Can’t Buy Me Love

Written by: Rhonda Sue Page

So have you picked your Valentine yet?  Have you bought their gift(s) too?

Hop to it people………..these things need to be locked down by now.  You last minute Lauras/Larrys drive me nuts.   Oh, and BTW ……….flowers from Kroger’s don’t cut it boys!  We girls see the “sell by” date still on the wrapper……along with the price tag………and it kills it….JUST KILLS IT!

No, it shouldn’t matter…..but it seems to.

See, the problem is……….They’ve gone and made an actual DAY for the expression of love……….and life doesn’t play along.

Whether you are girl or a guy, you just want to be thought of/planned for/paid attention to.  What you don’t want is to be the last box checked on a list of “to-do’s”, at the end of a long day, on the way home from work.

But until they get those Amazon drones up and running……….this remains a problem for the majority of busy, well-meaning people who really love those they are in relationship with but lack time to prove it.

This year I got out in front of it though.  I got my Valentine something he’ll love.  I even spent extra to get it here on time.

When *SURPRISE!* – He calls to tell me he’s hopping on a plane tonight and won’t be here for Valentine’s Day.

Sigh*  It just proves my point.  All this has less to do with actual love than it does with expectation.

It’s not his fault.  He’s been called away a lot lately and he really does try to manage his schedule well.  Me managing my expectations is another thing entirely.

We started a new bible study in our mid-week children’s class.  It was on love in all it’s various forms.  AGAPE being a God-type love, PHILEO being a mutual sharing and friendship love, and EROS, the romantic kind (5th grade boys call this the “smoochy-smoochy stuff”…………just wanted you to be in-the-know on that).

It occurred to me as we worked our way to through 1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter……that maybe these distinctions aren’t helping so much as hurting us.  At the end of the day, is there really any other kind of love than God’s?

I believe these distinctions were meant to guide us to the healthy boundaries of love………Each one having different levels of intimacy.  Different emotions will be tied to these various relationships, but it’s important to remember that emotion is not required to show love.  Sex is not required to show love.  Sadly, this is not how most people perceive it. We’ve long since tied our feelings to our actions or the lack thereof.

Don’t believe me?

Just ask that 15 year old girl, who’s grown up on Disney princesses and Victoria’s Secret fashion shows what she thinks love looks like.  Or worse… she thinks she has to look to be loved.

We try to make these distinctions I think in part to stay in line with what’s appropriate……especially as Christians trying to live by God’s word.  But we confuse love so often with emotions and feelings – that we never  get around to requiring ourselves to see it as God defines it.

 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].           

1Corinthians 13:4-7

I know…….that’s a lot to take in.  It may even seem a bit intimidating given that we fall short on a daily basis.  But keep in mind that God has set the standard and defined it in order to help us……..not discourage us.

Remember that we are to use The Word as a mirror to help us grow and let us know when we are on the right track.

When I view my relationships through this lens…….any of my relationships……then and only then am I beginning to understand that to truly LOVE has less to do with me (how I look or feel or what I think I need to be happy) than it has to do with the other person.  (A “What can I do to make your day better?” attitude)

This is in stark contrast to a world that reassures us daily that it’s “ALL ABOUT YOU” and how we feel and what we should expect.

If we are to fight this mentality as Christians…….it will have to be “on purpose”.  This attitude won’t just fall us.  And honestly, showing love isn’t a one-day event…we all know that.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your child, your best friend or your annoying neighbor…….truly loving them is a “grace” thing we walk out every moment of our lives.  We are really loved by God so that we have real love to give.

Bottom line:  Buying a new iPad Air for your Valentine only says “I love you” when you can hand it over a day early, expecting nothing in return……then turn to God to fill the void and help you deal with the disappointment so that resentment doesn’t build.

Love lets people off the hook.

God met me in that place and helped me do just that.  Normally I’d have drowned my self-pity in a velvet-covered heart shaped box bought half-price at some sad CVS.  Thank God He’s teaching me that trusting Him has much better consequences……….and won’t go to my hips.

Happy Valentine’s Day!