I’ll never forget my absolute worst Valentine’s Day ever.
To start, I was single. Which may not sound like a big deal in and of itself , except that I was also recovering from a difficult breakup. I felt kind of lost. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.
Have you ever had one of those moments in life where it seems like EVERYONE has someone but you? I couldn’t even have a “girls night out” like I’d had in years past because this year, the girls were all out with their guys. To complete the miserable day- I was hundreds of miles away from my family.
I remember feeling really alone. No flowers. No chocolates. No notes. No one to tell me they loved me or to hold me close.
So what did I do, you ask? Oh, you know, just added to my misery by watching a ridiculously sappy chick-flick, alone in my apartment, and cried the entire evening away.
Happy Valentine’s Day to me!
Looking back on that day, I realize I was dealing with a lot of frustration, unknowns, and some really big hurts in my life. The pressure of life not turning out how I wanted it to, and the fears of the unknown were making me feel desperate and consumed with wanting a relationship. Add to that the ridiculous emphasis our culture puts on Valentine’s Day–and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a crummy day.
As I think back on my life and my miserable Valentine’s Day I realized something– life didn’t always turn out exactly how I wanted it to– but it turned out just how God wanted it to…and what He wanted was so unbelievably right.
If you find yourself struggling or alone this Valentine’s Day, remember these truths:
1. You are exactly where God has you–so cut yourself some slack, and show yourself some love. There is comfort in knowing that when you’re running after God- you’re always going to be running in the right direction. So much of life happens the right way when our focus is in the right place.
So cut yourself some slack this Valentine’s day, by taking off the pressure of finding the right person–and simply focus on finding yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Where do you like going? How do you like to spend your time? Treat yourself to a really fun day by doing something you love. Take the time to practice the art of self-care, and hone in on nourishing your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. There is no better place to learn how to love your neighbor- than by learning to love God-created, God-ordained, God-designed self. Why not start this Valentine’s Day?
2. Don’t just wait to be loved- go find someone to love. In True Love Dates, I talk a lot about how our society fools us into believing that our significance is found in the reflection of another human being. We look for love, and wait around until we find someone who will love us. But the craziest thing about it is that real love looks awfully different than this.
According to God’s word, real love means we go, give, love, and serve the people God has put into our lives. The people who need to know His love- and experience a glimpse of Him here on earth. And sometimes, the best way to take our mind off of our own struggle–is by putting our mind on better things.
Rather than simply waiting around to be loved, or sulking about your lack of love–take the initiative and lavish the love you have on the people God has placed you around. Plug into your community, your church, or your small group and plan a get-together. Or better yet, volunteer your evening at a soup kitchen, the boys and girls club, or a senior home.
Looking back, some of the most significant Valentine’s I’ve ever had were spent with my little friends from the boys and girls club- playing ping pong, making V-Day cards, eating chocolate, and telling stories of God’s love. The best memories of my life as a single woman were definitely the times I spent pouring out my love to people who needed it the most. Talk about a perspective shift – taking my eyes off of me and pouring my heart into others.
No matter who you are or what your relationship status this Valentine’s Day, remember that you’ve got a whole lot of love to give. Pour out your love by investing in yourself–and connecting with the people God has placed in your life. Then sit back and remember that the greatest expression of love was by a God who poured out His entire life for you. That very same God has spectacular things planned for your life…trust Him with tomorrow. And then go out and live for today.
What are some ways you might spend treating yourself and loving others this Valentine’s Day?
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Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!