Celebrate Love

Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day. This is not the typical singleton view point on this day. I’ve treaded down that road before. This year I have a different perspective.

I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.[Tweet “I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.”] And more so a  day where many of my lovely friends get to celebrate their relationships. As they should. Any time to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the  everyday is a good thing. For a couple to stop and spend time together is important.

It is not an indictment against singles. That somehow by not being in a romantic relationship to celebrate, we are less than. This is an absolute lie. This is a lie I once believed. Feeling embittered as each year passed and still single. The wondering of when or if that would change. Then never having anything changed.

We have plenty to celebrate. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.

We too have special people in our lives. People who have poured into our lives. Loving us when it was not easy. People we have loved well and cared for in turn.

When was the last time you told someone how much they mean to you?

Celebrate that. Celebrate that love is far bigger than the a narrow definition. Celebrate that you are loved. Celebrate the immense, complicated,messiness of real love.

Remember this as you attend services and the sermon focuses on marriage and love. Remember as you feel that tinge of loneliness seeing couples around you. Remember you are loved greater than anything you could imagine. Because you know Christ.

I’ve been in that jealous place, of longing for a relationship. Believing it was the missing piece for my life. The truth though is that only Christ  makes me whole. While I still long for marriage some day, it’s not my only hope. I’ve come to terms that perhaps it might not be the plan for me. 

This post is where I’m at right now. In this moment. I cling to the truth that I am loved, by God, by my brothers and sisters in Christ, by my family. There is so much love in my life.

Not acknowledging it, by saying that this other kind of love is somehow better, I’m essentially spitting in the face of the love in my life.

That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. [Tweet “That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. “]

 

 

 

 

Survival Guide To Valentine’s Day

 

So yes, it’s that time again. That time of year when Christmas is swapped out for Valentine’s Day. I do not know about where you live but this happened even before Christmas Eve had passed.

Seriously, corporate America?

But it struck me. The way it is being sold to us, this holiday is not about love. Nope. This is all business.

But what is being sold to us is not love. It is in fact marketing geared to sell us lies about love.

The lie being sold to us is that you are only loved if you are in a relationship.
That the only kind of love that matters is romantic love. But love, real love is so much more than sappy greeting cards and chocolate with an obscenely long shelf life.

Real love is being in real community. Once I discovered my worth in Christ, I discovered love. Love for myself, love for others and even love for strangers. But the world tells us that you are only loved if you are in a relationship. This is far from the truth because I am well loved.

This has taken me a while to get here. To understand that there is all kinds of love and it is not limited as we have been taught.

Another lie is that if you are in a relationship, then you must spend $$$ to show as much. Pressure is placed on all of us then. Those in a relationship and those who are not.

But, only if we allow corporate entities to define love and how this should look.

How can this be done?
For a start, dear fellow singles. Remember you are loved. Look around at your family and community. Your worth today and every day is not measured by the receiving of cards and gifts. Reach out to your fellow singles and go OUT to celebrate. Or  stay in and binge on Netflix and chocolate? A totally valid choice. This year,I hope to go dancing with my good friends on Valentine’s Day. I want to celebrate friendship and community.

I do not need to be in a couple to celebrate love.

For my coupled friends, do not allow yourself to get stressed out about this day either. You know it’s totally fine for you to binge watch Netflix and eat chocolate in your pajamas.
I came across this on Pinterest and thought it rather interesting.

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Humbled by Love

Last Friday was Valentine’s Day. Among some of my single friends it is referred to as SAD ( Single Awareness Day). As a single woman in my thirties, this day brings about mixed feelings. On one hand it is just another day, in fact it is my older sister’s birthday. A day as far back as I recall that ended with a heart shaped cake for her. But it also was a day to see those around declare their devotion for their significant other ( or at least those they hoped would be). Declarations which I have not experienced. Then I would start to feel sorry for myself. I thought to myself that there has to be more, thus I began to think about what this day should really represent or mean.

