Let’s have a chat about love, shall we? (PLEASE note this is for ALL- no matter your relationship statuses)
LOVE might just be the most sought after thing in the world. I haven’t studied it, so I can’t prove this theory, but it seems to be truth. As a consequence of this, ‘love’ gets all sorts of misconstrued, misused, confused, frustrating, etc… I think the reason why is because we forget the root of love.
YOU LOVE THOSE YOU SERVE.
so the opposite would also be true:
YOU DON’T FULLY LOVE THOSE YOU DON’T SERVE.
Does lip service work to acquire/keep true love? (Not talking about making out here- lol!) Would a person believe in your love if you were only saying it, and not giving of yourself to them?
So you’re not in love… chances are you’ve forgotten what it takes to be in love:
LOSING YOURSELF TO ANOTHER
Chances are SELFISHNESS/SELF CENTEREDNESS is the name of your game. Don’t like your current relationship situation? Serve and give of yourself. Stop obsessing about how you aren’t receiving love, and start thinking about how you can more selflessly give your love.
What have you fallen out of or not found love with? A spouse? A parent? A sibling? A friend? God? Religion? Parenting? Human race?
To fill your life with love- deep, abiding, unadulterated, pure, TRUE LOVE… SERVE MORE.
So what about those who are just hard to love? Answer that with another question: Do the toughest, hardest of hearts not need love? Does any person not benefit from love? So the real question is, can you be the person they need you to be? Do some soul searching and/or praying to figure out what role you can play for these people. They are in your life for a reason- don’t ignore it.
For those who claim the name of Christian, hear the words of President Taylor:
“God is our Father, we His children, and we all ought to be brethren; we ought to feel and act like brethren, and while we are striving to serve the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength, we ought, at the same time, to seek to love our neighbor as ourselves; we ought to feel interested in his welfare, happiness and prosperity, and in anything and everything that will tend to promote his temporal and eternal good.5
If we try to defraud our brother, how can we expect God to bless us in that, for he is a child of our Heavenly Father just as much as we are. And being his child he feels interested in his welfare, and if we try to take advantage to the injury of the Lord’s child; do you think he would be pleased with us? … We want to be just and generous to each other. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” This we are told is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, namely, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” [Mark 12:30–31.] Do we do this? If we did, then how pleasantly we could come before the Lord. …
… We should so live that our love for each other can increase all the time, and not diminish, and have charity in our bosoms so that we may bear with one another’s infirmities, feeling that we are the children of God seeking to carry out his word and will and law. And then treat everybody right.6
We ought to be full of charity, of brotherly kindness and affection and love one towards another and love towards all men. We ought to feel as our heavenly Father does.7
Seek one another’s welfare, as the scripture says: “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” [See Romans 12:10.] You say that is rather hard; well, but you had better do it. We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we can do this, and then prefer our neighbors to ourselves, and if there is a little advantage, put it on their side, we not only fulfil the law and the prophets, but the gospel. Let us cultivate the spirit of love and kindness, and let every little unpleasantness be buried.8
The religion that we have embraced, in its spiritual signification, brings us into communication one with another and helps us to love one another, and I wish there was a little more of that disposition among us, and that we loved one another a little better and studied one another’s interests a little more. I wish we could sympathize with our brethren, and be full of loving kindness and generosity one towards another.
I wish that we could feel that brotherly love continued, and that it was spreading and increasing, flowing, from the fountain of life—from God, from heart to heart as oil is poured from vessel to vessel, that harmony, sympathy, kindness and love might be universal among us. This is what the gospel will do for us if we will only let it.9“
What about those who you love, but they don’t love you back? To answer this question let’s take counsel from our Savior (who loves us all perfectly by serving us and by giving of his very life to us):
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Basically- it’s easy for people to love those who love them, but He is asking for something much greater- Love everybody, even the meanest, roughest, hardest one. This isn’t just a call to be better! This isn’t just another commandment! It’s a clue to learn what He knows, to have what He has: The more you love, even and especially those who aren’t as easy to love, the greater your reward. Your reward is joy. “Men are that they might have joy”- remember?
I just barely witnessed a beautiful example of what to do in this situation by a woman who truly strives to *live as she has been taught (*see this post to read up on how to better do this yourself). This sweet woman has been through a rough time for a while now that’s still going on. She had every opportunity to complain about it to a small group of women but instead, she smiled, carried herself well, and didn’t lead on at all that her current situation is very difficult. When I offered for the left over food be taken home by the guests, to my astonishment, she even left with a plate of food for the very person who has ripped her world apart, mentioning that it was a favorite and would probably make this person happy. That’s what it looks like to have God with you, folks. Love radiates from you. Pure, unselfish love. Love that carries this woman high enough to help satisfy her hurt enough that she had no desire to complain to get the (deserving) sympathy of others. Love that carries this woman past her own emotional wounds to serve the very person who has put them there in the first place. Thinking not of herself and the yummy leftover lunch she could have, but of the chance to do something kind to somebody who isn’t returning the love. When she left, she left an impression on me. The others who witnessed this did not know what an amazing thing they were witnessing because she came and left without being negative or self-centered, and let her love be what shone through. Nobody would have guessed there was anything but love in her life, because she chooses to love.
Love is everywhere where selfishness and dislike aren’t, even when dislike and selfishness could be ‘justified’.
If you don’t feel the love in your life, analyze where you are focused. If it’s on yourself (in the attitude of poor me who isn’t being loved) or on the faults/shortcomings of others then it’s time for YOU to change. True love cannot return until you do.
Adding my own personal experience & testimony to this, I’ve had many times where I’ve found myself not in love. Not in love with my spouse, not in love with a family member, doubted my love for and from the Savior and my religion, not in love with myself… During those times I had many reasons to point that blame at others. I sought attention and love in many selfish ways and surprise, it didn’t provide lasting results that would satisfy my deepest needs and desires. Learning to love those who weren’t reciprocating, learning to love those who were hard and rude, happened by realizing that the only way to get the love I wanted back into my life was to forget about myself and start serving again. When I stop focusing on what they/this person isn’t doing to serve me, and instead think of what I can do to serve them, as time passes feelings of love return in my heart towards them. Feeling loving feelings for others is the only way to satisfy the search for true love. I have genuinely learned this to be true:
You can hold somebody’s true love for you in your hands and yet not feel like you have true love in your life, by not feeling the same about them.
I know that when life gets tough, and when the love runs thin, God is always there, truly loving us all. If we don’t feel His love, it’s because we aren’t focused on loving (serving) Him. He can buoy us up to deal with love and all the confusion, frustration, heart break, and fullest joy that can come with it.
It just really works. I testify of it. Fall in love, and continue in love.
Watch this YouTube music video of a powerful song by Chris Medina, who probably feels more love in his life than most of us who have a spouse that can serve us back.