Saturday, February 14, 2015

valentines day & the good life...

I have never celebrated a romantic Valentines Day. I have never received flowers, or chocolates, or a fancy date.

This year, however, Redbox was kind enough to text me a promotion code for a free one-night rental, which I used (I have no shame and I am a sucker for free things) and had a great time watching the newest Reese Witherspoon movie (everyone needs to see “The Good Lie”, it is PHENOMENAL; rent it now, right now).

Days like today are the ones that rub salt in the wounds of singleness; there is an irresistible thought process and recognition of what we are missing out on, what we lack, what we crave. Whenever I tell someone that I have been single my entire life, no dates and no kisses and no romantic type thing, I get two very typical responses: that the right person is coming if I just trust the Lord and that I have been spared a broken heart and all the worst kinds of heartache.

Person, I do trust the Lord, that’s probably definitely why I haven’t dated and am not dating/married currently. And yes, I have been spared a broken heart, but you know what? Singleness for 25 years can cause a different kind of broken heart; the kind of brokenness that leads you to questioning if you are enough, if you need to go to the gym more, if you need to put yourself out there, if you need to sign up for Christian Mingle and eHarmony and Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s a different kind of brokenness.

Friends, singleness is just as sanctifying as marriage; the nights are tough when we come home knowing we are cooking for one, knowing that we will fall asleep with only our pillows as company, knowing that we will wake up with only ourselves to snuggle up to. But, God is a God of hope, we are a people of hope, and He holds our folds in His hands.

So as a single person in this moment, in this season of life, I have a choice to wallow in bitterness or choose to see the abundance; to see the abundance of love and grace and Christ’s work in my life during this season.

(DISCLAIMER: I understand that Valentines Day is a celebration of all types of love… romantic, friendship, etc. I am so very thankful for my friends and the love they shower on me; for my guy friends who show me what it means to be loved and honored and protected; for my girl friends who show me what it means to be loved and heard and encouraged and accepted. Please here me when I say I LOVE MY FRIENDS AND I CELEBRATE THEM TODAY AND EVERYDAY. And I have so many opportunities to lavish love onto others. But, right now, this post is about romantic love and the lack thereof.)

I recently watched this video of Annie Downs speaking on the unmet desires of singleness, and people, SHE GETS ME. I am most confident that her and I would be great friends if we ever got the chance… Also, I saw her at the IF: Gathering, and by saw I mean that she had to straddle/jump over my seat in order to run down the hallway before she got on stage. She is my people and I love her.

Annie has a way of realness; she is real, raw, transparent, and hilarious all at once, frankly because when life is real, we can’t help but laugh. After laying out some personal stories and convictions, Annie challenged us with this question:

“How do we craft a life that brings God glory and brings you joy even if He doesn’t answer your deepest prayers?”

She then challenged us, after encouraging us to embrace all the things of the present, that we are living the good life right now. Today. In this moment, you are living out God’s greatest for you, God’s glory for Him. Then came a practical, applicable question…
“What is the good life for you?”

So I sat there, watching “The Good Lie” (thanks again, Redbox!) and contemplating the good life. How am I living out the good life right now? What does it look like for me to truly dive in deep into the space God has me in right now?

It looks like mothering and mentoring junior high and high school girls, it looks like taking midnight drives down Victoria Avenue to pray, it looks like dreaming of adopting children irregardless of if I am married, it looks like my Pinterest boards of my future home, it looks like buying myself new Target cardigans and new throw pillows, it looks like sunflowers on my kitchen table, it looks like spending time with friends who love me dearly, it looks like hoping for the future but not in the future, it looks like studying who God is in spite of my longings… it looks like abundance and stillness and grace.

So, I can sit here, celebrating the 25th anniversary of my singleness (and 1st anniversary of my wisdom teeth extraction, which yes, did happen on Valentines Day 2014) OR I can celebrate the fact that God has done so much, is doing so much, and will do so much in my life.

So today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, people are celebrating love, celebrating what God has done, and I am jumping on that bandwagon. Today is the day that I am thankful for the Lord’s hand in my life, for saving me from some really bad dating experiences, for saving me heartache from another human being,

Today, we celebrate love for all that it is, for it’s redemption, it’s restoration, it’s grace, it’s healing, it’s ability to cover a multitude of sins.

Join me and buy yourself some chocolates, some flowers, a new cardigan or throw pillow, because you are celebrating love and yourself and the space you are in today.

This is the good life, love it, embrace it, celebrate it. 

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