By Becky Kiser, Crosswalk.com
I’ve never really been much of a fan of Valentine’s Day. I’ll blame it on the commercialism of the holiday. If I’m honest, though, it has more to do with the fact that my reality has never come close to my hopes and expectations for this day. I’m a skeptic who also really loves Hallmark movie endings. The problem is I forget that Hallmark has millions of dollars and professional actors to pull off those endings.
If I’m being honest with myself, the hardest part of Valentine’s Day was that I felt—and sometimes still feel—lonely. If you can relate to this feeling, then I hope these words bring you some encouragement. This feeling of loneliness, around Valentine’s Day especially, was never more amplified than when I was single. People would tell me, attempting to offer some comfort: “God has a plan;” “God will bring me the right man when I least expect it;” and dozens of other similar statements.
So, my head knew all those things—the “right” things— and my hands did all the “right” things, yet my heart always had a hard time catching up. And, if I’m being more honest, I hated to admit that. I hated to admit that I hated being single. I knew marriage didn’t fix everything, but I also knew that it would fix this ache of loneliness that I felt. For you, dear sister, who are where I was, let me just tell you a few things I wish someone would’ve told me. Let’s pretend we are face-to-face, talking over lattes at a local coffee shop:
1. You aren’t alone.
I know when you pop on social media you see images and stories that tell you that you are alone in how you feel, but let me tell you that’s a facade. Well, maybe it’s a partial facade. Sure your friends that are dating or married are posting pictures of roses and surprises from their man, but just remember—you don’t know the full story of those romances. You don’t know that those flowers might be the first kind thing their spouse has done for them in months. (And let me tell you the only loneliness that is harder than being lonely and alone, is being lonely but not alone.)
In addition to all the people who you see that are celebrating this day, know there are so many not posting that just so happen to feel exactly the same way you do—they just aren’t sharing about it.
Tip: If social media enhances your feelings of loneliness during this season, consider removing the app from your phone for a few days. Trust me, if it’s truly important someone will call, or at least text you.
2. It’s OK to not be OK.
I’m not sure why we do this, but often times we feel like we should be OK. That, since we are Christians, we should never feel sad or discontent with our situations. Sister, it’s OK to not be OK. One of my favorite passages in the Bible comes from Jesus praying in the Garden before His arrest (you can read the whole story in Luke 22:39-46). Jesus shows us how we can approach situations that are clearly God’s will, but we aren’t feeling OK about them. Jesus, the Son of God, Savior of the World, prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus embraced God’s will and at the same time was desperate for another way. It says He prayed this so earnestly His sweat even turned to drops of blood.
I understand that our singleness isn’t the same as what Jesus was facing with the Cross. However, I don’t think this portion of the story being included should be lost on our ability to apply it. We can still want a different way and live completely surrendered to God’s will.
Tip: If you feel not OK, spend some time before you go to sleep today on your knees praying an honest prayer to God about it. Set an alarm on your phone to do that so you don’t forget. Maybe keep the alarm going off each day until you feel more OK.
3. God really is in control and has a plan.
At least once a week I hear someone quote Jeremiah 29:11 and paraphrase it some way like, “God has a good plan for your life!” I do believe God has a plan for your life, but that there are greater things to be learned from the context in Jeremiah 29:11-14a, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”
God shares that He has a plan because, as He says in verse 12, He wants us to come to Him to find it out. Sometimes we are so distracted trying to figure out God’s plan and way, that we forget to consult God. God is not a genie in a bottle. But He is Lord of all creation, and all our days have been written before there was even one (Psalm 139:16). What we learn from Jeremiah 29 is that when we seek God, instead of seeking for clues, then we find God, “when we seek Him with all our heart.” He is the treasure, He is what is found; that is the good thing! Once we have found Him it puts all things into proper perspective.
Tip: Isaiah 55:8-9 is a favorite passage of mine when it comes to considering God’s plans. Know the thing He has planned may look absolutely nothing like you imagined. This is why we look to Him and not try to figure things out on our own.
As you reflect on all of that, remember this too: your Father loves you.
Your Father, in Heaven, is absolutely smitten by you. I’m not a subscriber to the “Jesus is my boyfriend” mantra that some singles tend to own, because He is so much more than that. When you are lonely, regardless of what season of life you find yourself, remember these things He says about you:
- “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.” - Psalm 139:17-18a
- “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” - Matthew 10:29-31
- “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” - 1 Peter 2:9
- “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8
- “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” - Psalm 103:8
- “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you.” - Isaiah 43:4
- “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” - Psalm 139:14
- “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” - Isaiah 49:16
If you would like to fix your heart on what God’s Word has to say about His great love for you, check out this FREE 5-day Bible reading devotional on Youversion that I wrote: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14078-sacred-holidays-devo-leading-up-to-valentines-day (or search Sacred Holidays Valentine’s on the Bible app).
If you were encouraged by these words, grab your copy of Becky’s book, Sacred Holidays: Less Chaos, More Jesus, sold everywhere books are sold online and in Lifeway stores.
Becky Kiser is intent that women would fall in love with God’s Word, then feel equipped and empowered to live it out. She believes that women can live out their own wild story, just like the ones we see of God’s chosen in His Word, as they love Jesus and love people. She is the founder and CEO of Sacred Holidays—a ministry dedicated to helping women find less chaos and more Jesus during holidays through Bible study, community, resources, and lots of fun! She is determined to help women keep all the whimsy of the holidays, but help make them sacred—holy and set apart. Becky has a background in marketing and ministry, and is a certified Myers-Briggs life coach, bringing each of those experiences into her writing. Becky and her husband, Chris, live in Houston, TX with their three girls.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/bernardbodo