I for one am a fan of Hallmark. The upbeat predictability of the happily-every-after stories totally draw me in!
But you know why those movies are so enticing? They show a world that we want. A world where problems are miraculously fixed. Where the guy always gets the girl (or vice versa😉). Where “true love” is always waiting.
But there is a danger in reaching too far into, and too far for, that world. Why? Becasue that world is not real.
Problems are, unfortunately, not always fixed – or at least not always how we think they should be.
The guy doesn’t always get the girl.
True love, as it’s sometimes portrayed, does not exist.
Now, some of you are probably about ready to jump all over that and tell me that I’m being too cynical – but hear me out! I promise this is not as dark and depressing as it sounds!
I think sometimes we get so caught up in what we are told is love. From books, to movies, to social media, we are innundated with photoshopped images of what “true love” is supposed to be, and we’ve lost sight of the truth.
And that truly can be dangerous.
Like I said, I like Hallmark movies! So I’m not bashing escaping into those shows for some entertainment. But often media does not paint a true picture of love.
So what is love?
1. Love is Jesus
The only time we will ever experience perfect, all-encompassing, unconditional love is with Christ. And that is not because of us, but because of who He is. His work on the cross is what makes that relationship possible. So if you’re holding out for someone to fill that “true love” hole in your heart, let me tell you, He is ready and waiting!
2. Love is complicated
What we see via media is the dating, the flowers, the cute gestures, the perfect words, and the beautiful moment the two people realize they are perfect for each other and are madly in love. And all of that is GREAT and helps a relationship flourish! So I am not saying that those expressions of love are non-existant.
What I am saying, is that they are co-existant. Co-existant with real problems and real mistakes.
What those movies do not usually show is one, five, ten, thirty years down the road. Sometimes there are conflicts, and failed expectations, and hurt feelings. And sometimes, those flowery, beautiful feelings are just not there.
So…what happens when we’ve allowed ourselves to become disillusioned by the “true love” of the world? When we suddenly find ourselves in a place where we are not seeing in our relationship those things that we see in movies, books, or Instagram? We start to doubt, question, and wonder “what-if.”
And that’s when we get into trouble.
There is no room for those negative and misleading lines of thought in our relationships. They drive a wedge between us and our loved ones.
So what if we begin to see these things creeping into our hearts? We need to remember:
3. Love is a choice
Feelings are fickle. They come and go and vary in intensity. And when we base our love for others – spouse, friend, family, neighbor – on how we feel (or how we think we should feel) we’re not headed for a successful relationship.
Love is choosing.
- It might be choosing not to blow up because laundry was left on the floor.
- It might be choosing overlook an irritating quirk.
- It might be choosing to stand by someone who has messed up.
- It might be choosing to give of your time and energy to help someone else succeed.
- It might be choosing to forgive when no apology was made.
Let’s think about Christ. Even though He was mocked, hated, and killed, He chose to love His persecutors.
And if He waited to love us until our lives looked like a Hallmark movie, well…He’d be waiting a looooong time. But He loves us with a perfect love! He loves us even though we mess up. He loves us even when we hurt Him. Even when we intentionally do wrong.
Even then, He never wavers. Never questions. Never doubts. He chose us, and He chose us unconditionally.
Let’s love like that. Let’s redefine “true love” and show Christ’s love to those around us.
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