Expensive flowers, massive diamond rings, lavish proposals, Instagram declarations...
In so many ways, love is characterized as a constant state of starry-eyed romance; where couples are always enamored, never unhappy or disappointed, never struggle, and never have to work to maintain. But love is not just a performance for likes or applause, it is an active, ongoing, effort that requires real thought, real emotions, and real intent in order to keep it alive.
What does LOVE mean to you?
Remember the verse "Love is patient, love is kind..."(1 Cor. 13:4-8)? Well, my definition of love is held within those words. Patience and kindness underscore what true love really is. Patience is defined as "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset," (Google). So to say that LOVE is patient, we are saying that love gives us the ability to go through delays, hardships, and even disappointment, without lasting anger or resentment. How many of us can truly say that we are patient with the ones we love? How many of us can admit to taking another's patience for granted?
To be kind means to be soft-hearted and giving without expectation towards someone or something. Showing kindness is an act of humility, allowing yourself to be of service to another without any prerequisite of return. Love is not an act of quid pro quo. Instead, it is the constant act of selflessness, generosity, sharing, and nurturing. Love is like planting a seed in the ground. It needs to be protected, fed, cultivated, allowed to develop sight unseen, then given the opportunity to grow and bloom.
God loves us with both Patience and Kindness.
...And it is his commandment that we love each other in that same way. So today, think deeply about the love you give. Is it selfish? Is it superficial? Is it fleeting or lustful? Do the people you love know that you love them? Who do you love? Why do you love? Love is a gift, so let's truly examine our motives for love in our own lives.
Make it a point to develop your capacity to love others. Your act of love can be the catalyst for healing, for change, for expansion, and for elevation. Like the seed in the ground, become willing to take the necessary actions within yourself in order to let LOVE grow.