Love is a Choice

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Our culture uses the word love in a variety of contexts. We love the beach, we love fried chicken, we love our house, etc. Most of the time this word is used to dictate that we really really like something. Culturally speaking, we have created a broader meaning of the term love.

Recently, I have been learning a lot about what I would classify as covenant love. There are several ways I feel I could describe this type of love. I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced this type of love my whole life, as it was only recently that I discovered my role and responsibility within it. It’s this I-would-die-for-you feeling; I-would-quite-literally-do-anything-within-my-power-to-support-you-and-honor-you-feeling. This love doesn’t just happen to you.

Covenant love is a choice. In order to love someone or something, I have to choose it over and over and over.

I have to admit when I am wrong. I sacrifice time and money in order to serve and support the person I’m choosing. I have to be willing to extend invitations (people really like to be invited, even if the answer is no the first five times an invite is extended).

At times this love looks like keeping a distance because that’s what is needed to protect the connection. I have had to ask- “is it better if I come or if I don’t?” I also try to be ready to have conversations all the time. I want to be open about sharing and hearing thoughts or feelings— sometimes that means communicating that I’m not ready to talk, which is particularly challenging for me. Covenant love is deep, complicated, and beautiful. It is worth every bit of effort and attention.

I believe this kind of love-sacrificial, protect-the-connection, communicative, and honest covenant love- is the greatest thing someone can learn to do in their lifetime. It cannot be perfected, but I believe it’s what we were made to fight for.

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The limits

Because of its heightened value, there are limitations in order to commit to covenant love. Even though I know and love a lot of people, only a few can be loved by me at this level of depth and concentration. I have learned that I have to be an active participant in pursuing people. Because of this, there is a capacity. It’s hard because I want to love everyone deeply but I have to give myself permission to set boundaries. I cannot possibly give valued time to 600 people.

(I’ll post more insight on what boundaries can practically look like soon)

It’s been such a beautiful thing to learn about. I have become a better friend because of the recognition that humans have limited capacities. I have become a better person by committing to love deeply and sacrificially. I have developed more character and a fuller outlook on relationships that continues to change. It has been really difficult, and at the same time very freeing.

#insightsfromAsh