February 15th can be a really tough day. No, you aren’t reading that wrong. It’s the day after Valentine’s Day.
As long as it’s February 14th there’s still hope for someone to bring you a flower… give you a chocolate something… sing you a song… write you a poem… say, “you complete me”… you get the picture.
But then the clock strikes midnight and disappointment takes you by the hand and wants to chat for a while. Today’s unmet expectations become tomorrow’s frustrations.
So, February 15th rolls around and suddenly the full impact of whatever was lacking on February 14th hits full force.
For my single friends it can feel like “Single Awareness Day.”
For my married friends it can feel like “the gaps in my marriage were so highlighted by yesterday’s lack.”
But I’m challenged to check my heart on this. I mean really check my heart. Here are five ways I’m challenging myself to not just survive but really thrive this love season:
1. What am I doing that’s feeding my expectations?
Maybe right now isn’t the best time to read a Nicholas Sparks book or watch movies with lines in them like, “You had me at hello” and “You complete me.”
2. What am I doing that comforts me in the moment but makes me feel awful just hours later?
Hint… put down the ice cream and don’t mix up the cookie dough. Just because the cookies aren’t baked doesn’t mean the calories don’t exist. This is just a totally hypothetical situation, of course.
3. Who can I bless this Valentine’s Day?
Instead of waiting to be loved, I should make the decision to give love. I have so many friends who need to know someone is thinking about them right now. And there are wonderful ministry opportunities to reach our hands out to those in need.
There is so much joy to be had when we seek to invest loving acts in others’ lives.
4. What can I go ahead and put on my schedule that will make me look forward to this season of love?
Instead of waiting to be asked, I can get proactive. If I have something to look forward to on my schedule, it gives my heart such a boost.
And it keeps me from that cookie dough!
5. Am I believing the “if only” lie?
If only I had a boyfriend. If only I had a husband. If only I had a more romantic husband.
“If only” can do quite a number on our hearts. Refuse to paint these pictures of Egypt.
Egypt – huh? Let me explain.
I got this thought from reading the Old Testament story about what happened to the Israelites when they were freed from captivity in Egypt. At first they were happy. And then when life got hard en route to the Promised Land, they started believing the “if only” lie… if only they’d never left Egypt they’d have pots of meat to eat.
But in Egypt they were mistreated slaves!
It’s so easy for us to paint the picture that our lives would be better “if only.” I’m determined to replace my “If only I had… I could” scripts with “Because I am… I can.”
Because I am loved by God, I can boss lies around.
Because I am loved by God, I can be so thankful for the people I do have in my life.
Because I am loved by God, I can choose to make this love season wonderful.
I pray these questions and simple ideas help. We’re all in this together sweet friends.
For more encouragement, connect with Lysa at her blog by clicking here.
your words hit my heart & my thoughts.
It was the sweet portion of encouragement I needed today. I struggle with satisfaction about what I have NOW. But I really want to be happy. It’s such a beautiful idea to remember in all the blessings God has given to me when February the 14th started. A few weeks ago I started to wear a bracelet with the Jeremiah 29:11 verse. I really have to believe that God’s plan is right!
~Faith in God includes
faith in God’s timing.~
Be blessed and feel (((hugged))),
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
((Hugs)) to you Rosie!
Thanks for your encourgement I want to be still and know that my Gods love never fails in due time I will receive what God has for me if I press on!!!! What is impossible for God?
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
What wise words to replace the “if onlys” with “Because I am loved…” Having just been married, I am looking forward to Valentines day, but there were many years where I really dreaded this day. Having been through the “drought” makes me appreciate all the more the “full” times. Regardless of my marital status, God has been faithful to love me through it all and so it is His love that I truly celebrate this season. Thanks for a wise and helpful post.
heather m says
I ♥ THIS…
…my vice last night may have been chips….
I do struggle with the contentment part a lot of times…
And the Egypt part is so true!!
All great ideas that we can put in place any time of the year- not just around Valentine’s Day.
Thanks for the encouragement 🙂
There are times when I struggle with “If only” and there are times I don’t. I really like your idea of “Because I am loved…I can….”. Going to share this with my husband and four daughters as well (two are married). Thank you Lysa for sharing from your heart!
Yep, needed this today. I feel like out of my group of friends(both guys and girls), I’m the oldest one at 30, that’s single and not in any sort of relationship that WANTS to be in one. And it’s hard to see everyone else be shown love every day and feeling like, while I have people that HAVE to love me, I don’t have anyone that WANTS to love me. And it’s really hard right now with all my friends being in relationships, being engaged, being married, having babies. And I’m not in that stage of life and I’m afraid I never will be. It’s hard. I’m glad that for other people that Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean anything to them and they don’t let it get them down, but for me it’s just another reminder of how I don’t feel loved, how I feel forgotten and how all those insecurities and fears are magnified. All lies I know. And it’s stuff I’m constantly having to fight every day.
