What Is Love?

What is love - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 typewriter

Because, this can’t be it.

According to the rom com, That Awkward Moment (2013), starring swoon-worthy actors Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, love is simply posting a funny-cute video on a girl’s Facebook wall as an apology.

…aaaaand, that’s when I finally turned off the TV.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve already seen the movie once before, so I knew what to expect in terms of utter cheesiness. But after watching it a second time around, I sincerely hoped that this wasn’t actually the sort of love that my generation – or any generation, really – was banking on or hoping for.

I sincerely hoped that this wasn't actually the sort of love that my generation was banking on. Click To Tweet

No, seriously. This guy (Zac Efron’s character, Jason) literally did not go to his girlfriend’s father’s funeral because he didn’t want to be labeled as her actual significant other (aka boyfriend). I was in disbelief. And I’ve already seen the movie!

What a (insert any appropriately insulting name here).

I mean, really?

And like I said, I didn’t watch the end of the movie this time around (and correct me if I’m wrong), but I’m pretty sure he ends up winning her over through some grandiose and cheesily-romantic gesture, despite it all.

Oh, honey. Is that all it takes? More importantly…

Is that all you want? 

A little while ago, I was talking with God about my future. In this particular conversation – and let’s face it, as in many of our conversations – I talked to Him about my love life. More specifically, I talked to Him about my future husband and family. I told Him about the list (c’mon guys, don’t tell me you don’t have one) and what I was looking for in a spouse: somewhat of a mixture of life-partner and best friend. Sounds good to me!

I thought I was pretty set on what I wanted. It all sounded pretty solid to me. Then I heard God ask me: “Is that all you want?”

Busted.

I don’t think it was that God didn’t approve of my list – although, I probably could have skipped the 6’5″ and dreamy brown eyes requirements.

What God put on my heart was to truly ponder by what standard I was measuring my future husband. As the world would measure him, or how God would? To me, it sounded like He didn’t want me to settle for what I was asking.

What God put on my heart was to truly ponder by what standard I was measuring my future husband. Click To Tweet

Yes, it’s all well and good for me to pray that my husband has a taller-than-me frame, or that I melt into his eyes when I look at him (though, maybe that’s going too far), or even that he’s an overall good guy.

But is that all?

Nowadays, it seems like it is. It’s easy to fall into the way of thinking that oh, it’s good enough.

She doesn’t like going to church with me unless I force her, but she’s going so that’s good enough. Or, he’s a Christian like me, even though he likes to push my boundaries, I can’t expect him to be perfect and wait for me – he’s a guy. Or, he’s not a Christian, but he’s a really nice guy and he’s nicer to me than those church-y type of guys. Maybe I can change him/her.

I mean, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right?

I get it, nobody’s perfect. Including Especially believers in Christ. But we can’t keep settling for good enough.

God doesn’t want us to settle for good enough. He’s set the bar, y’all. High as it might be, that’s what we’re reaching for. Just because we might struggle to reach it, doesn’t mean we should stop trying, or keep letting those who have stopped get in the way of our reach.

God doesn't want us to settle for good enough. He's set the bar, y'all. Click To Tweet

Dare to ask for and expect more.

Back to the question: what is love?

According to That Awkward Moment, it’s not equated to much more than a couple of hours over coffee and witty banter, and then sleeping with another woman – because you’re afraid of being labeled, mind you – only to realize that it’s not what you wanted and then going to their book reading to profess your undying (and probably momentary) love and endearment to the person you’ve been playing games with whole time. And that’s just one storyline, folks.

How romantic.

No, love is much more than that. And I sincerely hope we believe love is more than that.

Love is self-sacrifice.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 14:13 (NIV) This means, love isn’t just about me. How this person makes me feel. What this person does to or for me. What can get out of this? No. It’s laying down our selfish desires and ambitions for each others’ sake. It’s saying to one another that before myself, I will put you first.

