It has been a little while, huh? I certainly took full advantage of my “few weeks” to examine love. Yes, LOVE. If you haven’t heard… This is the first post in a mini-series we’re doing here at love.joy.peace. You can read the post directly before this one to get a better idea of what the very tentative schedule looks like. Basically I’m going to blog about love, joy, and peace after taking a few weeks to examine, wrestle with, and learn from each of them. I may include posts in between that don’t relate to this mini-series just to adhere to the randomness of my usual blogging.
Now that school is over for the summer, I’m looking forward to having much more time to blog. Hold me to that, dear readers!
So without further ado:
Love is big. Like, really big. It’s a big deal and it’s a big concept to grapple with. God IS Love. And we love FROM Him. Without God, there is no Love. And without Love, there is no God. Loving is Holy Work. Loving isn’t mundane. Loving is one of the biggest and most powerful things we can do.
Since God is Love, I’ve been wondering… Can I flip that around? Is Love, God?
If our first reaction is to run far and fast away from that idea, maybe we don’t understand the real definition of Love.
Love is holy and Love is pure. Anything short of that, isn’t really Love. You see, we take Love’s name in vain as often as we blaspheme God’s.
We create consumeristic holidays, we throw the word around, we confuse it with lust, we make war on our brothers and sisters, and we decide we are the only ones who understand what God means… All in the name of Love.
So… That. That is NOT Love. That is not God.
But there is real Love. Pure Love that transcends religion, and doctrine, and this world, and bows before the feet of Jesus. And that Love… Is God.
One of the most obvious, yet hardest things that Love does is connect us.
At the core of us each, is perfect Love.
The inner most part of my being is the same as yours. We all desire Love, for we were made from God’s perfect Love. We must recognize that in ourselves, and in everyone else.
When we love others, we don’t have the ability or desire to fear them. When perfect Love is in the equation, fear shrivels up and runs away. I believe the injustices in the world are actually Love issues. And those come from not allowing ourselves to be loved fully by God. When we let Him fill us up with His Love for us, we can’t help but overflow that Love onto everyone else.
Fear says: “I don’t understand, so I choose to fear and hate.”
Love says: “I may still not understand your choices, but I’m not scared of them because I’ve felt the most powerful force in the Universe and it’s my core…and it’s yours too.” It has been said that the opposite of Love is hate, yet I’m fairly certain that the opposite of Love is fear. I think the root of all evil is fear.
Now granted, I don’t love people perfectly, (and I don’t even have a chance of coming close to loving perfectly if I don’t allow God to love me first.) We’re not perfect, and we fall short of loving. That’s when Grace gets to step in. It’s one thing to pour the Love we receive from God right back onto Him. He is perfect, yet even that is hard sometimes. But it’s a whole other ballgame to choose to love imperfect people, like ourselves. Loving ourselves is a MUST and it’s the step that comes before we can love others.
Not going to lie, the process of Love really sucks sometimes.
My friend, Glennon says that Love is not warm and fuzzy or sweet and sticky. Real Love is tough as nails. It’s having your heart ripped out, putting it back together, and the next day, offering it back to the same world who just tore it up. Love is a matter of trust. It’s running toward pain and grief and brokenness instead of away from it. It’s turning the other cheek ’til you get whiplash. It’s exhausting and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s ugly, like using your bare hands to search for gold in piles of crap.
And it’s still important.
Although Love is tough, it is good. Since we CAN do hard things, we CHOOSE to love. Glennon also taught me that we don’t love people because we’ll have them forever; we love them because loving changes us, makes us better, healthier, kinder, realer. Loving people makes us stronger in the right ways and weaker in the right ways. So we keep loving, even if we might lose, because loving teaches and changes us. And that’s what we’re here to do. God sends us here to learn how to be better lovers, and to learn how to be loved, so we’ll be prepared for heaven. Heaven is a place where everyone loves each other perfectly.
That’s what it means to me when I think about bringing Heaven to Earth. Bringing down perfect love. I’ve seen it. I’ve been in those thin spaces where I feel perfectly loved, right here right now, and can feel that Love exuding off of me into other people’s Love Buckets. That’s where Heaven and Earth meet- in perfect Love.
Love tosses so many less important things out the window…things like religion, politics, and having to be right all the time. Love runs straight past all those lesser things and blazes it’s own trial. Because of Love, I can bend my knee to Jesus wherever and in whomever He reigns. Love binds me to others whom I sometimes struggle to agree with. I can recognize the Divine that I see in them and choose to worship my Father in that place. Because we are all made of the same core -Love- it’s wrong for me to disagree with others for the sake of disagreeing. This is something I SO struggle with. There are a couple evangelicals (most of them famous preacher-guys) in particular that just grind my gears and make me want to hate what Christianity sometimes is because of the harmful ways they preach it. There are people I know personally that have shown me I can’t trust them. There are people who have wounded me, or others, yet still talk up the Bible. It’s just hard to stomach sometimes. Yet over my time of focusing on love, I began to see their cores. I began to realize we both come from Love. Namaste, ________. The God in me sees the God in you. The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you.
And I have also found that when discussing God with people who may not have fully accepted Him, Love is a good word to use because most people believe that Love can be trusted. And when we can see that God is Love, we realize we can trust Him too. It’s all the complicated ways we talk about God that get in the way of the simple, powerful notion that God is Love.
Sometimes when thinking about and talking about Christianity, I want to replace the word “Christian” with “Love”. Love isn’t polluted as easily as the word Christian is. Love, like Christianity, is often misunderstood, especially by it’s participants… But Love is strong. Resilient. Love bounces back. Love finds a way. Love is the strongest force in the universe. Love is God. God is Love.