First off, Happy Valentines Day! Some people either really love this holiday, while others really hate on it. Personally, I think it’s a really special day! And not just for couples, but for everybody who is capable of expressing love. And I know I’ve said this before, I am a TRUE sap. So I’m here for all the couple pics, dates, flowers, galentines, chocolate, and sappy IG posts. Listen, I may be single, but I ain’t no hater. Okurrr
I think the most important part of this day is remembering the things in life that are most important: God, family, friends, significant others, and all people in general, even strangers. This day reminds us to stop and take a moment to express love to others. And oftentimes, we get so caught up in the daily “grind”, that we forget about the major things in life. Money, success, careers, material things, these things that can be important, but aren’t everlasting, so I’ll call these things our “minors” in life. Because at the end of the day, what us humans really want is to love and be loved. And unfortunately, we spend a lot of time looking for that fulfillment in our “minors”, and they never truly give us happiness. So we must make our “major” in life, LOVE. And just like any college major we must: study it and practice it, so we can be tested on it and PASS. We may not pass every time, but our daily improvements will yield results that can not only change our lives, but the world!
In order to best express love, we must first understand what love is. And in order to best understand, we have to do some studying. True love is most represented in a few ways: God’s love for us, our love for God, our love for ourselves, and our love for others. Right? Seems pretty simple, love God, love yourself, and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). But let’s breakdown where love came from. Before anything in the world was, God WAS. And God is LOVE. His grace, His sacrifice, His blessings, His creations, all represent love. But it doesn’t stop there, God loved us so much that He created us in HIS image. Which means He created us to love just like he does. God is love and we are love. We were created to let God’s love pour over us, so that we can pour onto others. And the same love God shows us, is the same love that can bring people together, end wars, cure diseases, and save a person’s life. Love is what makes the world a better place. We ALL were created to love.
So now that we have a better understanding of what love is, it’s time to put to practice all the things that we’ve been studying. Okay, so how do we do that? How can we best represent what God created us to do? How can we offer up love to others DAILY? Well the answers are quite simple to understand, but much more difficult to practice. We know how to show love towards others, sometimes we just choose feelings, anger, or hurt over love. And that’s okay, we all do it. However, in order to live a life that represents love, we have to be honest about our struggles. What are our “conditions” to loving others? What are our “breaking points?” What types of people do we feel don’t deserve love? Once we answer these questions, we can begin to see how these things affect our ability to not just love others, but to even love ourselves. Because the truth is, how we treat others, is only a reflection of how we see and treat ourselves. So below I’ve listed a FEW ways that we can start practicing love in our daily lives:
Patience, Grace, Kindness, Understanding, Honesty, Forgiveness, Quality Time, Selflessness, Humility, Empathy...
And remember there is an order to this practice! You must start by:
#1- Recognizing that God has given us all of these things FIRST
#2- Start treating YOURSELF in all the above ways
#3 Then extend all of these different types of loves to OTHERS
Okay now here’s where the challenge presents itself. You probably read that list above thinking about how you were going to be more *insert one of the above here *, to your loved ones. But through our brief study of what love is, we learned that God LOVED us so much. And not just some of us, but ALL of us. He knows all of us intricately, He sees our struggles, He knows our mistakes, He knows our intentions, and He still loves us. And God wants us to offer that same love to others. And not just to those who love us back, but to those who hurt us, disappoint us, curse us, and dislike us. I know it’s a hard concept to grasp, it completely goes against our “justice” and “revenge” seeking world. BUT, God knows that when we hold on to unforgiveness, hurt, anger, gossip, and negativity, that it only hurts us in the end. And everybody has their thing, I struggle with gossip quite often. For you, it may be forgiving a family member or being more patient while driving. Whatever it may be, challenge yourself to love. And know that you WILL be tested, this is not an overnight change. But ask God to show you how to best represent love to not just those you love, but to strangers, haters, and manipulators (I couldn’t resist the rhyme LOL).
So on a day like this AND everyday after, remember to make your major in life, LOVE. And not only to those who love you back, but to everybody. Spread patience, kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. I truly believe that when our love is rooted in God, we can begin to truly love ourselves, and then as a result, we can love others. There can be no limit to our love when we are connected to the source of love, God! So challenge yourself to be a light of love to EVERY person you come into contact with. Not just today, but every single day.