Loving Your Life On Valentine's Day
Loving your life on Valentines Day...it's easy right? For some, Valentine's Day includes flowers and chocolates and dinners and family fun. For others of us, it's a reminder. A reminder of not having romance and a special love in your life. A reminder that your marriage can be hard. A reminder that even those who love us don't always remember us on special days.
For you veterans of marriage and Valentine's Day. Maybe this day is just another day to you. Maybe you go out to dinner or cook something special at home. But it's Tuesday and Tuesday means soccer night or piano lessons or some other activity your family needs to get to.
Over the years, I've had a strange relationship with Valentine's Day. I expected to be marred by now. My early years of the single life met Valentine's Day with a sadness. I didn't have that special someone. I wished to have a special someone. Valentine's Day had been a day I chose to ignore in bitterness.
Later in my twenties, I adopted if you can't beat them join them. I did nice things for my other single friends. I bought them chocolates and flowers. If I wasn't going to be showered with gifts, I could shower others. My joy would be in loving others, not receiving love.
As I matured into my 30s, I realized that love can be experienced not just through a spouse, but through friends and family. I began to relax a little at Valentine's Day. I told myself, "Allen - it's not such a big deal." (Yes, I talk to myself using my last name like I'm on a sports team. It's motivating. You should try it)
Today, at the age of 48, I've combined a little of all three of my approaches. I do a little Galentines dinner for the last few years and try to buy my single friends a little gift to show some love.
But this year, I want to do more than show others love. I want to show myself some love. You see, my word for the year is WOVEN. I picked woven because I wanted to start loving my life. Not just the things I do - but who I am on the inside. The person that God wove together when He created me. (Psalm 139).
And I don't know about you, but the struggle is real. To be honest, I don't always love my life or the who God created me to be. When I'm honest, I admit that there are days I love who I am becoming and there are days that I wish to be someone else - even if it's for 30 minutes.
So how do you and I go about loving our lives and who God created them to be? The quick answer: I have no idea. Helpful, wasn't it? But here are some things I'm working on that may help you too.
1. See yourself through the eyes of Scripture
You and I read the Bible - most of the time. We know what the famous passages say. For instance, we know that Psalm 139 tells us that God knit us together in our mother's womb. And yet, do we actually live that out?
When we've messed up at work or are having relationship troubles, do we believe we we're knit together - WOVEN together by God? When the rubber hits the road, I don't always see myself the way God sees me. I need help to remind myself that my life story is hand-crafted by God. That the things in my life have passed through His hands first. That I can love my life because He loves my life.
How do we get started? Find a verse that helps you see yourself through God's eyes. Maybe its' Psalm 139. But maybe you're wrestling with something in particular. Use your concordance and find a verse that relates to your life today. Write it down. Carry it with you. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Love your life.
2. Advocate for yourself
This may not be your problem, but it's totally mine. You see I have a disease called people-pleasing. I don't like rocking the boat. I prefer to stay low-key and pleasant. The problem is two-fold. One, I say yes just to go along with the crowd. And I bottle stuff up until it comes out with the one-two punch of my Irish/Italian temper.
The thing is - to be pleasant - I avoid voicing what I want or what is bothering me. And what I've realized over the years is that I am not so great at advocating for my needs and wants. I let things slide. I say yes when sometimes I'd rather say no.
If you can relate, start simply. Maybe pick one area. It may be the food you need to eat and advocating for something a little healthier. It may be time. You need some alone time. Can your family deal for 30 minutes? Maybe it's work or friendship. Learn to love yourself enough to communicate what you need and be different.
3. Learn what nourishes your soul
When we love something, we nourish it. Our kiddos. Our pets. Our plants. You get the drift. For us women, whether we have families or live alone, we're not so great at nourishing ourselves. We forget what rejuvenates us. We don't make time for ourselves when it comes to what brings our lives joy and meaning.
Maybe nourishing your soul means taking a bubble bath all by yourself. Meeting a friend for coffee. Taking time to worship through song each day. Finding work that is meaningful. Spending time with your family. Giving gifts to those you love.
Loving our lives includes finding joy and meaning in the little things. You don't have to have joy and meaning in every moment to love your life. But you and I need to take time for what brings joy and meaning.
To be honest, I'm on a adventure. This list is not exhaustive. To be honest, I'm not even sure they are the best ideas for loving your life and embracing the idea that God is writing your story, but they are what I've been working on. These ideas have been meaningful to me because they remind me to love the person God has created and in continuing to create as I grow.
And smack dab in the middle of this adventure, I'm learning that choosing to love my life is about choosing to love God first. Accept where I'm at today. Make baby steps to change what you don't like. And choose to meet God and others on the way.
So go out and love your life on Valentine's Day...
Do you have an idea of how to start loving your life? I'd love to hear your own ideas of learning to love life and find meaning in your moments. Comment here or e-mail me.