Imitations of Love
Junk food for the soul
Love. We want it. We need it. And it's totally outside of our control.
We can't make someone love us.
We can't even make ourselves love some one else - or stop loving them!
It seems just to happen or not happen. How can something so central to our lives be so beyond our control or understanding?
Because we need love so much, we let ourselves be fooled by imitations.
If I own more or have a more important job than most, or am more beautiful or handsome, then people will admire me. That's sort of like love.
If I have sex, I have the attention of another person, and I give and receive pleasure. That's sort of like love.
If I indulge myself by buying luxuries or by being meticulous about my diet and exercise, I feel as though I am treating myself well. That's sort of like loving myself.
If I indulge myself in food or drink, or if I smoke, I am comforted. That's sort of like love.
But none of it is love, and the need doesn't go away.
Because we need love so much, we try to deny it.
We separate ourselves from others, telling ourselves that we're superior or inferior -- it doesn't matter which because it's just an excuse anyway. It's an excuse for avoiding the whole problem of love, as though love could just go away without taking some of our humanity with it.
We tell ourselves that we don't need other people, but our hearts cringe as we say it.
We eat and drink too much, and watch hours of TV to make ourselves less aware of our need for love.
We tell ourselves that our work is enough, but we sense ourselves growing hard and cold.
Denying our need for love only makes us less able to let love into our lives.
Because we need love so much, we try to force it.
We smile when we don't want to.
We say "I love you" when we don't mean it.
We have sex hoping our hearts will take the hint.
We pretend and pretend and pretend.
We are afraid of disturbing our relationships because this imitation love is all that we have.
Our strategies only distract us briefly from the problem.
Accepting the imitations of love, denying the need, thinking we can force love to exist - all of these interfere with getting the love that we need.
As long as we accept imitations, we'll never find the real thing.
What we need is to know without a doubt that we are treasured, valued, and desired.
Nothing can substitute for that.
We need to let ourselves get hungry for love. We need to realize that something absolutely fundamental is missing from our lives.
No one is ever going to love you enough to give you complete confidence that you are loved. No one has that much love in them. That's a hard truth, but an important one to learn.
Only God, who created each of us, can love us that much, and he does. That's also an important truth to learn. It changes the way we live our lives.
God treasures, values, and desires each one of us. God made each one of us because he wanted to love us. When we know God's enormous and unwavering love for us, then we are free to love others without it having to be perfect. We are free to receive their love however they give it.
God's love is the real thing. Don't settle for imitations.