Single on Valentine’s Day? February 14, the holiday that celebrates all things love and romance, can be challenging if you don't have a special someone in your life right now.
I know people in the "uncoupled" stage of life who bemoan their single status and gripe to just about anyone who will listen about what they don’t have: "I just want a boyfriend. I just want to be married. Why does she get a second husband when I haven't had one at all?"
You probably know singles like that. I know I do.
Then there are the cynical ones who mock the red heart holiday with snide remarks like, "Who cares? It’s just a Hallmark holiday anyway."
On a positive note, I know a bunch of interesting and intelligent single women who celebrate V-Day with friends—they throw a party and just have fun.
Singles look at this romantic holiday with very different attitudes.
So if you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and you want to not only endure but enjoy Valentine's Day, you have some choices to make about your perspective and your attitude.
Here are five ways singles can find more joy on the love holiday—and the rest of the year:
1. Know and believe the truth. First, your feelings are valid. It's OK to be discouraged when you don't have someone special to love (or like). But don't set up camp there. Move forward with hope by telling yourself the truth about your identity and your single status.
• God's Word says you are dearly loved, the "apple of His eye." He is with you; He is for you. He cares about every area of your life. Yep, even your love life.
• Don't allow one day of the year, February 14, define your identity. Whether you have a significant other or not, you are still worthy and wonderful.
• Being single doesn't mean that you are "less than" or "not good enough." It’s simply not true.
• And here's a fact: You are not alone. Nearly 50.2 percent of us (or 124.6 million American adults) are single.
2. Surrender. Sometimes we hold on so tightly to what we think we want and how the whole dating/marriage thing is supposed to play out. I have learned that the way to find peace is to surrender, to yield to the will of One who loves me most, and allow God to reign in this area of my life. Knowing that God wants the very best for me allows me to trust Him.
In my book When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty, I talk about the fact that God is all about love and relationships. But sometimes we try to fill that desire for lasting love with other things or people, and they leave us feeling empty and alone.
"Often we try to load up our heart and fill the holes with what another person thinks, says, or does when it was meant to be filled by God. He won't let anyone be our total fulfillment, otherwise we wouldn’t need Him.
It's not wrong to want a relationship. God is all about relationships…As we put God first in our heart affections, He fills up the emptiness and we are able to receive the love of others, retain it, and give it away.
Perhaps you think because God hasn't given you someone to love, that He doesn't care or that He’s forgotten about your desires. God is not forgetful or uncaring. He is constantly at work in the lives of His children, and everything God does is for a reason—even His divine delays."
3. Prepare. Are you ready to be in a relationship? Maybe it's time to think about getting rid of the garbage in your head and your heart—the stuff that no longer belongs—like bad attitudes about the opposite sex or a critical spirit. Think about what you really want in your next relationship and how things can be different next time. Was the last guy you dated too serious and you want someone more playful? Did you have a hard time getting your previous girlfriend to attend church with you when that’s an important part of your life?
4. Pray. Ask God to show you what needs to change in your own life to prepare for your next relationship. What areas of your life need work—your spiritual life, physical, social, financial and the like. Also, pray for your future husband or wife. Prayer is talking to God and listening. And He loves talking to His kids. We can come confidently and boldly to Him and ask.
5. Choose joy now. Don't wait to have a man in your life or a woman on your arm to be happy. Sure, it's Valentine's Day and love is in the air. But you, single friend, can choose to have peace and joy in your life despite your circumstances. If you get invited to a pity party, don't RSVP! Make a plan to get together with other single friends. Celebrate love of all kinds and send a card (yep, snail mail) to family members or friends to show you care.
Instead of drowning your sorrows in massive amounts of chocolate this Valentine's Day, rejoice in who you are—dearly loved, special, and chosen by God. Despite your feelings, you can choose joy today.
Don’t let one candy-infused, heart holiday hijack your hope. I, for one, choose to be confident and hopeful—on Valentine’s Day and every day of the year.