I remember the first time I saw The Notebook. Naturally deemed the most romantic love story of all time by the millennial generation, Nicholas Sparks captured the desires of every young girl’s heart. Whether it was the unlikely combination of a blue-collar boy and a wealthy city-girl falling madly in love, or their stubborn efforts to protect their love story, Noah and Allie were the ultimate #RelationshipGoals.
Unfortunately, the cinematic themes of our favorite movies have a track record for setting us up for failure when it comes to finding love in real-life. If I spend my life hanging out at carnivals waiting for my Noah to interrupt my ferris wheel ride with his charming one-liners, my pursuit of love is all wrong.
You can’t love a person before you love God.
Falling in love starts with God. I legitimately believe that it’s impossible to cultivate a healthy relationship with another person before you both fall in love with Christ on your own.
My sophomore year of college, I dated a guy who had been my friend for over 10 years. When we first started dating, it just made sense that we would make a great couple—we had been in each other’s lives forever. At the time, I had spent my life in church, and he began going to church just because I did.
Let me just start by saying, placing your faith in Jesus Christ to win points with your girlfriend is never a good way to start a relationship. I learned that even though I had fallen in love with God already, the Lord was not about to give my heart up to someone who wasn’t also in love with Him. I’m so so grateful for that today.
God has made a good habit out of saving what is given to Him to save. The trouble is that our human-ness typically keeps us from giving God anything, let alone our hearts. Don’t be fooled though, there’s no better keeper of our lives, our fears, our prayers or our hearts. Trust the journey that God has in store for you and know that he will save whatever is given to Him.
This world encourages loneliness. God encourages community.
Loneliness is a strong motivator for making poor decisions that stem from our emotions. We can love everything about our lives, and yet loneliness can cripple our world because of our human nature that desires companionship. God created us to dwell with Him and with each other. “Where two or more are gathered, I am there in the midst.”
The detrimental cycle of fulfilling an empty void with temporary “love” is the epitome of a Taylor Swift song. It’s a cycle that has caused millennials to “fall into infatuation”—falling in love, without ever being in love.
The truth is that chick flicks and social media are things of this world, that encourage both our loneliness and our actions in times of loneliness. The only way to truly love when you’re ready, and not when you’re lonely, is to start with God, and trust that His desires are yours. He will never leave you, and in Him, you surely will never be lonely.
Find comfort in your journey, and the person God has made you to be.
It can be really difficult to love God when we don’t feel like we have the strength or ability to love ourselves. God created each one of us, and we are made perfect in His image. The lies we believe about ourselves, about our appearance, and about our ability to love and be loved are the only things keeping us from a real relationship with the Lord.
In all reality, if you haven’t worked out how to love yourself and love God, you probably have no business trying to romantically love somebody else. But that doesn’t make you lonely. With God, you are never alone.
No matter what your circumstance is, God is the keeper of your heart, and He promises to fulfill the desires of your heart. Whether you’re 22 and married, or 35 and very single, embrace the journey that God has choreographed for you. It is not by mistake.
Don’t rely on loneliness to tell you when you’re ready to love.
Your life isn’t a romantic comedy or a dramatic chick-flick. You don’t need to find your real-life Noah or Allie, you just need to fall in love with Jesus Christ.
I have no doubt in God’s matchmaking skills. That guy knows love better than anyone. I also believe that loneliness does not exist in a place where God’s love dwells. If the Lord is in your heart, you’ll never spend a day lonely, and when it’s time to love, you will be ready.