Wednesday, August 10, 2016

smile until you're happy

Lewis talks about feelings and marriage today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that we promise to stay with someone and love them all of our lives. We make those promises in the heat of our being "in love" with them. And what we're promising is not to always FEEL love for them, but to act in love.

We make the same promises to Jesus. He calls us to love everyone - even our enemies. And by agreeing to be Christians and to follow Him, we agree to do what He says... which is to love everyone. That, obviously, doesn't mean agreeing to FEEL love for everyone. We would be lying to God and ourselves if we said we FELT love for everyone (unless you're a very special, very loving person. I'm not.)

But as Lewis has pointed out, and as we've discussed previously in these blogs, when you ACT as though you love someone, you presently (usually) find yourself FEELING love for them as well. If there is someone in your life that you really don't like (and there are people like that in my life, I promise), if you treat them as though you cared about them, as though you were fond of them, as though you felt love for them... and if you consistently treat them that way... you will (probably) eventually come to feel love for them.

This applies to our marriages, too. Even when we don't FEEL love for our spouse, we should continue treating them as though we do. The feelings will come and go, but the action of love is what we're committing to, both in marriage and in our following Jesus.

Psychologically, they say that if you smile, even when you're not feeling particularly happy, you will fool yourself into feeling happier. The act of smiling will actually make you feel happier. So it is with love. When we practice love, even when we don't feel it.... we will eventually fool ourselves into feeling it, too.

God, thanks for helping us learn to love... by loving.

2 comments:

Donette Glenn said...

Amen!

julie reedy said...

That is how we are to treat everyone