1 Corinthians 13:4-8 say: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This is my absolute favorite verse, because love applies to absolutely everything in this world.
Probably the most obvious way of looking at it, and the most common, is to love your partner or future partner. I read a piece on Twitter once that said when you think you fall in love, you insert that person’s name into this verse, and if it doesn’t accurately describe them and their relationship with you then you deserve better. I never forget reading that because it really changes the way you look at potential boyfriends or girlfriends. It forces you to focus on the qualities of the person that lie deep beneath their appearance. I think it defines the conventional love of a Nicholas Sparks novel because it is so powerful. It is completely devoting your life to serving your spouse and truly being there for them through everything. It paints a picture of building one another up instead of tearing each other down. It paints a picture of a podium that you both stand on, and you both reach your hands down to help the other one up. It shows that love means no one gets left behind because you are both equal. Love always fights to come out strong in the end, because the magnetic pull between you and your partner is unbreakable.
Love your family, because even though you enter and leave this world alone, they were the first ones there. Blood is a pretty powerful bond and you wouldn’t have turned out to be the person that you are without your background and the people that raised you. Love your past and your culture and your family, be proud of who and where you come from. So many people in this world desire to know their family or just have one more day with their parents, so if you’re a lucky one, take advantage of it. Love your family with all your heart and don't ever be ashamed of them. Don’t ever get annoyed because they want to hug you good-bye or call you one night, and don’t ever push them away. Remember that people make mistakes and at the end of the day they’re still your mother or brother or daughter. Apologize and stand up for your love for them.
Love absolutely everything around you. Love your job and your home and what you eat for breakfast and the journey you embark on each day. Appreciate the opportunities that you are faced with because nothing stays gold forever. Remember this verse when you are going through a difficult time with your job or sport or anything really in life. Over the past couple months I have applied this to my track experience and my daily runs and have really learned to be more patient and appreciative of the opportunity I have to run at Baylor. I really do love this sport, and when I follow what I wrote about earlier, by replacing the word “love” with my sport, I really find what passion is all about. Running won’t ever fail me, I just have to trust God and His plan with my training. If I have a bad day, it’s okay because love always perseveres, so my training will persevere. If I focus on the now and try hard not to wish away time, I can really soak in the experience and love the process. So when I run, I repeat this verse and remember that love isn’t hard, love is a kind and beautiful thing that is full of hope for the future.
Love God, trust Him and be patient because you don't know what's coming. God has laid out a plan for you and it pains Him to see you angry at yourself or angry at the world. Love your creator because He is kind and caring, not angry or taunting. Remember in the hard times, that He is saying, “Got you,” and never, “Ha, gotcha!” God is never evil, He is truthful and powerful and wants you to just trust Him. God will never fail because He will always be there to listen to you. If you’re walking down the street or struggling with your family or even just zoning out while reading a book, say thank you. Tell Him you love Him and you trust Him. God is love and this verse is love, this is God speaking to us directly through scripture, showing us how to live our lives with an open heart, and always leaving plenty of room for Him.
Most importantly, love yourself. This is your life to live. And loving others and God and the experiences that surround you become so much easier when you love yourself. So take the time each day to relax and breathe for five minutes, to look in the mirror and smile at the reflection, to point out a good quality instead of always picking out your flaws. You are patient, your are kind. You do not envy, you do not boast, you are not proud. You do not dishonor others, you are not self-seeking, you are not easily angered, you keep no record of wrongs. You do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. You always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. You never fail. You are not a failure or a mistake or even a bundle of flaws. You are an incredible human being with a purpose, you are a bundle of uniqueness and without you this world wouldn’t be the same. So open your eyes and embrace everyone around you, approach each day with a positive attitude and act out of selflessness. Calm down and count to ten, let go of the past, do not snap or let the devil’s temper take over. Remember this verse and repeat it to yourself and live a life of truth and smiles and love. You are made out of love and you are full of love, so spread it around.