redefining Love {part one}.

I’ll say it: I am a broken woman. I have foolishly defined love in so many ways and by so many things that are far from the true definition of love. In relationships I defined love as that passionate advance, that look in the gent’s eye when he just couldn’t get enough of me, when his desire for me was too great to stop. I often thought about how C.S. Lewis talks about beauty, how we desire to become a part of beauty, to immerse ourselves in it. In a way, that was how I defined love: that desire to be united in every sense of the word. In a way, that definition isn’t that far off, but in a way, it is.

I defined love as this passion that simply couldn’t be turned off, a fire that burned, consuming all that came across its path. This ‘love’ never turned me away, never stopped or rejected my advances, and never made me feel less than desirable. This ‘love’ was the stuff of legends, the kind of love poets strive to capture, musicians dare to compose, and artists try to confine to a canvas. In the end, however, this ‘love’ consumed, leaving me empty and alone.

love bears all

It has taken (and still takes) time to redefine what love really is. Love isn’t that passion that can’t be turned off; we aren’t animals after all. The ‘love’ I knew was the same kind of ‘love’ that drove David to Bathsheba, and all of his sins that followed after that. That, dear friends, isn’t love.

Love doesn’t turn me away or make me feel less than desirable, but it does submit itself to the will of the Father. Love lays its own desire down at the feet of Truth and Love. Love lays down at the foot of the cross and waits for the resurrection, no matter how dark the tomb. Love is a fire that burns, but doesn’t rage, a plane that soars, but never too high, a ship that sails, but never too fast. Love isn’t afraid to say no in the wrong context and yes in the right context. Love doesn’t seek to get, it desires to give. In so many ways I knew this definition of love all along, but I refused to believe it was true.

For me, if a guy rejected me or stopped me from moving too fast (emotionally or physically), then he didn’t love me. Now I see that the man who loves me will love me enough to stop, to put things in their proper order, to guard my heart and his, to lead and protect. True love isn’t taking whatever we can get, but giving all that we can, especially in the right context (i.e. marriage). Love doesn’t steal like a thief in the night, but waits for the dawn to rejoice in the beloved. Love lays down passions and picks up the cross. Love dies to self and rises to a holier, graced plan. Love recognizes that it is in giving that we receive.

Love bears all things, even the struggles and desire to be united to the beloved before it is time.
Love believes that the sacrifice is worth it, and that the wait is noble and just.
Love hopes in its fulfillment, and that it will, in time, be fully united with the beloved.
Love endures the trials and the strife, the pains and the joys, the long nights and the endless waiting.

Love never fails.

Love does not stir itself up before it is ready. Love is patient beyond all measure. Love is stronger than the deepest waters, the seal upon our arms, and the pains of death. Love is deeper than the passions, for it is strengthened by choice and the will. Love, above all, seeks the good of the beloved, the will of the Father, and the glory of Heaven. Plain and simple, our love seeks His love in all that we do, all that we are, and all that we strive to become.

{Be sure to come back on Wednesday for part two!}

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