Love Never Fails

Today I am closing the chapter on our Corinthians Bible verse. Coincidentally enough, last night Robert remembered that he had gotten a gift for me while he was away at military training this month. While he was unpacking his cooler, I saw him put granola bars and M&Ms on the kitchen table, so when he smiled and put his hand behind his back and said, “I forgot I got you a present while I was gone,” I figured he was going to crack up and hand me a candy wrapper or something.

I walked over to him and giggled, anticipating the prank, but was really touched when he opened his hand and there was a silver heart-shaped necklace in it. It had a little cross where the chain held the heart, and I turned it over to find that there was a Bible verse on the other side. It simply said,

“Love Never Fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8.”

I was so surprised and felt my heart fill with warmth. Gift giving has always been a favorite love language of mine, and the fact that Robert thought about me enough to get me a gift while he was gone made me so happy, especially because it was something so perfect for me.

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I am going to finish dissecting this verse today, but I encourage everyone to memorize it and keep it at the forefront of your life. You can love every single person you come into contact with, even in the smallest of ways, by using this as your definition for love.


1 Corinthians 13:7 says,

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.

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Love protects. There is a reason people in love often say they want to protect their partner’s heart. Humans don’t like seeing others in pain, especially when it’s someone they really care about. By committing to protect someone’s heart you are making a promise to them. You are promising to never intentionally hurt them, to stand up for them, and to ultimately be kind and gentle with their feelings.

Love trusts. Trust is the very most basic foundation of a relationship. Without trust you can’t build any other sturdy elements of a true love story. Trusting someone is knowing they will always keep you in mind when making decisions — big and small — and that they genuinely care about you to their core. Trust shouldn’t be given easily, but once it’s earned it is often kept unless something happens to break it.

Love perseveres. This is one of the most important but difficult things in a relationship. Every single person is going to have trials, sometimes with their partner, and other times alone. I have no experience being married, but I would speculate that the trials we face alone could often be even more difficult on a relationship than those we face together.

I am a fixer. I hate seeing people’s hearts feel broken, and I would rather take any sort of pain from a loved one and have it for myself. It’s difficult watching someone you care about suffer in any capacity, especially if you cannot relate or do anything to help. I often think about the way my loved ones have to deal with my illness, which is a big reason I try my best to keep complaints to a minimum. It is so frustrating when you can’t fix a problem, especially if it’s hurting someone. The most beautiful thing in the world, though, is loving someone throughout all the heartache and pain the world throws at both of you. Perseverance and endurance through hardship is possibly the greatest indicator of a lasting relationship. Realizing the world is a very imperfect place is the very beginning of preparing yourself for an incredible love story. Staying strong and pushing through the pain and difficulties that come up along the way is one of the most amazing ways to love someone, and the maker of an irreplaceably beautiful marriage.

The collection of verses is ended in these three powerful words,

“Love never fails.”

True selfless and strong love doesn’t get broken, and only grows through all the trials and tribulations life brings. Every relationship has its ups and downs, however I believe if you base your love on 1 Corinthians 13, you can make it to forever with your person. This is why I believe that although it is cliche, this is one of the most lovely Bible verses to be read at a wedding ceremony.

How To Grow — Or Kill — A Relationship

We only have two posts left about 1 Corinthians 13, and today’s is going to be a little lengthy, so hang in there!

“Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”

Sadly, there is a lot of evil in the world, some of which isn’t even thought of being that way. We are going to keep this post a little simple, though, and focus on the Bible by remembering the seven deadly sins. Pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath, and lust are categorized as the “seven deadly sins.” These are all things that can possibly kill beautiful relationships. I could have a lengthy conversation about how each of these can completely destroy two hearts that are bound together, but today I am going to focus on the three that feel the most prevalent.

