You know what’s in a few days? Valentine’s Day. Yep, that made up holiday created by greeting cards companies to sell eight-dollar cards and cheap chocolate. It is in a few days and I’ve sat where you may be sitting today. Seeing that date creep up on the calendar, knowing it’s nearly here, trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter but also feeling terrible that I actually care.
Valentine’s Day can be a reminder that you are alone… without a Valentine… and without the love you really reserve. It can be a reminder of your disappointment
. You had a hope in that relationship and in that love, and you were disappointed.
So, what are you going to do? Go out with friends? Sit alone and watch Netflix? You could! But here’s my recommendation.
I want you to go on a date with Jesus!
Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know we’re all having flashbacks to middle school youth group but hear me out! If you’ve made a commitment to Jesus, it needs to be nurtured – just like any other relationship. You have to spend time with Him, get to know Him, and allow Him to get to know you. What better day to do that than Valentine’s Day? It’s not going to feel super romantic, and it may feel awkward, but it’s a start. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ways that I have dates with Jesus.
Step 1: Go to a local coffee shop. And go by yourself!
Find a comfortable table with a drink, your journal and Bible. Why a public place and not your living room? Well, because when you’re in a public place, you may be less likely to feel sorry for yourself. Also, who doesn’t love new coffee shops?
Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb or better yet, keep it in your car! This is a must for me. I am so easily distracted by my phone. You want uninterrupted time on this date, so put away your phone and take off your apple watch.
Step 2: Journal, journal, JOURNAL!
Begin by writing about your day, week, month, and, if you need to, year. Your words should be written like you’re actually talking to God. Getting caught up may take some time and that’s okay. If you don’t want to write down the whole story, write how you’re doing today and anything else that comes to mind. If you’re feeling sad and disappointed, write it down!
Sometimes a hurdle in journaling is the desire to make it sound clever or poetic. Or Maybe you are trying to have perfect handwriting. Don’t worry about any of that! Don’t think about reading it later, just get it all out. We can’t always hear from God if we have all these emotions and painful interactions circling in our head. This is the brain dumping phase and it’s an important phase if you’re feeling emotional.
God created your emotions. He can handle them!
Step 3: Give thanks
Now that you’ve acknowledged to God that your life isn’t what you thought it would be, it’s time to move onto a time of thanksgiving.
- Thank God for already being with you. Even if you don’t feel Him.
- Remember a time you felt God’s presence or gotten a word from Him. Maybe it was at church, or in the car, maybe it was through a friend. Remember that time and thank Him for it.
- Thank God for at least 10 things that you see as gifts in your life. Maybe it’s your support system, your family, friends, or the fact that you’re in a country that has coffee shops.
- Thank Him for the time you have together right now over coffee.
After you’ve written all this down as a prayer, stop and see if you hear or feel anything and write it down. Begin asking God questions about what you’re thinking, hearing and feeling.
Step 4: Open Your Bible
If it’s been a while for you since you’ve read your Bible, or even if you’ve never opened it in your life, don’t be embarrassed and don’t be ashamed. Just do it! Ask God for insight and for clarity in what you’re about to read. (If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few of my favorite passages: Joshua 1:1-9; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 16; Psalm 23; Psalm 91; Isaiah 54; John 14; John 15; John 16; John 17; Romans 8; Ephesians 6; Hebrews 11.)
Here’s an important note: Read slowly!
If you’re struggling to identify what the passage is saying, I suggest trying a translation that’s a little more understandable. The Passion Translation (TPT) is one of my favorites, but keep in mind that it only includes the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon. The New Living Translation (NLT) is also a wonderful option. You can find these translations online or on the Bible App if you don’t have the published versions (but don’t check Facebook).
As you read, journal questions that come up for you. Ask God what it means and how it applies to your life. If your Bible has notes, read them and if there are cross references to different passages, read those as well. Sometimes that can give you more clarity. You can even read the same passage in different translations. Continue to ask God for clarity on what you’re reading and, you guessed it, journal it all.
Step 5: Keep Going
After you’ve sat at the coffee shop for a few hours with your date, Thank Jesus for the time. End your date, by writing this phrase or something like it, “Thank you for being with me today. I want to believe you are the best date. Help me believe that. I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Maybe you want to continue sitting there. Do it. Maybe you want to listen to music now. What’s stopping you? Maybe you want to open up Instagram. Go for it! But when you’re ready to leave, get in your car and continue the conversation with Him. Begin the habit of involving God in the normal parts of your day. That takes time and practice but it’s so worth it.
Congratulations! You just went on a date with Jesus! Was it an instant connection? Did you feel the spark with Him? Maybe, maybe not and that’s okay! But, if you’re committed to having Jesus in your life, you need to spend time with him to actually grow that relationship. The truth is, sometimes we leave these times with Jesus with more questions than answers, and that’s okay. But when you’re getting to know someone, we need to spend time with them.
If you find yourself sad about your relationship status this Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you to give yourself lots of grace. Maybe you need a massage, or a manicure, or some other “self-care.” But maybe even more of what you need is to express those pent-up feelings to Jesus
. Talk about it and get close to Him. He cares about how you’re doing. He’s actually the best Valentine’s date!
Episode 45 – Singleness and Dating After Divorce (featuring Kaitlyn Raley)
61: Dating After Divorce – Part 1: Ellie’s Experience (Featuring Mark Herringshaw)
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Confessions of a Newly-Single Divorcée