I have never had a date on Valentine’s Day.
Not only that, but I’ve never been on a date. Period. So as the season of red bouquets and frilly cards comes around once again, you’d think a feeling of dread would begin to overtake me. I’m as single as they come. But even though I have always been single in February, Valentine’s Day is still my favorite holiday. Here are three reasons why:
1. There Is Nothing Shameful About Being Single
Sometimes there’s a feeling of shame that attaches itself like a parasite to the back of our singleness. We feel the need to hide our lack of relationship status from our friends as we smile and nod along to their most recent date story. Summer rolls around, and with every wedding comes the inevitable moment that everyone’s got someone to dance with but you. Even Beyoncé’s short cameo as the single ladies put their hands up doesn’t quite make up for it. The calendar flips to colder weather and as the mistletoe and holly decks the halls, there’s no one to cuddle up to beside the fire. Our churches can even feel lonely when the Christian version of “making it” seems to include wedding vows.
With this reality, no wonder it seems there must be something shameful about singleness. No wonder we feel the urge to slip on our camo jacket and hide in the background. But why? The only reason to be ashamed of our singleness would be if our worth was actually found in our significant other or our dignity found in a marriage. This is not true!
Singleness is something we can celebrate. We find our identity and purpose in the same thing that married folks do: Christ! He is who defines us, single or not. And if there’s anyone that knows the joy and privilege of singleness, it is Christ himself. Are there days I wish I had an SO to snuggle up with? Sure. But most days, I wake up ready to conquer the world because my worth is found in Jesus and his love is all I need to live abundantly and joyfully. I have Christ and with Christ I lack no good thing.
2. Romantic Love Is Not All There Is (Thank goodness!)
I am convinced that our deepest desire as humans is to be fully known and truly loved. Because of our rom-com culture, it’s easy to think that this need would be filled and our wildest dreams fulfilled if only we had a hot date. The good news is that this is not true. Even in the best marriages out there, this desire cannot be fulfilled through romantic love alone. In fact, our desire to be fully known and truly loved cannot be fulfilled by any one person. Though the love found in a marriage can be deep and intimate, there are other types of love that can be just as meaningful.
I used to think that my desire to be deeply loved could only be found in a significant other. I kept waiting and wishing for the day I would finally know what it might be like to be supported, cared for, and loved in a way that made me feel more whole. Turns out, the whole body of Christ is better at this than any guy out there could be. When I invested myself in a community of believers who went all out to serve and care for each other, I found a love deeper and more meaningful than I had ever known.
Because we have all been adopted into the family of God, we have been invited into a new reality – a reality where we fight fiercely, love deeply, care passionately, suffer communally, encourage fervently, and serve radically. I discovered that all the things I thought I had to wait for until I found my mate were things that could be found apart from romantic love. There are certain dreams and desires that might not be fulfilled in anyone other than a spouse, but the desire to be fully known and deeply loved is not one of them.
3. Valentine’s Day is the Best Day to Love Your Neighbor
I know a lot of Valentine’s Day Scrooges. You know the type – they say “Bah, humbug” every time they see a pink heart-shaped doily. You may even be one of them. If you’ve ever turned your nose up at the commercialized version of love that Hallmark makes millions of dollars off each year, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
We have a holiday that is often based on a fake and unhealthy concept of what love means. This results in hundreds of people being either disappointed, left out, or hurt on a day that claims to do the opposite. As the church, we have an opportunity to change that. How might Valentine’s Day be different if we used it as a day to pour out the unconditional love of Christ on everyone we come in contact with? What if we went out of our way to redefine the version of love this holiday promotes?
Every time another Scrooge scoffs at my heart shaped décor, I get a sparkle in my eye as I share why my favorite holiday is the perfect time to love others in a radically selfless way. Every day people believe the lie that they are unloved, unwanted, and worthless. They need to hear the words, “You are loved.” So write a card for everyone on your dorm floor. Buy the favorite foods of everyone in your house. Bake a plate of cookies for each of your neighbors. Pass out handwritten notes to everyone in your office. Think of everyone you know who needs a reminder that they are loved and do something about it.
Being single on Valentine’s Day might seem like a curse to most, but I see it as a gift. Because I’m single, I can spend all twelve hours lavishing Christ’s love on those around me with undivided focus. Love is not a cheap commodity to be bought, it’s not solely romantic, and it’s not only for couples.
Being truly loved is a gift that we all need and deeply desire. On a day devoted to love, let’s exude the unconditional, unwavering, unfathomable love of Christ through all we say and do. When I go to bed on the night of February 14th, I want to know that I did everything I could to remind others that they are deeply loved. That’s why I love being single on Valentine’s Day, and you can too.