Dear Diary: Musings on Love from Last Year
Recently, I acquired my own bedroom in the house that I am living in. Yay! As a result, I have been going through boxes and papers and miscellaneous items, trying to figure out which things I can keep and which things I can part ways with.
In my sorting, I came across an old pad of paper upon which I had written "Love vs. Fear." The words that followed minister to me today a year and change later.
"We know how much God loves us and we put our trust in His love. God is love and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect" (John 4:16-17) . My deep desire is to experience love in this lifetime that would be rooted and centered in Jesus. When you love another person, you are giving yourself to someone with flaws. Someone who will let you down. When you make God's love the center of your relationship, you are putting your faith and your effort into something you can trust. As we live, move and breathe in His love, making Him the center of everything, we grow more perfect in love for each other.
When your focus is His love, it leaves little room for fear. His love must be your all consuming focus. It must seep into and permeate every area of your life. The scope of God's love, the vastness of His power is far too great to fit into anyone compartment of your life. Try to confine Him to one area of your heart and you will experience great discomfort. He wants all of you!
I want this principle to guide my relationship with the man that I will eventually give my heart to.
I have several fears about relationships. I have a fear of not being understood. I want to spend my life sharing the heart of God with others...my family, friends, children, and the young people I serve in ministry. I was wired for it. Because of this I make alot of sacrifices. I sacrifice my time and my finances to be a part of reaching a broken generation. It's an adventure that Iong to share with a partner. But I need a man to understand that its an adventure that comes at a cost.
Teenagers are looking for hope, for something to believe in, for someone to believe in them. They need us to put hands and feet to the message of the gospel. More than hearing about God's love, they need it modeled for them. For this reason, they are always watching us, their leaders. They want to know if the Gospel message is as important to us as we claim it is. I make my decisions with the constant awareness that I am a role model to a generation. You won't find me going to bars or going out for happy hour, because I know it would be more harmful than it would be beneficial to the young people I am invested in. I can't be careless with my body or get physical in a dating relationship because it would mar my example.
I think about the young people in my life who have parents that have demonstrated that the bottle takes priority over them, whose mothers give their hearts and bodys to men who will never value them the way they deserve. If I were to take to drinking recreationally and begin to compromise in the area of physical purity, I would lose any authority I have to speak into their lives. That is something I can't risk and I need my man to understand that.
I fear compromise. I need my man to understand my values and my relationship with Jesus...and have one of His own. As a couple, I want to encourage each other to change for the better and to grow in love with Jesus. I have seen too many relationships where girls and guys have been persuaded to compromise deeply held convictions for the sake of "love" and "passion."
I need to be fought for and I need to be pursued. I need to know I'm beautiful and that I'm worth it. But before you pursue me, I need for you to have already made Jesus your number one relentless pursuit.
Looking back on this a year later, these are still my convictions when it comes to relationships. I would only add one thing:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...(1 John 4:18)