I coached myself saying, "If I make this basket, then she loves me."

After the ball slammed against the rim and bounced to the asphalt, I said, "Ok, the best out of 10."

Just like when I was a teenager, every one of us is in search for love. Experts say more than 2 billion minutes a month are logged online by people searching for love.

Additionally, many of the top songs on the Billboard Charts deal with love, and the most successful movies each year always feature a romance between the leading man and woman.

Where does this universal desire for love come from? Observe the myriad relationships around us.

From birth, a baby needs the love of a father and mother. As a child grows, they develop friendships -- often finding a best friend. Then, when our son or daughter enters into middle and high school, they discover "boys" and "girls." This begins their search for that special guy or gal.

In most cases, whether we are young or old, our search for love is pretty one-sided. It is more about our needs and our dreams than the other person's. Even so, we still can manage to find someone and experience true love -- at least for a moment. But then disillusionment shows its heart-breaking face, and we find ourselves standing speechless as our dreams for true love fall to the floor shattering into thousands of pieces.

When emptiness, disillusionment and shattered dreams become the symbols of our search for love, it is because we have missed the mark.

God, our creator, placed the desire for love within us. Why? To drive us home. In other words, to drive us back to himself.

When we try to find perfect love anywhere else, we miss the mark. It is written "love is from God" (1 John 4:7) because "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Ultimately, it is not the perfect man or woman we are searching for, it is God. Mistakenly however, we exchange the pursuit of something heavenly for something earthly, something eternal for something temporal.

True love ultimately finds its fulfillment in knowing God. He embodies all the human heart, soul and mind longs for. When we find God and follow him, we find love. May God through his son, Jesus Christ, be your hope for today.

Clint Decker is president and evangelist with Clay Center-based Great Awakenings. cdecker@greatawakenings.org