Love Lets Go

Tis the week of Valentine’s Day. Sports radio spots make me want a dozen roses and the elementary school Valentine’s Day party prep is still on the undone side of my to do list. We’ve sent love letters to Colorado loved ones and will be writing our family love letters soon- Drew and me to each other and one in tandem to each of our 3 kids. Artistically we are challenged, but in loving, we are genuine.

More than roses, or letters, or parties however, I’ve been thinking about love this week with one phrase coming to mind over and over:”Love lets go.”

Best I can figure, from my imperfect practices, my faults and failings, and in my most humble estimation, real love lets go of fear, control, and self. heart

1 John 4:7ff equates God as source and substance of love. John gives the definition of God, as love (v8). John writes that love is a verb God does and a noun we’re offered to live inside. The realest love means we can trust the one who loves us. That’s why the section ends with 4:18, “Such love (the trusting-someone-trustworthy kind) has no fear, because perfect love (healthy, harmonious, complete and mature love) expels all fear.”

Love lets go of fear. 

Fear that says, “I’m not worthy of being loved.”

Fear that says, “If I risk loving another so much, I might not be loved back.

Fear that says, “I cannot offer forgiveness…I have to know I’m right.

Fear that says, “Will this love last?”

On my wedding day, I wondered how I could love Drew enough as a 23 (almost 24!) year old to last our whole life through. I was afraid for a moment, but secured by the promise of 1 John 4:17-, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” I could let go of the fear that the future might destruct or depress our love as we set out to grow our marriage up in God.

 Love lets go of control. 

Ever since the Fall, the preacher on Sunday proposed, humans have sought to replace love with power. Then he used a quote from Henri Nouwen that was something close to this, “It is often easier to control people than to love people. Easier to try to be like God, instead of being loved by God.”

Almost as theologically sound, is the poster hanging by my laundry room that’s entitled, “How To Really Love a Child”– I’ve referenced it before as it’s simplicity in my constant repetitious reading, instructs me as I sort and fold. One line purports, “Say YES as often as possible.”

When my kids ask for my permission to build something out of popcorn peanuts, or come down with crazy hair and an out of season shirt, I’m tempted to say “No.”, not “Yes.” My parental power can be easily abused, and at other times is absolutely essential. To say, “Yes” is to yield a little of my control to my three. Love lets things that don’t really matter, (clothes, hair, messes) be matters I don’t control.

In the love I extend as a parent, love lets go.

Love lets go of control so the other person can grow to become who they are.

Love lets go of control so the other doesn’t feel burdened with expectations, or nit-picked ad-nausea.

Control breeds rebellion. Love grants freedom.

As a mom, I want to let go so my kids can grow. Personality-wise, I’m tilted towards control and must climb towards love, no matter what, instead of fixing, and because they are preciously little and much of what happens can be granted a freedom “Yes”, instead of a controlling “No”.

andi's hearts feb 2010Love lets go of self

Love does not pursue it’s own agenda, its own elevation, or its own interests. Love gives so another can receive.

Emerson’s “Gifts” Essay, from 1844, includes this quote, “But our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only [true] gift is a portion of thyself.”

To really love another is to let go of yourself to be loved.

To be open to receiving love, undeserved, unabashed, and non-circumstantial from the One who is Love, and the sacred others we have in our lives, is the foundation from which we can launch to love another.

To really love is to risk offering and receiving love. It is not only one way, but both.

Happy Valentine’s Day, may you GET and GIVE, GREAT love.








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