I have so far to go in learning to love unselfishly.
I am finding that the more I go on with God, the more I realize that the less I know.
Especially about love.
God’s kind of love is so very different than the world’s kind of love.
The world says to protect your rights. Insist on your rights.
God says we should prefer one another in love. I want so much to learn how to do that more.
I have dear friends who are happily married and have been for a long, long time. They rarely fight. They still hold hands a lot. They still can’t wait to be together. She told me once that it’s because fights start because one person insists on having things their way. We’re supposed to do the opposite. We’re supposed to prefer one another in love. To try to bless the other person.
Real love wants the best for someone else and is willing to sacrifice for that person.
I wish I was at that point. I really want to be. I am learning.
I feel like I’m on a high dive walking to the edge. Below is a pool so deep you can’t even see the bottom. That’s real love. Unconditional love. Deep, deep love.
But the distance between the edge of the diving board and the leap of faith off the diving board into the deep waters below takes real courage.
And more than a little bit of daring.
It reminds me of when a bunch of friends and I were at a lake with really high cliffs. Some brave ~and yes, maybe crazy~ souls started jumping off the cliff into the inviting lake waters below. Others walked backward, afraid to even try. Afraid to even walk to the cliff’s edge and look down. Too afraid to even see what they were missing.
I love the water. I love to swim. I’m a really strong swimmer so I’m not afraid of the water. But I was afraid of jumping off that cliff. At first.
Still, I walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down. My friends who had decided to literally take the plunge were laughing and giddy with joy and splashing in the deep water. They kept encouraging me to try it and see how exciting it could be.
Finally, at a certain point, my desire to dive in and see for myself how fun it really was and my desire to be swimming in the deep waters of the lake overcame my fear.
I was still afraid. But my desire to take that leap of faith and experience the joy became greater than the fear.
So I walked to the water’s edge, looked down below at the water, looked at where the rocks in the cliff were so I could dive away from the danger ~~ and then I did it.
I walked. I looked. And I jumped. I wanted to be in the deep waters. I wanted to swim with my friends. I wanted to experience all the joy I could. I didn’t want to miss it or wonder what could have been.
So I jumped off the cliff and dove into the water. I went down, down, down into the deep water and slowly surfaced. With a big grin from ear to ear. Laughing out loud. Delirious with pure joy.
I think of love that way.
Real love can seem scary to some people or too deep for some to even look into. It’s even scarier if you’ve learned the dangers the hard way. Most of us have bruised ourselves a bit along the rockier cliff sides of love.
But at some point in your life, you have to decide if you want to take the plunge. You have to decide if you want the love more than the fear. You have to decide if you’re ready to face the deep waters of love even with the risk involved.
And then you realize what joy awaits you if you choose love. Until finally you find yourself at the edge of the cliff, looking truthfully at what you have to do to dive deep into love’s waters and finding that your desire for love is far greater than any fear. And far more inviting.
I have to believe that real love is worth the risk. I have to believe learning to really love the way God intends us to love is worth walking away from the fear and leaping in faith deep, deep, deep until you’re surrounded by love. Unconditional love. Amazing love.
I’m still scared. But I’m about to leap headfirst and heartfirst. What waits for me looks worth the risk. What waits for me looks like real love. What waits for me looks like pure joy.
Extravagant love. Unrestrained joy. Delirious joy.
So now I’m diving deep into love with reckless abandon. Singing with all of my heart. Dancing for joy.
Taking the first step. I’m trusting you, God.
I want the love more than I want the fear. And that’s where I feel You most, God. Where Your perfect love casts out all fear.