Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to be single and thrive on Valentine's Day.

Today is Valentine's Day. For many, today is the day of love, chocolate, flowers, kisses, hugs, romance, and all things red & pink. For many others, today isn't Valentine's Day; it's Singles Awareness Day. As a single person you have a choice today: you can survive today, or you can thrive today.

The truth is, God doesn't want you to just survive this day - He wants you to thrive! Here are some ideas I have on how to be single and thrive on Valentine's Day:

1. Don't buy the lie. Lots of single people think that nobody will ever love them and that they will be alone the rest of their lives. As a single person, I understand why sometimes it could seem like that's true, but it's not. It's a lie. You will not always be alone. Someday, when God in His goodness knows the time is right, you will have that unexpected and beautiful collision of your heart with someone else's. So don't buy the lire that you will be single all your life.

2. Celebrate the love that others have. Don't be jealous and angry that someone else has a love to celebrate today and you don't. Don't be upset at your friends for having someone special in their life. You're better than that. Maturity is when you can truly celebrate that someone else already has what you've been wanting. Immaturity is when you're so selfish that you think "if I can't have it, nobody can" and you can't celebrate that someone else is happy. Celebrate that people around you are happy. Don't be bitter; be better.

3. Count your blessings. And by "blessings" I mean all the money you're saving today! You don't have to buy anyone overpriced flowers, chocolates, or cards. You don't have to get all dressed up after a long day at work and go to dinner a busy restaurant, or do the work to cook a fancy dinner for two. As wonderful as all that is, you don't have to mess with that right now. You can just order pizza or get a burger and lounge around at home. Until the day comes when you're with someone, enjoy the single life. And really enjoy all the money and hassle you're saving today.

4. Treat yourself special. Today is a day of love. God loves you. He delights in you. So do something special today to enjoy all His goodness.Maybe that means buying yourself some chocolate, or a flower to brighten up your coffee table, or a bacon double cheeseburger with onion rings and a large Dr. Pepper. Who said you can't spoil yourself a little today?

5. Collect date ideas. Someday you won't be single. And today lots of your friends are doing some very sweet, thoughtful, and romantic things for their main squeezes. Take notes of what works and what doesn't. File away ideas to use for when you have a main squeeze of your own.

6. Dream a little. Think about your ideal guy or girl. Ladies, look up wedding stuff online.  Guys, work on your cheezy pick-up lines. Imagine what your life will be like when you are in love. Go ahead - get your hopes up.

7. Do some self-evaluation. Do NOT bash yourself. Do NOT put yourself down. Do NOT get depressed. But DO honestly evaluate yourself. Think about this question: "Am I the kind of person the person I'm looking for is looking for?" You might need to read that a few times to let it sink in, but that's a REALLY good question to ask yourself. It's something I've been asking myself a lot lately. Look at the love chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, and wherever it says "Love is ___", replace the word "love" with your name. Then ask if you are the things that God says love is. Figure out where you have some room to grow, then do work. Become the person that the person you're looking for is looking for.

8. Serve someone else.  John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave. Love is a verb, not a noun. It's an action, not a feeling. To love is to serve. So do something to serve someone else today. Speak words of affirmation to someone today. Give someone a genuine compliment. Pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-thru line when you go get your bacon double cheeseburger for dinner. Give someone a hug. Remember, to love is to serve. What better way to celebrate the day of love than to serve someone else?

So there you go - those are my thoughts on how to thrive as a single person this Valentine's Day. I bet if you do even just a few of these 8 things I've listed, you will have a really great day today.

And hey ...I want you to know ...I love you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The choice is yours.

Nearly every Monday I see a plethora of Facebook status updates about how people hate Monday. And nearly every day I see people posting how their day started off bad or how bad the day is going. There are even some who seem to always be sad or upset, who seem to not be having a bad day but a bad life. I also know many people who struggle with worry, stress, feelings of inadequacy, and many other emotional issues.

As one who has fought depression for awhile and as one who has had far more than his fair share of bad days, I would say this: "the choice is yours".

In the Bible, Joshua 24:15 says: "If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

I've seen this verse many times, usually used in the context of choosing to lead your family to serve God. But today it hit me - that's not the only thing we can learn from this verse. Something we see here is that you have a choice. You can God, or you can choose something else. You can choose to believe God and what He says in the Bible, or you can choose something else like stress, worry, or to have a bad day.

Either way, the choice is yours.

Monday can be a good day or it can be a bad day. You can choose to believe that every day is a day made by God and you can choose to be joyful (as Psalm 118:24 says) - or you can choose to have a lousy day. The choice is yours.

You get dumped. Or worse, your significant other cheats on you. You can be angry and bitter and put yourself in the torture chamber of un-forgiveness, or you can choose to release them and move on, believing the Bible when it says in Romans 8:28 that God works EVERYTHING out for good for those who love Him. You can believe that God has someone much better for you, which means you live free, or you can choose to be that weirdo who Facebook stalks their ex and ruins new relationships because they never move on. The choice is yours.

You can choose to spend money you don't have by charging clothes, electronics, and other stuff you want on your credit card. And you can take out a loan to buy a new car when nothing is wrong with your current car. And by doing those things you can rack up all sorts of debt and bring the pressure that comes with it on yourself. Or, you can spend responsibly, save up and pay cash, and live in financial peace and financial freedom. The choice is yours.

You can choose to live a miserable life, thinking it sucks, thinking everyone's out to "screw me over", thinking that you need to have lots of sex, go drinking, or do drugs just to feel good for awhile. With that decision can come disease, unexpected pregnancy, a DWI, alcoholism, pictures on Facebook that can ruin future job opportunities, and a pretty pointless life. Or, you can choose to enjoy life and be happy to be alive, knowing that the Bible says God loves you and has good plans for your life. You can do life His way, knowing that He wants you to not just survive but thrive in life. The choice is yours.

So how will life turn out for you? The choice is yours.