I’m single, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and my birthday is on Valentine’s Day.
Jesus, please come now.
I mean, come on. Seriously?
OK, so if I’m being completely honest, I secretly sort of love that my birthday is on Valentine’s Day. I’m a sappy old-school, gooey romantic-at-heart, so it’s only fitting that I would be born on a romantic holiday. My Momma planned well, didn’t she? It’s a funny story, really. No one believed she would deliver on February 14th. The doctors said it wasn’t going to happen, because Mom was nowhere near labor on the 13th. Well, I guess we showed them. Nice work, Mom.
I get a bit frustrated when others bitterly and resentfully claim Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday.” I would challenge that claim, because it isn’t unlike any other “day of observation” holidays throughout the year. You aren’t thankful only on Thanksgiving Day, right? You aren’t proud to be an American only on July 4th, right? You don’t love your parents only on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, right? Valentine’s Day is simply a day set aside to observe and celebrate love if you choose to do so. How can celebrating love be a bad thing? I think it’s beautiful. And with the right mindset and heart, it can be a powerfully spiritual day for us, because God IS love. Celebrating our love for one another is celebrating God, and I personally believe He digs that.
Even so, (and whether single, married, or dating) there can be a paralyzing sense of unmet expectations on this “Love Day” or on your birthday (or on any other day) if our lives aren’t quite where or what we thought they would or should be. I often approach my “double whammy” V-day birthday with a sense of dread, as if bracing myself for a fall and the inevitable pain that will follow. Here we go again. Just another day to be reminded that my life isn’t where I thought it would be. Never would I have guessed that at forty-something I would be single and childless, or that I would be fighting a chronic disease.
There are certainly days and nights that I cry out to God, Why do you answer the prayers of others, but not mine? Nearly all of my closest friends are married, and I can’t seem to take a step outside without hearing that someone in my circle of friends or family is pregnant…again. But I don’t think He’s going to answer my question of “why others and not me” because the answer to that question just isn’t the point.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. (Romans 12:1, MSG)
It’s funny, this verse has just been popping up everywhere in the past few weeks. When I opened up my planner for 2015, this was the verse on the first page. In my personal time with God, this verse has been brought before me in a few different devotionals. One night I couldn’t sleep, turned on the TV and listened to a pastor preach about this verse. And just earlier this week, at my Bible study, Annie Downs, author and speaker, spoke about the impact of this verse on her life. As she taught us, her words just pierced my heart. As Annie shared her own similar journey to contentment, she said, “Even when my prayers aren’t answered, this is a good life.”
No wonder God didn’t want me to miss this verse. The answer isn’t found in the question of “why others and not me?” The answer is found in the question, “Do I believe God is good and pours His kindness and faithfulness over me?”
I do. And guess what I figured out? Y’all, it’s a good life.
Friends, are you caught up in your unanswered prayers and unmet expectations? Are you embracing what God has done? Maybe you’re single, too, and long for a spouse. Or maybe you’re married, and your marriage isn’t what you thought it would be. Maybe you’ve gone through a divorce. Maybe your children are struggling. Maybe your career or ministry isn’t where you thought it would be.
I don’t know what your story is, but He does. Wherever He has you, whatever your life looks like right now, know that He is good. Know that He is here, in the life you have today. He has a purpose for you, and plan for you, in this life you have today. So embrace Him here. So seek Him here. Thank Him here. Love Him here.
Life is good, because our hope isn’t found in the unanswered prayers. Our hope is found in the answered ones.
Life is good, because He is near. “… The nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge…” (Psalm 73:28, NIV)