I John 4:18 –“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
I love you.
These are some of the most precious words we speak. Everyone likes to be loved – hence why we have such a movement for love and tolerance…people are desperate for love. We desire to know someone can know us completely and still look past all our flaws and say “I love you”. This is why people have friends, why we date, why we get married and why we have families – we enjoy being loved. But for everyone so desperately desiring to be loved….why is it so hard?
Love is far from easy. Here is part of a journal entry I wrote:
That is the scary thing about love – it opens you up to a world of exquisite delights and heart wrenching pain. You suddenly are admitting an investment that you realize means the world to you…and yet in the blink of an eye it can all fade away. That is scary. But when you hear their laugh, see their smile and enjoy their company you know that no matter how much it may hurt – they are worth the risk.
There is nothing more exciting than “falling in love” (in the moment anyway). Everything is new and electrifying. Watch young couples as they begin the discovery phase…but yet over time, reality pushes through and we find many couples at this point walk away. The “new/shiny” has worn off and we are sadly straying away from what love actually is.
“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…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)
Somehow this description of love sounds NOTHING like what most people think of when they say “I love you”. Maybe we use that word too freely…maybe we have ruined the true meaning by assigning love to something temporary and fleeting. Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. Because we love someone, it fosters strong and close relationships – we are MADE to be known and dwell in close, intimate relationships. As we find ourselves safe in a truly loving relationship, our hearts are warmed by the love/care/affection that is there. But actions are what creates the “lovey-dovey” feeling that is so often associated with romantic love. It is not love that creates those – it is the actions. Love is a deeper commitment. Love is saying no matter what, you will be there for this person. Regardless of what is going to come or happen – you love them, you are in their corner and you are going to support them, love them and care for them forever.
Here is where the scary comes in. Most of us have probably loved and lost. I cannot think of anything that hurts worse. To open your heart to someone, expose the vulnerable places in your heart and then to be told, “You’re not good enough” is hard to handle. It chips away at our faith in love, makes us close ourselves off from opening our hearts to others and puts us on guard. Now, I am not saying that it is bad to be on guard – it certainly is not wise to open the deepest places of your heart to anyone and everyone. There is something to be said for trustworthy individuals! However, the most harmful thing we can do is to forever close ourselves off to true love.
Let me tell you, nothing is quite as scary as truly loving someone and yet not knowing if they will ever return that commitment and investment. This requires vulnerability and risk. Love is not easy, but when you find it – I promise it is worth it! My challenge to you this year (especially as we approach that either loved or hated holiday of Valentine’s Day) is to measure the quality of your love. Do you really know what it means to love? Is there someone you should be loving that you are holding back because you’re scared? Being scared is okay, by the way, but do not let fear rule your life. Turn the fears into caution and trust God to take care of the rest. Do not be afraid to love. As the age old quote goes “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
Love is scary. But we have the perfect example in our Heavenly Father. He loved us, loved you – enough to send His Son to earth, watch Him die and then raise Him back to life – for you! God is all about extraordinary acts of love – do not be afraid to let Him love you and to love Him in return. You will never regret that decision.
- What/who are you scared of loving?
- Why are you scared?
- What can you do to show someone you love them?
- How can you renew your love with your Heavenly Father?