We don’t really use the word “gluttony” very often, but according to Dictionary.com it means, “Excessive eating and drinking.” When we think of this word, we think of someone who cannot stop eating, and Bruce in Matilda* comes to mind as someone who eats to the point of being gluttonous. Instead of using the traditional definition of gluttony, however, I want to dig deeper into the reason gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins. The key word in the definition is, excess. “Eating and drinking” is in no way a harmful behavior. We need to eat to survive, and a glass of wine can be a great treat at the end of the day. Anything in excess can be incredibly damaging, though, especially to a relationship. The most prominent things I can think of today that people enjoy to excess would be videogames, television, alcohol, or even work. It is heartbreaking just how many girls I see in wedding groups talk about how their future husband won’t pay attention to them because he is too focused on Call of Duty or another game of the sort. I have seen countless people asking for advice on how to get their loved one out of the house and to take care of them half as much as they do their Playstation or Xbox.

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I had to sit and think of excessive habits before writing them on this page, and “work” was an interesting thing to include because many people would argue that if someone works hard, it can’t possibly be a negative attribute. A quote that has always stuck with me is,

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business.'” -Arnold Zack

Living in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC has been an interesting way to grow up because so many people here prioritize status, money, and power above relationships. Even in school we were always pushed to take as many high level classes as we could manage without breaking — and then some. We were encouraged to play a sport every single season and maintain extracurriculars that would “help us get into a good college one day.” Even in the younger grades I had several hours of homework after spending all day at school. Never once did my high school mention that spending time with family was important, or that having close friendships would be what remained after school was all done with. Doing something meaningful and productive in the world is so important, however the influence you have in the lives of the individuals you come into contact with on a daily basis is just as important.

Greed is something that is a really obvious detrimental trait in a relationship, as it is linked to selfishness. A lack of contentment is the easiest way to lead an unhappy life, and constantly wanting more for yourself will secure a spot with all the other people who can’t focus on the present and always just want more.

Lust is one of the most obvious relationship-destroyers. When I think of “lust,” I think of Hollywood, and I think of society’s normalization of objectifying women. Movies are filled to the brim with sex, nudity, and innuendos, and whether you like it or not, we are conditioned to think that sex isn’t always a private moment between two people who care about each other. It is something that we see every day in magazines, on television, and on unsuspecting webpages, and it is no longer considered “shocking” when someone poses without any clothing on for millions of people to see. Relationships fall apart every single day because one — or both — parties believe they can do better and find someone new and exciting to pursue. Lust is one of the deadly sins because love cannot be sustained through lust. Love is fed through hearts and souls, and a beautiful body is never going to keep a relationship happy and healthy. If anything, love gives a beautiful new set of lenses to view your partner through, and gives a healthy physical component through knowing what is deep down in someone’s heart.

*Side note: When I was a kid, we saw Matilda in theaters and had to leave because I was terrified of the chokey. In hindsight this was a kind of sick movie, hahaha!


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“Love rejoices in the truth.”

Two of my favorite words in the English language are “love,” and “rejoice.” They both make my heart flutter with joy, and always have something positive attached. Truth is the key word in this sentence about love, though. “The truth” is the direct object of the sentence, which means it is the reason love is rejoicing. Your love is able to be excited because of having an open and honest connection. Trust is the very basic necessity of a strong relationship; without it there is no foundation to build love upon. Something I really love about my relationship now is that I haven’t ever questioned whether or not I am being lied to. I know my significant other is someone who is always going to be upfront and honest with me, and that has given me such an enormous level of security that I want every single person to be with someone that they first and foremost trust. The world is not a perfect place, which means the truth can sometimes hurt or be difficult to deal with, however love becomes much easier when it is centered around truth. True love doesn’t keep secrets and can grow and really flourish with truthfulness.

Our last post will finish Corinthians with,

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

We will dissect each of these, and talk about why I think it’s important the verse ends with, “always perseveres.” Thank you for keeping up with this little segment, and I can’t wait to finish this chapter about a beautiful favorite wedding Bible verse.

