The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Today being Valentine's Day, it felt right to kick it off with the first fruit: Love. Love can get tangled up and thwarted by many unlovely things: fear being my greatest struggle. Perfect love casts out fear and yadda yadda, but this is not easily done.
For most of my life, I never understood why anyone pursued love relationships. Honestly, it seemed like too much work, pain, and disappointment. I didn't realize those things aren't love issues. They are human issues. No one, not you or I, is incapable of breaking a promise or being impatient or myriad other ways we hurt one another. Choosing to communicate, forgive, heal, and trust is apart of the process of building intimacy.
Love requires vulnerability. Not only romantic -- I mean all kinds. Being loved has a lot to do with being known, I think. And being known requires an exchange. Sharing. Inviting. Until a little more than two years ago, I didn't really know how to receive love. Our figurative "walls" can be necessary protection, but in the right climate, there's gotta be an unlocked door or an open window somewhere.
I have a fear of water's strength, while also awestruck by its necessity. I feel the same way about love. Its force can be incredibly dangerous -- passion morphing into things that might look like love at first glance, but aren't: infatuation, jealousy, codependency are a few examples. And yet, we need it to survive, to thrive and grow. It could destroy you -- or, propel you further into good, overflowing into every other facet of your life. I hope we choose the latter.