Stop chasing butterflies

Image: Stop chasing butterflies

How to find a real and lasting love

I saw him and my heart started racing. My face was so red, it felt like I could cook an egg on it! I looked into his eyes and I could feel a spark. I was fifteen when I met Zac and it was instant physical attraction. Everything about him seemed perfect. I was certain he was the one.

We started dating. I wanted to be with him all the time. I spent 40 minutes after school each day catching the bus to meet him.

But eventually, the buzz faded. I stopped thinking his jokes were so funny. It felt routine to hang out at the beach. My heartbeat slowed. And I began to look for something else. Someone more exciting.

Simon was blonde and sporty, with the bluest eyes imaginable. I dumped Zac and started seeing Simon.

After him, there was another boy, who could make me laugh. And another, who listened to me. And another. I was stuck in a cycle, falling in and out of love. I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me. Because even though I lived for the buzz of a short-term relationship, I knew it was something more long term that would satisfy me.

Love comes from God

I asked a friend for help and laughed when she suggested I look in the Bible. She pointed me to 1 John 4.

Friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8-9)

Not only was there something wrong with my relationships with boys, but apparently I didn’t know God? I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew, deep down, that the Bible was right. When I was chasing these relationships, I was chasing something which made me feel good and reaffirmed my self-esteem. It wasn’t because of God at all. It was the next verse that made all the difference for me.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).

Somehow God had always loved me, and had shown it by sending Jesus to live and die in my place. God’s love was not something I could seize in a fleeting instant, it was something that he had chosen to give to me, a love that would last.

Forever love

This kind of love was a forever kind of love, which I kept running into in other places in the Bible. It’s a metaphor about God as a husband and his people as his wife. It’s in the Old Testament when the prophet Hosea is told to marry an unfaithful woman to highlight God’s continuous love for his people. Similarly, it’s there in the New Testament – Ephesians 5 compares Jesus and his Church to an ideal relationship, where Jesus is faithful and gives himself up to clean his people.

It is even in the very last book of the Bible, painting a picture of what heaven will be like.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

Through all of these verses, it was so clear to me that in my brokenness, I was the unfaithful bride. That I didn’t know how to love, and I needed God’s faithfulness. That’s what love is: a faithful love that will forgive me and cleanse me. A love that no boy, no matter how he made me feel, could replicate.

God’s love is enough

So what does this mean for me and the relationships I seek now? Am I still chasing butterflies?

I’m not, because I don’t need them. God is love, and his character is faithfulness. My relationships aren’t about what the other person can do for me anymore. Instead they are about showing God’s faithful love. I’m not living for a boy, I’m living for God.

And if there are butterflies? Well that’s just an added bonus.

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