Slow To Anger

Back to Corinthians to begin wrapping up my favorite Bible verse. Here is where we left off,

“[Love] is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Anger is an umbrella term for a bunch of other emotions we might not think about being in that category. Frustration, disappointment, and crankiness are a few feelings that can all be categorized under “anger.”

“Love is not easily angered” is a beautiful sentiment. I think as humans we feel things so deeply and often let our emotions control us, instead of the other way around. The easiest thing to do when we feel angry is to react. Anger is one of the most detectable feelings because it is often intense, and humans don’t always hold back when they are upset about something because it’s difficult to keep anger brewing inside until we can really evaluate the situation. Other feelings — such as love — has many different levels and outlets. Although people have different ways of expressing anger, it is often a feeling that is easily showcased and makes people around the angry person have strong reactions, too.

Anger is one of the most important emotions to learn to control. It is one of the few feelings that can lead to lasting damage if used incorrectly, and needs to be used in conjunction with wisdom and patience.

One of my favorite quotes is,

“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.”

Google doesn’t seem to know who said this, but it’s so powerful. Sadly, people often say things they don’t mean — or intentionally try to hurt a loved one — when tensions are high and they are angry. The interesting thing about anger is that we often react because we want to see a specific outcome of a situation, however reacting before thinking about it doesn’t allow us the time to come up with the smartest plan of getting where we want to be.

Do you notice how the verse doesn’t say, “Love doesn’t anger,” rather it says, “Love is not easily angered.” I am no expert in semantics or theology, but I do think each word used in the Bible is crafted with a purpose. God knows that as humans we are going to get angry (heck, Jesus got angry when He was on earth, and things got crazy when he was mad), but He wants us to learn how to control our feelings and to remain calm and patient with others while we try to sort things out. Holding back anger for when it’s really necessary is wise because it shows an element of self-control, and it makes your anger actually mean something. Since Jesus was known as someone who was peaceful and kind, you knew He meant business when He turned the tables in the temple. If He was a hothead, He wouldn’t have been taken as seriously the few times He really showcased anger throughout the Bible. We should use our anger only when it’s really justified and when we really need to be heard, so that others can take us seriously when something does mean a lot to us.

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I’m not a huge Joel Olsteen fan, but he does have lots of nuggets of wisdom. When looking for a source of the quote above, I stumbled upon this, and had to add it to my post. Olsteen says,

“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.”

This is so true. I don’t always remember every detail of my life, but something that seems to always stick is a hurtful word. Have you noticed that? This leads me to our next point. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Forgiving is the easy part for me, forgetting is a whole new beast. I have gotten hundreds of kind and encouraging comments on my blog the past three years, however I remember the two negative ones the most clearly. Friends and family are typically the most uplifting people in life, but when they say something unkind out of anger, it often gets taken to heart — after all, if someone who loves you so much thinks something negative about you, it must be true, right?

Words are such an important thing to monitor. I have found that a harmful word can sometimes hurt even more than physical pain, and there’s a reason people use one of the most vital organs in the body to represent love and heartbreak. When your heart hurts, it can be so hard to fix it completely. For this exact reason, it is so important to take time to think before reacting to a situation. Something said in anger can never be taken back, even though it can be forgiven.

Today’s lesson: I never want to damage a relationship or a loved one over something said when emotions were running high. In the same way my mom always tells me I should not make a big decision when I am not feeling well, I don’t believe it’s wise to always speak with someone at the first sign of anger. It never hurts to take time to reflect, think about why you are really mad, and then have a gentle conversation about the reasons why you feel the way you do. Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, and pure anger often does not bode well for either party. Being slow to anger and able to forgive ensures a happier life for everyone, and allows us to get our true feelings across to others, rather than spewing hurtful things that may or may not be true. In the same way we aspire to love like Jesus does, I think it’s important to try to be angry the way He is, too.

 

Love Is Kind

The next part of Corinthians that I want to dissect is still in the first sentence, “Love is kind.” Kindness is one of the most powerful actions in the world, and is a virtue that offers one of the greatest opportunities for us to make an enormous impact on the lives of others.

