February. The month of love. The month where you can feel all kinds of emotions, depending on your situation. If you’re single, you can feel lonely. If you’re married or in a relationship, most likely you’re experiencing the feeling of that of love. If this is your first Valentine’s Day spent without a loved one, you probably feel deep grief. Or, if this is the first Valentine’s Day with someone, a feeling of overwhelming excitement tends to take over.
It’s estimated Americans will spend over $27.4 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day this year alone. We are inundated with advertising starting just days after Christmas.
For singles in particular, the commercially designated day of love can cause a great amount of emptiness. There’s something so inherently single shaming about the holiday. Valentine’s Day tends to feel much more difficult for singles, and in turn, makes those without a significant other understandably cynical about the holiday.
Is there a better way for singles and other people who are not in a happy relationship, for whatever reason, to view Valentine’s Day? Being that we can’t escape this holiday, let’s look at some ways we can get through the day without cynicism and annoyance.
1. View Valentine’s Day as a Day of Love, Not Romance
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and that doesn’t always have to be romantic love. In Finland, February 14th is actually called “friendship day” to celebrate those close to you. What if we treated Valentine’s Day as a prompt to do something for those we love, not just in a romantic way?
Let’s learn to embrace Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate those friends around us. Maybe you tell your close friends how much you appreciate them or showing love to your neighbors by baking them cookies. Perhaps you call an old college roommate you haven’t spoken to in some time. You might even consider doing random acts of kindness for strangers. Host a dinner date with all your single girlfriends. Or bring in lunch for your coworkers showing them an act of love.
After all, loving others is the second greatest commandment. In Matthew 22:38, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of all was, He replied saying “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now, it’s one thing to show love to our friends and those we already admire. But let’s also take the time to express love to those we find to be hard-to-love. We all know who those people are. It’s easy to love the loveable, right? Even Scripture acknowledges that in Luke 6:32 saying “if you love those who love you, what credit is that? Even sinners love those who love them.” We should love others all year round but let’s take an extra effort to love others with intention this year on love day. Even that not-so-loveable person.
2. Celebrate Valentine’s Day by Loving Yourself First
It’s difficult to not be cynical about Valentine’s Day while at the same time not being cynical about yourself and your current situation. If you’re single and longing for a relationship, if you’ve experienced a breakup or the death of your spouse, or if you’re in an unhappy relationship, Valentine’s Day feels like a cruel reminder of what’s missing. A way to be less cynical is to look at this day as an opportunity to show yourself love.
As mentioned earlier, one of our greatest commandments is to “love the Lord and to love others.” (Matthew 22:38) How can we properly love God who created us, and then love others when we don’t even love ourselves?
The only way to know our value is to spend time in the Word of God and spend time with the One who “formed us by His own hand…as we are the clay, and He is the potter.” (Isaiah 64:8).
Do you know you’re of intrinsic value? Of great worth? God didn’t just create you with His hands for no reason or purpose. God has had His eye on you since before you were born. He “formed your inward parts and knit you together in your mother’s womb” (Psalm 119:13). You are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (Verse 14)
Let’s begin to accept how beautiful and unique we are as we are handpicked and custom-made by God Himself. We live in a world full of lies and comparisons. We must shift our focus onto the Word of God which is truth and what our Maker says about us. Learning to love ourselves through the filter of how our Creator views us, will enable us to love Him more and in turn love others.
It’s also important to love yourself in tangible ways. Decide to make this Valentine’s Day a day to treat yourself lovingly such as:
- Order in your favorite foods
- Get a massage or pedicure
- Take the day off work to read or watch your favorite movies
- Engage in hobbies you enjoy
- Send yourself flowers and a love letter
- Plan a fantastic evening pampering yourself just like you would the ‘love of your life’
Work on being in love with the person in the mirror that God created so purposefully.
