(Photo by Stevi Phipps)
Falling in Love
By Kendall Fee
Growing up I always wondered what the day I fell in love with someone would be like. I imagined my heart about to burst and there being butterflies and rainbows. That’s what my 7-year-old mind could come up with at least. When I was a teenager I pondered that moment even more so. He’d be strong and tall and definitely older and more mature. The strange thing is, I never fell in love with anyone. Sure, I said I love you to a few boys that didn’t end up sticking around, but saying I love you was my choice. Loving previous boyfriends was my own choice. I never unexpectedly fell into it.
When I was in high school my dad gave me the best advice you can give any teenage girl who lives through movies like The Notebook and Titanic. Falling in love was something I used to dream of, but one day my dad spoke into that sacred part of my heart. He told me that love isn’t something you can fall in and out of. You can’t stumble into love or plunge into the vast hole of love. Love isn’t something we can fall into, tumble into, or collapse into.
Think of it like this, the word “fall” is a verb. You can physically fall into a hole or fall down the stairs, but you can’t fall into love. Love is an idea, an emotion, a feeling. This may sound remedial, but there are different types of nouns. We have people, places, things, and ideas. Stairs and deep dark holes, things we associate with falling, are “thing” nouns, where as love is an “idea” noun. This type of noun can’t be associated with any verb. It doesn’t make sense. You can’t physically fall into love. Therefore, love is a choice. We choose to love.
With that being said, there is a serious question that comes up: “What am I feeling then with this boy I’m dating?” Well, most of the time it’s easy to mix up feelings of love with lust. Lust is not love and love is not lust. This person you think you’re falling in love with is someone you’re probably extremely attracted to, someone you desire, and someone you most likely have strong and addicting feelings for. It’s easy to think these emotions align with what love is, but they don’t. These intense feelings are a sign that you’re lusting after this person; you don’t have the grounds to love them.
Love takes time, whereas lust is fickle. It comes and goes.
How do you know when you’ve chosen to love someone? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 helps us with that question. Love is patient and kind. Love doesn’t envy or boast and it isn’t proud. Love doesn’t dishonor others. It’s not self-seeking or easily angered. Love keeps no records of wrongs. It doesn’t rejoice in evil, but the truth. Love protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.
We don’t fall into love. We choose to love. We choose to be patient and kind. We choose not to be envious or boastful. When you love someone you’re choosing to honor the other person and honor others through your relationship. You choose to put the other person first and not be easily angered by them and their humanness. You keep no records of their wrongs, because Jesus doesn’t hold our wrongs against us. When you choose to love someone, you both rejoice in the truth, walking with upright lives that are honoring to the Lord. You choose to protect and trust this person. You have hope and persevere with this person.
Who are you choosing to love? Does your idea of love align with what 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says about love? You’re not capable of falling in love, but you can choose to love someone. Making that choice is more special than the unreal movie magic love that is in our favorite Disney movies and Nicholas Sparks films. Hold on to what love truly is and be wise with who you choose to share that love with.