My blogger friend, Tony, wrote this comment on my last post,

“Love is a word with a lot of weight and responsibility. It is patient and kind and those two attributes can be very hard to practice in life.”

I agree with this wholeheartedly. When you tell someone you love them, you are making a promise that you will care for their heart and be the best version of yourself because you believe they deserve that. Loving someone is an action, and actions take work. As unromantic as it sounds, relationships take a lot of conscious effort, compromise, and choosing to prioritize someone else’s needs along with your own every single day. Love isn’t something humans are naturally good at because our instinct is to take care of our own needs and look out for ourselves before caring for someone else.

Kindness isn’t innate and something that we are preprogrammed to do. People can get to a point where it’s the first reaction they have to another person, but I believe you must master patience before getting to kindness. I don’t think that it is an accident that 1 Corinthians lists patience before kindness; it seems like it was actually very intentionally written that way. We are given a million circumstances each week to practice patience. Whether it’s to a stranger at a grocery store, or to a friend, small annoyances and frustrations pop up all the freaking time. By choosing to forgo our own desires to stand up and get angry with someone and deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt, we are choosing to be patient. Kindness is one step further. Choosing kindness means we aren’t just choosing to not act, but we are choosing to act in a way that is generous and giving towards someone else.

For example, if you are walking behind someone who is very slowly pushing a grocery cart to the checkout line you want to get to, being patient is slowly following behind, without huffing and puffing or silently rolling your eyes. Being kind might be making a conversation with the person and asking how they are doing while you are waiting in line, or offering to help push the cart to the front if they look like they are struggling with it. Patience is nice; kindness is beautiful. 

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Kindness isn’t always my go-to action. Sometimes I feel tired and am passive, and just tolerate people. Other times I’m too focused on myself to be kind. Whether I’m in pain or just having an off day, I don’t always take the time and effort to go the extra mile for others. The good thing, though, is that kindness has become a much more natural reaction just from years of practice. I haven’t always been patient, which is the foundation kindness is built upon. Making a conscious effort to care for others and see things from their point of view has made my heart infinitely more kind, and has given me the ability to feel empathy for others. I think if we all just made the time and effort to do the hard work it takes to be patient and kind, it will become more of a norm in our society and the world would be a much happier and healthier place to live in.


How are you kind to others? What advice would you give someone who wants to learn to react with kindness? I would love to hear your advice on this subject, too!

Timeless Life And Love Advice

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

There is a reason this Bible verse is read time and time again at wedding ceremonies. Not only is it incredibly romantic, but it is God’s advice to humans about how we are to love one another. If we could all learn how to love like these four small verses suggest, the world would be an incredibly different place to live in.

I want to dissect 13 Corinthians this week. I have always said this is one of my favorite Bible verses, and I would love to share with you why. Whether or not you are a Christian, these posts will give you a greater sense of who I am, and maybe offer a few tips on how to love those in your own life even harder than ever before.

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Love is patient.

Patience is a virtue.” This is a quote most of us have heard at one time or another, but have you ever worked on creating patience in your own heart? I would say patience is one of the most difficult things human beings can cultivate. Whether you get frustrated about little things like traffic or slow walkers, or are impatient to fill the big things in life like finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with after years of dating around, patience isn’t a value that is just handed to you — you really have to work for it.

