In how many different ways do we use the word love every day?
“Baby, I love you”
“I can’t even tell you how much I love this cake.”
I could be wrong, but those are three very distinctive statements, each completely different from the other, but somehow we use the same word to describe our feelings for these things. I don’t know about you, but the way I love my shoes is certainly not the same way I love my fiancé. Love has got to be one of the most complex ideas in the world.
What about the difference between how we love our family, our spouses, our friends and strangers. The same word that we use to convey our relationships, has entirely different meanings based on who we are talking about, and in what context.
So how do we separate love from like? How do we differentiate between infatuation and true deep feelings? How do we know when we are just head over in heels in lust? How do we know the true meaning of what it is to love and be loved?
Truthfully, I don’t think we will ever break it down. I don’t think that our human minds are capable of processing fully that kind of emotion and pinpointing where it begins and ends.
From my perspective, it doesn’t matter. We don’t need to fully understand it. We just need to practice it. God commanded that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Ooof! I don’t know about you, but for me, that is an eternal struggle. It’s easy for me to love my family and friends. It’s easy for me to show kindness to strangers, particularly when they are kind to me. But how easy is it really to love those people we know nothing about.
I was challenged several weeks ago to pray for those around me with true love for them. To pray for them from a place of total appreciation and gratitude for who they are, even if that is not always easy to deal with. (And let’s be honest, I know I’m not always easy to deal with either.) We are inherently selfish and selfishness and love are opposing forces.
I’ve been talking a lot about love as I work towards marrying the man of my dreams, and there are so many ideas out there about how to make love last. How to work through the difficult times. How to avoid the common mistakes people make in love. How to “speak each others language.” I’m taking it all in and I’m learning a lot, but the truth is, everything is conjecture when it comes to this stuff.
Everyone has his or her own way of showing love. None of us will ever be perfect, but we can sure try. I think it may be necessary.
Check out this blog entry I read yesterday. If that’s not love…
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 NIV