February 14, 2008

“You Complete Me.”

Such a simple word. Such a complex experience.

Contrary to the creators of Valentine’s Day, a dozen roses, a candlelit dinner or even diamond jewelry is not what love is about.

Human love is complex. And it means different things at different times with different people. We love our children in a different way than our spouse. And our spouse differently than our parents. And our parents differently than our friends.

Our society bombards us with simplistic, distorted images of love—romantic, parental and platonic. With no better model, we set these examples in our minds and compare our reality to them. But, something doesn’t add up. Instead of feeling “complete” we feel let down.

Our loved ones disappoint us. They hurt us. They reject us. They leave us. They forget our birthdays. They don’t respond the way we want them to. Our feelings get in the way. We think, “If he loved me, he would know better.” or “She wouldn’t do that if she loved me.”

Love can bring out the best in us, but it can also bring out the worst—our insecurities, jealousy, ego, need for control, past hurts, addictions and on and on. We unfairly expect the people who love us to make us whole, to validate us and to expertly navigate the complex inner workings of “us.” When they fail we feel betrayed. And often a dissonant duet of self-pity and self-righteousness crescendos in the background.

But, guess what? Our significant others, family and friends don’t do this because they don’t love us; they do it because they’re broken and imperfect too.

One of the most life-changing sentences I’ve ever read was the first line of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life—“It’s not about you.” (Really?! I kind of thought it was.)

This is so true when it comes to love. For contrary to what Hollywood (and society) tells us, there isn’t a man or woman on Earth who can “complete us.”

But there is One who can—Jesus.

He is our model of perfect love. When others let him down or treated him badly (and did they ever!), he didn’t get his feelings hurt, base his self-esteem on their behavior or harbor bitterness. He actually loved the offenders more. Even as He hung on the cross in anguish and betrayal, He said of his crucifiers, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

How could He do this? Because He knew who loved Him. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:10)

When we accept Jesus, God’s gift of love, an amazing thing happens—we’re set free to love others selflessly and sacrificially. It becomes less about us and more about Him. We find that true love begins where our feelings end. And we can let our loved ones off the hook for making us “better.”

For as we cherish the embrace of our Heavenly Father we whisper, “Abba, Father, you complete me.” And pretty soon, every day is Valentine’s Day.


dougesp said...

I love your title ...from an ordinary girl... I think your writings are great for seeing how the bible versus fit into everyday life. I especially like the personal touches (except for the minivan... I drive a punch buggy, etc.) as it makes the writings truly personal instead of preachy (if I may steal a word from you). It brings in your great personality!!!

Your Alpha Buddy,
Doug (the other one)

Debbie said...


You have a true gift. You have insight and wisdom from above. Thank you for sharing

Love, Deb

Katherine said...

That's dead on. I think that is why so many couples end up in divorce court or seeking marriage counseling. We have a distorted view of love:worldly versus bibically.


Karen K said...

Kelli -
This is amazing! I love how you've taken the transformation of your life and exploded your faith in cyberspace! What a ride! I've enjoyed your columns in the Woodside newsletter and now I look forward to your inspiring words here! I'll have to turn my friends on to this! You have such a beautiful style of writing! What a gift! Could you do this in the "cell phone novel" market - like text messages of inspiration that bring glory to Jesus? You could write them from the tennis court - ha ha ha! You are truly blessed! Keep going!

Love, Karen K.

Christine said...

I found your Valentine's blog to be a match point! I feel inspired through you to share this message with everyone. There are so many lonely, brokenhearted people looking in empty places for love and affirmation. We need to share with them the love of God and Jesus. It's nice to see one of your many spiritual gifts in action! Love and Blessings,