I would say I am a super-patient person in many ways, but there are still some areas that could use great improvement. I don’t mind waiting around for a friend who is running late, although traffic annoys me, it doesn’t usually affect my mood, and I am a very good teacher to people who want to learn something new. I am a great listener and would never snap at a friend for telling me the same thing over and over again. A big reason I feel like I have become a lot more patient in the past few years is that I have become a lot more empathetic. Getting sick with POTS has forced me to choose whether I should be patient and gentle with myself while working to get better or be frustrated and angry at the things I cannot control. To me it’s been a lot easier choosing to enjoy the little blessings that come about every day, and learn to deal with the crummy things that come along with a chronic illness without being bitter about them. When people ask me how I’m doing I often find the answer is, “I’m very slowly getting better.” Like, very slowly. I do sometimes feel frustrated with how much work I put into my health and the sometimes microscopic results that come from it, but I also realize that any progress is still good. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Something I really struggle with is being patient with God’s plan for me and not understanding His timeline. I constantly question Him and whether or not He knows what’s best for me. I have so many desires that aren’t being filled, and I just want everything in my life to line up and be great now; I don’t want to have to wait for it. Impatience is definitely manifested differently in each individuals’ lives, but for me it’s just the desire to be a normal twenty-something. I want to be able to run, hike, play volleyball, drive thirty minutes to DC to visit friends, and write for hours on end without any pain. I want my freedom back so badly, and I want it now. I’ve grown so tired of the weekly doctor appointments, stretching and mobility exercises, and redundant work on the recumbent bike. I feel frustrated that despite working out, eating well, and taking care of myself better than most people my age do, I am physically not able to do as much as my peers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered why God doesn’t choose to just heal me — I know He can — and how often I do believe I know what’s best for myself. The only thing I can really gather from this is that God isn’t finished with me yet. He is still working on me and has a greater purpose for me than what I have planned for myself. This is where faith and patience become really important components of my life, and I am working to be better at both every day.

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Today’s lesson: Anger and frustration are two feelings, but that doesn’t mean they have to manifest into an action. I think the beginning stages of working on patience is going to include a lot of inner dialogue with yourself and learning how to think and rationalize before reacting. One of the coolest things about humans is that we do have the ability to think and then act, while most other creatures just follow their heart’s desire without weighing the consequences or repercussions of their actions. Patience isn’t easy, but it sure makes life a whole lot better when you do learn how to integrate it into everyday life.

A Very Special Someone

I am going to end up with someone very special.

Do you want to know why I think this? Because I have a chronic illness, which makes dating me worlds more complicated than the average person.

I have been dumped because of things I can’t control — like my skewy autonomic nervous system, which often makes me feel sick or unable to do normal twentysomething activities. People don’t always sympathize with the struggles I go through every day, and I know it is incredibly difficult to see someone you love hurting.

My guy doesn’t just have to be a physical supporter for me, but he also has to serve as an emotional rock when I get frustrated with life. Some days are more painful and exhausting than others, and sometimes I just can’t think straight through the dizziness and brain fog. I need someone who will be patient with me and remember that I have a good heart.

Some days I will be cranky, but I don’t mean anything by it — I’m just not feeling well. So the last thing I need in a partner is someone who can remember how much I love him, even on the hard days. I need someone who will keep in mind that I’m still the same person, even when I’m incredibly sick and some of my best traits might be hidden behind pain. He will need to be able to remember that I still love him with all my heart, I’m just sometimes too darn tired to show it.

People like this aren’t a dime a dozen. Unconditional love is really difficult to find, and meeting someone who is willing to start a relationship with someone who already has complications isn’t always easy. The people I have met, though, who have been willing to go through the hard stuff in the beginning of our relationship are so incredibly special. These are the people who will be there for better and worse, and this is the kind of guy I eventually want to end up with. I guess in some ways I am lucky that I’m not always the easiest person to love since I have no choice but to weed out people who won’t stick around through tough times. I will end up with a 1 Corinthians 13 man.

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Today’s lesson: Take whatever it is that makes you feel different or unlovable, and realize that you are beautifully unique and you are stronger because of the struggles you have gone through. Realize that not everybody will love you with them, but the right person will absolutely love the entire package you have to offer. Just because you have a disability, baggage from your past, or struggle with something today does not mean you will never find love. It just means you need to wait for someone really, incredibly special to be a good fit for you. People like us kind of lucked out in that regard, I guess, because we can’t settle for an ordinary love. We have to be patient and wait on one that will hold the test of time and make it through the crazy curveballs life throws at us.