Oh, Love week: I have evolved as it relates to you. Ordinarily, I disregard you. Once in a while, I rant about the commercialism of this holiday (and in protest, I don’t stock up on chocolates until February 15th, when all the red boxes are half off). Every year, it is a day to celebrate my earthly father’s birthday. But most times I am like this:
This past Monday, I opened my Bible app on my phone and was greeted with a love passage, or rather a passage about what love is not:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
And every day since Monday, my bible app presented a different passage about love. Now I have no idea if that is what they do every year, but I loved that it reminded me of the many aspects of what love is–and what it is not. While I was slighlty alarmed that all my bible passages this week were (surprisingly refreshingly) about love, I was not surprised that other social media outlets had its healthy dose of cupid advertising. But for whatever reason, I’m not even annoyed–and I even came across some pins on Pinterest that I thought conveyed complex emotions as it relates to love, and even the stages of love. So in buzzfeed like fashion, here are the “Top Feelings People Face Valentine’s Eve” (sidebar: even though they can be a little silly, Buzzfeed does some really neat messaging with images. Check out their recent 44 Stock Photos That Hope to Change The Way We Look At Women):
“Top Feelings People Face Valentine’s Eve”
1) Love…can be tough
Ever been in this kind of relationship? Where even the intimate moments…are awkward. Two ways to look at it: 1) try to give your boo the benefit of the doubt; they may not express emotion the way you’d like, but it does not mean they aren’t trying; 2) maybe…even with all the best intentions…you both are still coming up “short” (for a reason). Just give it some thought.
2) So…he got you flowers. Happy?
Valentine’s Day sometimes is a continuation of one big delusion. Humans are genuinely fearful of being alone, and will often mistake comfort for happiness, and happiness for joy. Aim for joy–it is not an emotion, but a constant state of assurance and satisfaction, no matter the circumstances. No time for complacent romance (no bueno).
3) Your friends hate being around you…because everything is about that loser.
You (or your friend, cuz this is NEVER you): “Yea, I mean, I know he wasn’t the right one, but Chucky used to always do this thing with his eyebrows that was soooo cute [insert your annoying giggle and mad eyerolls from girlfriends]. Look, Chucky’s gone–you know that, I know that. And you really want to forget about him…and so do your girls! But this is actually deeper than Chucky. It speaks to the condition of the heart. What we speak about is a revelation of what concerns our thoughts and our heart. (See Luke 6:44-45). So to the girl who talks about Chucky: identify why he still matters, or what parts of the relationship you genuinely missed (and why?). To the eye rolling friends: recognize that matters of the heart are often much deeper than what we see and hear (be patient).
4) “Soul-ties” Flashbacks
This could be its own sermon. Let me just say this: women go through A LOT! Like, for real for real. I have definitely been at the point where I felt it was just easier to remain to myself….FOREVER. But as many of you know, I then realized that I don’t like killing spiders…or shoveling…or changing lightbulbs. So I knew that I did not want to be single forever. But this pin speaks a specific pain…the pain of “attachment”–the part of a woman that latches on to another. And if we were honest, this usual is complicated by flashbacks of prior sexual partners. I know the pulpit don’t like to talk about “soul ties” in this fashion, but we need to talk less with a wagging finger and more with an empathetic heart as to the aftermath of sex and what it does to the heart, psyche, and emotions–and let’s not forget spiritual health (because we are not that saved, and most of us have been there). If this is you, know that God is still the Comforter. You are His love. He will never leave you, nor forsake you, no matter what you have attached yourself to in the past. I wish there was a magic remedy for this, like clicking heels, or blinking your eyes. Know I get it, and it is a process, and talking to a trusted confident helps. Also, it is ok to admit that eventually you do want to be attached to right one. Then start renewing your steps to meet that goal.
Ify…you ain’t get to me yet! (Hold on…got a couple more for ya)
5) Heartbreak Hotel
Ok, so the timing may have not been the best, but someone had to pull the plug. Look, the Word says that “all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28 AMP. All plans go through a process. At several points during a process, you can definitely stop and set up shop, even if you never reach your final destination. But that’s lazy, and we don’t want that, do we Tamar?
Don’t let the bouquet of flowers keep you in something beneath your design. End it, cry, talk to God, wrap yourself in a snuggie, and watch a Jennifer Aniston movie. You’ll feel better (and you will eventually be better). Tip: keep a list of non-negotiables. At the top of my list, if he does not have any relationship with God, treats his momma poorly (and honestly, I don’t even care if its justifiable), or has nothing but negative things to say about prior relationships–he can keep it moving.
6)Love…but not Yoked
So many Christians think they are experts at the whole concept of being “yoked.” Well here’s shocking news: Christians get divorced too. So without giving my take on it, understand what “yoked” means, like not just from a biblical standpoint (2 Corinthians 6:14), but also from a farming perspective (didn’t know it had anything to do with animals? read this). Nowhere in the bible does it say that love was a concept exclusive to couples or Christians. Which means, we have the capacity to love and have love for many people. Where we fall short, as a culture, is we often misidentify different types of loves. I know I can admit that there were times I “loved” people in the wrong way–because maybe at the time, we both wanted it to be a romantic love, when really it should have been a more platonic relationship. Just know that most relationships don’t work out (hate to say it like that), so you don’t have to beat yourself up because of the love you showed another. It wasn’t meant to be…and that’s ok. And yes, you can still, in your heart, love them (just maybe from afar).
7) Intensive Heart Care
Ain’t no somehow…it’s God. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God created us to love big, but He is always prepared to repair our hearts, because He recognizes how open one is when love is given in its purist fashion. During this time, dwell not on the situations that led to a wounded heart; praise God for bandaging you up every time, and continually being there to make it beat love again.
8) Stop Listening to John Legend’s “Another Again”!
If you know it is final, resist the bootie call..drunk text…random “hey, I was thinking about you” email. Just stop. If God pushed you past the situation, do not reverse progress by inviting problems. And this does not only apply to romantic relationships. Some family, former friends, former counsel, served their reason for a season. Don’t try to grow apples in the winter time. February 15th will soon come…and all will be well (and normal) again:)
9) God Dates Us For Life
I will never fully understand God’s capacity to love so big. His love precedes my mistakes, my errors…even my birth! When you have a moment, read these 5 Truths About God’s Love. Love transcends emotion or fault. You do not have to do anything to receive. He freely gives it to us…and that should be the basis of the love for self and others. A great quote from St. Augustine states “God loves each one of us, as if there were only one of us.”
There is so much we want love to be–life has a funny way of shooting down some of those expectations. But while songs make light of love, and society confuses it with lust on a regular, God does not find matters of the heart to be a light matter. So I end with this final pin:
A healthy heart leads to a healthy life. Love it daily.