Love is sober
Love is not drunk with settling for less
Love will never be an easy decision
Love will never cop out
These words above, resound in my being…like no other this month. There is nothing more bitter and rewarding to the soul than a life alone…it is those moments by yourself that illuminates the deepest fears of the soul. When all the world seems to have moved on and you find yourself alone…in your singleness. In those fleeting moments you are absorbed by the lie that EVERYONE around you has life together. This blog is not about being single it is for the masses of loners out there who are consumed by the lie that you are lonely and that life has handed you the infamous lemon. This blog is for those who feel the Lord has forgotten them…for those drunk on the illusion of what life and love should look like.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. (Psalm 39:12)
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:2-26)
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139: 17-18)
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:27-31)
Jesus stands enthroned in glory forever waiting, forever wanting our weak attempts to love him. Love is fallible…I am fallible. My belief in my God is shaky…and often I find solutions to my fears in things apart from God. This past month of my life has proven just that. I have hit an all time low in my attempts to find love. I have parched my soul and deprived my heart of finding answers that remain yearning, like a craving for the depths of love. I have reduced love to a mere ‘feels good’ existence. Oh how weak the human frame must be to settle, to be okay with ‘just enough’, when a deeper love and experience of love awaits. A kind of love so vast and deep it pales in comparison to the picture we are intoxicated by. The movie image we have clung to for so long…the one I have romanced my fantasies with for decades. Yet each day awaits a sober kind of love that transcends the confines of this life…
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
For a long time I have negated the idea of waiting and allowing the Lord to do the refinement in my heart before I moved ahead and found love in the arms of something other. Yet in my broken justification I have allowed my heart to want something else…something that would consume me and place itself in a position to lord over my affections, my thinking and my decisions. Now I sit here utterly shattered by my clutching hand not wanting to let go and allow the best he has for me to unfold. Even as I write this blog this truth stings my soul like peroxide cleansing a wound. Oh how wounded the soul must be that it is this depraved…this hungry to cling to anything. How void the eyes must be to settle on something less fascinating…to settle for second best when the best is yet to come. In the same breath I am utterly grateful for the mercy of the Lord to have broken into my hardened heart and moved with tender love to awaken me again to the beauty of painfully letting go of a love that was not real…for the One that only satisfies. In a moment when I was willing to compromise, He was uncompromising in his zeal for my affections and his plan for my life.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. (Isaiah 62:10)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
Truth cuts like a double edged sword separating the need to settle apart from the best the Lord has in store for me. If you are a single woman this blog post is for you as much as it is for me. I envision my life’s journey to be like one standing at a cross road…torn between two paths. Will I choose the path that leads to loving God well in my single existence now or run down the path that leads me to an alternative solution outside of God. My final attempts at this love thing…which one is the right one for me? The answer is never rooted in that question…the answer is rooted in why this need for love lingers, why I want to fill this void that is and endless hole below the surface. Allow me to share my story. For a while now I have been in the beautiful US…loving life and then…along rolls my second year here and I am like…‘girl you still ain’t got no man…still waiting to exhale’. STING….as funny as that sounds typing it…there is a real abrasive burn that lingers behind. How it comes to be that I (Deidre) could have come this far in my life yet still so far from any form of relationship. Could it be that I am not intriguing enough? Could it be that I will spend an eternity without any man noticing me. Could it be that I have been forgotten by the Lord? Fast forward a few weeks and along comes a dashing male…handsome, charming and completely enthralled by me. Yes! FINALLY…
So I engage with said individual and soon find that he in fact is lovely and a great man. Yet the sober decision of pursuing a man that had different moral standards faces me. Like the harsh reality of ‘there’s no Santa’ I stand like a little girl so badly wanting this to be perfect…to work out The core of the matter was that I am a Christian woman who has certain standards and in a whim I had compromised on them. Soon I had my list out (ya’ll know ya’ll got that list too) and I was checking off some things I could ‘compromise’ on…besides life is about making compromises on certain things right? No…not when those things are values rooted in the character of the man Jesus. When those checklist items I scratch off is rooted in my needs to put a bandaid over the deeper issues in my soul. Thank God for amazingly sober minded best friends who will love me the way I deserve to be. Friends who cut it straight in tender love when all you want to do is cut them (sorry friends the struggle was real). I was so engaged in the emotional component of this interaction that I had scales over my eyes that impaired my vision. Why do I share this? I know there are many single /dating Christian woman who knows that the struggle is real. The struggle of wanting to be wanted vs settling for OK just because we fear the best will never come…oh my darling the BEST is yet to come. The Lord is faithful and he gives only good gifts to us his daughters…the ones he deeply loves and the ones he’s deeply devoted to. In this time of having to make a decision to either walk away from this or pursue this and see how far it takes me…I was deeply conflicted. The beauty of love is this…it is sober. Love is a sober choice and the Lord will never violate that choice for me. Let it be said that never in this time did I feel the guilt of the life I was wanting…the desire for intimacy, companionship and marriage is valid before the Lord. How I choose to live that out is my own choice…deep down I knew God would have me either way…yet the sobriety of loving everything I have in Jesus overshadowed my need to find a man that was ‘just good enough’…when I know I have a Father who has absolutely the best in store for me.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
The best is yet to come…
The best comes only when we give up the ‘not so bad, but not the best’. To love the Lord will always require sobriety, sober choices, sober morals and standards. There is no grey area…it is that grey space that will kill your vision for life and your ability to find all you deserve. I came close to sitting in that grey space and vegging out. You see the problem is not that God does not redeem my time and my past mistakes…but that he values the wise choices I make now to avoid having to be more wounded to the place where I need to come back again and then heal those wounds before I can move on. He values the follow through and the resilience to choose the best he has for me…when all else seems better. I had to choose to end this pursuit of happiness and trust that a man more amazing than this individual would come along, one who values the Lord in the same measure as I do. A man who would lead my heart to glorify God in and through the prophetic image that marriage is. Letting go sucks…there is no better way to put it. I just ended things yesterday and my heart is in tatters. I probably cried most of last night like a girl…yeah I said it…I am a girl deep inside. Yet midst it all I am not hopeless, I know that this is what I had to do in this moment to honor my commitment to being sober in love now and forever. I welcome the day that man enters my life and I know that this decision was the right one. Until such time I have the responsibility to openly bleed before the Lord and to drink truths from his word that will edify my brokenness. My life will always be one that is rooted in the truth that I am living for eternity…the way I choose to express that in this life is my own sober choice.
This verse will probably become my life mantra:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; (Song of Solomon 1:2)
I will say again Love is a sober choice to follow the Lord’s will for my life. Love is a sober mark on the heart that says…It sucks letting go, but I love you more Jesus. Love is a sober decision to love a life worthy of being called a pure and spotless bride even when I fall short.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:7-8)
Love is resilient in it’s walk…Love moves always towards loving God well in the weak decisions and trusting that the best is always the intentions of the Lord for your life. My heart’s cry is to lay hold of a vision for being able to Love soberly…without waver. Love is steadfast…love is not cheap…love will never let go. God is love. The maker embodies the true image of a satisfying kind of love that is able to sustain us in every season of our lives.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11)
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19)
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13)