The only thing worse than being single on Valentine's Day is living through the build-up of Valentine's Day, single. Stores begin stockpiling themselves with colorful hearts, cuddly teddy bears, clichè cards, flower bouquets, and isles of chocolate to gift your special someone. Couples start plastering the internet with sappy posts, memories, engagements, and exciting dates that they are going on. Those in relationships seem to have the whole love thing figured out, but not me.
What is it about Valentine's Day that makes the sting of singleness so much worse? Perhaps it is the glamorization of the holiday or the intense fear of missing out. But whatever feeling I may have, I know that Jesus understands.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus lived his entire human life, single. Jesus was entirely God, but sometimes I forget that he was also fully human. He was tempted, expressed his emotions, and probably had a crush on a girl at some point. Jesus knew that he came to earth for the sole purpose of restoring sinners so that I (and all other Christ-followers) may have eternal life with him.
The Bible says a lot about singleness and how much of a gift it can be (1 Corinthians 7:7). As a single Christian, I struggle to find the silver lining or hope on most days. And who can blame me? God created Adam and quickly realized that he should not be alone (Genesis 2:18), and so God created Eve.
God created Eve from Adam's rib to populate the earth and not be alone. As Christians, we are called to live and be in community with other followers of Christ. Society places so much pressure on individuals to find love and get married. Because of that, I constantly fall into the mistaken mindset of feeling incomplete without a significant other.
While I believe that it is my vocation to be married one day, I do not feel like now is that time. I am a first-year teacher and if I were in a relationship, I would not serve my students or continue to grow my educational skill. I pour everything I have out for my students every day and return home exhausted.
My exhaustion comes from a day of serving my students and putting their needs first. I return home to recharge and reflect on my day. I also spend time with friends, family, and out in nature. Community comes in many forms, and a romantic relationship is just one of them. Relationships are all about balance, and although I desire marriage, I am finally learning how special the single-life truly is.
Singleness is a gift because I can focus my entire self on the most important relationship: Christ. I can devote my time to Jesus and grow with him so that I can bring others closer to his kingdom. We all have unique God-given gifts, talents, and abilities that can be used to benefit the Mystical Body of Christ.
"I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." (1 Corinthians 7:7)
Every Christ-follower has been blessed with a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are not something that can be taught or that we possess but instead God's supernatural ability showing up in our lives in various ways.
During this "season of singleness," I have been able to dive deeper into my spiritual gift and grow closer with Christ by using it. I believe that my spiritual gift is understanding. The spiritual gift of understanding is a lot like the virtue of faith. As a follower of Jesus, it is essential to find ways to grow and utilize your spiritual gifts. I am a teacher and use my gift of understanding to help my students succeed.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and our spiritual gifts are too (Psalms 139:14.) I am not perfect and sometimes struggle to understand my purpose and use the gift/s that God has given me. I am unique by design, and God has me on earth for a particular purpose. I was not made to be like someone else, and neither were you. The spiritual gift of understanding has been gracefully given to me and, if used for Christ, that gift will glorify his kingdom.
"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery." (1 Timothy 4:14)
I have a proposition for you:
Today, I challenge you to begin thinking about your spiritual gift.
What has God given you that makes you vital to his kingdom? I know how daunting it can be to think about it because you might not feel worthy of such a miraculous gift. But I am here to tell you this: You are worthy. Romance movies and your Facebook news feed project the single-minded category of physical love that society has taught you to pursue, but you already have Christ's, unconditional love. No chasing required. Christ loved you so much that he sent his only son to die for you. Our job is to return that love to Him by trusting in his plan for you, participating in Christian community, and using your gifts and talents for the good of his community.