So here's the thing about love: it's a choice.
It has to be. If we were compelled to love—I mean, if our free will was taken away and we were forced to love—it would have no value. No meaning. The whole reason love is awesome is that it's a choice. You know someone has chosen to love you. You've chosen someone to love. Out of all the people in the universe, you chose each other.
That's pretty cool.
But it gets me when people say they can't help it; they can't help who they love. They just fall and that's it. Such is not the case, if you really look at it. Love requires upkeep. In order to maintain a love relationship, the people involved have to wake up every day and say, "Yep. This is the person I love. I'll make the effort today."
The effort is what makes the difference. Love isn't simply butterflies and heart palpitations. Love includes the things you do for that person. Not just physical things, like hugs or kisses, or leaving love notes around the house. But making him or her feel respected and cared for. Letting your love radiate in every choice you make—how you speak to each other, how you resolve conflict, how you continue to build your relationship.
It's when you stop making that choice that love seems to die. It's not gone forever; once you start making the choice again, love will return.
It's not easy to make the choice sometimes. We're human. We irritate each other. We can love each other deeply; we can hurt each other deeply. Sometimes it's a heck of a struggle to choose love over harsh, angry words. But it's a choice we have to make if we want a strong, powerful love.
This doesn't just go for human-to-human relationships, either. Our love for God has to be a choice. He could have made it mandatory. That's what separates us from the angels, though—our ability to choose God. He did that on purpose. He wanted our relationship with him to mean something.
Sometimes we have harsh words for God. Sometimes we back away from him. We choose not to love him. We choose not to be in relationship with him. The difference between us and God is that God's love never wavers. He always makes the choice to love us.
No matter who you are. No matter what you think you've done. No matter who has made you feel unlovable or unworthy. If anyone has ever told you God hates you or couldn't possibly love you, they are liars. What they're telling you is a lie.
Did you know that? It's a flat-out lie.
God doesn't withhold his love. Not from any of us. Not for any reason. His heart yearns for every one of us, every day of our lives.
We just have to make the choice to love him back. With our words, with our actions, with our whole heart.
What is your choice today?