Reflections of Love

Love

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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

A few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Life is a class, love is the lesson.” Hmm. That being the case, I’ve been held back in life – more than a few times – by my repeated failure to master love. It’s a good thing then that I am (re-)reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, aptly titled, The Mastery of Love.

“To master a relationship is all about you.” (p. 70)

So far, so good. My ego likes where this is going.

“The first step is to become aware, to know that everyone dreams his own dream. Once you know this, you can be responsible for your half of the relationship, which is you. If you know that you are only responsible for half of the relationship, you can easily control your half. It is not up to us to control the other half.” (p. 70)

On second thought, my ego does NOT like where this is going.

“If we respect, we know that our partner, or friend, or son, or mother, is completely responsible for his or her own half. If we respect the other half, there is always going to be peace in that relationship. There is no war.” (p. 70)

Well, maybe there’s no war in the context outlined above, but my ego feels sorely defeated. Of course, that’s to be expected when we try to claim responsibility for circumstances that exist outside of our control. Still, I – aside from my repeatedly battered ego – feel richly blessed in Spirit. Why? Because whatever lies beyond our control is well within reach of God. (Amen, somebody.)

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:29-30, NKJV

At the risk of adding more angst in the hearts and minds of hopeless romantics and 80’s music fans, love is – in truth – not a battlefield. (Sorry, Pat Benatar.) Love is simply love. Battles only ensue in love’s vicinity when we arm ourselves with fear about our worthiness to receive and reciprocate love, and when we fail to fully recognize the love that exists within us.

“If you open your heart, you already have all the love you need. There’s no need to go around the world begging for love…We have love right here inside us, but we don’t see this love.” (p. 95)

More specifically, we sometimes don’t see the love inside of us as enough, which can really be translated as: we don’t see ourselves as enough.

The truth is that other people’s love – or lack thereof – toward us does not determine our worth. Even our occasional lack of love toward ourselves doesn’t determine our true worth because no matter what we do, who we truly are remains in tact as a reflection of God – in whose love and likeness we were made – and His Holy Spirit, which lives within us. Nevertheless, what we do – and what we accept from others – can reveal what we perceive our worth to be.

“If you are starving for love, and you taste that love, you are going to do whatever you can for that love. You can even be so needy that you give your whole soul just for a little attention.” (p. 94)

The good news is that we don’t have to be Le Cordon Bleu-certified to whip up a tasty cuisine of love for ourselves because we are Divinely verified as offspring of love (i.e. God). Therefore, our ability to feed ourselves love is an innate part of who we are as actual beings of love.

So, the next time that we find ourselves on a war-torn rampage for love, may we quickly remember to look in the mirror to find that the love that we so desperately seek is not hiding from us but shining from within us right where we are, just as we are.

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Powered by love

Love
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Pexel

by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

“I was a victim of my foolish thinking/
Carelessly I’ve risked my love and my life/
There’s no self-pity, I admit I obliged/
Overpowered by love, I pretended to be blind…”
~ Stephanie Mills, I’ve Learned to Respect the Power of Love

A couple of months ago, a member of the Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Facebook page sent me a message with just one question:

“What is love?”

My eyeballs immediately rolled up toward the ceiling.

“Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile’…” I typed.

But after about the 10th “i”, I realized that neither the question nor its answer was as abstract – or as exasperating – as I first believed. So, after grudgingly deleting my initial response, I took a deep breath.

I then replied with a basic outline of the self-love tenets that I describe in my book. Yet, I was not satisfied with that response either.

Yes, acceptance, compassion, knowledge, approval, and respect are all aspects (i.e. powers) of love. And when all of these powers combine, yes, they do activate love to the highest power. But what, exactly, is this thing called “love” that is activated? Furthermore, if love is indeed the superpower, then who is its superhero? Who is the ‘Captain Planet‘ of love?

I took another deep breath. Per my M.O., I had multiplied one question into more questions. As I sat there, deep-breathing and staring deeply at the words on my screen, I waited.

Waited for what, you ask?

A thunderbolt, a light bulb, a pep talk from Wile E. Coyote, something that would give me peace of mind to soothe the inner conflict that my questions raised, and give me the frame of mind with which to solve the question that was originally posed to me. And then it happened.

If God is love, I thought, then love is God.

I sighed with relief. Not only had I solved the mystery of love in a matter of minutes, but I had also calmed my aching brain. However, my brain’s relief was short-lived as it eventually dawned on me that I had “solved” one mystery with another mystery.

Wait! Do I now have to explain God? (Oh my God, indeed.)

I was digging myself deeper into a hole of increasing ignorance, and I wanted out–fast. So, from my book I turned to another, known for its revelation of the mysterious nature of God and love: the Word.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2, NKJV

Well then.

Coupled with my love analysis, I then added the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians to my answer, which gives a definitive look into what love is and what it is not. Ah, it feels good to have the answers to challenging questions at your fingertips.

But what about the questionable situations that we often find ourselves in that seem to challenge our very being? What about the consequences we face that result from our foolish thinking, careless risks, and willful pretenses? Where are the solutions to the mysteries that are us? Oh, there I go with more questions.

Thankfully, though my questions multiply, the answer to them remains undivided: the Word.

The Word not only provides a wealth of information, but it also serves as a platform for illumination. While there are other resources – *clears throat* – that can help us clarify our understanding of ourselves, only Source can give us answers about us straight from the One who created us.

So, when I feel undone by my own doing, I cry and mope, and read and meditate on the Word. When I feel victimized by the viciousness of others, I cry and cope, and read and meditate on the Word. When I feel overpowered by the very thing that is meant to empower me, I cry and hope, and read and meditate on the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~ John 1:1, NKJV

As the Word was – and is – God, and God was – and is – love, then my reading of and meditation on the Word was – and is – my reading of and meditation on love.

Eureka!

No wonder I was able to point that Facebook group member’s inquiring mind in God’s direction. I have been so immersed in better loving myself that, by default, I have also immersed myself in better knowing God. After all, how can we embrace One without embracing the other? (Okay, that’s enough questions–for now.)

 

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