I realized, not long after writing “redefining love (part one),” that something was missing. The focus of part one was redefining how I understand and receive love. What was missing is equally, if not more important. What was missing, and is the focus of part two, is how I (and we all) are to give and show love.
As I wrote about in part one, I defined love as that burning passion which knows no end. I thought that if a guy really and truly loved me, he would accept all of my advances for affection. In the same way, I thought that if I really and truly loved a guy, I wouldn’t turn down his advances for affection. I would never stop him when things between us got passionate and heated, but rather, I’d let the fire burn. After all, I thought, stopping him would be rejection and I certainly am not rejecting him! So if I’m redefining my understanding of how to receive love, then it follows that I should also redefine how I give love.
This redefinition is a process, a journey, and not an easy one. For so long I’ve gotten used to the other definition of giving and receiving love. While I know that definition is a counterfeit, I can’t deny that it is buried deep within me. As Stephanie, over at Captive the Heart, so brilliantly states it, we should “Ask Him to bring parts of our heart to light that might need healing or re-orienting.” Ever since she wrote that post in March of this year, the word “re-orient” has been stuck in my head. In fact, I e-mailed myself the article way back then and it still sits in my inbox as a continued reminder to pray that my heart would be reoriented towards true love.
There is so much to redefine and reorient when you’ve bought into a false definition of love. Turning a guy away or stopping when things get super passionate (and trust me, they will, no matter where your line is) is NOT rejection. You (and I’m speaking to you, reader, as much as I am myself) are not rejecting your loved one when you put on the breaks. In fact, you are loving that person more by stopping than you would be if you kept turning up the heat. That is where the reorientation comes in: stopping is not rejection, but an opportunity to say that you love that person enough to wait, enough to pledge your life to them before God and everyone before giving yourself to them. Here, love is a matter of the will and of choice. We can will ourselves to stop, even when everything within us tells us to keep going, or we can reject true love and give into to our desires outside the context of marriage.
Of course we don’t want to reject our beloved, nor do we want them to feel as though we don’t love them. But, by showing them a love that waits, a love where the actions of our bodies match the commitment of our relationship, we are loving them in the purest and holiest way possible. We aren’t rejecting them or excluding them from ourselves, rather, we are including them in God’s plan for fulfilling, lasting love. We aren’t casting off their love, we are inviting them to see the bigger picture, to love us as God does. We are accepting God’s invitation to love as He does and to order our love for others according to His sacrificial love for us.