work. I haven't even lived up to the first line today, let alone the rest of it. 

In any relationship, romantic or platonic, love is a choice. Though I wish, with all my might, that He wouldn't just command me to love my neighbor but instead just make me love my neighbor, it doesn't exactly work that way. Now I can pray and ask for the Lord's heart to love someone, but at the end of the day its still a choice. My friend and I get into a huge fight. I have to choose to love her enough to walk in forgiveness. My family and I don't get along because we believe different things. I have to choose love over judgement and criticism.

When my husband is laying on the couch for the twelfth consecutive hour of his 24 marathon, I have to choose to love him, not kill him, however much He may be irritating the crap  out of me. I have to choose to love him when he may have made a bad decision as the leader of our family. I have to choose to love him even when I'm not sure he loves me back. And, God forbid, I have to choose to love him if he's been unfaithful. I could choose to stop. I could choose to walk away. At any time, I can just not love. But my heart tells me love never ends. Jesus chose to love me that way. I want to be like that. So I press on.

You also have to choose to love yourself. You can't really love your neighbor as yourself if you don't have it to give. Duh. If I don't love myself, I don't respect myself. If I don't respect myself, then I don't honor my identity in Christ and therefore dishonor the Lord. We were made to love and that love has to be born inside of us. It has to make a home in us. It has to get real comfortable, make a mess or two and then head out to find others to get messy with. Loving yourself gives you the grid to love others. Loving them becomes a selfless act because you don't need to be loved back. ( but let's face it, its whole lot better when they do, right? )

But most importantly, loving God is a choice, a choice I wish more people would make. He already loves you. There needs to be no fear of rejection. Its a done deal. All you have to do is decide to choose to love Him back. Sometimes its a choice you make a hundred times a day. If God is love, we partake of his love, and love him as well, it brings such a fullness to the act of loving another. Its whole. Its complete. 

When I was asking the Lord what to write about today, He led me to this verse in Ecclesiastes:

"By yourself you're unprotected.
   With a friend you can face the worst.
   Can you round up a third? 

   A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped." (the Message)

So what the heck does that have to do with anything? Hold on, I'm getting there. 

On the subject of romantic love, I felt the Lord was showing me something through this verse. I often dialogue with the Lord about what it takes to have a healthy marriage. It disturbs me to the core to see how much marriage is attacked in our culture, even more so in the body of Christ. I felt like He was assuring me that it was a good desire to partner with someone, whether it be marriage, a family or even a close friend. I feel the strength of community is very apparent and necessary. But the binding agent, the thing that makes the whole thing stronger, is the addition of the third party, the Holy Spirit. 

 "He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Matthew 19:6 ESV

According to the Bible, when you are married, you become one flesh, that is, the two separate beings  become one being. This is a unification of mind, body and spirit. When you take your marriage vows, you make a covenant, or binding agreements between two or more parties, with God. ( I believe a covenant can also be made between yourself and whomever you partner with if you remain unmarried.) This addition of covenant with the Lord, in my heart, is the third cord in the rope, the adherent that binds us together, and what "God has joined together, let not man separate"

Still with me? Hope so. 

Now "in love" is a topic in and of itself. I'm sure I could dig up some scripture to illustrate my point but I think I rather just shoot from the hip on this one. I do agree with my friend Arian ( I mentioned her in the last post, you should probably read it ) that falling "in love" has more to do with emotions than anything.

To me, I equivocate the initial process of falling in love to a High School prom. Its all about picking  the right clothes, spending way too much money, trying to make everything look perfect, all to come to the inevitable conclusion that it is just a dance and you are dating a mere mortal, not Brad Pitt, or whomever the heck the kids are swooning over these days. Oh wait, its that Twilight kid...what's his name? 

Whatever. The point is, that as glorious and wonderful falling in love is initially, it doesn't last. To fall in implies you can fall out. Falling in love then also becomes a choice. Without proper upkeep and probably a butt pinch or two (c'mon folks, you know you do it....hopefully its between you husbands and your own wives...butt pinches can get you into trouble.), it fades and dies. It needs proper nourishment to stay alive. Romance, communication, intimacy....these are the food of love. 

In conclusion, this is how I believe I will see kingdom come in my life in this area. I want to love well, no matter the recipient. I also do desire to get married. I will go to my grave desiring it. I don't think its for everyone but I think its a Holy desire.

"But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it." Matthew 19:11-12 (The Message)

But whether I do or don't, my position is the same. I want to love the Lord and his people, including myself.  I want to fall more "in" love with the Father and His word everyday. I want to be, as my lovely friend Heather taught me about, not just a Proverbs 31 woman, but to be a Titus 2 as well. I don't have to married to fulfill most of what these speak of and when and if I do, I will be well trained.

I want to be the kind of mother that makes Psalm 79:13 and 1 Samuel 1:9-11 a reality to the best of my ability, whether it be my own children or children God entrusts me with through teaching or mentoring.

I want my marriage to reflect Jesus the way Ephesians 5 depicts. I will encourage others to do the same. 

But above all, I want the will of God.

Whoa...I guess I figured it out. To me, this is what it means to be in love. In anything and everything I do I want to bring glory, honor and praise to the man I love and am in love with...Jesus.

I'm sure there is a lot more I could say on this subject, but frankly, my brain hurts about as much as my fingers do from typing. This is all you're getting for now.


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