For the vast majority of my life, I obtained a highly dysfunctional relationship with this “thing,” called love.

It was as if one day love would be perpetual in every dimension of the day’s journey, thus plunging itself into the bottomless ocean of my soul, leaving me not only enthralled, but undone by its good works. Yet other days, love would not just abandon me in my time of desperation and affliction, but would turn into a morphed figurine of rejection and hatred causing me to question the previous “good works,” and suggesting that in actuality it didn’t even exist. I began to believe that love was just a figment of my own idealistic imagination that decided to find its dwelling in my heart, mind and soul.

After years and years of wrestling with these ideas, I decided to ask God about love. Was it real? If so, what were its characteristics? In this season, I learned quite a few things about myself and about love that changed everything about my life from that day on: There is love for the unlovely.

As a young girl, I grew up feeling as if I was unable to be loved. As a victim of sexual and emotional abuse, I talked myself into believing that as a result of those things happening to me, I was exempt from experiencing love in its fullness. I talked myself into believing that because of my scars and the unlovely view I had of myself, the only way I could experience love was if I had something to offer the person I was longing to be loved by. Not true.

It was actually a story in the Bible that changed my entire view; one where Jesus loved the unlovely. In the scriptures, there is a story of a woman caught in adultery, laying on the ground, head bowed, waiting to be stoned by accusers (for this was what happened in this time period if you were caught in this act). In this moment, Jesus asks the crowd, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And one by one, the crowd went away. Jesus showed her grace. In that moment, He presented grace that came from a place of abounding and steadfast love in His heart for those who seemed unlovely in the eyes of men.

Love goes deeper than the way that I feel. If I’ve learned nothing else in life, I’ve learned that human emotions are nothing more than fickle. They change by the hour, for a woman they could vary by the second. I spent so much time allowing my feelings to dictate whether or not I should receive love from those around me. From that place, I even began loving others based on whether or not I felt like it—or when people would say, “I love you,” to me I wouldn’t accept it because I never really felt the emotion of it in my heart.

But now I know this to be true: love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. When we choose to love past our emotions, we choose to walk in the fullness of life we were intended for. Love is deep. Love plunges past our insecurities, depression, and fear, and it anchors itself within our souls when we allow it to penetrate our lives.

Break the vows in your life that forsake love.

I never knew that my words had so much power. Growing up, I came into agreement with so many things that exalted themselves over love. I didn’t realize it, but my little comments such as “I’ll never love or trust anyone again,” or “I don’t believe in love,” played a major role in how I perceived love and accepted it. The truth is, I said all of these things and in my mind I agreed with all of these things, but in my heart I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be held by someone who had my best interest in mind. I wanted to have that experience of being unconditionally loved by those around me, and I wanted a love I could hold unto forever.

So, I began breaking those vows in my life and declaring love in those places of resistance. The vows that had once forsaken love brought me more freedom than I could have ever dreamed of—and that freedom is available to you also. Love never fails, and it’s not just some figment of your imagination that you’re trying to understand, it’s real. Love is for all of us to have and to hold.

 

Photo Credit: theglitterguide.tumblr.com