Love… Again… and Again?!

I want to talk about it again… talk about… Love.

Ok… so what’s your first reaction to reading that?… your reaction to “Love”?  What did it raise in your heart?  Was it, “Oh, Good! I love to talk about love?”… or was it more like, “Ugh!  Again?!”… “Haven’t we read enough about Love?!”… “Love… love… love… everyone’s always talking about love…”… “Let’s get on to the meat… the deeper issues of our lives and faith…”… “Give me something practical!”

Our first reaction gives us a glimpse into where our heart is… how our heart is.

I’ll admit… when I began to consider what to write about today, this issue of “Love” came up…. and my first reaction was similar to what I wrote above. (Ugh…)  There is just something that feels… soft… about dwelling on Love.  There are pressing issues that need to be dealt with… questions screaming for answers… mountains waiting to be moved.  And then the thought of “Love” pops up… and it feels like I’ve slammed on the brakes… stopped cold…

Then, this simple thought begins to emerge — love is the point.

Wow… as I sit with my foot still on the brake… the truth of that begins to sink in. Love… is… the… point. The thought of it being… the point… it is sobering… clarifying.  It washes over me. It is a refreshing thought, like the smell of the first spring rain after a long cold winter.  I think there is much I’ve come to misunderstand about love.  Or maybe misapplied is a better word to use.

Think back over your life… what’s mattered most? Think back to some of your favorite bible passages… what’s the story being played out behind the scenes?  Think of what you’re hoping for right now… what makes it worth while?  It all makes sense… life… our relationships… our pursuits… our faith… it all makes sense if we come back to Love.  But, as I said, Love gets misapplied… gets lost somehow.  Its like my car… it can take months of driving, but little by little the windshield begins to build up this film… a sort of haze.  At first I chock it up to “fog” and turn on the defroster… this helps at first.  But after a while even the defroster doesn’t have any affect and the haze takes over.  It affects my safety, my clarity, my stress level goes up as I drive. And, it happens so subtly, so slowly that I hardly notice it. My relationship with Love is like my windshield. I center myself on the idea, remembering that love is the point. But over time, neglect and busyness and carelessness and apathy bring about a sort of haze.  Love suffers.

There are things we must do to to regain clarity… to make love the point… again.

We must fight busyness. I don’t know about you, but my days/weeks can get pretty jumbled.  And, I think to find some clarity, regain some sense of control, I tend to slip into “work” mode.  I become “productive”, busy, efficient.  It’s not that I’m doing bad things, some are really good pursuits, but there is something off about it.  Its like if I do the dishes every night and go above and beyond doing things that would ordinarily make my wife feel loved, but then I don’t talk to her while I’m doing it.  I’m “getting things done” and even depositing into her “love bank”… but I’m utterly disconnected from her heart… and mine for that matter… and the implications of my actions may not even show up for days or weeks or years.  We must fight the drift… we must be intentional.

Be aware of the signs… the signs that Love is fogging over… that love is slipping away. What does it look like for you when love slips away from being the point?

Do you fall into criticism, complaining about what isn’t right, or good enough, or fast enough, or fulfilling enough?  In these times do you find yourself more angry than compassionate? Do you notice where you’re giving up your creative pursuits?  Are you engaging in things that stir your heart?  Do you find yourself longing for something that brings you life?

Do you fall into resignation, simply giving up, abandoning hope that anything will change or get better?  In these times do you find yourself indulging in things that bring only momentary satisfaction? Overeating. TV watching. Romance Novels or Porn. Cleaning the garage. “Organizing”. Buying something. Busying yourself.

What happens in you when you start to get close to others? (i.e., sharing intimate details, deep conversations, hard thing being said, etc.)  Do you allow it? Look forward to it?  Encourage it?  Your reaction says a lot about your ability to receive love.  (And more than likely, a bottleneck here means the same when relating to God… and your ability to receive love from him.)

These are all signs of the same thing… love has slipped away from being central.

Love is a heart issue.  “Heart”, as in the deepest place, your truest self, your place of reasoning and understanding. And when dealing with the heart, know this…

Activity will never deepen intimacy.  Efficiency will never build relationship.  Personal organization will never bring healing.  Relief will never bring purpose.  Busyness will never bring peace.

My initial thoughts were wrong… Love is not soft… living with love takes great strength… and gives great strength. Love is the point.

But how do I turn back?

Turn to the source…. turn toward Jesus. The moment you’re aware that love has slipped away,  invite Jesus into it, into this moment in your life. And linger there for a bit, allowing his Spirit to show you what to pray.  You may find yourself asking his forgiveness for sins… and the cleansing of that will be important and freeing. At other moments you may find yourself inviting Jesus into a relationship and hope will spring up.  Or, you may invite Him into a painful story from your past, his love re-writing it, coming into it. Or you may find yourself expressing gratitude for how he has truly saved…. and the contrast of your life from that moment forward will be stunning.  And… what begins to flow from you will be life-giving and hopeful and wonderful.

So much more could be written.  Love is boundless in its reach and influence and impact.

It is possible.  Life is available. There is more.

Learning to love and be loved,

Mark

PS.  If you’ve not taken the 30 DAY CHALLENGE… check out my blog entry and take the challenge. https://lovegodlovepeoplelivefree.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/the-power-of-love-part-ii/

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