(16)And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (17)In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. (18)There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(19)We love because he first loved us. (20)If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (21)And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I have known for awhile that I did not know how to show my love for others, and sometimes I even questioned if I actually loved anybody. As defined by Merriam-Webster, to love is "to hold dear: cherish." If I take this one step further, to cherish is "to feel or show affection for, to nurture."
I have a hard time giving love. To give love means I may not receive it back, and honestly, this scares the crap out of me. I have recently gone through a very childish phase where I thought the world should revolve around me. People should get to know me because I'm a good person. People should want to be my friend; I should not have to seek their friendship. I expected life to be handed to me on a platter. It was all about me.
I have a hard time receiving love. Honestly, I sometimes feel like I am not a good enough person to get the time and attention I occasionally get. I really do not like accepting somebody else's generosity. When Matt offered to help me when he didn't have to, he looked directly into my eyes and said he wanted to. He wanted to see me reach my potential. I am truly humbled (to tears) by those who are completely generous mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I wish, hope, and pray to be the same some day.
Back to the passage. How can I live in God when I cannot live in love? Friends do things for one another without question. Friends do things for one another without ulterior motives. Friends do things (even things they don't want to sometimes) for one another because they love each other.
There is no fear in love. I am really at peace with this verse. How can I fear weight loss when I have such deep-rooted friendships that will not change even if I do? If anything, these friends will keep me in check. And if the friendships don't last, they were obviously not made in love, so it will weed out my true friends. All I can do is improve and become better and greater than what I once was.
For those faithful friends (family is included in the definition of friend) who have been by my side this whole time - thank you. I keep telling myself I need to be a better friend, and I will be from now on. By the grace of God, I know how to love and open my heart.