Finding True Love

AS a teenager I felt very unloved. There seemed to be many reasons for this. I was told-often-that I wasn't pretty enough, or thin enough, to get a boyfriend. Well, I was desperate to change things. I followed the advice of television advertisements and magazine articles on how to be popular. I bought and used the soaps, creams, shampoos, and toothpastes that were supposed to result in instant popularity. I dieted, I worked out-I even considered plastic surgery, though I never went through with it. None of my efforts had any long-term effect. The harder I worked on myself, the more problems I found. It seemed as if no amount of money would fix what was wrong. What a relief it was to find out that there was a better way-an effective way-to find the love I craved. The first thing I needed to do was to find out what love is. Many people feel that love is abstract-so abstract that they do not know what it is or what it should be. We tend to think that love is just a good feeling that one human being brings to another. That would mean that to have love you first have to find someone to love you. I felt as if I'd done everything and still failed to find that ''someone.'' I didn't want to keep waiting-and filling the time with fantasies and chocolates-so I began to pray. I found out that I was already loved-by God! I didn't have to search for an elusive ''someone'' to love me; God's love was already pouring out on me. But it's more than that. God doesn't just love us; He is Love, divine Love. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, points out in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scrip-tures: ''Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, com-bine as one,-and are the Scriptural names for God. All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God. These are His attributes, the eternal manifestations of the infinite divine Principle, Love'' (p. 275). Since God is good and only good, His love brings freedom, joy, companionship, trust, honesty, purity, harmony, integrity. This is true love, and we already have it! The love I'd been working so hard to get from other people was mortal, finite, and conditional. A relationship based on that kind of love was subject to jealousy, dishonesty, infidelity, selfishness, inharmony, suspicion, and other unloving elements that would choke out the joy of the relationship. Divine Love is infinite, unconditional, freely given to all. God gives His love and guidance to every one of us, His children. He deems us worthy of His love because He made us that way; He made us spiritual, perfect, lovable! And our spiritual identity has nothing to do with having a certain body type, belonging to a certain ethnic group, or being at a particular socioeconomic level. When I began to accept God's love, when I accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as the true expression of His love, I was able to accept myself as the perfect child of God. I was free and happy for the first time. I knew I was loved. When we acknowledge Jesus Christ as the living example of true love, we open the door to loving one another on a more reliable basis. The Bible states in First John: ''Let us love one another: for love is of God'' (4:7). Any conception of love outside of God is false. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is man's example of God's love for His creation. Through Jesus we learn the true love that is spiritual and God-bestowed. We don't have to invent our own concept of love. The love of God is already ours to feel and express. And we can accept divine Love for ourselves and everyone else too. This is how we find the true love that is based on the true concept of God and man as found in the Bible. I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life . . . nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39

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