I am once again sitting in one of my favorite writing spots, The Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf in Burgos Circle, which has been the venue from which I’ve written many many of my posts. While I prefer being locked-up in my apartment working on work or on my variety of interests, it’s nice to enjoy a change of scenery and a more comfortable seat since I gave away my sofa set.
As I announced, here is my Valentines post very creatively entitled, Thoughts On Love On the Eve of Valentines. I just want to be upfront and say that when I share my “thoughts” these are not the thoughts of an expert, of a sage, or a wise man. They’re actually the opposite. They’re the realizations and pondering of someone who doesn’t know, who is asking and asking, who is searching and searching, digging deeper and deeper, and learning a little bit more with mistake after mistake.
I say this because I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to present perfection but a journey. I can be wrong. I have been wrong, many times. And these thoughts are being developed. My opinions, ideas, and convictions are personal but I share them to encourage you to assess your own.
If you find after searching your heart, you agree with me, then wonderful. If not, I hope you came upon your convictions deliberately.
As I share tonight’s thoughts on love, feel free to agree or disagree, critique, rebut, and correct.
Like I said, I’m no expert. If I was, I would probably have a date tomorrow night, and for the rest of my life.
Here we go.
1. Love is Real. Don’t Ignore It.
I remember the first girl I ever liked, the first girl who made my heart beat a little faster. Actually, a lot faster. I was too young to understand what was happening. I don’t think adults understand it either, what more high school me. But when I would be taking notes in class somehow the lines formed her face and I started looking forward to seeing a female – me, looking forward to see a female!
Looking back, I wish I knew what to do with those feelings. The only solution I knew, the solution I was taught, was suppress it. Love is real. So to tell people to ignore it, to downplay it, or to suppress it is counter productive. I would try my best to ignore it, then go ahead with it, and realize things weren’t working out, which was, by then, too late to end happily. Instead, I’ve learned now, after too many failed occasions, to take feelings of love to God. To seek Him first. To be filled by Him first before acting.
People ask me how I came up with my series This Is Who You Are or David On Relationships, and it’s exactly as I described above. My heart was venturing into strange territory but this time I was doing something I should have done in all my relationships, taking them to God. Obviously, I can’t say I’ve been successful in this area, but I can see how God has refined me and has captured my heart for Him.
In other words, I have learned to pray my feelings out, to say, “Father, this lady is becoming more and more beautiful to me. What do You think?” and read the Bible for what it has to say on the topic.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to get your heart broken. It’s worse to miss the love of your life by either being careless with such a special thing (which I talk about in the next point) or suppressing things out of fear.
How are we going to know what to do then?
Like I said, take it to God – and wait on Him – then decide – then act on your decision.
2. Love is Special So Take Great Care
For something so amazing, so desirable, love is treated so cheaply, it is taken for granted, and so easily disposed. We treat our things, temporary, less valuable things, with better care than our hearts.Then we wonder why this “love” didn’t work.
Well we didn’t take care of it. When you don’t take care of things they break down, they get lost, they die. Care-less simply means we approached it with less care, less attention, less protection, less appreciation.
Love is the same. Treat it special – because it is – and watch it become something special for you. Cultivate it, watch its flowers bloom, smell its fragrance, enjoy its fruit.
But take care of it. Take care of your heart, your ability to give and receive love.
3. Love is Scary So Be Brave
I’ve had to speak in front of crowds, retrench people, and face creditors. I’ve nearly lost businesses, property, and reputation. I’ve had life-threatening incidents including a total wreck and a suicide bomber in Afghanistan of all things. Fearful events are a part of life for everyone. But of the many fearful things I’ve had to face, this idea of being completely hostage to someone else scares me incredibly.
When I look back at my past, admittedly short relationships on average, as things progressed, as the investment increased, the risk increased, and with it the fear.