Love is persistent and bears long-suffering.

“…it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV) Love doesn’t just quit when it’s down. No way. Love fights. It battles. It does its best to win at any and all costs. Love never gives up hope. And it doesn’t just disappear.

Love is NOT just a feeling you get when you’re with someone that makes you feel good.

Because one day, that same person will turn around and probably make you feel a completely different feeling than love. Believe it or not, love is more than just that four-letter-word girls are dying to hear from their boyfriends, or even that intense feeling of care and devotion you get when you’re snuggled up close to bae. Because that kind of love fades. And it fades fast.

Love is enduring and full of joy and never ending and always aiming to do better and it's faithful and generous and peacemaking and brave. Click To Tweet

Love is enduring and full of joy and never ending and always aiming to do better and it’s faithful and generous and peacemaking and brave and…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

To be honest, I couldn’t have said it any better.

8 Comments
Leighann

Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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8 Comments

  • Ashtyn

    “Or, he’s a Christian like me, even though he likes to push my boundaries, I can’t expect him to be perfect and wait for me – he’s a guy.“ 😭 drag me sis!! You just got me all the way together with this post. Loved it!

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Hahaaa, thanks so much, Ashtyn! This was a lesson I needed to learn as well, sis. Thank you for reading, girl!

  • Asha

    I watched “That Awkward Moment” a while back only because Micheal B. Jordan is one of my favorite actors, and I don’t remember the ending. It was messed up that he didn’t go to the funeral, though. I feel like people get caught up in perception, and this article is a great reminder to not go by the world’s standards.

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      Michael “bae” Jordan is just…yes. And yea, that’s basically the entire gist of this entire post. Just to realize by what standards we’re measuring our relationships! Thanks for reading, Asha!

  • Janice

    People settle in relationships all the time just to have someone. Such a disservice to yourself.

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      If that isn’t the truth–thanks for sharing, Janice!

  • Fehintola

    Thank you for sharing this, Leighann. It really blessed me on Valentine’s Day. I often lose sight of what love really is and I think it is because of media and what I constantly see and read online. Sometimes I get scared praying about a partner because of that question ‘is that all you want?’ what if what I want isn’t His plan for me or there is so much more that my human brain is not thinking about but God is and He wants to give me.
    Thank you for this post. It has reminded me of what love really is and I pray God will continue to help us learn what His will is for us not what Hollywood or social media thinks it should be.

    http://www.fehintolaogunye.com/2018/02/single-on-valentines-day.html

    • Leighann

      Leighann

      I’m so thankful to hear that this encouraged you, sis. Praying for you and thank you so much for reading ❤️

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Obsession. I like to say photography is my love language—I have no idea what that means, but it sounds nice, right? I’m obsessed with taking pictures and learning more about composition, editing and trying new things with my little @canonusa baby. *accidentally deleted my post from yesterday—so here it is again*
  • This is not a drill—it’s a GIVEAWAY! 
Meet Kayla (@kayzilch). Though we’ve met just recently, I immediately recognized her as a kindred spirit (she’s also a Type-4 Enneagram)! Her writing is real, authentic and delves into an array of important topics such as mental health, identity, faith and much more on her blog @tobetruth_. She’s also working to become a certified yoga teacher and is passionate about her work as a freelance writer! 
Meet Meghan (@meghantschanz). I’ve never met a woman so determined and passionate about creating authentic community and tackling tough topics. She’s not afraid to go there and start conversations about real-world issues like sex- and labor-trafficking around the world, feminism (or lack thereof) within the church and equality for ALL. She’s currently working on securing a book deal, with the goal of empowering women around the globe to recognize their influence in society and their ability to make the world a more equal place. 
These women are doing some amazing things and I’m honestly just excited to come along for the ride. I believe in us, the work we’ve been called to do and I hope, after learning more about us, you will too. To celebrate and continue advocating for causes we believe in, we’re doing a giveaway with @causebox. 
Here’s where you come in:

1. Give this post a (♡) double tap.

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The prize is a summer-themed @causebox valued at $300, packed full of small-batch, sustainable and ethically created gifts made by women and small businesses around the world. 
Winner will be announced Friday (8/24) morning at 10am EST!
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Blue. I’ve been looking for a way to fill my ginormous (at least it seems that way) white living room wall. Every time I thought I knew how I wanted to decorate that space, I changed my mind suddenly, determined that there had to be a better way to fill the empty 
space.

