Love is a Battlefield…

SO if you are anything like me (you know approaching late 20s, female, who likes the occasional chick flick), then a scene from the movie “13 Going on 30,” in which you see a bunch of preteen girls dancing around on the bed in their PJs, singing along to the one and only Pat Benatar’s ‘Love is a battlefield’ may come to mind. In my twenty something years on this Earth, I’ve discovered just how true that statement is.  All week, I’ve been wondering what to title a blog about the single most talked about “thing” on earth– and that would be—du du du dddduuuummmm– LOVE!

Now before you allow your jaded, beat up heart to click off this page to avoid reading a fellow jaded sister’s thoughts on love, let me ask you to pause and hear (read) me out. This isn’t your post on what to do or what not to do in your romantic relationships. I don’t have any new God given prophecy on how to overcome that broken heart or on how to know that “he/she is the one.” I would, however, like to write about this thing that we all desire so deeply– this idea that gives our lives so much purpose, motivation, and hope. LOVE! And yes, we will discuss the fact that it– LOVE– is indeed a battlefield.

To understand our desire for love, we must first understand it’s origin. Care to guess what that would be? You guessed it, Love was created and made perfect in God. So much so that the Bible defines the relationship  between the two with the statement  “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) If the definition is tied directly to the presence of God, then I think it would be wise to look to His word on the ins and outs of this thing called love.

Love covers a vast array of human emotion. I hold the belief that for everything God has for you, Satan has a counterfeit. Personally, I believe that this is true when it comes to love as well. Most everyone who professes to know Christ is familiar with the love chapter of the Bible. For those of you who may not know, go read 1 Corinthians 13, Verses 4-7 specifically. It’s good. Challenging. But Good! So if that’s Godly love, then what does the counterfeit look like? Well for starters, a counterfeit doesn’t blatantly look counterfeit. If it did it would be easy to recognize it as such. Instead it usually posseses partial truths. Sometimes counterfeit is hard to recognize. Whether it is disguised by lust or an overwhelming emotion, it is often motivated with an intention other than selflessness.

Selflessness- my, oh my, what a strong word– the  very best word I can come up with to define the word “love.” IF you can learn to love people selflessly, then you truly understand what love is. I am convinced that true love is the most powerful force in the universe. It has the power to erase prejudices. It possesses the grace to forgive the most heinous acts. It has the ability to overcome every boundary that the human race can set before it. It can erase all fear, restore all hope, and establish peace. Just as darkness can’t exist in the presence of light, hate is unable to exist in the presence of love. So choose to love. Love hard. Love patiently. Love kindly. Love with forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Love fearlessly. Love completely. Love Selflessly.  Be brave. Allow your heart to love so hard that it can be hurt. Love people in a way that you hurt with them and for them. Love passionately. Because it’s worth it, and because it’s how you desire to be loved. God loves us that way–through a lens of forgiveness, through a lens of hope. And if you dare to love in such a way as this, I promise you, You WILL change the world. Yes, it’s scary. But it’s a beautiful kind of scary. Sure you can have your heart broken, but it can teach you to love deeper. No, not everyone will love you back, but choose to be different.  Take the risk. Make that new friend. Go on a new adventure. Listen to people. Learn their hearts. Change the world. Love is battlefield. Life is a battlefield. That battle is for our souls. Eternity is at stake for those who don’t know the love of Christ. BE that love. Point them to Jesus with your fearless pursuit of love! God is ALWAYS bigger than Satan. Love will ALWAYS be stronger than Hatred. And if you know Christ, You will NEVER walk alone! You will never go unloved. You are known and loved without reserve by GOD! Learn to be loved and learn to love well!

With LOVE, hope, and prayers,

Britt

Never Hopeless

Let’s be honest– in a world where more bad is talked about than good, where people care more about themselves than their neighbors, and where characteristics like integrity and trustworthiness are hard to come by, it is difficult to live by the motto “never hopeless.” I’ve spent the last year and a half of my life telling people that I felt “hopeless” in certain areas of my life. Feeling overwhelmed by things that I couldn’t control–Bad relationships, heartbreak, broken friendships, difficulties in ministry, difficulties with work, etc.  I can truthfully say that the season I am currently starting to come out of, has been one of the darkest ones of my life. I’ve doubted God’s sovereignty, I’ve doubted His presence in my life, and at one point I even told Him that “if this is all life was about, if this was all He had for me, I wanted Him to take me home.” I was tired of hurting. I was tired of feeling helpless. I was tired of fighting for people that just didn’t care about me. I was tired of praying and trying to grasp onto this thing called hope. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired– But GOD was working something out in me!

God reminded me one day, that He could do exactly what I asked Him to do in that moment of despair! He could indeed take me out of this world with one word. And to be honest, it scared me. The truth is; that I was allowing my hurts to control my thoughts. I allowed the opinions of others to penetrate my soul so deeply, that their opinions of me changed how I thought and felt about myself. I allowed my circumstances to control my faith. Brother and sister, let me stop right here and say– DO NOT LIVE THIS WAY. It’s a dangerous path when we become more focused on our mountains and our storms than we do the ONE who can move or stop them.  Suddenly that hope that came so easy at first, those Bible verses that you’ve worked so hard to memorize, those simple prayers that you were taught don’t seem to bare the weight of the trials of life. There’s an old “bible-ism” (YAY!! made up word) that goes something like this: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” That my sweet friends–IS A LIE! (and it’s not in the Bible– seriously, go look– you won’t find it).  God will absolutely give you more than you can handle and here’s why:

To build your FAITH!  Faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1 KJV) God wants to rock our worlds. He wants our unwavering devotion. He wants us to trust Him and love Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, strength. He wants all of us. Our fears, our doubts, our hurts, our insecurities, our bodies, our relationships, our jobs, our time, our money– There is not a single area in your life or part of you that God is not interested in.  Why? Because you ARE worth it to Him. You were worth Jesus’ blood on that cross. You were worth the sacrifice that God made because He loves you. What’s hard is learning to trust God’s sovereignty is the midst of life’s storms– because it’s not comfortable. And at times, it just hurts. Like raw, real, ugly cry kind of hurts. But how sweet it is to know that My God can take my brokenness and make me beautiful. He can use all things to the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28 NIV). Storms of this life were never meant to separate you from God– they’re there to pull you toward Him. Think about it– when Jesus and the disciples were on the boat and the big storm came, the disciples were afraid and they woke up Jesus who did what? He spoke “peace, be still” and the sea was silent. We are the vessels, and the storms of life may be beating against us. We may feel like we’re about to drown. But take comfort. The same Jesus that was asleep on that ship is living inside of you. Trust in Him to calm your storm.  Keep moving towards God. Choose hope– because our hope which is JESUS CHRIST is the same today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Our hope doesn’t change. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last year and a half of my life; it would be that a lot of things in life, we have absolutely no control over. We can’t control what comes in and knocks are feet out from under us. We have no power over choices or actions of other people. What we can control, however,  is how we respond to those storms. I choose God. I choose to dig deeper into God– because my faith is not built on shifting sand. It is built on the rock; on the cornerstone which is Christ. AND HE DOES NOT CHANGE WITH OUR CIRCUMSTANCES!  No, I don’t understand everything that has happened to me. I’m not happy about everything that I’ve gone through, but I am so thankful that God has somehow used my doubts to make me more like Him. So please brother and sister: don’t quit. Don’t allow life’s storms to take away your desire for God’s presence. Don’t be afraid to step out into the water and move towards your future because God can’t steer a parked ship.

With love, hope, and prayers for your life:

Britt