 

Beginning with my childhood, I remembered how the day was celebrated. In elementary school it was day to receive candy and everyone got a valentine. It was in middle school that things began to change ( along with everything else.) Actually I remember things changing earlier than that with classmates beginning to pair off as early as the fifth grade! My first foray into the dating world was at this point when some girls told me a boy liked me. Silly me I believed them and promptly asked the boy if he did. He told me no.

 In middle school and high school it was the candy grams, remember those? During class a messenger would come in and hand out a candy gram to someone ( usually girls but I do recall a few boys getting them). Then there were the balloons. Giant helium filled, bouquets of balloons that took up so much space in the hallways that one could hardly pass by them. Not to mention the couples making out with their balloons and backpacks blocking the way as well.

I would hold out hope to receive a candy gram. Whenever they were being passed out my heart would begin to pound in hope and anticipation for one. Hoping it would be from the boy I had telepathically told I liked him. Alas I do not recall receiving one from other than a friend. At least I had the candy to console me right? There was plenty of that too since in my family any holiday meant eating, and Valentine’s Day was no exception. Not only would I have eaten enough chocolate to make any one else sick but there was still a slice or two of my sister’s birthday cake waiting for me as well.

 For so much of that time I thought of love as simply one dimensional. The kind spoon fed to me through rewritten fairy tales and hollywood. Again and again I was told that love was found through missed signals and comedic twists. That the only kind of love to hold out for was one in which the prince or who ever had to fight their way through darkness in order to save me. The one who would wake me from my stupor, welcoming me into my new life.

 I longed for my prince to come. To wake me from my stupor. I longed to be loved so much that my heart would simply burst. I wanted that perfect hollywood movie moment, with just the right song and the exact right words at the most perfect moment. As time went on, I found I began to wonder if I would ever be loved at all. If too I was at all worthy of being loved because after all I was alone and therefore something had to be wrong with me. 

 I have to say that after much thought and prayer that in the end those fairy tales and hollywood movies were in fact right. Now hear me out. It occurred to me that the story of love that we hear over and over again; where the intended ( usually female) needs to be freed from some sort of spell or imprisonment.

That this story told the world over in its many forms is in fact the ultimate love story. The one of a God who so loved his people that he sent down his one and only son as a pure sacrifice ( John 3:16). To free us from the world of darkness. This is the only perfect love that exists. The one we all long for from our all too human partners. This is a love that takes us on warts and all, so to speak. This is the only love that can free us. That freed me.

 Before I knew Christ I was an angry, mean person. I reveled in how being angry made me feel. It gave me a feeling of power when in fact I had none.  In submitting to Christ and his love for me I have been transformed. It is not an easy process, submitting to him. Understanding that this love does not mean I always get exactly what I want in this life. At times it has meant to lean into him even when my Lord is silent to my urgent prayers. It has meant that I have learned much about his love for me. In seeing this love for me, I have learned about his love for others. I am learning still how to love others as God loves us all. It is only through this perfect love that I am at all the person I am today. It is only through this perfect love that I will become the person God intends for me to become in the future.

 I always thought that love would come into my life through a candy gram or a bouquet of balloons. I thought the only way to be loved was in the way hollywood dictated. There is no perfect moment with just the right music and words. That the lie that somehow I am incomplete without a partner is wrong. Love does complete me, but only the love from God can do that. My perception of love was just too small.  I am so grateful and humbled to have learned what love truly is  from the Lord.

  Only through learning about love from him did I wake from my stupor and  understand that I am loved. In letting go of idolizing and at times being jealous of what others have in a relationship, I understood also I still have much to learn. I had to examine my heart and ask myself what it is I thought being in a relationship would give me that God has not. The hard truth was, there was nothing.

 

That no matter how fast my heart beats for another or what life we build together, God is the only reason we will know how to love one another. That is what it means to love. That is where the perfection truly lies. This is the conclusion I came to, I am wholly loved more than I can ever fathom. That is far better than any candy gram or perfectly written and edited hollywood moment. Being reminded of God’s love for me, for us all makes this holiday rather worthy in my estimation.

 

 

To my dear readers, you are loved no matter the stage of life you are in.