Love Is All Around You: Six Ways to Enjoy Valentine's Day

This is a guest post by Kendria Smith

When was the last time you felt deeply loved? For some of you, it may have been receiving flowers or a card from a significant other or having a friend stop by with soup when they heard you were sick. Maybe you came home from a long day of work and found your roommate had made dinner to share or it could be something as simple as getting an encouraging phone call from Mom and Dad to let you know they’re thinking and praying for you.

No matter what your relationship status, love is expressed in different ways and by so many people in our lives. So what is it about the mere mention of Valentine’s Day that makes so many singles feel so insignificant?

I’ve recently contemplated this question, after experiencing a breakup. I spent the last few months of 2013 dating a great guy (we’ll call him “Bob”) whom I met in church, grew to care for deeply, but took a while to realize we had fundamental differences. As a fast-talking, speed walking, list making, social butterfly, I admired Bob’s quiet, relaxed demeanor because it was so different than my own. He seemed mysterious, which was alluring at first, but while opposites may attract, it’s only God’s grace that can hold two people and their differences together. In the end, there were no hard feelings. We both recognized that we tried our best to embrace our commonalities, but overall we were not God’s best for each other. As the disappointment set in it left me grappling with the common question, “Okay God, if not him, then who?!”

Well, six weeks into the New Year and still no answer yet. Yet, through much self-reflection and prayer, I’ve come to a magnificent revelation about my life. Before, during, and after any dating relationship, one thing remains:

I am loved. Still.

As a Christian I was raised believing that God automatically loved me, but it’s over time that I’ve come to realize and appreciate that He has also blessed me with an amazing family and network of friends. I take my relationships very seriously, and through the years have poured countless time and energy into seeing them grow. In turn, these people, my many significant others, have stood by me, encouraged me, listened to me, prayed over me, and loved me for over three decades. They’ve never stopped. They pursue my heart and watch over me despite my current relationship status. Why? Because I have chosen to love beyond the parameters that society may deem “significant.”

One day soon I’ll meet the man God has set apart for me to marry, but he’ll never “complete” me, and he’ll have to be very comfortable with the fact that I come with a cavalcade of life-time friendships, protective parents and prayer warriors who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

In Matthew 22:37-39, the second commandment after loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is to love others as we love ourselves. So whether you’re in a relationship or not, ask yourself if you’re loving on all cylinders today? If love is what you’re looking for, remember that what you sow you also reap. So here are six ways that you can get proactive and kick loneliness and self-pity to the curb on Valentine’s Day:

1. Volunteer
Show love by donating your time to visit a nursing home, serve dinner at a local church or soup kitchen or tutor a child.
2. Babysit
Show love by seeking out a single mom or couple in your community and watch their kids so they can have a much-needed night off.
3. Treat a friend
Show love by grabbing another fun, single girl or guy friend and taking them out to dinner and a movie.
4. Host a party
Show love by using Valentine’s Day as an excuse for getting friends together and throwing a party. Trivia night, anyone?
5. Treat Yourself
Show love by spending a restful evening on your own, either at a spa, fixing your favorite meal or watching a movie.
6. Reflect & Refocus
If none of the first five suggestions seem appealing, it may be time to play hardball. If you keep journals, reach for an old one. Spend some time flipping through the pages and reflecting on your life and how God has brought you through, thus far. If you don’t keep journals, open your Bible and observe God’s love and faithfulness through the life of Ruth, who was left as a widow, in the Book of Ruth, Joseph after he was sold into slavery by his brothers in Genesis 37, or Jesus, who was sinless but died for our salvation in Matthew 27:32-56. You’ll be unequivocally reminded that God has so much more in store for you beyond this one day, and embracing the call to love will lead to a lifetime of happiness.