For most of my life I have spent Valentine’s Day as single as they come – except for last year. I was in a long distance relationship at the time and was so excited to have my first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend. While we were unable to spend it together in person, it was still really special for me.
This year, however, I am facing Valentine’s Day as a single young woman. Only before, I would daydream about my future man and how special Valentine’s Day would be with him. This year, I’m looking at Valentine’s Day and feeling heartbroken because I had a taste of what it was like to spend it with someone I loved, but now that’s gone.
February is the “month of love.” All the businesses are shoving ads in our face about love and romance and buying that perfect gift for that someone special. On Valentine’s Day, Instagram will be full of couples posting about their date night and how much they love their person. We’ll see all the bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolates, and heart shaped balloons. Some couples will get engaged on this very special day of love.
This year it hurts a little more. It’s easy for me to feel bitter and envious of what these couples have. It’s easy for me to sit here and think, “I shouldn’t be spending it alone. We should still be together.”
That isn’t true, though. God had different plans from mine and once again, I’m humbly reminded that His plans will always prevail.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I feel like I shouldn’t be spending Valentine’s Day alone this year. My relationship ended so suddenly, without warning, leaving me broken-hearted. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, seeing all the ads about Valentine’s Day, I sighed and said to my mom, “You know, these posts about Valentine’s Day are so insensitive to those who are dealing with a break up and feeling the loneliness and emptiness a hundred fold. It just reminds us of how alone we are.”
I’ve never thought about it before because I’ve never been through a break up, but now my heart aches for all the broken hearts in the world on Valentine’s Day. I see you and I feel your pain. It’s so hard losing someone you loved so deeply. Someone you thought you were building a future with. And for social media to be shoving romance in your face while you’re still hurting? That’s the worst.
Can I be honest? When I broke up with my boyfriend, I was so angry and bitter that I almost deleted my Instagram because seeing friends getting engaged, getting married, or just posting mushy stuff about their significant other was so difficult to look at. Because it was everything I had wanted with my boyfriend, but now it’s all gone and I’m left to watch as everyone gets what I longed for. Even before I dated, I’d feel this way sometimes, so you probably know what it’s like. That feeling of watching everyone around you get what you always wanted and you end up feeling left behind.
It’s been a few months now since I broke up with him and I’m doing a lot better these days. The grief still hits me now and then and I can’t help thinking about what things were like a year ago – cause it was really good. Overall, though I’ve been able to accept where God has me. I’m thankful that I’ve had a taste of what it is to love and be loved by someone and though it ended badly, I’m thankful for everything I have learned from being in that relationship. God grew me through it and He is growing me now that I’m out of it. A couple months ago all I could feel was anger and brokenness. Now, though it still hurts sometimes, I just feel so thankful and in awe of the way God is working in my life.
Whether you are single and have never been in a relationship, or if you are single and broken hearted, I have a few very important reminders for you that I am striving to focus on this month:
1. Love is not only romantic.
The world makes Valentine’s Day out to be all about romance, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Use this day as an opportunity to show your friends and family how much you love them. Treat them to coffee, give them a hand written note, offer to make dinner so your mom doesn’t have to. Love is such a beautiful and special thing – romantic or not. Use this day to focus on loving others instead of wishing you had that *one* person to love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
2. God has you where you’re at for a reason.
Singleness can be lonely at times, but don’t lose hope. God knows the desires of your heart and He is not punishing you by keeping you single. He is using this time to grow you, prepare you, and lead you in His footsteps. If it is God’s will, that man will come soon enough. Use this time of singleness to focus on serving God and becoming the woman He wants you to be. Most of all remember that our purpose on this earth isn’t to find a husband – it’s to serve the Lord.
“The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world – how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” 1 Corinthians 7:34-35
3. Love is not selfish.
This may sound harsh and trust me, I’m speaking to myself, too. Something I think is really important to remember is that love is never selfish. It’s so easy to get caught up in our thoughts, thinking about all that we want, all we don’t have, and having a pity party with our single girl friends because once again, we’re alone on Valentine’s Day. It’s totally okay to desire companionship, but I think so often we get stuck there to the point that we’re miserable and lose sight of the blessings around us. This connects to my first reminder – love is not solely romantic. We may not have that special someone in our life right now, but there are so many others around us who God has placed in our lives. We can choose to be selfless and love them, or we can choose to be selfish and cry in our pillows because we don’t have “the one” person.
“[love] does not behave rudely, does not seek its own,” 1 Corinthians 13:5
4. Love does not envy.
Practice being happy for your friends who are happily dating/engaged/married. If we love these people, we will not envy them and look at their relationships with bitterness. We will celebrate with them and feel genuine happiness for them. This is something I’ve had to put into practice over the past several months and it’s been so. hard. But I promise you, it feels so much better to be happy for them than to sit there envying all that they have.
“…love does not envy;” 1 Corinthians 13:4
5. God’s love is perfect love.
A man is not going to satisfy the longing in our hearts to be known and loved. Sure, it’s nice and very special, but God’s love is the only love that will truly satisfy us because His is perfect and true love. Only He knows us inside and out and only He can love us the way we desire. We have to let go of the lie that a man is going to make everything better/complete us/satisfy us and understand that God is the only one who can satisfy us. Only He can make everything better. Only He completes us. All that we desire in a man can be found in Christ and it is available to us right now.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:8-9
I admit, there were times that I depended too much on my boyfriend. Times when I thought I needed him but really needed God. Times when he wasn’t available and I had no other option but God. It always comes back to God. He has to be first in every aspect of our lives.
So this Valentine’s Day, put God first. What would He do? He would love others. What about the day after that? And the day after that? He would love others. Every single day, He would love others.
Love God and love people. It’s that simple. And there is so much joy to be found in both.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” 1 Peter 4:8
Happy Valentine’s Day, Star Gazers. You are loved so dearly – never forget that. <3