Fleshing out love

What is this nebulous concept, love, anyways? Is it sweaty hands locked together under a star-speckled night, the muttering of three magic words when the time is socially apropos? Is it a stomach tickled by butterflies, a metaphysical connection so deep that it is inexpressible by any 26-letter permutation? Is it two heartfelt vows exchanged on a church pew and locked in a ring that will forever etch your finger?

What is love?

The only credentials that qualify me to answer this question are two decades’ worth of experience and His word to help me make sense of it all. God is love, indeed, and earthly love — the communion between two people — must be one that mirrors His, or at least strives to. It is real, but it is not the pre-packaged rom-coms sold in dramatic Hollywood bites. No, love is not chasing someone who doesn’t want you back, no matter how romantic the background music is. Love is not violent, selfish, worldly or passive complacence. It does not dwell in idolization, fetishization or in a pixelated screen. It is not an entitlement. The only love we as fickle humans beings are entitled to is God’s and His alone the moment we decide to follow Him.

The butterflies, the rings, the sweaty hands, the voicelessness — these are just baby steps, for true love is much more. Maybe love is not a feeling or action items. It is easy to do, to perform, to buy flowers and call it a day. Perhaps love is a state of being that beckons, no requires, a deep transformation of the heart. It is more difficult than buying a ring, but that is what makes its pursuit worth it. I’m convinced of that.

It is growth, humility and the centeredness of God in all things. Active, dynamic, it is waking up each morning and choosing each other over and over again. It accepts what cannot be changed, changes what can be made better in His image, apologizes and confesses, forgives, thrives in health and sickness even in our natural brokenness.

Maybe, just maybe, love is the end of ourselves and the ushering in of a life shared and lived for Jesus. We are infinitely loved, surely, but are we loving in return?

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