Love and fairytales are themes that held a place in many of our childhoods. From watching Disney princesses and then entering our teen years watching chick flicks at sleepovers, we couldn’t (and didn’t want to) escape the love played out in these stories. The love presented on those bright screens gave me the impression that love was easy. It was a feeling that could enter your life when you were least expecting and envelope you in its spell.
I later learned that love is not simply a feeling we hold in our hearts. Love is not a spell that entangles itself into our lives. Love is not just butterflies we feel in our stomach after a first date. Love is not just a feeling of warmth and comfort. Love is so much more. Love is a choice — a sometimes tough and selfless choice — a choice we have to make each and every day.
I have been dating my best friend for two and a half years now. He is the sweetest, most selfless man I know. And, I love him. When I say I love him, I do not mean I wake up every day feeling an overflowing joy in my heart because I am dating him. I do not wake up with birds singing sweet songs over my head as I look at his picture my nightstand.
Let me be real and honest. Some days I wake up and already feel annoyed. Sometimes I just do not want any human contact that day. Other days I wake up and I’m in need of so much attention. Some days I wake up and don’t feel like putting the work in. Love is not an easy thing that makes life perfect. Love is something we have to work at and choose day in and day out.
I don’t always feel like picking up someone else’s crosses, agreeing to bear the weight of them each day. But I do because I love him, and I chose to continue loving him. I choose to do life with him. He chooses me every day, too.
That is how I know he loves me: not from the amount of gifts he gives me, the amount of cute text messages he sends, or the number of times he compliments me. I know he loves me in a deep way by the way he lays down his life for me by his actions. I know he loves me when he sacrifices for me. I know he loves me when his love mirrors Christ’s for me.
I feel Christ’s love for me as my boyfriend sacrifices his time (and energy) to walk me home at night, no matter how late it is, so he knows I am safe. I feel Christ’s love for me as my boyfriend takes time to pray for me even if his day is jam-packed. I feel Christ’s love for me as my boyfriend listens to my problems and strives to further understand what I am enduring even if that means setting aside his own struggles for the moment. I value his sacrifice. I value his love.
Love is not glamorous. The result is beautiful, but the process is not simple.
Look at the cross.
Jesus died for us, to save us. He suffered and sacrificed for us because he loved us so. That love is not Disney princess, chick flick-type of love. It is raw, authentic, hard, sacrificial, genuine love.
That type of love? We have to choose it, too.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was sweating blood. Blood. He felt so much stress over the knowledge that he would die on the cross that his body began to sweat blood. Still, Jesus chose to do it because of his immeasurable love for us.
The cross reminds us that love calls us to do hard things, but the salvation we receive from the cross shows us that it is all worth it.
Fruit grows from the hard tasks of love.
Some days are harder than others — to choose to set aside time to spend with Jesus. But we choose it, mirroring his sacrificial love for us.
Love is chosen. It is made true by actions.
Love God each and every day by choosing Him, each and every day.
-Hallie Ruth // @ruthhallie