Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You Sure About That?

I was 14 the first time I ‘fell’ in love.

He was 16, and we would often cruise around in his little, white coupe. The night he told me he loved me was the night I played him Deana Carter’s song, That’s How you Know it’s Love.
…Nothing and no one can stand in your way, to keep you from saying what your heart is dying to say…
While I couldn’t seem to make myself actually say the three little words, I tried to express to him the best I could how I felt and the song seemed to suffice. I floated home and downstairs to my basement where my oldest brother and his girlfriend were watching a movie.

In some sort of daze, I gleefully told them that I was in love.
He told me I was stupid.
Of course, it was followed up with a millions reasons why I was too young to be in love and while his words were crushing to my naïve heart, there was a part of me that knew that everything he was saying was true. I went back to my very new boyfriend the next day and told him we needed to start over and not rush into ‘I Love Yous’ any time soon. He was gracious and understanding and we dated for another seven and a half months after that.

One of the things my brother had said over the years that stuck with me was that if you’re going to tell someone that you love them, you better be able to back it up. Meaning, if you’re going to spout out the words, be ready to get down on one knee or put a ring on your finger. It made sense to me. It still makes sense to me.

I fear we exist in a world where ‘I Love You’ rolls off our tongue entirely too easily. And while, yes, especially for those of you who are Christians, one of our biggest missions in life is to love everyone…but just because we are ‘supposed’ to, it doesn’t mean that we do. And if we don’t, then why do we say that we do?
And if we really understand the sacrifice of what it means to love someone, why aren’t we a little more reserved when declaring our love for strangers, friends, boyfriends, family, etc.?

When I tell you I love you, I want to mean it. When I tell you that I love you, it means to me that I'm placing you above me (or at least I'm trying). It means that I will sacrifice time, and money, and energy to make sure that you’re okay—even if it comes at the expense of my own heart. It means that I'm trying to not remember the ways that you’ve hurt me, and I'm trying to not let your flaws dictate how I treat you. It means that I hope for you. It means that I understand that it’s not always about me.

I don’t tell people I love them very often…and when I do, you should know that I never take those words lightly. I try to mean what I say, every time.

I’ve been appalled out how quickly people are to shout these words from the rooftop to each other. Are you one of these people? Perhaps you mean it when you say it each time…but I want you to remember the weight of these words. I want you to remember the cost of these words. These aren’t words you say, just because you’re supposed to….these are words you say because you mean them.

Especially in relationships…be wary of how often and how quickly you throw out these three. Can you back them up? When you say these words, will you choose to keep saying them again and again? Or, is there even the slight possibility that someday you might stop…? Do you remember that love isn’t just a feeling?

There’s no room for falling out of love. There’s no room for choosing to not love someone anymore. There’s no reason to mess around when it comes to these deep and personal matters of the heart. The moment you utter those words, it’s not just your heart on the line anymore.

And, learn a little lesson from me. If you can’t bring yourself to even say the words, there’s probably a good reason for it.

It’s time for a little self-examination.
Who are saying ‘I Love You’ to?
Do you mean it?
Truly and honestly?
Are you willing to back it up?
Then do it….or else keep your mouth shut. 

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