Life Lessons from Valentine's Day
Hey there! I know this may shock you a little, but Valentine's Day is tomorrow. You know the holiday with flowers and chocolate. Some of you may be painfully aware it's Valentine's Day. You were hoping this year would be different - you were hoping to find that special someone. To others, it's just another day. And some of you moms? The only reason you may know it's Valentine's Day is because your kiddos have informed you that they need 3,000 cards by tomorrow for the entire school. (Maybe a tiny exaggeration).
True Confession Time
I have a few confessions for you. First, I'd thought I'd have one Valentine's Day filled with romance when I celebrated it for the 49th time. Life isn't what I expected and if that's you today, I'm with you. I'm not necessarily sad about it - but I've had my seasons of high expectations and low results in this area.
Another true confession? I've had many seasons of Valentines celebrations and I'm betting you have too.
The Wonder of Childhood
Valentines Day was magical at the Allen household. First, we had to make Valentine's boxes for school so that our friends could deliver all the cards. Not so artsy here but my mom channeled her artsy and made the most beautiful Valentine's Box you've ever seen. Back in the day when every kid didn't get a trophy, every kid received a Valentine from everyone in the class. Honestly, you could feel the love. When I returned home, gifts and special yummy dinners awaited. It was the best!
The Angst of High School
I'll keep this short, but all that enthusiasm wore off in my teens. The student council always delivered flowers on Valentine's Day during classes. You could purchase one and surprise your friends or girlfriends. They's interrupt class and call names. Mine was never called.
Have I ever told you I had a plan after college? Get married. Find a career I love. Life would be great. But in my 20s, Valentine's Day became that reminder that God and I had missed a meeting or two on my life plans. No guy. No flowers. No chocolates. No romance. I'm ashamed to admit that Valentine's Day in my 20s was one of wallowing.
Giving Back on Valentine's Day
I turned over a new leaf somewhere in my late 20s. I was going to bless others who didn't have a special someone either. I got a little carried away and the first year bought my friend Sherry a lifetime supply of chocolates and gave them to her in a gigantic box. This was 20 years ago and I'm pretty sure Sherry is still snacking on those chocolates.
In later years, I would purchase presents for friends single and married. You see my love language is gifts - so naturally giving gifts feels better than wallowing in I'm alone again.
Too busy living my life to worry about Valentines
I did the giving back thing for a long time. I was still conscious of the big day, but I chose to be intentional and give back to others. Something transitioned after 40 for me. To be honest, I became too busy living my life to focus on Valentine's Day. I chose to love others right where I was at and not worry about a day on the calendar.
Some of you are amening a little, aren't you? I mean, the best present this Valentine's Day may be 5 uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom. Right? Life is hard and busy. And one romantic day doesn't make it easy.
I don't know where you're at today. You probably have bigger fish to fry than Valentine's Day. Single parenting. Parenting a kiddo who has chosen his own way. Difficult jobs. Financial concerns. You name it - these are all more important than the chocolates. (Yes, I said it! You can still enjoy the chocolates, however).
Here's what I do know. I don't want my world to stop because it's a Hallmark card holiday. I want to live what I'm learning and choose to enjoy my moments. So, what have I learned over the years?
Love is 365
Choosing to love others happens 365 days of the year and not on February 14th. Can it feel overwhelming? Yes. Can we get caught up in the celebration of this day? Yes. Can we choose to say love happens the other 364 days when the cards aren't filled with red hearts? Yes.
We all have someone we can shower with love everyday of the year. It's your family. It's your neighbor or coworker. It's you fave barista at the Starbucks who makes your drinks with love (shout out to my fave!) Choose to love all year long and call Valentine's another day to display the love of Jesus.
God defines our value
There were years where I allowed my marital status to define my value. I felt like God had forgotten me. My value became proving that someone would love me. If you're married, I'm sure there are other things that define your value. Like being a good parent or a good spouse. Or maybe for you, it's success at work.
Whatever it is, it's time we shed it. God defines our value as a daughter of the King and someone who is made in His image. We don't need to arrive for God to love us or see our value. Instead, we choose to become who He wants us to be through a relationship with Him. And in the end, find our value in walking with Him.
Start loving your wildly imperfect life
I don't know about you, but I am not living the life I expected. Not just in the relationship department. I never expected to work at any of the jobs I actually have worked at. I didn't expect to be good at the things I'm good at. I didn't expect my people, either.
Sometimes, we can miss out on enjoying our moments because we're waiting for our expected or our dreams to come true. And all the while, God has sent us good and perfect gifts to enjoy on the journey.
So I say this to myself as much as I say it to you. No matter where you are - enjoy your unexpected and imperfect journey. I'm betting you'll find the perfect way to spend your Valentine's Day in the middle of your unexpected journey.