What kind of books do you like to read? I read a wide variety of genres, and a lot of non-fiction because I'm a pastor and it's sort of a job requirement, but when I just need to relax and recharge, I like love stories, and here's why:
1. Love stories remind me to feel. When I'm running around doing business, my head supersedes my heart. I'm all work and no play. I start to forget what it feels like to love, to have passion, to care deeply. Love stories remind me to let my heart be a part of my thoughts and my actions.
2. Love stories remind me to live passionately, and that passionate living is not easy but it's worth the trouble. The main character in a love story I read recently expresses her frustration with only having a part-time relationship:
"I want it all, not just an hour a night of feeling like I'm the queen of the whole world. I want the arguing. I want the slow kisses after breakfast and the struggle to see if we can afford to buy something we really want. I want to look at what I've done with my life with pride when I get to the end."*She wants to live with passion. Her words remind me what it feels like to give life my all, and especially to give God my all. Love stories remind me that I don't want to live only halfway committed or halfway engaged, even though so often that's so much easier and leaves me much less vulnerable.
3. Love stories remind me that relationships are tricky but worth the trouble. The plot of every romance novel involves some kind of complication. The only way to solve the issue is to walk through it. Things may not always work out as quickly or as nicely in real life as they do in stories, but sometimes they do. If we don't try, they don't work out at all.
4. Love stories remind me what's important. When life turns upside down and it's hard to know what's right or what's real, love stories remind me that the Beatles were wise when they sang, "All you need is love..."** God is love (1 John 4:8) and Jesus told us that love is what matters most in the greatest commandment: "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbors as yourselves." Remembering to put love at the top of my priorities reminds me to keep God at the top, too. Remembering love reminds me how important my family is, and the importance of relationships with people.
5. Love stories remind me of the greatest love story of all - God loved us so much that he gave his only son to die for us so that we might have a relationship with him now and forever! The Bible is one great big love story about God's love for humanity. Whether or not we are feeling the love at this very moment, God's love for us is constant and faithful. Jesus sacrifice on the cross for us is a vivid display of the depth of God's love.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. --Ephesians 3:17-19
May you know the blessings of God's amazing love today and every day!
* By Carolyn Brown
** My favorite version of the Beatles' song is the one in the movie Love Actually (2003)