Are you searching for love?
I am not “in love” at the moment, and despite my youthful, early-twenties status, I have felt pressure and applied that pressure heavily to my heart, whispering to myself, “Just fall in love already!” As one might imagine, it’s not working. For whatever reason, it is not time for me to commit my life to another person, and that’s not the unfortunate part; my only misfortune is that I allow myself to feel guilty and ashamed of this fact; I feel ashamed that I allow myself to feel inadequate or that I have not found my person while searching for love. I often feel like I’m dragging behind due to my personal faults, and this causes me to try to desperately and cautiously control love in my life. Anyone who has tried a similar approach knows how fruitless human efforts are in manipulating love.
Recently, a friend shared a prayer called “Fall in Love” with me by Pedro Arrupe, a Spanish Jesuit priest, who has inspired me to relinquish my control. Here are his words:
“Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.”
Arrupe reminds me that love is an experiential journey—like an epic story. It begins with the One who loves. This priest’s profound response of love for God is palpable in his poetic form. The prayer flows in layers, down as what sounds like cascades of graceful gratitude. Underlining each word throughout is Arrupe’s act of receiving love. His Love found him; his Love caused him to fall and he has no intention of getting back up again. He is joyfully captive to a love he did not force upon his life. What peace!
God asks His relationship to come first; He sustains us with love then asks us to share it.
He inspires me to look to God as the author of love and to frame “falling in love” in all contexts as a letting-go process, rather than a taking-on process. Love can’t be gained because I try harder for it; it can only be claimed.
Here are a few tips on claiming your own “falling in love” journey with God, instead of searching for love elsewhere:
1. Be Yourself
Photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock.com
God is familiar with every facet, every engraving of you. He is unafraid of who you are. Take time to sit with your Creator who is with you, wherever you go, no matter who you believe you’ve become.
Scripture for Meditation: “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).’”
2. Sit in His Presence
When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).” This is one lofty commandment, so it’s such good news to know that He can handle who we are when we do not love Him well. In developing a loving relationship with God, hold in your mind that He loves you first. Take time to listen to Him without competing thoughts. It is good to let your soul rest in a quiet place where you may allow yourself to simply be. Let go of all pressure to be perfect at loving; intentionally letting Him love you in these times. He helps us love, when we spend more time with Him. This is, essentially, an appointment with Love itself.
Scripture for Meditation: “’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-38).'”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).”
3. Share Love
Photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock.com
The second portion of Jesus’ greatest commandment is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. This is quite a scandalous commandment. It pushes us to love those around us, and it includes no exemptions. Loving God comes first, which is such sweet solace for the human mind, body and soul. God asks His relationship to come first; He sustains us with love then asks us to share it. Simply ask yourself who in your life could benefit from the spring of life that you experience when you remember your Creator loves you. Then go share it with them, and do not be afraid. It will decide everything.
Scripture for Meditation: “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:39).
“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin'” (John 8:1-11).
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