3. Remind Yourself: You Are Not Alone (So Get Out There!)
It’s so easy to think you’re the only one feeling left out on Valentine’s Day. But let’s take a step back and think of how many people are in the same position you are. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of money that Americans spend on Valentine’s Day each year. Those dollars spent has substantially increased more as Valentine’s Day has over the years become a holiday that both couples AND singles celebrate. In fact, almost half of the American population identifies themselves as single. You are not alone!
Instead of finding yourself wishing you were in a situation to book that romantic table for two, realize that there are millions of single people in the same position as you. It’s a very common thing for a single person to go out on Valentine’s Day so perhaps this year, you choose to get out there rather than sit at home feeling empty. What if your future Valentine may very well be sitting somewhere feeling the exact same way you do? You won’t know until you get out there.
Remember you’re not alone, and to get out and enjoy those who are in the same position as you.
4. Remember: There Is Only One Who Completely Fulfills You
With any holiday, especially one centered around love, it’s very normal for us to think about our current love status. Many of us want to feel loved and I strongly feel that God created this need for love, creating a gap so that we will always have a need for Him.
We spend our life searching for a love that can fulfill us, but we search for it all in the wrong places or perhaps some of us search for this love in another person. It may fill us up temporarily, but then it leaves us thirsting for more. Therefore, we are never truly fulfilled.
A reason to not by cynical this Valentine’s Day is to realize that any emptiness you are feeling during this holiday can in fact be fulfilled by our Maker. That emptiness can be turned into wholeness. Whether you are alone or with someone this Valentine’s Day, be encouraged - you can experience the day in God’s complete fullness.
I love revisiting the story in Scripture about the Samaritan women at the well. She was known as a social outcast in her town as she had had five husbands labeling her as an immoral woman. She craved a love that left her going from one marriage to the next in an attempt to feel full and complete. Yet, when Jesus met her at the well, He looked past what the world saw. Jesus loved her anyway and offered her a taste of “living water”. (John 4:10) and said, “whoever drinks of this water [at the well] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst again.” (John 4:13)
Are you craving a love this holiday to fulfill you? There is nothing wrong with wanting to find that special someone to share this life with. I married mine two years ago. But ladies – although my husband chose me and spoils me with love, he does not fulfill my every need. Nor was he ever designed to. Only God can do that.
5. Remember: It’s Just One Day
Friends, hear me when I say this – God’s love is sweet. His love is pure. His love is a love that looks past all your scars and all your past. His love forgives your sins and “remembers them no more”. (Hebrews 8:12) His love is faithful to the end. (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He is the source of love, the model of love, the extent of love. “God is love” (1 John 4:16) We are loved by God as He has set His sights on us and is always actively wooing us toward Himself. There is nothing we can do, think, or say that will change His love because there are no surprises for God – He knows us totally and loves us anyway. (Psalm 139:1-5)
This Valentine’s Day, I encourage you whether you or alone or not, to fulfill that empty feeling by “abiding in God’s love and allowing his love to perfect you” (1 Johns 4:12). A husband’s love is a gift and treasure, but God’ love will perfect and complete you. Fill your cup with the living water just as the Samaritan woman did, and thirst no more this Valentine’s Day!
In the end, Valentine’s Day is just one day, and remember it’s a day to love. It doesn’t have to be cynical and whether you have someone romantically to share it with, or if you are spending it as a single gal, you are not alone and there are plenty of people to love on this day. Fill your cup with God’s overflowing-never-ending-most-perfect love this year!
Alisha Headley is a writer and speaker who has a passion to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind to pursue the passion God placed on her heart: teaching women in a world full of lies how to apply biblical truth to her everyday circumstances. Through her unique style of writing, she is able to seamlessly connect with other women as she talks about tough everyday truths by sharing her own personal struggles along with wisdom gained from personal experiences.
Alisha is a former financial VP turn stay-at-home wifey + dog mama who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. In her free time, Alisha enjoys traveling with her hubby, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits for date nights.
Originally published Monday, 10 February 2020.