Continued from Part I
I’ll spare you the gory details, but let me summarize by saying within the space of a year, I lived in 4 different homes (the boyfriend/fiancé and I never lived together), there was one proposal, one put-the–brakes-on, one re-proposal and one final break up. As much as I wanted to be married, I knew that the God I had come to love even more than my own wants and wishes would put this back together in His way and in His time if He wanted to. And, ultimately, I just had to be okay with that. I’m not at all saying it was easy. It wasn’t. Maybe even one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
I am convinced that some of THE worst advice to ever exist is to “follow your heart.” The heart is a mess! It is a combination of our (often very self-centered) emotions, experiences and desires. It’s fickle and confused and changes from one day to the next. And this line of thinking is certainly contrary to how God says to deal with it. The Bible says, “The heart is more deceitful than anything. It is incurable— who can know it?” Jer 17:9 and “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov 4:23.
Let’s go further and do what many of us red-blooded, earth-loving humans do, let’s equate that little heart symbol with the equally over-used 4 letter word: L.O.V.E. Can we just be honest for a minute and admit we don’t know how to really love people well? Maybe the closest we can get is the love for our children…but otherwise, can we agree that it is hard – and not at all intuitive? Contrary to popular belief, love is NOT a FEELING but an ACTION.
We’ve all heard it at weddings. Now, let’s repeat together focusing on the “hard words”…
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. 1 Cor 13: 4-7
Even though we often hear this quoted at wedding ceremonies, this is not meant for romantic love only, people. This is for your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, your neighbor, your friends, and Jesus even dared to say, your ENEMIES! Maybe you’re just way more spiritual than I am, but it’s hard for me to love people like that! Nonetheless, whether hard or easy, it is what we are called to do.
Back to my little fairytale-that-wasn’t fiasco…
Thankfully, God let me see that thing with wide open eyes so that I didn’t get myself into a bad situation and have to suffer the consequences (well, those consequences, anyway. There are always consequences. But that is a tale for another time…). I love to think about the early days with Adam and God in the garden. The way I read it, God presented Eve to Adam (for consideration after all the other living things). Adam, after seeing that this made sense, made Eve his wife. (Gen 2:18-24) This implies to me that I get a choice in the matter.
So, whatever your choice today, don’t believe the “love lie.” If you’re unmarried: that you can’t live a very full life (perfect time to review, I’m Not Waiting). If you’re married: that this other person is in your life to make you “happy” or that your “love feelings” can change from day to day. We all share equal – single– responsibility to live well this life that we have been given and to love others as our Creator has truly called us to love.
As we move toward Valentines Day – a day with various historical significance that we have come to designate as an important expression of all that “love” encompasses, let’s remember the Truth. Let’s remember that true Love is way more than a fairytale – it is active, and it’s sacrificial and it’s all-encompassing.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 Jn 3:16