By Laney Rene, Crosswalk.com
“You could look like that.”
My then-boyfriend slyly commented to me as a super-fit woman walked by us in the terminal. It felt terminal. And like a new beginning. Because after ending that toxic relationship, I loved Valentine’s Day for the very first time.
Cupid’s Day often confronts us with disappointment and unmet expectations, forcing us to face the level of love in our lives. And if we are single, our awareness of romantic absence amplifies. But what if you could instead wake up to a renewed awareness of being loved and living strong in your purpose?
Here are three truths for every woman to experience the freedom that’s possible in life – on this Valentine’s Day and always.
1. Live from the beauty within.
That four-year toxic relationship was punctuated with plenty of painful moments like the one in the airport. I imagine you gasped at his remark. But would you join me in embracing my 20-year-old self because, though hurtful, he was saying aloud what I silently feared –– I didn’t measure up.
I believed the lie that beauty is something we achieve.
We need a different body, more clothes, more views, likes, and comments. All this keeps us craving for more of the same but never truly satisfies the longings of a woman’s heart to be affirmed. That satisfaction only comes from finally accepting that you are deeply loved and cherished. Your unique characteristics and quirks, what makes you and shakes you – this, your true identity, is beautiful. The beauty you long for, desire, and admire in others is already within you.
2. Love from a soul well-loved.
I was single on the first Valentine’s Day I ever loved. My best friend Sadie and I decided to go out and celebrate. We were both discovering how loved we were. I remember feeling free and so full of joy. It was the realization of who I was for the very first time.
The most common ‘L’ word people use to describe Valentine’s Day isn’t love – it’s loneliness. No matter our relationship status, employment, or finances, loneliness asks the question: am I lovable?
We ask because our well-being depends on our ability to receive and give love. But we have to believe we are worth loving before we can truly receive or have anything to give. Even though I was single that Valentine's Day, I felt loved and lovely. I wasn’t lonely. Because loneliness is a choice, just like believing you are lovable. You can choose to care enough about you to celebrate you.
Maybe this Valentine’s Day, whether single or married for decades, make a list of all the qualities you respect about yourself. Don’t wait for someone to give you a Hallmark card. Instead of expecting flowers, go buy your favorites. Flip the script. Let ‘Loved’ and ‘Lovely’ be the top ‘L’-words to describe you this 14th of February. Then you will step into the fullness your heart longs for, free to love yourself and others well.
3. Serve strong in today's purpose.
I put on those cute uniform black pants and kitchen shoes and headed to my new job at Chick-fil-A. What I longed for, though, was to share my love for music and dance with the world. Driving to work one day, I asked for guidance, a word, or anything to help with some direction. I sensed this one simple word, “serve.” I thought, “Serve, okay, I can do that.” Though it felt insignificant, that season afforded time for extra dance classes and unwittingly prepared me for years of backup dancing, touring around the world, and fulfilling dreams.
What about your season feels insignificant? Do you need direction? Are you struggling to let go of past decisions or mistakes? Don’t just hope for something better tomorrow, say a wholehearted yes today to simply serve. Say yes to the work entrusted to you, yes to your children, yes to your study, yes to letting go of yesterday. And then tomorrow will be better.
The truth is, though you may not feel like it right now, you’re in a beautiful place. There’s nothing you’ve given away or nothing that has been stolen from you that cannot be redeemed. The years, the nights, the conversation, the words, the pain, the heartache…nothing is outside of God’s touch. And the plans He has for you, He is continually working for your good.
Live, Love, Serve
Instead of waiting, live from the beauty already within you, love from the freedom of a soul well-loved, and serve strong in the fullness of today’s purpose. Then, perhaps, today will be your Happiest Valentine’s Day yet.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/RF._.studio
Laney Rene is a wife, mom, and author of the new book Daughter: Becoming Who You Already Are. She’s also the founder of The One He Loves, a ministry that exists so every woman can be refreshed, encouraged, and reminded of God’s loving-kindness toward them. Connect with Laney on Instagram @heylaneyrene.