In a few days, it will be another Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air and red is everywhere.

Love is beautiful, romance can be ah-mazing, good relationships are priceless and as much as some try to deny it, being ‘baeless’ gets tiring after a while.

But as we move towards the weekend, I’m thinking about ‘love’ and the human expressions of this emotion. What does ‘love’ really mean? That’s a rhetorical question; I’m sure if I put that out, the plethora of responses will leave me more confused than I am already. But when we say ‘I love you’, what do we mean? Do we truly understand the depth of this force? Yeah force. That’s not a term usually associated with love but when you think about it, it is a strangely accurate description. I bet you can relate with the ‘crazy’ things love makes us do. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; this force was strong enough to pull the sinless son of God to earth, ending man’s separation from His creator.

Oh what love divine! Truer love you’ll never find!

Every time (well, most times) I think about it, I’m moved to contrast my expressions of love with that of my heavenly Father. Tall order I know, still I do it.

And every time, I’m reminded (not in a look-at-yourself-and-feel-bad-cos-you-don’t-measure-up kinda way though) just how much room I still have to grow in understanding and expressing love. Real love.

Today, I’m not even writing about the love-your-neighbour-as-yourself variety (if there’s any ‘variety’ in this, that is); my attention falls on the interactions and outplay of love between us and those closest to our hearts- yeah bae, boo, sweetheart, siblings, parents  or that oh so special, ride-or-die bestie. Even in those relationships, I don’t know about you, but my love could use some work. Some growth.

The human heart has an inherent defect- it is selfish. We may deny, mask or ignore it, but it’s in there somewhere- until we shine the light and pluck it out.

I think that’s one of the major battles- getting to the point of genuine selflessness. We’ve developed all kinds of internal mechanisms to shield our hearts from getting hurt; to keep us unbroken until we find the one worthy of the unveiling of our soul. We become experts at shooing off attention, deflecting attraction and stopping ourselves from exploring what may just turn out to be a blissful connection. 

Ironically, the same protective mechanisms can linger as barriers to deeper connections when we eventually meet those special people. We get so used fighting off what we don’t want, we now struggle to recognise our heart’s desire when it shows up. Staying closed, living in a state of disconnected connectedness, loving by rations and second-guessing motives become stubborn default settings that we fight to override.

Such is the human heart.

Every time (well, most times) I think about it, I’m moved to contrast my expressions of love with that of my heavenly Father. Tall order I know, still I do it. And I find myself asking questions.

Am I giving as well as I can to these ones I love just as He gave all for me? Am I waiting for her to change before I do or loving all the way and seeking new ways to be a better man? Am I sacrificing without taking mental notes and asking myself “would she do the same for me?”

Can we truly claim to love when we keep a running list (albeit secretly) of each other’s mistakes? That thing she said? What he didn’t do?

Is it true love when we ration our affection, dishing out just enough to keep the other person from feeling cheated?

Are we unconsciously (or even deliberately) scaling down our affection, ensuring we stay just a teeny tiny bit uneven on the love scale (they bring 51% and you toss in the other 49%. Close enough, right)?

As you may have guessed by now, I have no answers today; just musings.

So as another Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m finding a strong desire in my heart to love better than I’ve ever done. Not just because it’s Valentine’s day; but because I am convinced there’s a certain dimension of life and God that cannot be experienced any other way.

It’s scary; it will demand I do things I wouldn’t ordinarily want to do. Chances are that I may get hurt, taken for granted or misunderstood. I don’t know if I’ll take off in the air at once or crawl along, stumble and get back up for many days to come. I’ve never been through these parts before. Have you? It’s an extremely vulnerable place to be. But I pray with everything in me, that I will find the strength to walk the talk and for once in my life, taste the deep pleasures of living a life of selfless, fearless loving.

What about you? Ready for some fearless loving?

Live by Design.


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