Sunday, April 20, 2014

If You Long For Love

Sometimes I have wondered what it would be like to have someone love me like in the movies. You know that pursuing, unconditional, spontaneous, lasting kind of love? It probably sounds cheesy, but I think every girl longs for that somewhere deep inside them. It's just part of who we are.

So often, we are willing to do anything for love. Whether that means moving somewhere to widen our horizons, putting aside our integrity, rushing through life, deceiving our families, and even deceiving ourselves. We design ideal scenarios in our heads, we daydream of perfect fantasies, we wish that our lives were fairytales.

The longing is so inherent. So persistent. So consuming.

I used to think I deserved to be loved. As if I had an entitlement to it. I longed to feel cherished and protected, and I convinced myself I was worthless when I didn't feel that way. I based my worth on my feelings. On the way other people viewed me. On imperfect reasoning and flawed judgement.

Why does it even matter what other people think? Their opinions don't define love.

Love is not a reward for meeting a standard.

Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my friends who had come to church with me for the first time. She was talking to me and another one of our friends about how she's really thankful for our friendships. I forget her exact words, but they were something along the lines of "I'm thankful that I have friends who love me. I mean it's not like we would ever die for each other or anything, but I'm still thankful."

"It's not like we would ever die for each other." 

In all the movies you have ever watched, all those feel-good comedies and happy-ending dramas, think of all the times that someone has sacrificed their life for someone. Or even just sacrificed something.

Jack lets Rose have the raft so she won't freeze.
Peter Parker risks his life to save Mary Jane.
Rapunzel gives up her freedom so Flynn can be healed.
Then Flynn gives up his life so Rapunzel can be free.
Noah sacrifices his time so he can read to Allie.
Captain von Trapp gives up everything so his family can be safe.
Tim gives up his dad so he can be with his wife and children.
Olaf is willing to melt for Anna.
Anna dies so Elsa can live.

Sacrifice is everywhere.

And this isn't an original Hollywood idea. It's definitely not from such a self-centred world where everything is about self-improvement and personal wealth and materialistic happiness. Tiffany rings and dinners at Baton Rouge. Crimson roses and heart-shaped chocolates.

Does this world even know what love is?

"It's not like we would ever die for each other." 

It's so fitting that my friend chose those words. As if somewhere deep inside, her heart was longing for that exact thing.

To die for someone. To sacrifice yourself. Now this is love. 

How heartbreaking is it that so many of us don't know what love really means? That we don't know how to satisfy the love that we long for? We try to fill the gaps with sweet words and emotional highs. Even with families and children and the busyness of work. We think that accomplishments will fill our need for love. We want to have a purpose. We want to know we're important to the world.

This is real love - not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 

This is the absolute greatest love story ever told. This is the love story that we all long for. That we were designed for.

We want someone to love us this way. To give up everything. To go to the ends of the earth for us. To love us no matter how imperfect we are. To go through agony and pain just so that we don't have to. To give us a reason to live. To die for us.

Usually we celebrate love on Valentine's Day. But there is so much love wrapped up in Easter and Christmas, and every other day for that matter.

Someone loved you with so much powerful love that He died for you. He took the weight of the world upon Himself so that you wouldn't have to (John 19:17). He paid the price in full (John 19:30). He didn't have to do it. We are completely imperfect and completely saturated with sin. We don't deserve to be loved and we have no entitlement to it. But He chose to die for us. He wanted to.

This is why love is not a reward for measuring up.

This is why we have purpose.

The reality of love says that you are worth dying for - no matter what you have done or what you will do. The reality of love is the reason you are alive right now. You are deeply treasured and gently cherished.

This where our passions should grow from. Not from fairytale day dreams, but from real love. He is love. And He is so much greater than anything else.

You are being pursued by the one and only God who gave up everything and died for you.

And as for your wish for a perfect love story?

It has already come true.


Katie Cottrell Photography

Agape: selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love that only comes from God.