Monday, April 04, 2011

Unrequited love songs

day 29
God as the hopeless romantic

I write a lot of songs. I’ve been lucky enough to write with some amazingly talented people over the years. Some famous, many not, but all very passionate about their craft. Song writing is such a strange process because for some it’s not really a process at all; it’s more like an experience. For others it’s much more mechanical; show up at work, write some melodies, articulate some lyrics, throw in a catchy guitar riff and move on to the next one.

Many of my songs are inspired by my woeful love life or the romantic happenings of my friends. One of the recurring themes in my songs and in my life is “unrequited love”. I have a skill for being captivated by the uninterested. Don’t get me wrong this is not a cry for sympathy as much as it is a communication of empathy. Most of us have experienced that pit in our stomachs when someone we like walks into the room, and we are dying to confess our feelings but we don’t for one reason or another. Also, I imagine many of us have mustered up the courage to actually speak our heart only to be let down easy with some sort of thanks but no thanks.

Rejection hurts, whether we are paralyzed by the fear of it or immobilized by the feelings after it; it’s painful. I read an article recently about how great music comes from broken people. For me this is true, some of my favorite songs were reflections on my least favorite moments in life. There were the girls with whom I fell in love with the idea of them, the ladies with whom I landed quickly in the friend zone, and the women who I actually shared my feelings with only to be shot down like a bird in hunting season. Yet, I have no regret of being willing to take chances with love.

Does it hurt to not be loved back? Yes. I have been disappointed and let down by those who used me as their backup plan, as the emotional fill in or the fake boyfriend. Though, if I’m honest, I’m guilty of the same with others. Everyone wants to feel love; relational, brotherly, or otherwise. We crave it, live by it, and above all it’s part of who we are designed to be. It’s no wonder the great commandment is to love God and love others. When humanity is deprived of love it is deprived of the richest of all natural resources.
“Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep affections.”

The greatest unrequited lover is Love Himself. He has deep affections for us and sometimes we are completely oblivious. Sometimes we make God the backup plan. We give him a call when we’re a little sad or lonely. We send him a drunken text when things with whatever idol we’ve replaced him with aren’t going so well. We put Him in the friend zone and only allow our ability to give and receive love to go so deep.

One of the worship leaders I played with years ago used to say, “Christians don’t tell lies they just sing them”. “...I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone” or “All I want is you...” Grace is God saying, “I love you” and worship is us responding “I love you too”. Sometimes that looks like songs of adoration; sometimes it’s feeding the hungry or praying for the sick. Whatever it is that we do to not just love but do love is worship.

There is a God in Heaven who is desperately longing for a relationship with us. He is fascinated by us, enamored with our intricacies, unabashedly proud of who we are, and completely overwhelmed with compassion and a desire to see us walk in the fullness of who we are designed to be.
1 Cor 13
2 And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Would it be safe to say that I could be the most spiritually gifted believer on the planet but if I don’t have, poses, receive God as the fullness of love, then it profits me nothing?
1 John 4
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19We love, because He first loved us.

He loved us first, with no hesitation, and put all his cards on the table. The cross stands as a shameless display to win our affections. The Groom is down on one knee, ring box open, saying, “I know you don’t really know me, but you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve been watching you for a while, your whole life in fact, I love everything you do. I see so much goodness in you. I want to spend all of my time getting to know you better from now until forever. I’d be honored if you would let me.” And sometimes we say no.

I’ve written a lot of songs, some great and some not so great. But there’s an author writing the poems and prose of eternity on the pages of humanity – a pen dipped in the ink of compassion. How incredible is the invitation to have a part in this story?


mary christine said...

Good word, J. Holy Spirit's all over this topic tonight..... I had the same thing on my mind/heart earlier this evening. Good to see I'm not alone! He's longing after us with a love we have to experience to know. We can't study ourselves into loving Him or loving others or loving ourselves.....

Andrea said...

this is so good.. thanks for this.

Kylajoyful said...

I think I'm going to leave this open, and read it over and over today. I woke up this morning with my heart full of questions about God, including "who are you?". While I think I may ask that question for a very long time, your words and the scriptures you included, are pouring into my soul like spring water. Thanks. Love well.