The other night, Matt and I sat on the couch sipping red wine and reminiscing about our journey from dating, to being engaged, to now having 1 year of marriage under our belts.
Matt starting saying something sweet about his love for me when he then added “Although, when we were riding our bikes earlier and started going up that steep incline, I could feel the hate radiating off of you like you wanted to kill someone. In that moment, I chose to be intentionally loving towards you despite that hateful look on your face. But it sure was not easy. I mean, if a stranger rode by who didn’t know you, they’d think, ‘man, who IS that scary girl?!'” chuckle chuckle.
My first thought: What?! You mean there was a moment that you weren’t completely loving everything about me? You didn’t find me adorable in the midst of my severe hatred for that hill you had us bike up?
But before I could respond defensively out loud, I then realized with humor that yes, I was in fact acting pretty ridiculous in that moment of intense cardio. Matt was much more patient with me than I would have been if the tables were turned. All I could do was chuckle with him and say “Yep. Well thanks for choosing to be loving.”
A few days later I was thinking about this funny conversation and how true it is that as humans, we often have to choose to intentionally love someone in a moment that evokes feelings that are… not so loving. We are unable to be perfectly selfless and loving to others at all times, especially when their actions are not in our favor.
Because of this, we get used to feeling (often subconsciously) that to receive continuous love, we must earn it in some way. We think we must please, entertain, or work for love from friends, significant others, and sometimes family. This model comes from our humanity; we are self-centered by nature and fail to give others perfect, unconditional love, at all times.
But our human model of love does not reflect true love, because it’s just that: human.
We have a heavenly Father whose love for us is perfect. Unconditional. Unwavering. Not dependent on our performance. He gives it freely to all and we do nothing to deserve it.
Of course the Lord does not delight in our sin; it saddens him. But he does not withhold his love from his children – those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, even when they make mistakes.
I am thankful for a God who loves me despite my short comings. I never have to worry whether or not I am doing enough to earn his love and keep his love. I don’t have to impress the Lord by righteous acts, or by impeccable cardio endurance. All he wants is my heart, my soul, my life. And that is enough.
I am also thankful for a husband who models his love for me after Christ’s. I know he will continue to love me every time I am grumpy, unpleasant, rude, gassy, and difficult. He may not love it, but he will always love me J.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13