Chasing love instead of receiving it.
I found this little post in my “pending” file, waiting to see the light of the blog. It was written last year but it still rings true. Since I haven’t been writing as much, I decided to let it loose. Let me know what you think. - Caitlin
In the past few weeks, I’ve been discovering the pain of grace and what love does.
It’s wrecking me.
I’m not talking about romantic love. This isn’t an announcement that I’ve fallen in love. I haven’t. I’m talking about something different.
I’m talking about the kind of love that shows up in the ledger of our daily lives. The people, the friends, and the family, and even the strangers sent by God, who offer a glimpse at what it means to truly love and be loved. Not the thin plot lines of Hollywood blockbusters but the fabric of good stories that make us want to sneak in the novel and live as one of the characters.
The kind of love that Bob Goff writes about in his wonderful book, Love Does.
See, love does the most peculiar things.
1. Love realizes that life isn’t a popularity contest but a chance to invest in other people.
That means not everyone makes the inner circle but everyone feels welcomed. I used to think that life was about who you know and the connections that you make. Now I think that life is more about loving Jesus and leaking His love.
No one likes the people who try to claw their way to the top of the social ladder. It’s ugly to see people use and abuse acquaintances all in the name of their almighty career.
What’s refreshing is someone who is genuinely interested in you. A person looks at your life and recognizes that even if you have no worth in their career plans, you have worth as a person.
If you want friends, be curious. Ask the other person about their life. See how you can help them. Invest.
2. Love sits with you in the dark, letting you know that you aren’t alone.
As a writer, I used to think that love was best expressed in flowery words. Now I think that sometimes, you just need someone to sit on the couch beside you, shut up, and physically be there.
It’s easy to celebrate the high points. To throw a party, uncork the champagne, and tip your head back as laughter bubbles out. That’s fun.
But the test of love is the dark days. The days you need companions to nudge you toward the light. The people who show up in those times are your real friends.
The rest are just posers. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve been revealed as a poser and not a friend.
3. Love finds a way to make you dance through the pain, creating capers during the mundane days.
I used to think that life should be like one giant Indiana Jones adventure (as a child, I would grab a hairbrush and pretend to be a reporter, telling thrilling news from far-off places) and that each thrill must be greater than the previous one. Now I think that some of the best adventures are found in celebrating life, even at home.
Last weekend, my newest roommate decided she needed a “Caitlin Day.” So she cleared her calendar and stayed home to make sure I didn’t kill myself in my attempts to walk on my very broken leg (I’m slowly learning it’s a bad idea). She also decided to play chauffeur for the day, breaking me out of the house and whisking me away to rendezvous after rendezvous with friends.
Yeah, I’m spoiled.
But that’s what love does. It makes even the most boring of days sparkle with new life.
4. Love accepts you for who you truly are, not the mask you wear for the world to see.
I used to think that you had to be worthy of love, to earn it in one way or another. But now I think that the beauty of love is that it keeps on going, even when the receiver is unlovable.
There are many types of masks we wear. If you’re like me, makeup is a great one because it’s so easy and fun. I’ve blogged about makeup and vulnerability in the past. I want to be beautiful but I’ve learned that true beauty isn’t found in bottles – it’s found in having confidence in who you are in Christ.
Let people see the real you. The one that eats ice cream out of the container, consistently forgets to make their bed, and scowls as they kick their laundry basket down the hallway with their booted up leg. Oh wait, that’s just me.
Love cultures beauty, but to invite love, you must first be vulnerable. Love won’t reject you.
5. Love laughs. A lot.
I used to think that love was full of laughter; the kind that starts as a giggle, turns into a loud exclamation of joy, and then turns silent when you laugh so hard the sound doesn’t get a chance to escape. I still think love is like that.
To be honest, I think about the book of Proverbs when I think about laughter. Weird, I know. I think about the oft maligned Proverbs 31 woman. She was “clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” I think about the verse that talks about a cheerful heart being good medicine.
If that’s true, I plan on overdosing.
Love can laugh because love is secure. Love knows the end of the story and it’s a good one. Joy blossoms even on the darkest days when it is watered with gratefulness and fed with hope.
As I’m learning what love does, it’s transforming me. Peeling off the layers of comfortable apathy and challenging me to leak love to the people around me.
What do you think love does?
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc