Oh Valentine’s Day. The dreaded holiday for so many singles. However, I could probably argue that there are quite a few people in relationships that avoid Valentine’s Day too. In fact, it’s been reported that less than 50% of married people celebrate Valentine’s day, yet as singles we put so much weight on being single on this day. We give Valentine’s day – a day where less than 50% of people celebrate it the authority to put us in a bad mood for the entire month. We long to be married and this holiday that comes every year stirs up longings that can’t be fulfilled. Sounds like Song of Solomon doesn’t it? (SOS 8:4)
This caution is so important to the understanding of the beauty and power of love that it is repeated 3 times (2:7, 3:5 and 8:4). The caution is so important to us because we live in a culture saturated by messages that feed our eyes and minds that relationships are the most important part of life and that without a husband and kids and sex – you aren’t anything.
And its Valentine’s Day that magnifies that message.
That message that Solomon is writing is not just about abstinence, it’s a mental game too. Don’t awaken love physically, but don’t awake love mentally either. We must be protecting our minds from habitual lust, fantasy, and desires that keep us from being faithful in the waiting. I mean think about it – when you are dieting, do you want to go and sit at dinner with someone eating a luscious meal that you are craving but can’t eat? During this Valentine’s season, we are bombarded with messages that stir up these feelings. Often times, these feelings can not be satisfied – and that my friend, leads us into this discontentment and loneliness.
Desiring love is not wrong – God wanted us to enjoy love and enjoy each other (Proverbs 5:18, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 1 Timothy 4:4). Thus, without these good things (that God Himself created!) loneliness and sadness becomes the natural bi-product.
God designed us to be in community with others. Look at Genesis 2:18 – from the very beginning, it is not good for man to be alone – if that tells you anything about God’s desire for community, friendship, and love for His people – I don’t know what does!
But the waiting for love, it’s hard.
Oh joy. The word waiting.
Waiting, in its most literal transitions means to stay where one is and delay action. On Valentine’s Day – I do not desire to delay action. In fact, I want to speed the process up – especially during the month of February. I want the roses, the words, the love. I need my parents to make that 500-mile journey that Abraham made to find Isaac a wife. “Come on dad where is your 500-mile journey??” (Gen 24)
I long for all of these things – but the ironic thing… the majority of married people don’t even celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, chocolates, and lots of red hearts. When you start to have these thoughts, I urge you not to satisfy those desires with the world. God is glorified in us when we get our true satisfaction and joy from Him. He understands how waiting can lead to loneliness (Hebrews 4:15-16) but he also promises that he will and does fulfill all of our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
It’s in this waiting that we get the joy of building relationships with our God and because of that we are drawn close to a community of people. You see at our very core, God made us to be with others. A research study at UCLA using MRI technology reinforces the belief that our brains are wired to connect with other people. Our brains, our bodies, our emotions are social. We are constantly responding to others. These findings also reveal that when we don’t have social interaction – our brain is adversely affected.
Instead of sitting and using this time of singleness to spur on feelings of loneliness that you think can only be fulfilled through a relationship, we can use this time to “eagerly prepare” – growing deeper with him, pursuing a more satisfying relationship with Him. For when we pursue Him, He desires to give us community. Community with Him and His church.
Loneliness is a pain that is triggered by the same part of the brain that is triggered when you step on a lego on the floor. It’s not cured with medication – loneliness is cured with friendship.
I heard a pastor say one time – in the Old Testament God gave us marriage to deal with and fight off loneliness, but in the New Testament the Lord sent us the Holy Spirit and gave us the Church. I had to sit with this one – I didn’t want to believe it. My Hallmark movie watching mind wanted to believe that marriage was the solution for loneliness – end of story. Period. But God wants to give us a relationship with Him and His church – one that will continue to fulfill us over and over again.
However, we are living in a society and a time that is promoting individualism – we are busy and disconnected. Our free time is spent doing DIY Projects (really cool things to do – ironically though – literally means do it yourself. And don’t get me started on how often we stroll social media. This mostly-superficial platform causes us to be overwhelmed and detached – we desire things that others have.
We are busy and disconnected in a culture promoting individualism.
Instead, we should be prioritizing friendship, protecting it. Jesus did the majority of his life with his disciples – day in and day out he built relationships with each of them. But it’s not enough just to do life with people… we must build relationships. Be consistent in their lives and grow a community because that is how our brains were built. This is a really interesting topic and we are going to discuss this in another blog post, but wanted to tease it out here.
Instead of looking at this day on the calendar with empty hearts – while we over-dramatize how the world is celebrating with husbands and romantic dinners – we need to use this day to celebrate the love we have with our Creator who chases after us and showers us with His glorious blessings.
Side note: I think it’s very intentional that Galentine’s Day is February 13. The day BEFORE Valentine’s Day. It is important for us as singles – not to get caught up in mourning Valentine’s Day, so why not have a fun day with your community of women.
Surround yourself with them so that on February 14 you aren’t thinking about how you don’t have a man, because you are too busy thinking about how much fun you had with your community the night before!
What does community look like in your life?
Do you have edifying community? Do you identify with the loneliness and the frustration about waiting above?
If so, I would ask you when the last time you had community in your life? If it wasn’t recently, ask someone to come over. It doesn’t have to be fancy… just be around people. That’s how God designed us to live… with people.