At 27, I am just learning how to detect, give, and receive true love. Prior to this lesson in love, I was constantly trying to plant love in infertile soils. I got into relationships, thinking the other person was supposed to be my source of happiness, looking for a sense of wholeness or completion, but really going through the wringer, leaving the relationship even more broken and then empty again.
This is not true love. It was what I thought love was. My Pastor always says “you don’t know, what you don’t know”. And it is true. If you keep chasing false love and no light is shed on the subject, no clarity is given to you, you will continue to buy into it, making empty investments with no return.
I am learning what love is and what it isn’t. This acquired differentiation has saved me so much heartache, mended so much brokenness, and is allowing me to grow in love and ultimately teaching me how to unhesitatingly give it to others while still loving myself. It has also taught me how to not get offended, to have patience with people, and love the person even when they are being difficult or in opposition to me.
For me, the most refining sifter of what love is v. what we think it is, is knowing the nature of love. God is love, his character always operates in love. And yes, we see love reflected in God and in his word, but what does it mean or look like reflected in other people, including ourselves? Well so far this is what I got.
Love is not critical nor harsh. If it does need to speak up from a corrective stand point, it does so kindly. Love is enduring and constant. It doesn’t change depending on one’s mood or circumstance, but it surfaces through trial. It is ultimately a choice and an action, not so much a feeling. It is a way of life, a directive, and it never ever leaves you empty, but instead fills you up. Love filters. Love thinks twice, yet it is truthful and defends what it is choosing to love. Also love never stops growing-it knows no limits and doesn’t cap off. It’s vulnerable and raw. Love brings forth revelation.
So far, this is what has taken the place of the tainted version of love I was once knew. I have experienced such a return-such a growth in being intentional about discovering true love. True love is real. True love heals.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
-1 Corinthians 13