This morning I woke up with that heart pitter-patter excitement that it was Saturday for no other reason than it was Saturday. Saturdays are those days when I get to catch my breath and I won’t trade much for them. This morning in particular was one of those sweet moments: staying in my plaid PJ’s til noon, enjoying a breakfast & coffee at my leisure, and taking in the profound words of Voddie Baucham from a recent podcast download. Although my day continued down the R&R pathway, my mind was completely transformed from them words that left Voddie’s mouth.
I started the podcast as I was doing my make-up and hair, however I found myself sitting down on the closed-lid toilet seat to make sure I heard every single one of his words. The topic: Family and Marriage. Now, I understand that I’m a girl that hasn’t found her way into either of those life ventures yet! And, I also must admit that I’m a girl that wants it to work so desperately when I get there. And the other thing I realize is that if I don’t know how to truly love people – all people, my neighbors, co-workers, and strangers on the street, I’m not going to know how to love my spouse or my children. So Voddie and I shared a moment together this morning.
I (just like many other girls) grew up with a yearning for “love” even when I was giving out cootie shots on the play ground. If Cinderella and the Little Mermaid needed a man, you better believe I did too! But I can specifically remember the reason behind wanting to be like the fairytale princesses. I wanted the fireworks to go off, the frogs & lily pads to start singing and dancing, and the world to feel different. My mind goes to the “So This is Love” song in Cinderella as the Prince sees her for the first time, whisks her away, and they begin their dance with “love”. Who in their right mind doesn’t want that?!
So I grew up wanting and searching for that feeling. Something that would whisk me away and give me a new identity just like it did for the forgotten step sister. But as I’ve journeyed through my teens and now up into my mid 20’s, I realize that “feeling” has come…but it has also gone time and time again.
My mind jumped over and looked at other relationships. The friendships that meant the world to me throughout my childhood days, now, many of them have faded over the years. Yet there are still a few that have remained. What’s the difference? They were both those friendships that were filled with excitement, road trips, and high school dances. And both were faced with hard moments too, losing loved ones, enduring high school drama, and surviving dysfunctional families. The difference was a choice. The difference was deciding to be intentional of pursuing the friendship no matter if it was time or distance that separated it.
I think all love-relationships require the same thing: intentionality. Intention to introduce myself to a stranger even when I, too, am new. Intention to leave a love note for my boyfriend from time to time even when I see him each day. Intention to call my parents even when life is in a blur. Intention to encourage a co-worker even when my plate is full.
My favorite definition of “Love” comes from one of my college professors, Dr. Paul Patton. “Love is the sacrificial willingness to serve.” In order to truly love, we must endure sacrifice. Sacrifice is never the natural human response, which means we must constantly make a choice to love. If we are relying solely on the over-taking, pitter-patter feelings to carry us through relationships, no wonder we “fall out of love”. Our relationships become the byproduct of an emotion instead of the pursuit of a person.
For me, I realized just how much I was loved when my life was bombarded with Cancer earlier this year. I can assure you that the emotions were quite far from magical. The fireworks didn’t burst – a part of my hopes did. The lily pads and frogs didn’t dance – the waters remained quite still. The world was left different – but it was an empty different. If it were up to the emotions, love should have been the last thing to expect. But I watched as those around me pursued my heart to ensure I could face the battle. My Dad flew back and forth to Vegas just so I wouldn’t be alone at doctor’s appointments. My family & friends constantly calling and praying with me to make sure my heart was in a good place. My boyfriend began his pursuit after my heart at the time I felt most broken. Co-workers rallied around me with gifts that reminded me of my dreams and how possible they all were
Love is a choice, not only a feeling that overtakes us but a decision to sacrificially and willingly serve day after day; no matter what it takes!
Choosing to Love,