Have you ever gone a long time without eating and felt your stomach groan with hunger? In those situations, what was your body telling you? Obviously, it was crying out for some nutritious food. Yet, how often have you consumed chocolate candy out of desperation or convenience, just to get rid of those hunger pangs? I’ve done it several times. What happens?
Chocolate Highs Initially, feeding your empty stomach with chocolate feels great. The ache goes away, your hunger disappears, and all of the sugar and caffeine hitting your system gives you the sensation of feeling “high.” Buzzing with bliss, you wonder why you don’t eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
About thirty minutes later, however, everything changes. A sharper pain than the one before grips your stomach, and your head becomes dizzy. All of your pleasant feelings degenerate into discomfort worse than your original hunger.
What caused this pain to result? Was there something wrong with the chocolate? No. Chocolate candy is safe to eat, but it doesn’t contain the nutrients necessary for your body to survive. Therefore, when you are hungry, chocolate alone cannot help you. Instead, it makes you feel worse. For your body to thrive, it must receive a steady diet of nutritious food. Then you can enjoy chocolate as a fun dessert. However, you will get sick if you try to live solely on chocolate.
Unfortunately, many singles enter dating relationships by trying to “eat chocolate on an empty stomach.” They approach one another with hungry hearts, hoping that the other person will feed them. This condition can be especially acute when a man or woman feels lonely, rejected, or starved for acceptance. Without love, people become desperate for something to fill the void inside their hearts. A romance, with its potentially sweet taste and emotional highs, seems the likely solution to their hunger.
Looking for love in all the wrong places As a single adult, I was hungry for love and searched repeatedly to find a woman to fulfill me. Every new romance that I entered felt like a chocolate sugar high, with soaring emotions, exhilarating self-esteem boosts, and a sweet sense of security. In the headiness of romantic rapture, my heart thought that a woman could fulfill me forever. Nevertheless, the euphoria inevitably collapsed. Sometimes, it took weeks. Other times, it took months. My wife’s happiness vanished after a year of dating and seven months of marriage.
Regardless of how wonderful a new dating relationship feels, the romantic bliss will eventually wear off. Human affection may taste good, but, like chocolate, it cannot give our hearts what they need for survival. The true hunger of our hearts is to be accepted unconditionally. We need more than just attention, friendship, or sex. We long for someone to love us despite our faults, mistakes, and imperfections. Our hearts remain hollow when no one completely accepts us.
Unconditional Love Humans, however, cannot give each other unconditional love. We get upset or impatient when someone fails to make us happy. Furthermore, we base our love for someone on how well they perform. The root of this problem is sin, which causes constant mistakes, conflicts, and disappointments. No one is accepting, patient, and forgiving all of the time. Therefore, human love is like chocolate because the pleasure doesn’t last. None of us have the ability to accept people unconditionally. The affection we give to each other may taste good initially, but the thrill disappears as our selfish motives demand performance. And this problem lasts from the cradle to the grave.
I don’t mean to sound fatalistic, but we must acknowledge the reality that human love is performance-based. It always has been and always will be. You can date anyone in this world, but that person cannot give your heart the unconditional acceptance that it craves.
This truth also applies in marriage. Someone once asked a pastor, “What is your wife’s opinion of you?”
He replied, “It depends on what day you ask her. Some days she loves me. Other days, I drive her crazy, and she wonders why she married me. My wife and I wish we could love each other perfectly, but it is impossible since we both sin and make choices that hurt each other. God is the only Person who loves us regardless of how we act.”
Is marriage the answer? Consider those around you. How many of your married friends warn you that marriage is tougher than you think? Yet, how many of your single friends complain of feeling incomplete without a spouse?
All too often, we neglect what our hearts really need and attempt to satisfy ourselves with a cheap substitute called romance. In essence, we try to live on an unhealthy diet of chocolate. But our hearts cannot survive under the demands of performance-based love. We inevitably burn out, wear out, or drop out, from trying to please others.
In my case, I had to reach total exasperation before I grasped that dating and marriage would never fulfill me. I appeared successful to many people, because I’d had several girlfriends and reached my goal of marriage. Those romances, however, never fulfilled me. Either I required too much of a woman, or she expected too much of me. We were sincere in our desire for lasting love, but we couldn’t make it happen.
Real love is out there You don’t need a new set of dating principles or techniques. A perfect love waits to delight you. This love, however, cannot soothe the ache within your heart until you stop chasing after romantic passion or passionate sex. Those shallow quests lead to emptiness. The hunger in your heart is for real passion.
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again.” (John 6:35 NLT)
Passion Awaits You Stop settling for less than what your heart truly desires. A higher love waits to take you beyond the jaded, cynical disappointments that result from most dating relationships. No longer does your heart have to survive on the cheap chocolate of empty romance. You were made to experience more than just manipulation, performance, or selfish indulgence. You were created by God to share in the ecstasy of real love, not just when you get to heaven but in life on earth as well.
Before you can truly love another person, however, you must first understand how much you are already loved. So open your heart, and prepare for the passion that awaits you.
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
Living with hope If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.
Is this the life for you? If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.
Copyright © 2005 Rob Eagar, Used by Permission.
Rob Eagar is the author of “Dating with Pure Passion” and speaks full-time to over 10,000 singles and young adults each year. His message has been featured nationally on the CBS Early Show, CNN Radio, and The Los Angeles Times. Rob resides with his wife, Ashley, in Atlanta, GA, where they encourage single adults at North Point Community Church. For more details, visit www.robeagar.com.