Fear is always a killer. It doesn’t always look like ugly cowardly fear. Sometimes it looks like unforgiveness – when we don’t want to forgive because it may just happen again. Sometimes it looks like entitlement – when we want to hold back for ourselves just in case our partner disappoints. Sometimes it looks like pride – when we think we’re better off on our own.
Whatever it is, fear and love are like oil and water. If you want to hold on to your fears you’ll end up with your fears. If you want love, you have to be brave.
Obviously, I am currently a coward.
But only until she changes things.
4. Love is Worth It So Love Wholeheartedly
My dad always told me, “If you’re going to do something, do it as best you can.” In other words, do things wholeheartedly. Let me tell you what “wholehearted” is:
– It doesn’t play safe. Wholehearted plays to win and only to win.
– It doesn’t hedge. Wholehearted is all-in.
– It isn’t accidental or circumstantial. Wholehearted is deliberate, it is passionate, it is complete.
– It doesn’t have a Plan B. Wholehearted has one plan, and that plan is to love this person.
Everything I have approached half-heartedly just caused me problems. Everything I approached whole-heartedly, though they have not always panned out as planned, I walked away with dignity.
Besides, I would never want someone with half an ass, what more half a heart?
I need to be prepared to pay with my whole heart.
The last two points are the ones that mean the most to me. I haven’t always been this way. I haven’t always felt this way towards God. In fact, this love for Him is a recent development – a development that started as I encountered challenges in my life that my abilities, that religion, that even my closest relationships could not address.
I needed something greater. I needed something more fulfilling. I needed someone, someone amazing, and not just anyone would do. I know now that who I needed was God.
So, as I write these last two points, I write them with the hope that you will find the Lover I found, and enjoy your most amazing Valentines yet.
5. God Loves You So Embrace Him
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– Romans 5:8
A few weeks ago, I was asked in an interview, “What Bible verse reflects most your approach to philanthropy and community work?”
Instantly, the words “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” popped into my head. And it’s true. Every time I think of what God has saved me from, the consequences He has spared me of, the situations He has rescued me from, I can’t help but humbled, convicted, and most grateful that God loves me so much.
People ask me, “What inspires your poems?” The answer is: beauty. But what used to be mostly beautiful scenes, beautiful moments, and beautiful faces, is now dominated by the beautiful miracle of walking daily with the divine.
But I could have missed this love. How does one miss love so freely offered?
By rejecting the offer of course. By rejecting His loving embrace.
Why would anyone reject such wonderful love?
As I’ve said in previous posts: pride and fear. I was proud to believe I could live without this love. I was fearful to think that I might lose this love. So I embraced other things, things I thought were more concrete, more achievable. Of course I was disappointed.
Yet, the invitation stood, the offer was still there. Like the Prodigal, I made my way back without expectations, just the humble admission that I needed His love. Like the Father in the story, who had been waiting, expecting, He came running to meet me, calling His angels to prepare my tomorrow, His son was home in His embrace.
6. God Is Love So Pursue Him
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
– 1 John 4:8
Anyone who knows me, especially those unfortunate enough to have gone out with me, know that me talking about love is like Barney talking about Khartoum.”David, that’s ridiculous.”
That’s my point. It is ridiculous.
But so is promising your life to someone, so is getting an electric shock when a certain person holds your hand when we shake hands with so many people, so is driving miles to sit across someone and smile at them while pretending to be more interesting than we really are.
Love makes us ridiculous.
Yet deep down inside us, something tells us that this idea of love is worth losing ourselves for. This is probably why it’s so easy to fall for poor imitations. Something in us makes us recognise that love is the most beautiful of pursuits.
If love is the most beautiful of pursuits, and God is love, then God is the most beautiful to pursue.
To pursue means to seek, to look for, to chase. To pursue God means to seek Him each day. It means to look for Him in every situation, hoping to find Him. It means to chase His standards even if they’re high because we want to be where He is.
The best news is in an assurance of satisfaction, that as we pursue this most beautiful God, we will find Him who we seek. He has promised: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13.
Happy Valentines Everyone!