I remember the first time I saw her. She was a sophomore at Reed City High School. She had blonde hair, blue eyes — a cheerleader — and man was she cute! Over time we became good friends, but I always wished for more. My senior year (her junior), we had a date; notice I said a date, meaning singular in case you’re not tracking. It wasn’t anything special and apparently not very meaningful either. It was our first and last. We remained “friends” — the one thing no guy likes to be with the girl of his dreams. I learned a hard lesson: love is a choice.
I remember the first time I saw her. She was a freshman, and I was a sophomore. It was the second day of the semester, and she came bounding into the cafeteria, long hair bouncing back and forth, big smile on her face, amazing blue eyes, and she too was a cheerleader. (See a theme?) She didn’t know who I was from Adam, but I knew who she was. At that point in my life, this “love is a choice” thing had burned me several times, so I decided to move a little slower this time, waiting almost two months to move. After I finally got up the nerve to ask her out, we had our first date — watching the movie, The Apple Dumpling Gang in Ludwig Center, no joke. Nothing special about this one either; as a matter of fact, she wondered if I talked. Didn’t make the best first impression, but she decided I was worth a second try, then a third, and — long story short, here we are 31 years later. I still love that now red-headed, blue-eyed beauty, and the best thing is, she loves me! I learned a lesson from her: love is a choice.
Man, I can’t explain to you how good it feels to have love reciprocated. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be accepted for who you are. I can’t tell you how it feels to know that even when you blow it big time, forgiveness is always the first choice. I get so much comfort and peace from knowing that I’m loved. I learned all that from my blonde, now red-headed, blue-eyed beauty.
I believe the desire to love and be loved is something that is embedded in our DNA. It’s a part of the way we are created in God’s image. It doesn’t just shape our dating or marriage relationships. It shapes every relationship — married, single, parent and child. It’s one of the things we often mess up, and are amazed when we find that it can be restored. We will all find, if we haven’t already, that in all our relationships, love is a choice.
I think some of the labels we throw on God just aren’t fair, let alone true. Too often we think God spends his time just thinking up rules to frustrate us, when in reality, the boundaries he has set are to protect us and provide for us. Protect us from hurting ourselves, and provide the best life we can experience in this broken and fractured world.
At times, we struggle wondering whether God loves us or not, but that is something we never need to doubt. The opposite is actually true. His love for us will never leave us. He will never fail us, because He has chosen us. Did you hear that? He chose us; He chose you! Just like I learned from my dating experiences and friendships — whether we choose to reciprocate love is up to us.
Not sure how your view of God has been shaped, but you need to know today, that He has made the choice to love you, regardless. You don’t need to clean yourself up for Him to love you anymore than He already does. He cannot love you more than He already does, and will not love you less. All you need to do is choose to accept His love, and love Him back. I think you know that love is a choice, and this choice is yours to make.
Text for the week: John 15:16-17