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Keep Yourself Worthy of Love

I’ve taken up reading my Anne books again … always a favorite pastime, but this time, I’ve been noticing so many more quotes, thoughts, and ideas that resonate with me in a whole new way than when I read these dear books as a child. As an adult, I can now relate to the characters and their thoughts and ideals in different ways, and the wisdom from an older age speaks gentle reminders to me … especially in the love story that is Anne & Gilbert’s.

Just the other day, I discovered this passage from Anne of Avonlea:

“If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to vex her soul. Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert’s future there was always a girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess. Even in quiet Avonlea there were temptations to be met and faced. White Sands youth were a rather ‘fast’ set, and Gilbert was popular wherever he went. But he meant to keep himself worthy of Anne’s friendship and perhaps some distant day her love; and he watched over word and thought and deed as jealously as if her clear eyes were to pass in judgment on it. She held over him the unconscious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, wields over her friends; an influence which would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals and which she would as certainly lose if she were ever false to them. In Gilbert’s eyes Anne’s greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls – the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor. Anne held herself apart from all this, not consciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in its motives and aspirations.”

Gilbert “meant to keep himself worthy” of Anne – and Anne was a girl worthy of being won over by such a man as Gilbert. What would the world be like if we still had such standards and aspirations? If men strove to be the best they could be because the ideals of their women inspired them and challenged them? If women kept themselves as jewels to be won and never let their standards falter or lower? What if we didn’t give into the cry of the culture to just settle for anyone because we have to have that boy or girl by our side? What if we denied ourselves instant gratification and waited for that which was truly worth it? What if we inspired one another and kept each other accountable when it grew hard? And what if we heralded causes that were noble and beautiful – like a love worth living and dying for – instead of a passing three-month fling?

Yes. You are correct. I know very little about love. But one thing I do know is the love of Jesus. And when you have come to know the heart of your Savior, He whispers beautiful pictures in your ear of what a love story on earth should look like and what kind of ideals one should have. I don’t believe they are unattainable. I believe they are high, which means not just anyone will meet them. But I believe that we should all be striving for the highest standards, spurring each other on in the process … becoming those men and women worthy of great & beautiful love stories. We should never settle for less, because God created us to live out the picture that He’s painted of His own love story. And when we refuse to cave to the popular way of the culture around us, and instead cling to His standards, He is most beautifully put on display.

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