As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, real love is not a feeling, although there is a component of love that brings about emotion. Sometimes the emotion gives a sense of “feeling good” or “feeling bad”. I think this is where our painful love songs tend to come from and the ones that add to the idea that love is exhilarating. It can be, because attraction can be euphoric. It’s supposed to be that way or no one would ever become involved with others. The euphoria we feel is experienced through the release of feel good neurotransmitters, or chemicals, from the brain. They, of course, trigger our emotions. Our hearts pound, our brains feel fixated on thoughts of a new connection with someone we feel very special about. These are wonderful! Don’t miss those moments.
Real love has to do with characteristics. One of the definitions of God is “love”. What is being defined are the characteristics of love and those of God. The bible sends a message that describes love in the form of the characteristics of God and what real love should be like. One, is that “love is patient”. Patience waits. It waits through adversity, questioning, difficulty, or even upon beautiful anticipated moments. Patience as a characteristic of love states, “I will wait for you until you catch up”, or “I will wait for you no matter what.” Patience brings the ability to persevere. Perseverance is the character muscle that is built up when we work on being patient with someone or even ourselves. Think about how painful building muscle can be. Building perseverance through patience can be painful as well. It means we have to WAIT. Keep in mind that waiting builds strength. When we learn to wait we become internally stronger and more stable in our ability to love.
Being patient also means to love during adversity or even bad behavior. We don’t have to love the behavior. This is where we get confused. It is possible to love a person but not the behavior coming from them. We don’t have to accept bad behavior either, but we can step back and wait because that is what love does. That is what God does with us. God waits. He waits through our bad behavior, through our growth spurts, through our hard decisions and through our distractions in life. Aren’t you glad He waits? If it were not truth, then it would mean that God would leave us, which is promised would never happen.
When I close my eyes and think of God waiting, I get a sense of a presence that is still, silent, and embracing. Being patient is easier with this image in mind. The next time you express impatience, take a deep breath and take this image with you. Think of God as being still, silent, loving, and waiting. Think of God as embracing and caring. Allow this image to fill your heart with love for whomever you feel impatient with. Even if you are feeling impatient with yourself, take the time to see the image of God in this way. Then take that image and visualize it as light moving into your heart and circulate it through your whole being. Use mindfulness to state to yourself, ” I am perfecting patience, and I am persevering. I am loving.”
Then thank yourself for taking on a characteristic of true love!
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry