Tuesday, February 14, 2017

the capacity for love (and donuts)...

It has taken me a long time to stand where I am standing, in this place where I am "okay" with Valentines Day. More so, I even kind of like it love it. I am not rolling my eyes at the many social media postings of dating/engaged/married friends, lamenting over the date-less night I have ahead of me, or even joining in on the "Singleness Awareness Day" bandwagon. No no, this year is a little bit different.

Valentines Day has always been a little somber for me, a reminder of the lack of love in my life. This year, by God's grace, I see it as a celebration of all the love I have received and been honored to give to friends and family. Call it wisdom, call it age, call it whatever you want, but God has slowly and tenderly been reminding me how much I am loved and how much I am able to love people. And the craziest thing? It has not been through a romantic relationship! I have never felt more loved than by my community, by the men and women in my life who love me in the smallest, most non-romantic ways. When I stop focusing on how I think I should be loved, I am given the eyes to see the ways that I am already being loved.

"...when I stop focusing on how I think I should be loved, I am 
given the eyes to see the ways that I am already being loved..."

To celebrate love ONLY in the context of a romantic relationship is missing the whole point of what love truly is; love is an extension of Christ, the One who gave His life in replacement of ours, and to only reserve it for a romantic relationship? Well, that's cheating and cheapening the love of our Savior. To only reserve love for a romantic relationship, to essentially one person, is to cheat and cheapen the work of the Cross. We must allow God to expand and redefine our definition of love so that it includes our friends, our families, and our special someones. Love is complimented in human love, but completed in Christ's love.

"...love is complimented in human love, but completed in Christ's love...."

We have the capacity to love only because we have been loved by Christ; He shows us how and who to love (which, by the way, is unconditional and all inclusive). Whether I am single or married, divorced or widowed, I want to love people. I want to bring them donuts and pray with them and hold them while they cry; I want to love them the way that Christ loves them, which was extravagant and exhausting and self-sacrificing. Being single should not hinder me from loving, but rather give me the freedom to love and be loved by others.

Lord, enlarge our hearts past holidays and circumstances and statuses.
Lord, grant us the capacity to love unconditionally and inclusively.
Lord, enable us to love others without expecting anything in return.
Lord, help us to receive love when others give it to us.
Lord, remind us that love is not a feeling, but a choice.
Lord, expand our capacity to love and be loved by Your people.

So today, love your people, buy the donuts, and be encouraged, 
because Christ has given you the capacity. 

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