On February 14th (and leading up to it), we are flooded with messages containing the words "love," "affection," "care," "adoration," etc. And while I think most of us are wise enough these day to identify the marketing ploy at play, it can still be a rough day for many.
I'm not just talking about singles, either. I think about all the guys and gals who are in committed relationships, who in the throes of expectations and misguided needs end up feeling let down and damaged in the wake of the "day of love."
A wise counselor (who also happens to be my mother-in-love) has reminded me several times that love is not an emotion or a feeling. It is a choice. It's an act of obedience. Doesn't sound very sexy, does it? Put that on a Hallmark card, right? Haha.
But it is correct. Subject to our moods and circumstances, love could never last if we had the option to check out and cash in our chips when things got ugly. (And y'all, they always get ugly. Life...ain't pretty.) Love is a commitment, it is a choice and a discipline, one which will yield great fruit when poured out from a heart that is whole and complete in Christ. Not self-sufficient, not armed with every self-help book under the sun, not subject to the ebbs and flows of another's response to their love. We only need one book to guide the way, one example to follow.
You and I are ugly. We're a hot mess. We strive, we struggle, we sin, and we fail. But Christ loves you. And Christ loves me. Loves us so much, I can't even tell you. Loves us in spite of how we behave, loves us regardless of our performance, loves us so completely that He sacrificed the only perfect man who ever graced the Earth's surface. He did so out of love. Because He hates sin, because He hated to see us perish and toil, and because He is the loving Father who stood in the gap--and conquered it once and for all--for you. And for me.
There is so much to celebrate, indeed. The great news? It's not limited to a day. You don't need a red envelope or pink roses to participate. You don't have to be cleaned up and have it all together. And no one can ever, ever take it away. It's a promise you can stand on for the rest of your days, that you can renew yourself in daily--moment by moment, even--and you will be filled with love and joy that cannot be shaken, and is not fleeting.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to make this the day that you bow your head and seek Love: Love personified, Love that will never leave nor forsake you, Love that will bestow hope and faith, Love that will reveal true joy. Call out to Him by name: Christ. He is Love that will change everything. Everything.
Much love, friends-