I've been thinking about Love recently. Not the sappy "aww you're adorable I love you" kind of love. But, true Love. What does that mean to me? How do I feel loved? How do I show love? How does all of that relate to Jesus?...
Well, first the easiest way to go about this is to talk about the 5 Love languages. I'll explain them first.
Words of Affirmation, these are the words you say to encourage someone "You're doing a fantastic job with..."
Quality Time, this isn't just being around someone... but actually connecting and talking with them. Focusing on them and what they are talking about, thinking about, and sometimes just intentionally going out of your way to spend time with them... NOT just simply being in the same room as them.
Receiving Gifts, this is kinda obvious.. but this doesn't mean huge fancy gifts.. simple small ones can do the trick too.
Acts of Service, this means doing things for them, dishes, cleaning, running errands.. basically anything that would lighten their load, and requires a physical effort on your part. But, it can be specific for each person..
Physical Touch, this one is obvious what it is.. but it's not just about snuggling or accidental touch. It's intentional and sometimes playful touch that can mean more than you realize.
Everyone usually has at least a small part of each of these.. but, usually have 2 main ones. For me, my main one is touch, and my second is quality time. It's no surprise if you know me either haha :) I hug all the time, high-five (for those less comfortable with hugs), or pat someone on the shoulder to encourage them without making them feel awkward. Or.. I'll sit and cherish the time that I get to have with a friend, I love the meaningful conversation, especially if we connected and more trust was established.
But, obviously just because I feel love a certain way, doesn't mean everyone does (which is sad haha), so I've sorta trained myself to do different things to/for people to see how they respond, so I can learn what their love language is.. Sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what it is right away, and sometimes it's such a modge podge of things, that I just have a general idea, and continue to do things in that general area. I mean think about it.. How selfish would I be if I insisted on only showing love the way that I liked to?
I've had friends laugh at me because of the things I do to show someone I care. But, I truly desire to make those around me feel cared for.. important.. special.. Whatever. I have also realized, it's important to try very hard to make sure I'm doing it with no string attached because that's not true Love. Often times, it's SO easy to show someone in a practical way you care about them.. it doesn't take much extra effort on your part, maybe a little inconvenience, but nothing so significant that it isn't worth the rewards...
And... even if it IS inconvenient or requires you to go out of your way.. it's still worth it. :) I mean, I really enjoy doing things for someone, and having it stun them or amaze them because it was unexpected.. That's my favorite.
What's kinda funny about all this is.. I am not always the easiest person to love. I seriously enjoy showing love to others, making them smile and feel important.. but I really struggle letting others do the same for me in return.. which is incredibly important for it to be true Love. And, I don't mean "I'm a terrible person you shouldn't love me because I'm a sinner".. I mean I often stay guarded (although I hide it extremely well), and I will a lot of times thank them, but come up with a million excuses for why it isn't something they should feel like they have to/should do. I can easily say, it's the people who insist over and over that they care about me, and the ones that demonstrate that over and over that make the difference. I mean obviously, who wouldn't feel that way? :) I think the worst is when I accept it outwardly, but inside allow Satan to take my thoughts, and I come up with a whole slew of excuses for why it wasn't intended or isn't a big deal. I'm really trying hard in this area to not only Love others, but allow them to Love me.. without reasoning it away.
I guess the reason I've been thinking about this is, in order for me to Love Jesus.. and Love people FOR Jesus.. I have to also accept His Love. Obvious right? But, that's so hard to do in actuality. However, it's essential, I don't think I CAN truly Love Him or others for Him without first letting Him Love me. Dang it..
So, my prayer is that He changes my heart so I can Love Him more. Which ultimately will mean I can Love others more.. Which is exciting :)