Valentine’s Day can be especially difficult for those of us who are single, especially when “Singles Awareness Day” has become a well-known nickname and social media gives you more glimpses than you may want into the love stories of others. It can remind you of what you don’t yet have, but deeply desire. It can spark insecurity and feelings of less than and not enough. If your heart is tender or grieving, a day like this can be rough.
Personally, I’ve fluctuated on a scale ranging from indifference to enjoyment of Valentine’s Day over the years. Indifference, because largely the marketable Valentine’s Day, complete with romantic dinners and diamond rings, doesn’t apply to me yet, but I’m also not usually bothered by others celebrating it. Enjoyment, because I’ve had some really beautiful experiences on Valentine’s Day, too – and yes, they were all as a single woman.
some of my favorite valentine’s days
The Nursing Home: My church community group at the time had an ongoing relationship with a local nursing home. We would go in once a month – to sing (mostly the kids), share cookies (which is probably why the elderly folk loved us so much), and do some activities with them. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t something I would have picked to do myself. It was even a bit uncomfortable for me; I went anyway, time after time. And one year, on Valentine’s Day, we came in with heart shaped goodies and loved on some of our elders for the night. I was documenting the night, but was also able to help pass out cookies and sit for games and activities, too. I remember thinking that I hoped whoever my person is, he would be serving someone else in love that day, too. It will always be a sweet memory of Valentine’s Day!
The NYC Friend Date: It was the day before I was going to fly out of JFK to go to Ecuador on a missions trip for the first time. My friend, Kerri, was also single at the time and lived about an hour’s train ride outside of New York City. She met me in the city and together, we had the best little Valentine’s Day friend date! She picked a great restaurant that had gluten free friendly items for me – and that was able to seat us almost immediately. We ate and talked and laughed together, then we moved on to Serendipity 3 for frozen hot chocolate as dessert. After, we roamed the streets of the city for a bit, talking life and love and everything in between. It was sweet friendship and exhilarating city, and will always be a favorite Valentine’s memory for me!
My Valentine’s Day Plans
This year, I’m taking time on Valentine’s Day to go on a movie date with my momma. We do this fairly regularly throughout the year; this time, though, it happens to fall on Valentine’s Day itself. I’m looking forward to spending some time together! On Galentine’s Day, I spent the majority of the day with one of my sisters, shopping and running errands and grabbing some Mexican food for a late lunch.
Prior to those plans, though, I had wondered about the kiddos at my local children’s hospital and what they’d be doing for Valentine’s Day. I ended up connecting with the Riley Cheer Guild to get donation guidelines and then made up 52 goody bags for the kids with game activity pads (with tic tac toe, coloring pages, and word searches), pencils, stickers and a valentine card. I was able to share this idea with friends the week before Valentine’s Day so they could join in their own cities if they wanted to. Turns out, a couple of them did end up giving Valentine’s of their own to kids in the hospital! Seeing that kindness move and grow, and knowing that this Valentine’s Day, these kiddos will have something to smile about makes this year’s Valentine’s Day another one to remember fondly.
HOW TO NOT HATE VALENTINES DAY
By now, you’re probably have an idea of what I’m going to say, but I am going to intentionally spell it out for you. I believe this is important. Life is meant to be lived, right now! You have purpose in every breath you breathe. So please don’t wait. Don’t let your life be a waiting room until you’re in a romantic relationship. Don’t let love be something you wait to celebrate until you have a love interest. There’s so much love for you to celebrate, receive, and give right here where you are.
So, how do we do this? How do we push past the lovey-dovey romance, the reminders of what’s not yet in our lives, and the negative vibes we may be feeling for this holiday?
Remember God’s love for you.
God loves you. He truly, beautifully, unshakably loves you. Do you believe that? Right now, in this moment, rest in His love. Believe in it. Receive it. You’ve had it all along! And when we focus our hearts on how our Father feels about us – when we truly believe it – we live differently. We walk a little more confidently. We’re satisfied, quieted, overwhelmed by how seen, how known, and how deeply loved we are. Start here. And if you’re struggling to believe what you know of His love, ask Him to show you. Ask Him to let you feel it. That’s a prayer I believe He is all to eager to answer.
Recenter your heart to beat in time to your true identity.
If you know and believe you are loved by God, you can come alive in your purpose and walk in your true identity. Who does God tell you that you are? He calls you beloved. He delights in you. He says you are chosen, holy, His own. He says you’re His daughter, now and always. He says you didn’t earn His love, and nothing you or anyone else could ever do can take His love away from you. He created you on purpose for a purpose; you are imbued with it! He knew you before your life began and He positioned you for this time. He knows every hair on your head, every tear you have ever shed; he knows what makes your heart come alive and what breaks it. He created you; you were handcrafted by the Master Artist as a one-of-a-kind work of art, His good idea come to life. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have His approval. You are made new, your sin and shame covered by the blood of Jesus and cast away. You are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. You are an ambassador for the gospel. You are the hands and feet of Christ on earth, called to be love and give love as you have received His love. Sit with truth and let it settle in to your spirit, and see what changes in you.
Celebrate the loved ones you have in your life right now.
Galentine’s Day is growing in popularity for a reason! There’s something beautiful about celebrating the people you have in your life. Gather a friend or five and celebrate the friendship you have together. Grab brunch in traditional Galentine’s Day style, or meet for coffee or go to a fitness class together. Have dinner, see a play, go for a walk. However is going to best reflect you and your people, go do that! Have fun and enjoy the people you have been given to love and be loved by in this season of your life. If gathering in person isn’t possible, why not make a list of the people you’re grateful to have in your life in this season? You can go even further with it and then write letters, send texts, or make a phone call to those people to tell them you love them and are grateful for your relationship!
Remember those who may feel forgotten, unseen and unloved.
I think this is especially powerful if you feel any of these things to any degree. Go pour love into those who may feel lonely, left out, or lost. Show someone else that you see them and care about them! If that’s a friend who is a single mom, go meet a need for her. Take her a treat and tell her you see her! Visit the nursing home. Serve in the homeless shelter. Give goodies and/or visit those in the hospital. You are full of love, so go be it! Get outside of yourself and serve someone else. Maybe even decide to make this space you serve on Valentine’s Day a place to serve regularly so you can build relationships. People are waiting for you to show up and share Jesus with them. There are so many simple ways you can do that! Why not start on Valentine’s Day?
Live your life!
Let’s circle back to that purpose thing. You have a purpose right now. You have a life, right now. Are you living it? From my experience, when I’m walking in my gifts, showing up, investing in relationships, seeking the Lord, and embracing opportunities that He calls me to… I feel good. I feel alive! I may have desires and dreams I’m still waiting to see realized, but those things don’t own me or overwhelm me. I am on a mission. I’m moving with purpose on purpose. What would happen if you chose to go all in this year? Would your feelings shift?
If you still don’t like Valentine’s Day,
that’s okay, too.
None of these things are going to make you suddenly love Valentine’s Day, and your feelings are both very real and your own. But these things are purposeful ways for you to move past the surface level of what can be a hard holiday and dive a little deeper into realizing how loved you are and sharing that love with others. Feel your feelings, Dear One, but please don’t get stuck in them. Process them with the Lord and see if He’d have you do something different this year. You might be surprised by what happens! However you feel, whatever you do, I hope this year you celebrate love. You have it in abundance, and love is always worth it.