When I was a teenager I joined an introductory spirituality class with some close friends, their parents and one of my favorite teachers. We met in one of our homes and were led in some discussion and exercises by a woman whose name was Vida. This was being offered under the auspices of Scientology, and as a devout Baptist Christian I found a lot of what was said to be pretty outrageous. I am sure that I joined the group because all my closest friends were involved. However, one very interesting thing that Vida told us was that love was a choice.
At this time of hormones and puppy love, I thought this was a ridiculous idea, being somewhat preoccupied with adolescent feelings about one of the boys in the group. However, throughout the forty-plus years since then, this one comment has stayed with me as I have made my way in life. I have noticed in all my close relationships the intensity of my feelings has always waxed and waned. Many times I have had to remind myself to choose to love when I wasn’t feeling very loving.
When Jesus told us to love God, our neighbors, our enemies and ourselves, I think he meant for us to make a specific choice, regardless of our feelings. The good news is, when we choose to love, very often the feelings of irritation, anger, fear, boredom, restlessness (or whatever you personally struggle with) often change into feelings of love.