If you’ve been single more Valentines Days than not, you may have already been sent this love note via the web: honor thyself. Or... Roses are red, violets are blue, give yourself a gift, 'cause today's about you.
No, that is not my Valentine to you today.
But there’s almost enough of it swirling about to make a single girl stop and think, “Wait, do I really love myself enough? Do I go to Starbucks often enough? Do I see enough of the movies I really want to see? Have I shown myself enough that I’m worth it today?”
I’m not sure who it was to send out the initial memo, but apparently American, modern single females just don’t think about themselves enough.
Back to the questions above. In short, yes. In most all circumstances, yes, I’m likely to think about myself quite diligently, buy myself more almond milk lattes than necessary, and be sincerely concerned with whether or not I’m going to see Annihilation opening weekend. (Shocker.) Yes. Without thinking, actually, I naturally think about myself.
In Comfortable Pitfalls part .01 I discussed the common pitfalls single females tend to fall into, and our tendency to fall into this rut of changing our identity to attract a guy. It’s often this heightened sense (particularly at an all-time high on February 14) that life doesn’t begin until we’ve met the right man. When we’re not falling for that as single females, (or have already fallen) this one is a close second.
There is a modern concept of self-identity, widely accepted to be a cultural truth, that our inner feelings are our inherent truth that we need to acknowledge in order to live life to its fullest. That to be a strong, modern single women we need to know ourselves and be true to what we want. Many of us have been quick to welcome this idea of self-identity because... well, it feels right. To most of us it feels natural that what we feel must be true and by honoring these feelings we come into our most honest version of self.
But for the single female who claims Christ to be her Savior and true source, this concept of self-identity is somewhat distorted - almost a romanticized mirage, that, as often as it disowns us, we continue to run back to. As substantial advice for life, it falls flat for anyone who professes to be a believer in Jesus Christ.
Granted, I’d consider myself rather a natural at putting myself first. Some might call it a gift. Frankly, it’s doesn’t take too much for me to identify my feelings, and discover it is my right for each inner emotion to be validated. Maybe it’s just me, but what l feel and think has yet to offer some profound discovery that has lead me to a stronger or truer version of myself.
As Christian females who pray they won’t have to spend many more Valentine’s Days solo, finding purpose in a self-identity that is based on what we want just doesn’t work. Rather it muddles up our view of life, our ability to receive truth from the word of God and allow it to actively change us. John Piper once said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Regardless of the misleading prominent message we receive today, you weren’t created to be satisfied within a version of self-identity that isn’t centered on Christ. Without the power and grace of Christ we lack the depth and stability to ever possibly fulfill the expectations we bring to it. A skewed concept of modern identity propels us into adulthood with a footing too unstable to mature, a tainted love to offer others and leaves us drowning in the deep abyss of depression in search for this idea of true self.
Many of us, even in the Christian faith, have disillusioned ourselves to believe that a trustworthy, sturdy identity could emerge from our feelings. So, in the midst of a misleading urge to prioritize yourself over Christ, how do we actively engage God as the core of who we are? In a speech on Our Identity at Wheaton College, Timothy Keller simply states the solution:
You’ve not only have to believe he died for you. It’s got to go to your imagination. It’s got to be the aesthetic core of your life. When you’re struggling with what the culture says about your identity - because you’re not good looking enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not having enough transformative sex - you’ve got to know how to know how to pull out your identity in Christ and push it to the top of the deck. And you do that generally through imagination.
If you don’t get it regularly in your imagination, through worship, through thinking, through applying it at the moment, it doesn’t go to the top. And you’re back where everyone else is: cultural captivity.
You may have just been allotted another solo Valentine's Day to pull yourself out of this cozy pit, place your self-worth in Christ and begin to use your imagination as God intended. Not only so that you could solidify your identity in Him, but allow His enduring truth to dwell with you and discover that today you are not alone.