It’s that time of year again: Valentines Day time. Love is “in the air” and all you have to do is turn on the television to know about it. There are two types of people on Valentines Day that we normally think of: the absolute romantic who gets whisked away on some swoon worthy date, and the bitter single who shoves just enough chocolate truffles down their throat to drown out every bit of the day and its intentions. Being single on a day devoted to romance can really be a major bummer. But hold up- is this JUST about romance? Society depicts it as so, but what are we really celebrating? Is it really just a day to take someone out on a date and eat chocolate, or could it mean something more? I choose to believe that there is a deeper message in Valentines Day that we often neglect. This is a day of LOVE. Love: the thing that binds hearts, heals wounds, saves lives, and yields hope to the masses. We like to celebrate Valentines Day with our significant other because we get to celebrate the LOVE that we have found with that person. Love is great, especially when it is celebrated with that special someone, but the world often tells us to stop there….like love has a limit. Love is increasingly being portrayed these days as something just for couples…or the bedroom. While this love is a wonderful and beautiful thing, why do we convince ourselves that this is the only love worth celebrating? There are other ways to love in this world that seem to just be cast off into the wind, especially on Valentines Day- which is ironic because it is a day devoted solely to love, yet we neglect its other meanings. So here is the truth: love has no limits. There is no boundary line to love, and it does not have one single definition. We know this because God is love, and He is unlimited, all powerful, and forever loving- even when we are not. What if we took the ideal image of love we have in our heads on Valentines Day for couples, put God at the center, and applied it to all facets of our lives? We can break past society’s limit on love and give it to friends, family, random strangers, and those who need it most. Love can be given anywhere at anytime to anyone, and end up changing everything. Here are 4 areas of your life where love can be shown and celebrated regardless of having a significant other:
Your Friends: Best friends are like gold. They make you laugh even when life makes you feel like crying. They are the ones on this earth who truly care about you. And while they are not perfect, they do supply a love that is worth celebrating on Valentines Day. It’s a love that doesn’t judge or have conditions. And when you have God leading each of you through the journey of life together, hard times become less daunting.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” -Proverbs 17:17
Your Family: There is something extremely special about family. It is this unique binding from birth that automatically places you in the loving arms of someone who cares about you unconditionally. A mother and her child is an extraordinary bond found throughout nature. However, this loving relationship is not always the case forever. I realize that family can be stressful, broken, and heartbreaking. I understand that sometimes the last thing you want to do is love family. This is not everyone’s family situation, but I know enough families like this to see that love can appear to be severed in the home. I can’t imagine this pain and it honestly breaks my heart to see families cut in half. But I do know this- in the depths of every heart, there is a love for one’s family. Blood is something that is irreversible. Even when people make mistakes and diverge from one another, there is a love. How do we know this? Because breaking up family hurts. It hurts more than any broken relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Breakups in the home affect not just the heart but the childhood foundation. This is why love is such a powerful thing in terms of family. Value it. Never take it for granted. One day that person, even if they make you mad, may disappear. Before that happens, do not spend everyday in a ball of bitter hate towards them. I challenge you this Valentines Day to LOVE your family despite all flaws. Tell them or show them that you care- that you are willing to make amends and work this out. A simple act of voluntary love that is unexpected and undeserved is the greatest there is. That’s what Jesus did. We did not deserve one bit of the love He gave us and ultimately sacrificed His life for- yet He did it anyway. And here we are…still talking about it. Try it yourself this Saturday. Maybe your family will still be talking about the peace you made on this day in years to come also. One moment is all it takes to change the world…or just someone’s heart. Never forget that.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” –Colossians 3:12-14
The Loveless: It is very true that God loves all people so that no one is truly “loveless”. However, there are many out there that do not know of this love. Days pass and each day is a struggle to survive because they feel like no one cares about them…like they are insignificant and irrelevant to the world. You can change this, and Valentines Day is a great place to start. Think about those who are in the hospitals. The streets. The nursing homes. These are people that often need love. Go be the one that gives it. Volunteer, write a letter, visit someone, or give money to a charity and redefine “the day of love” as one of love through service. Our love that we give to people is not perfect like God’s, but He can certainly still love through us. Even if you do not see the impact of the love you give to someone, God is still working. In fact, that applies to all situations in terms of being kind and loving. Just because you do not get a “thank you” or a smile in return for the acts of love you do does not mean that God is not using your act to change someone on the inside. For example, I remember back in middle school students could put special messages in the school newspaper. I was casually flipping through them when one stood out to me. It was a simple Bible verse…”Micah 6:8”. I ended up looking the verse up out of curiosity and ever since then it has been my life verse (I encourage you to look it up too!). That student will never know the impact he made on me. I do not even know the student’s name. However, I will always remember how that simple action of posting a Bible verse in the school newspaper made me feel. Remember this on Valentines Day as you hopefully carry out your own random acts of kindness or volunteering:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
GOD: “We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:19
This is the most important love of all. He is the Creator of love. Valentines Day would not exist without the love He pours into us each day. He loves you and will do anything to hold you in His arms and have you know how unlimited His love for you is- even sacrifice His one and only son on the cross for you. This love is what we really should be celebrating most on Valentines Day. Everything in this article really boils down to this: God’s love is limitless. It is perfect. And He wants you to see that His love is greater than any other “love” that the world offers. So why, when God has His arms outstretched to embrace us with His love do we so easily start to take a few steps back in the opposite direction? Why do we take God’s perfect love for granted and instead aim for temporary love? There is an answer:
We all too easily forget the power of perfect love when TV and social media blares fancy hearts and pretty lies in our eyes.
