Posted by Shauna Cowden on May 31, 2017
I remember years ago when the Facebook relationship statuses were Single, Married, Divorced, In a Relationship, and It’s Complicated. I also remember reading that years ago and thinking, “It’s Complicated? What in the world does that mean? Either you are in a relationship or you are not. What a stupid option to choose for your status!” Well, life has its way of teaching you things and you soon learn that, “It’s Complicated” really can be the best way to describe your current situation. Why? Love can be stressful. Love can be hard to figure out. Love can be so stinkin’ confusing. It’s just complicated.
Part of the struggle is in trying to know what love itself even is. Growing up I got most of my teachings on love from, wait for it, Disney. The beautiful stories of good triumphing over evil, where the beautiful deserving princess got the man of her dreams who was perfect in every way. He was always very handsome, emotionally and physically strong, intellectual, super wealthy and of course he promised her a bright and beautiful future free of stress and care. As an adult, I now look back and find it funny that the Disney movies always stopped at the wedding. They never showed Day 2 of marriage, or the first week of marriage, or the first year. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not at all faulting Disney in any way. I am a huge fan of Disney movies and their focus is on making children’s movies. But for me, growing up in the “Land of make believe” caused an expectation for reality. I thought that was the real world. My relationships, as long as I did everything right, would look like that because, I thought, that was what love is like. But alas, love is complicated.
What reality showed me is that people are great in so many ways, but no one is perfect, and in fact love, including how I allow myself to be loved and how I love others, is something I need to think through. What really does love look like? In what ways should I experience love? How are we to know? Answering these questions is very important.
In order to better understand this, we need to start at the beginning- In what ways should we experience love. Now when it comes to Moral decisions, like the answer to this question, there are several ways in which we can respond. We can allow Society to answer it for us, but their views change and aren’t always healthy. We can allow the government to answer it for us, but do we really want to get our understanding of love from politicians? Many of whom don’t have our best interests in mind and who are removed from our specific circumstances? We can come up with our own idea of what love is, but the challenge there is, How do we know? Who has influenced us to make us think that our belief on love is right? Or finally, we can get our understanding of love from a divine source. A source that is perfect in every form of goodness so that He brings some credibility to the discussion on love. And I think that it is here that we should place our bets. If God creates us and intends for only the best for us, then He, as our creator and infinite wise ruler, would be the best one to tell us how to experience that love that He is. See, what’s interesting about love is that the bible doesn’t just say that God is loving, rather it says that God IS love, meaning that God is love itself. So, if we want to experience and know what love is, we can trust what He says it is. And what does He say? That love is patient, kind, humble, not rude, selfish or unforgiving. Rather, it endures through the tough times, always trusts, always protects, it never fails. These attributes of a loving God, are the guidelines for a people who desire to experience love. Love isn’t just a fleeting emotion, or a quick side glance at an attractive person, rather love goes deeper, much deeper than those moments in time allow for. And because it goes deeper, the person showing you love cares not just for your feelings and emotions, but also has a respect for your physical body. You don’t have to feel that in order for someone to show love for you, they have to be privy to all of you. Notice that none of those attributes of love mentioned sex or anything physical. Why? Because sex is an expression of an already existing love, it is not the love itself. Meaning that you can experience love with someone without sex, because the sex act is the most beautiful and meaningful when it comes after love and a lifelong pledge to be committed to you and only you. This is why the Bible directs that sex happen after the marriage of a man and woman and not before. Not because God is somewhat out of touch with love and its desires, but because He is so much IN touch with love and wants every person to only experience it at its best.
So, does God care about my love life, what I do with my body, how I’m treated lovingly by others, and even how I should experience love? Absolutely, and that is why He demonstrates love for us both in his character and through His teachings. Why? Because love is, well, it’s complicated.
Come hear Alycia Wood speak at our next big youth event in Winnipeg this July.
Big Deal Questions is a one day event for students who are looking to think through answers to their big questions and it is also a safe place to bring friends who are not yet believers. No question is off limits and we will offer an invitation for students to encounter the Christian God.
The Big Deal Questions event this year will take place on July 15, 2017 at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg following our Summit on Human Rights. If you are between the age of 12-18, we hope to see you there! We are confident this will be a highlight for 2017!
Visit www.BigDealQuestions.com for more information