But thankfully I’m on a business trip this year and I don’t have to worry about having to stay at home alone and I’m planning on avoiding social media so I don’t have to see everyone bragging about what their signficant other did for them. And just continued praying and trusting in God that he knows what is best for me and that I can keep having faith in him.
I feel led to respond to you Deborah. As a 35-year-old always-been-single, all I can say is “Hang in there!” It’s true that Valentine’s Day can be a real reminder of singleness (as can Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc) Keep fighting the lies you mention – you are loved deeply even when it doesn’t feel that way. Keep trusting in God’s perfect plan for YOU – He has made your journey unique and He will carry you through the ups and the downs. I’m asking God to be with singles everywhere this week, whether they are content in their singleness or desperately feeling like they are missing out.
Thanks so much Heather for your words!
Beth WIlliams says
I, too, was 30 then 35 and so on single person. It wasn’t till I turned 39 that God sent me a hubby. Like you I did not care for Holidays much as everyone talked about what their families were doing. For the most part it was just me and my older parents.
I used my single time to go on local mission trips and do things for God. Being single allows you more free time to do things and be involved in activities for God.
Always remember Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you to give you a hope and a future.” Pray about your singleness and see what God can do for you.
Thanks so much for this. I was the one that never had boyfriends and so when I did meet the one God had planned for me, we got married on Valentines day, with a heart shaped engagement ring and believe it or not, snow in the shape of a heart in our going away pictures. That was pretty much the last of the romance. It is too crowded to eat out on valentines day. We have car and homeowners insurance due in February. We are frugal and flowers will die, so I don’t want them. I would like a card and one day diamonds! Anyway, the Lord showed me a few years ago, I was so selfish. I have my husband to hold and be there for me. The widows in our church do not, so every year at this time, I send each one of them a card wishing them a Happy Valentines day and tell them they are loved. It’s not all about me, even though I still think sometimes about me. So many people get flowers at work or candy, I know what I have with my husband and in my heart.
Melody Ann says
“Because I am loved by God, I can boss lies around.” That quote is getting written up as a memo to myself !
Tammy…God bless you with your ministry to widows on Valentines Day. Being in that season I cannot express how much it means to those ladies. you have it right on…every moment with your husband builds a memory the rest is just stuff. The because I am loved statements are treasures for the heart and mind and I’m going to write them on my heart to replace the lies the enemy would like me to believe.
Thank you Lorraine for your encouragement. I never thought of it as a ministry. I do pray it blesses those. I pray you know you’re loved by God and now me!
Thank you Lysa for addressing the “If only” lies. The grass always seems greener on the other side, doesn’t it? Right now I see beauty in my singleness, in part because I have seen mess in other people’s relationships, but there have been days that I have believed the If Only lies too.
I love this: Because I am loved by God, I can choose to make this love season wonderful. So true!
Thank you so much for this. I have been trying to prepare myself for this first valentine’s day since my husband left in July. Satan is so crafty with his lies! Their is definitely a battle in my mind a lot of the times. So, thank you-I needed this. 🙂
You’ve encouraged and challenged me with this post and I’m certain you will bless all women too no matter what season of life they are in.
I hate Dec (Christmas/New year), Jan (my birthday-that more often than not, a let down, like an after thought; shouldn’t bother me at 35!!) and Feb (haunted memories of my past, hate my too good memory! And of course V day!) I’m definitely “behind” all my friends and family (latter aren’t Christians, which doesn’t help!) with marriages and babies, and I think they would be shocked and totally surprised if a godly man came into my life. I sound so selfish. I’m trying to focus more on who God wants me to be, even though the world screams a very different (and sometimes louder) message. Learning my new script!!!! Thanks Lysa!
Nancy Ruegg says
Ah, yes. The “if onlys” focus my attention on what I have not. Instead, my attention needs to be on what I have, what God has already given me. Thank you for a meaningful and helpful-how-to post, Lysa!
This is a beautiful reminder to find contentment in our lot in life, whatever it may be. I can change myself and my responses, with God’s help….and that’s enough.
Beth WIlliams says
I used to never really care about Valentine’s day or the holidays much. For many years it was just me and my older parents. I was jealous of others who had someone to share memories with.
To make use of my time I did some local missions and got involved in church activities. All that was good, but I felt I wanted more. Prayer and lots of it took place. Finally in His perfect timing God sent me a most wonderful, caring man int
For the singles out there–my advice is to get active in missions, church activities and pray about getting married.
You know, I went to coffee a few days after Valentines day with a young lady whom I sing with on the worship team. We got to talking about Vday and she said, that she had a hard time this year and it really hit her hard. I really just wanted to LOVE on her ya know?