At 24 years old, I still haven’t decided how I really feel about Valentines Day. I guess I’m just indifferent about it. Mike and I celebrated once while dating, and we haven’t really celebrated since. It’s not that I think there is something wrong with Valentines Day – it’s just that I want to be celebrating the love I have for those around me every day. However, I do know that is easier said than done and it is nice that there is a day devoted to the people you love.
When I became a Christian, my thoughts on Valentines Day started changing. Every year I find myself reading posts on the internet from people saying they are:
- so thankful to have found their soul-mate
- can’t live without their significant other
- love each other more than anything else in this world
Don’t get me wrong, stalk me long enough and I know you will find posts where I have said things along these lines. I am not trying to offend anyone here, I’ve just been trying to change my mindset and I am curious if anyone else feels the same. I want my love for the Lord to be greater than my love for any human, including my husband. And I know Mike would want that for me as well. I adore Mike and we love our life together. But when someone mentions love, I want my first thought to be about the Lord. I want this for a few reasons..
- “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
God was first. The only reason I can love Mike, my friends, my parents, is because He loved me first. He demonstrated that love by creating me, dying for me, and giving me this crazy, difficult, wonderful life I have. I would not be able to love Mike the way that I do if I didn’t have some sort of understanding of the unconditional love God has for me.
- “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39
People debate this scripture all the time. I am sure it may mean something different to you than it does to me. For me, it’s clear. We are not being told we cannot love our family members, we are just being told that our love for God must come first. We must be willing to identify as a Christ follower more than we identify as a wife, mother, sister or friend.
- “And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”” Exodus 20:1-3
We cannot put anything before God. Even if they are good things – jobs, kids, spouses, friends. God created these things to bring us joy, but we need to have priorities. And we need to ask ourselves what is really important in this life.
Let me be clear: I stink at this. I am work in progress, and most of the time the progress seems very slow. One step forward and two steps back type of thing. I worship things other than God on a daily basis. I find validation at work, in friendships, in comparing myself to others. I gossip, I’m negative, I struggle with anger and resentment. It’s hard to put God before all of these thoughts, feelings, and actions that I’m so accustomed to. Every night I am so thankful for grace and forgiveness because I know that I need a lot of it. And I know that I will always need it.
I am okay with owning my mistakes and admitting that I need grace. But I am not okay with staying where I am in these struggles. Being a follower of Jesus means that you are actively pursuing and trying to live like Jesus. Leading up to today I’ve thought and prayed a lot about this need to put God first in my life again. I’ve said it a million times before, and I know I’ll say it again.. but this time I want to have the mindset of one day at a time. Instead of me proclaiming, “From now on I’ll always put God first!” I am just thinking, “Today, I will think of God more than I did yesterday.” My hope and prayer would be that this leads to changes in my heart and the way I live my life.
I know this post was supposed to be about Valentines Day, but clearly other things were on my heart as well. Valentines Day can be great – and I hope everyone is out celebrating with those they love. However, don’t forget to take some time today to worship the One that created love.