It took me years and years and YEARS to ever really appreciate this holiday we call Valentine’s Day. From my past experience, it has been nothing but a disappointment…why? Well, let’s examine where the heartache could be rooted. My memories include: getting a charming card…instead of chocolate, a stuffed bear…instead of chocolate, gorgeous flowers…instead of chocolate, or receiving nothing at all…which means once again…yep…no chocolate. I believe the root of my disappointment simply stems from the lack of chocolate provided during this “chocolate holiday.” When I really examine it further though, I realize, there actually was chocolate involved in most of those cases. So how did I miss it? Well…it wasn’t ENOUGH chocolate. Therefore, for me, it goes into the “no chocolate” category. Anyone that knows me, can attest that chocolate is one of my favorite and greatest weaknesses. If it’s in the room…I will be sitting near the bowl that the chocolate is in, or I will have the bowl in my lap…or…if the bowl is big enough, I might even be sitting IN the bowl. 😉
Of course, I hope you know I’m being a bit facetious here. I know Valentine’s Day isn’t all about me, and it’s certainly not all about me receiving chocolate. I fully understand that it’s an added opportunity for us to give and show that special someone in our lives a little extra love and/or romance. But I can’t help but face the hard truth that I can easily make it all about me and it can happen fast.
Selfish love. That’s basically what I’m talking about here…loving someone with the expectation that I’ll receive, at least to some degree and in some form, love back. We all want to be loved right? What’s so wrong about that? I’ll give love to you, and then you give love back to me…right? This can certainly work and it does in a GAZILLION cases (is gazillion even a word?).
I’m finally realizing that this kind of love is just scratching the surface of what it’s REALLY supposed to be about. I believe I was created to love in a much deeper, greater way that can be even more fulfilling than the basic love I mentioned above. How? It’s when I turn that selfish love into Christ’s love. Of course, I can’t do that without Christ. I have to Know Him in order to love like Him. He’s the one who created this whole love thing in the first place. Without Him, I just love the best I know how, which usually includes those subconscious selfish needs wanting to be met, whether I even realize it or not.
I’m talking about that crazy supernatural love of Christ that doesn’t look to get anything back…EVER. It’s so good that it can soften a heart that has been hardened for years, give peace to a grieving parent who has lost a child, take a person in full blown addiction into a new life of freedom, cast out any and all fears, forgive and restore abusers who have destroyed lives…THAT kind of love. It’s in a league of its’ own!
I’ve come to realize that the more I know who He is, the more capable I am of loving like He loves. To do this, I have to stay close to him. It’s learning about His character through His word, asking Him to guide my every move, being still and listening, and most importantly – placing HIM before anyone or anything else in my life. If I do those things, He shows up in me and loves through me. Then…and only then…I start to love without those expectations, because I’m loving others for Christ, and not for myself.
One of the most surprising blessings of all of this is that it’s the most fulfilling love I have ever experienced.Who would’ve thought selfless love would be the most fulfilling love? Christ thought of it. It’s His design and that’s why it works.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” – John 6:35.
That’s what God wants to do with all of us. He wants us to experience His love and through that, lives will be transformed, INCLUDING OUR OWN.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
So, as I sit here reflecting back on the lack of chocolate I’ve received over the years and the past disappointing Valentine’s Days I’ve “suffered” through, I laugh because of how much I have missed the mark. Today, I have a new and different perspective on February 14th. It’s another chance to celebrate the love, in its’ purest form, that has been freely given to me by THE creator of the universe, a love that fulfills me unlike any other love I could experience on my own. And the best part… it’s never-ending. It’s ETERNAL!
“For God so loved the world that he gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” –John 3:16
My Valentine’s gift exceeds anything I could ever ask or imagine. I hope you too will get to experience Valentine’s Day in a new light this year. There’s no better way to experience it than with Him.
I would like to join in Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17-19 and pray this for you…
“I pray that God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Amen.