What is Love?


What is it?

We’re all looking for it, longing for it, from the little girls who play dress-up to the bitter cynics who do their best to shred idealism.

We tell ourselves love is not real. Love is a joke.

We won’t fall for it again.

We won’t let ourselves get hurt again.

In one of my favorite books, The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton), one of the main characters is trying to process the fact that the only person he loves is dying.  “If he’d been like me he’d never have been in this mess… you get tough like me and you don’t get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothin’ can touch you…”

We try to tell ourselves that. We try to believe in American individualism; that we can do this on our own; that we don’t want anyone to help us.

That we don’t want anyone to love us.

Yet silently, in the 3 a.m. fear, in the empty flirtation on a Saturday night, in the meaningless sex our culture feeds us, in the romance movies and novels, we’re still chasing after the love that will fill us up.

And we’re missing it.

Love isn’t a happy feeling.

Love isn’t sex.

Love is backwards.

Love is scary.

Love is crazy.

Love shouldn’t exist in a world that believes in survival of the fittest.

Love is in those moments I forget the hurt that has made me reject love.

Love is the unguarded moments where I drop my old baggage and let Him love me.

Love is in the unexpected- when He shows His love so plainly I can’t help but twirling, dancing, leaping in the pouring rain.

Love is arms stretched open, soaking it all in.

Love is a Man bleeding for me while I spit in His face.

Love is something I can never fathom. Love is immeasurable.

I’m scared of love.

I try to trade it for cheap, safe imitations.

We all do.

But Love has not stopped seeking us. Love is pursuing the delinquent lover. Love is not forgetting the past; it is redeeming the past. Love is pouring from His beautiful hands; His hands some would call ugly; His nail-scarred hands.

Love is passionate, overflowing. Love is dancing madly, love is singing at the top of your lungs, love is forgetting the unbelief, love is letting go of baggage.

Love is not safe.

Love is an ocean.

Love is letting go.


This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 

-1 John 4:10



2 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. Mary! I love this so much. Thanks for posting! Danny wrote something like this a couple years ago. I’ll have to send it to you!

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