I didn’t know this about me before, but it hit me one day, as my parents were helping me unpack my stuff in my new place. My mom began asking me what I’d like my new place to look like, rug colors, mat textures, wall—fixtures and all. I am no good at decorating. Like, I had no idea how to put a space together. I’ve never been on my own before and the idea of having to decide how my space would be...mine, freaked me out. 
But then, little by little I found some pieces that I didn’t hate, and started to put them together. And yesterday, I stumbled upon these little treasures at Marshall’s. I couldn’t resist the ocean hues and beach vibes. I knew it was meant to be. 
All that to say, for anyone else struggling to put your place together after either never having to do it before #livingsingle or maybe putting the pieces of your life back together after a breakup or split—take your time. It will all come together eventually and it will look amazing. And before you know it, it will start to look, like you. ttys
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Hot. No, it’s not what you think. As a matter of fact, when I first saw this picture I was horrified. I saw all that was wrong with my body, my hair and my skin—ugh. 
But you know what? No one’s perfect. And thank God I don’t have to be. Plus, my body was/is working just fine, my hair was moisturized, and my skin was poppin’. Trying to shift my moments of self-doubt and body-consciousness to thankfulness and positive self-talk. 
Also, the day this was taken was HOT, so it still counts towards today’s #augusteyecandy.

I don’t know if anyone’s told you today, but you’re made splendidly and you couldn’t be more perfect than you are right now—yes, even in this heat with your mascara running down your face. ttys 
S/O to @kayzilch and/or her awesome fiancé, Michael for this pic 📸
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5pm. 
It’s crazy to think that I’ve actually posted one picture on IG for TWO weeks straight. Especially considering all that’s been going on around me: moving back across the country for school, moving into my new place, actually starting school, remembering how to (somewhat) adult—throw in a little bit of anxiety, and you’ve got yourself the past two weeks of my life. 
All that to say—we made it, folks. We made it to today. And that is enough. You’re doing great—ttys
  • TW: Anxiety/Panic Attack

Anxiety is like a shadow that’s been following me around since I was about thirteen. I guess puberty marked the onset of racing thoughts, subtle hyperventilation and that queasy feeling you get when something’s just not right. I had my first panic attack at nineteen, during a new hire orientation. It felt like I was having a heart attack—my heart inexplicably began to race, my hands shook and I felt warmth all around me. 
I excused myself to the reception area and, in a panic, asked the receptionist if she could help me. She said to place my hands above my head and breathe. I paced around the lobby and breathed, eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. I worried for a moment that I would die. Then gradually, my heart began to beat at normal pace again. My breathing deepened and my body cooled down to normal as I continued to pace, slower this time. The kind receptionist gave me some water to sip and sat me down until I was ready to go back to the meeting. 
Anxiety can feel like a high-speed train. Going 5mph one minute and 150 mph the next. It can also be subtler, feeling like you can’t quite catch your breathe and you begin to hyperventilate, in a way that is only recognizable to you. 
Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, anxiety has taught me the importance of coming back to the present. And how allowing myself to feel what is presently around me, can ground me and remind me that I’m alive. I’m safe. 
I share this story in order to start the conversation. Anxiety is a part of my life, whether I like it or not. I hope you know that first of all:

1. You are loved beyond measure and valuable even with your anxious thoughts and actions 
and 
2. You are not the only one 
ttys

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