L is For the Way You Look at Me

Who remembers Singing Valentines? That makes me sound old… I’m pretty sure they still do those. I think. For those who have never heard of this before, it’s when someone sends you a “singing telegram” – in other words, you get serenaded in public. It usually involves cards, flowers, and a good amount of awkwardness. Here’s an example:

Looking at this now, I’m not sure why I ever wanted someone to send me a Singing Valentine – it’s incredibly awkward and I generally get really uncomfortable when people stare at me… but every Valentine’s week at school, I secretly hoped that year would be different. I would dream up little scenarios in which a Secret Admirer (or my current crush) would finally realize that I was the love of his life and send me a Singing Valentine with a couple boxes of chocolate on the side (I was never one for flowers). The ultimate testament of his true love: A medley of all my favorite NSYNC songs.

I dare y’all to dream up a more perfect Singing Valentine scenario. Mine has all the necessary parts:

  1. A cute boy who comes to his senses about how madly in love he is with you (of course, this is when I was like 14 – people marry their “high school sweethearts” all the time, right?)
  2. Being serenaded in front of all your friends so they can “aww” and squeal for you while you act totally chill and all NBD (no big deal) about it (even though your screaming and squealing right along with them on the inside)
  3. Several boxes of chocolate. Yes, several.
  4. NSYNC songs, which are by far the most legit way to “woo a 90s girl”

The only thing you could add to this that could make it better: cupcakes. Because everyone loves cupcakes.

But anyways. The point is, every Valentine’s week would come and go without the harmonies of “This I Promise You” following me around. And it’s worth mentioning (although it goes without saying) that I never got my boxes of chocolate either.

Now, the point of this isn’t to make you feel sorry for me… or to make me feel sorry for me… although it does sound slightly melodramatic and a little depressing. I want to paint a picture for you of what my heart looked like at that time. It craved approval from others. It insisted on being defined by my relationship status. It clung to the lie that my worth was dependent on another person’s perception of me and feelings towards me.

And then I went to college. Daydreaming about Singing Valentines turned into daydreaming about relationships and marriage – but not such as the Lord defines them. No, I used the world’s definitions and society’s opinions to create these scenarios. And I so foolishly let my heart linger on them. The heart that once innocently entertained thoughts of Singing Valentines and boy band songs soon became one that was determined to make “true love” happen.

Needless to say, that brought me nothing but heartache.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
    that you not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases.

Song of Solomon 8:4

Solomon, the wisest man to walk this earth, gives this warning on three separate occasions. Not once, not twice, but three times.

I didn’t heed his warnings. To be honest, I didn’t even know these verses existed. I made a lot of really dumb decisions to make my hopes a reality. I pushed and pulled and forced my heart upon others. I flung my heart clear over mountains and valleys and electric fences and right into the palms of those whom I believed held my “Happily Ever After.” Oh, and I didn’t stop there. I demanded their hearts too. I didn’t understand the concept of Biblical dating as Jenny covered in her post, “Dating is for Mating.” And I certainly didn’t understand the concept of a relationship purposed to reflect Christ’s love for the Church. I was determined to marry the first guy I liked. I was determined to have a whirlwind romance. I was determined to be the lead in my own Hallmark movie.

I stirred up “love” before the Lord pleased to do so.

Y’all, humans weren’t meant to hold hearts. Our palms aren’t strong enough, gentle enough, firm enough, steady enough, caring enough, powerful enough, selfless enough to hold hearts. But there is One who can be trusted with the most sacred part of us. There is One who is all those things and more. The earth could quake and He would not drop our hearts. The heavens could thunder and He would not toss our hearts to the sea. The sun could explode and He would still never set our hearts aside in order to prevent such a disaster. His hands are skilled enough to bind up broken hearts, and loving enough to hold them together in Himself. His hands are strong enough to carry the full weight of the heaviest hearts, and yet gentle enough to hold and comfort the bruised. His hands are powerful enough to tame the wildest hearts, and encouraging enough to build up the timid. No matter what your heart looks like, no matter what condition it’s in, there is only one place where it is safe, where it can thrive: In the hands of our Heavenly Father who literally holds all things together.

It took me a long time, but I finally found the One whom my soul longs for. I’ve had a Secret Admirer since before I was even born. And He spoils me with His Love! He doesn’t just give me boxes of chocolate, He provides me with Daily Bread and Living Water. He sends me Singing Valentines pretty much every day of the week as He sings over me with joy. As I wake up each morning, He’s right beside me. As the sun comes up, He showers me with His warmth. He’s constantly making me laugh and bringing a smile to my face. He holds me when I’m crying, He hugs me when I’m lonely, He patiently listens to every story – even if it’s one I’ve said a thousand times over. He’s ever so sweet and gentle.

Sweet friends, this Valentine’s Day, don’t get caught up in all the hype. It’s not about candy and chocolates. It’s not about Singing Valentines and public displays of affection (which are super awkward by the way – please refrain). It’s not about who loves whom the most or who got whom the best present (because you KNOW Jesus can top all of y’all, right?!).

If you have a significant other, love them today and every day, with the love of Christ. And know how blessed you are to have someone to “do life” with! If you’re single (and ready to mingle), take it easy! Don’t try to make love happen. Don’t look to a flawed human, incapable of perfection for love and identity and joy. They will ALWAYS disappoint you. Look to Christ. Look to the One you can trust with all abandon! And if/when earthly love comes knocking on your door, you will know that it is because the Lord desires to bless you in this way.

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23

All that being said, don’t be afraid to make a girl feel special, boys. Because this would be super cool – just don’t forget the chocolate!

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