Love in a form other than romance these days seems to be becoming more and more irrelevant in a world where it needs to be the most relevant. People need love- God’s love. Love from a human is not perfect. Have you ever listened to the words of mainstream songs on the radio? Nearly every single one is about love. It’s all about getting that one person, loving them, seeking them, or dreaming about them. However, it is all too coincidental that songs on the radio also radiate feelings of getting upset at that person, how frustrating they can be, how they cheated, how they lied, or how they made you cry. This tells us that the love that everyone seeks in another person is never enough. A human cannot satisfy divine desires. They just can’t. When you try to soak up all the love you feel you need through one single imperfect person, things have a high potential to go downhill at some point. Humans are not and never will be perfect, no matter how hard we attempt to make them out to be. As a teen girl, I know all too well what it is like to see a really attractive guy, know they are not the nicest in the world, yet still try to make them out to be someone good. This is so easy to do with celebrities too. Just because we find them gorgeous we end up picking through their flaws and tossing them out as if they never existed. This forced oblivion is what leads to us thinking that an imperfect person can supply us with a perfect love. We can do this in relationships so easily. We recognize the problems but pretend they are not there so that we can continue to be with them without fear or guilt…until the flaws blow up and our hearts get broken. If you know he or she cheated, do not keep making excuses for why it is not a big deal. In your heart you know that it certainly is. However, this is what imperfect love does to us. It causes warfare in our hearts that never ends in a white flag. We fight for it so much until it breaks us. Yet, society encourages this fight everyday. Now, I am not saying that dating someone with flaws is an issue, because EVERYONE has flaws unique to them. What I am saying is that this love should not be the ONLY love we seek and fantasize about. There is a love so much greater that each of our hearts were MADE to desire. And we don’t need to fantasize about it because it is REAL. Why do you think we all seek that imperfect love so quickly? Why do we go to such great lengths to chase it? We were made for it. Every song radiates this fact. Every heart on earth desires love. Our hearts beat for it second by second. That is what ultimately proves God’s existence. This worldwide phenomenon verifies that He is the One to fill the void- because we ALL have this yearning for a limitless love like God’s. Those compliments a guy or girl gives you can temporarily seem to fill that void. So can sex. But you will always wake up. And when you wake up, you will always want more. Nothing on earth can satisfy the human heart because nothing on earth is perfect. We all dream of perfect lives with a perfect spouse. This very pursuit of perfection ingrained from birth is a universal message to us that we were made to be satisfied with something perfect. With God. He is perfection. He sees us as perfect in His loving eyes and it is then, when we acknowledge this fact that the void is filled. The pursuit of perfection is over because we know that the perfection we constantly seek has been found in God. Jesus Christ died out of a perfect love for each heart. He did not just speak of His love, He DEMONSTRATED it on the cross when He sacrificed all He could for our sake- which is and forever will be the greatest profession of love that occurs on this earth. Celebrate that this Valentines Day. The love of Your Savior. Chocolate and romantic dates are enthralling, but remember that love is not limited to this depiction. It is infinitely boundless. That sounds like a pretty good reason to celebrate love on Valentines Day to me.