Growing up in the idyllic 90’s at the height of romantic comedies, Disney Channel and the wonderful world of Gushers, I lived in a marvelous time in history, but also in love stories. Beauty & the Beast came out when I was two, throughout elementary school I watched shows like Boy Meets World, at the start of high school The Notebook arrived in theaters, and my obsession with movies caused me to re-watch and fall in love with classic 90’s romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. I became obsessed with the idea of having an epic love story. But what happens when we get too focused on the story rather than Love itself?
From elementary school throughout college, every love story I watched I enmeshed myself so deeply into the story that I was constantly looking for a Corey to my Topanga, a Noah to my Allie, a Harry to my Sally. Any boy who slightly showed interest in me, I would figure out our story. Would this read like an epic love? Like the ones I had seen on television or in movies or read in books? Often times I would use the love stories I already loved and retrofit these boys into these characters.
Well, I have known him for such a long time, so he has to be Corey.... Nah, we just friends.
Next summer, meet a new boy, start to date. Well, yeah...I mean we have these crazy fights and we yell at each other a lot, but that’s okay. Noah yells at Allie, because he loves her right? Oh, no? Ok. Just kidding.
Well what about him? We have been good friends, who disagree and banter frequently, we can totally end up like Harry and Sally...Oh no, I guess not.
After every failed relationship I ever had, I always thought why didn’t it work out like the movies? Where was that swell in the music and the beautiful reunion? How could those characters fight so cruelly and still find a way to make it work? Why was my real life story not resembling their stories at all?
I was not created to imitate a story.
I was not created to act out a fantasy.
I was created to love and be loved by Love Himself.
It took me 19 years to realize that these love stories I loved so much were simply knock-off’s, a pale imitation, of true love. I was a freshman in college looking back on all of my past relationships realizing they never satisfied, they never worked because I had no concept of what true love was or what it looked like.
Then I opened by Bible, gathering dust on the shelf, and read this verse:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4: 9-12
This true story of real pain, real sacrifice, real joy, real love resonated in my heart more so than any other time before.
No Disney fairy tale, no Nicholas Sparks book, no Meg Ryan film could ever come close to capturing the beauty and depth of the love God has for me. Not because I deserve it, but because He gives it.
I’ll take that love, His love, over anything else this world or Hollywood has to offer.
God's love is better.