I talk a lot about this big heart of mine because it’s something I’m really proud of. I wear my heart on my sleeve almost 100% of the time. I am motivated by my desire to love on people. I love fiercely and I love well.
Recently I have been thinking about what this all actually means. I mean, I talk about it all the time, it’s very much embedded in my identity, but do I really understand it?
If you type “definition of” into Google “definition of love” is the second option that pops up. Google defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection”. That definition kind of sucks if you ask me.
So, I headed to Dictionary.com, which defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” and “a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection”. This is a little better, but it’s still missing something.
My next stop was Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster offers a much more in-depth definition of love, including “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”, “attraction that includes sexual desire; the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship”.
So far, love is an intense, tender, passionate affection, personal attachment and sexual desire. Meh. I’m not entirely convinced. There is so much more to love than that, right?
I went back to Merriam-Webster and scrolled a little further. The fourth definition says “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as 1) the fatherly concern of God for humankind. 2) brotherly concern for others”. 4b says “a person’s adoration of God”.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
I have recently had the opportunity to get to know another believer, and she is incredible in more ways than one. We had dinner together the other night, and she asked me to tell her about my faith. It was the first time I had ever really shared my entire faith journey with someone, and it was a really beautiful experience. I tend to ramble when I get nervous, and so I pretty much rambled through my life story. As I was talking, I began to realize that the Lord has always been by my side. He has been calling to me my whole life, even after I continued to turn my back on Him. He has been with me through every struggle and hardship; protecting me in ways I don’t think I will ever fully understand. You guys, I have really struggled with life. I have questioned my worth and the value of my existence. I have fought my way through immense suffering, all the while questioning the battle. Even when I was succeeding, I wasn’t truly happy. I wasn’t really living. I shared these struggles with my new friend, and ended my story by saying that my struggles are the reason I love so hard. I know what it feels like to not feel loved or worthy or cared about. When I said this, I meant it in a worldly way; that I had struggled to feel love from people on this earth. Her response blew my baby Christian mind.
You love because you accepted His love.
I struggled for so much of my life because I kept turning my back on the Lord. I refused to accept His love. Without His love, how could I even begin to understand what it means to love here on earth?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This verse is often used in weddings and in romantic relationships, and it’s beautiful and inspiring. It is used as a guide for relationships. But it’s so much more than that; it describes the Lord’s love for us.
I know the Lord loves me. He was patient with me on my journey to Him. He never once gave up on me, and has endured with me through every fight. He didn’t demand His own way, rather He was kind and rejoiced when I finally heard His truth and came to Him.
I love because God loves me.
…God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…
1 John 4:16-17
I love because I accepted God into my heart.
I love because God is love.