I’m going to be honest outright and admit that this subject is one I struggle with. I have such a desire to love others, but I still have moments where my heart loses out to my mind. But what is love? Sorry not sorry if that song gets stuck in your head.
Love can mean so many different things depending on who you ask. It can come with the simplest explanation, or become mystified with an abstract definition.
My definition of love is simple. It is one of the standard definitions – an intense feeling of deep affection. What is affection? A feeling of caring and fondness. Basically, I care about you on a personal and deep level. I prioritize your happiness and joy.
But why do we have to overcomplicate something that should be foundational to society? As a Jesus follower we have been given the best example. It is literally spelled out for us.
Seems pretty simple. Jesus told this to His followers shortly before the betrayal that would lead to His death. He knew what was about to happen, and yet He still walked into it openly with a heart filled with unconditional love.
So… it should be pretty easy to love someone else when they accidentally say the wrong thing that hurts your feelings.
And it should be pretty easy to forgive others for their past mishaps, understanding that people change and they shouldn’t be judged on their past.
And it should be easy to simply shrug off the things that others have done to you, or the way they treat you. That even if they make you feel so low on a daily basis you should still love them unconditionally. Right?!
Alright, alright. Put down the pitchforks and stop practicing for your dramatic solo as you pull others into your negative feelings for others.
I get it. It’s complicated!
But why do we struggle with this? In theory, by loving others we should be shaping and molding the world to fit the perfect image of how we want it to be. Imagine it with me. A place where there were no violence. A place where you could let your children out to play without fear. A place where no one has any internal struggles with their own self-image because others are constantly raising them up with praise.
So why do we not embrace that and work towards that? Why do we have to get annoyed that someone is doing something selfishly? Or why do we have to judge others for doing things that they know are hurting others?
And it’s complicated because we make it complicated. We have assigned a stigma to the word and given it definitive connotations as a societal norm that people think can only mean one thing. It is either “over-used” (not possible), or it is used only on rare occasions.
Or we live in fear that others will perceive it as something else.
Do you naturally tell your friends that you love them? Or is there a little bit of awkwardness when you say it, or at least when you say it around certain people? Can you outright tell someone “I love you” or do you have to cut corners with things like “love you” or “love ya” or even lumping them in with a group of people? Or taking the pressure off yourself by saying “we all love you” and not making it personal?
Let’s all be honest for a minute. We all do it. My hand is raised high. Guilty! Confession and all!
But why?! Do you know how incredibly impactful it is to tell someone you love them? Three simple words is all it takes to actually change someone’s day from bad to good. In three words you can make someone feel so incredibly valued.
I… love… you. That’s it. Is it cheapening it by saying it any other way? Maybe not. But as a receiver I can tell you it means more to me personally being said so simply.
So why don’t we do it more often? Well, for one, when was the last time you walked up to a coworker and told them you loved them? Or walked up to your married friend and said it to them? When was the last time you said it to a relative who has never said it to you?
It’s a whole lot of things from intimidating, scary, awkward, uncomfortable or just plain weird.
It’s fear of people’s perception. Its worry that others will misconstrue your intentions. It’s also being unsure of other people’s boundaries.
And also I think a lot of people don’t know HOW to love another person. I mean, we aren’t exactly raised to be this way. But we can be better.
So I try to live this out in my own life, or at least I have been these last 6 months as I begin to live my life as a follower of Christ.
There are people in my life who have severely hurt me in the past, and there are others who have hurt those that are closest to me. Those wounds are difficult to heal, but I am trying to love them unconditionally.
And I actively tell those who I do love that I love them. Straight up, point blank, to their face, or written in ink and saved forever (unless they decide to burn them). Why? Because it’s important to me for others to know how I feel about them.
Romance does not get to steal this word and hoard it for itself. Love goes way beyond that. Love is appropriate for the way it is intended, NOT the way it is perceived. If I tell someone I love them and another person takes it in a way that it is not meant, that’s on them. I know what is in my heart, the person receiving it usually knows what is in my heart, and my God definitely knows what is in my heart.
Someone very dear to me recently gave me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received – “you’re always looking for ways to express your love.”
And in those few, simple words I instantly received confirmation that the changes I have been making in my life were real and that my actions were finally matching my desires. It was a moment that made me realize that, yeah, I can be a disciple.
And it’s all because of love.
I let more and more of it out everyday as it brings me so much joy to bring happiness to others. But I still keep a lot of it held back out of fear. I make sure to tell my wife several times a day. I try to tell my friends and family as often as I can, but I can assure you a lot of times it will be the worried, condensed version I mentioned above. I’m fearful of loving others too much that it scares them off. No joke. Even those I am closest with I will tell them “I love you” and then a few days later make comment that I hope I’m not being too much.
Stupid, right? It’s more that it’s a shame that we have to hide it.
And I think that is what we struggle with with love. It’s not the act of loving another, or the desire to love others unconditionally, it’s expressing that love.
So, I’m hear to tell you that if you are family or friends that have access to my blog, I LOVE YOU! Actually, I probably love you a whole lot more than you think and more than I ever tell you. For some that’s saying a lot.
And, unless you politely ask me otherwise, I’m going to continue to tell you. To your face, in our texts, in my letters, etc. I hope it brings you comfort, love, joy and happiness. That feeling you get when someone special gives you a hug. I may not mean much to this world, but I hope I mean something to your world.
What you do with this blog is on you. As for me, I’m going to continue seeking new ways to share my love. 🥰
Thank You for filling me with so much love from You that I want to share it with others. I want to cast a light on this world where darkness seems to often try and invade. I want to touch the lives of so many people, spreading joy and love to others that they want to share it as well.
To know that others have had moments of happiness and had a smile brought to their faces by my words or actions will allow me to one day pass from this world as a fulfilled Christ follower.
Today I pray that You help others in finding the courage to express their feelings in a safe and comfortable way. Please give them the peace to go out and share their love with others.
I pray that the awkwardness for “I love you” outside of the family goes away.
I pray that You continue to look after those who need Your warmth and love. I pray for those who turn their backs to You and that they will one day see that, despite that, You always stay with them.
Please continue to protect and heal those who need You. For those fighting battles physically, emotionally and mentally. Please let them feel Your presence so that they may have peace in their lives.
You are beautiful and I love you so very much!