I’ve been thinking alot about love recently. I used to think I had a firm grasp of exactly what it meant, filed it away, and generally didn’t think much about it. Life went along like normal, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t need to dig down into the definition.
Then life changed. Constants that had always been there went away, and I went through a falling-out with a friend who was dear to my heart. Of all the changes and trials, this shook me the most.
I spent a couple years fixated on grace. I have noticed that I go through phases where I fixate on a specific word and it’s meaning. First it was hope, and it’s unmoving, undeniable nature. The hope of the gospel, a solid rock. The wonder that burned in my heart settled into a comfortable knowledge and I moved onto grace. Grace, undeserved merit. This carried me through that dark time when I was wrestled with my thoughts and my sorrow and pain at my falling out with friend. God’s grace is there, completely undeserved, unearned. Amazing.
Now in the last few months my internal focus is shifting from fixating on grace to love. This has startled me. Love is something that I acknowledge, and I love my family, and my friends, and my dog. I understood it, ‘love is a verb’, didn’t I know everything I needed to know from dc Talk and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7!? I don’t need to process this!
Apparently, I was wrong.
I’ve pulled up the roots of all my ideas of love and rebuilding the foundation in my soul. And as with hope and grace, it has come alive to me. I think I had an academic understanding before, but now I feel I understand. I think to love you have to feel. (Which, I realize for most people is not a problem.)
Love is a choice and an action. A choice you make in your heart and once you make that choice to love that person, their actions or behaviors should not shake it.
I realized in my deepest of feelings I had bought into an idea of conditional love. Stay with me, while I said that I do think to love you have to feel, that is not the root or the core. When you choose to love that person, that choice trumps how you feel about them that day.
Without unconditional love, it leaves room for fear…fear that the wrong word, or if your appearance changes too much…that love will go away.
I’m still working through my thoughts on this, and I will likely be writing on it again. But for now, for those reading, how would you describe love?