“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
February 15th can be a really tough day. No, you aren’t reading that wrong. That’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.”
I’ve felt both of these.
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 romance novel or watch movies with lines in them like, “You had me at hello” or “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 out to those in need.
There is so much joy to be had when we seek to invest loving acts into others’ lives.
4. What can I put on my schedule with my friends or loved ones 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.
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.
How quickly they forgot the miracles God had performed to free them. How easily they dismissed the fact they were once mistreated slaves in Egypt!
And while part of me is tempted to judge them for their forgetfulness, I know I can be found doing the same thing. It’s so easy to forget the good we have and paint the picture that our lives would be better “if only.” That’s why 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 ideas help. And I pray we make 1 John 4:19 our declaration this year as we choose to give love instead of waiting for love to come our way: “We love because he first loved us.”
Father God, thank You for helping me to look at Valentine’s Day in a new and fresh way — not as a day where I strive to get love, but as the perfect opportunity for me to give love. Fill me to overflowing today with the knowledge of just how loved I am by You, and show me where I can spill that great love onto others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 3:17b-18, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (NIV)
Learn more about the unconditional love God has for you with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Purchase your copy here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are there “if only” lies you have been rehearsing lately? Take some time to replace those scripts with “Because I am … I can.”
© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.