Today is Valentine’s Day and it’s a day you’re supposed to celebrate your love with a lavish dinner, flowers and a sappy card. But what if you don’t?
I used to feel so left out on Valentine’s Day at school because I never got a carnation. Not once. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic so this was big stuff to my little teen heart. I wanted just once for someone to surprise me with flowers.
And then I started dating a boy who left flowers on my car once a week. I was over him in about a minute. It wasn’t the flowers. He was actually more insecure than I was and that was a deal breaker.
Insecurity stinks. It’s a fungus that grows and takes over your life if you let it. And I hate to use the analogy on the most romantic day of the year, but fungus is hard to kill. It keeps coming back and requires a new tactic to get rid of it.
Ok. Enough about fungus. What does this have to do with love?
Insecurity causes love to flicker.
A little more than a week ago, the entire north, west and south side of the town we live in was in the dark. Hubby was out of town, so I got to deal with cold, scared kids all alone. We started with some firewood, an iPhone flashlight and several scented candles. We really had all we needed to stay warm and see our way to the necessities.
My youngest slept through the outage and my older two weathered it on the couch. My oldest was lamenting the lack of internet because she couldn’t play games on the iPad.
The Man Cub was truly scared and leaned on what he knew – naming the bad guys. Insecurity in this situation was eating him up. He still talks about the night the lights went out.
So I did the only thing I knew to do. I reassured him and held him in my arms. I promised him that no matter what happened to the lights, he was safe.
Once he fell asleep, the Big Girl argued with me about reading a book. I wanted to read and she wanted to sit in the dark. Then the lights came back on.
I welcomed this interruption in our regular life. It gave me a few minutes to just sit and be with my kids instead of the mad rush to get everything done to get to bed and ready for the next day.
This pause in our regularly scheduled programming brought something to light. Love flickers if we’re not watching for it.
I’ve found myself buzzing lately with negative thoughts, critical remarks toward the man I love the most and an overall sense of doubt. I couldn’t place my finger on it until after that flicker of the lights.
When insecurity comes in, it steals love like the surprise dark of a power outage. The love flickers to a small glimmer and if you’re not careful, that glimmer can go out.
So, when I recognized that my love was flickering, I did what I knew how to do. I loved instead of doubted.
I reminisced about our early days and all the fun we’ve had. I realized that I’ve been boxing myself off. I reached out for his hand when I wanted to be angry.
I looked at the life we’ve built together and asked myself, “Do I still want this?”
I reexamined my motives for loving the man God chose for me. He didn’t ask me to love him because he was perfect. He asked me to love him because he was the right man for me to make a life with, to forgive and stick by for better or for worse. He asked me to love him because he loved me so much he sacrificed it all so that forgiveness can happen between us. He just asked me to love him.
He asked me to follow his definition of love: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (I Corinthians 13:7)
So, that’s what you do when love flickers. You love until the light comes back on. You don’t have the power to turn it back on. Like I told my little boy, it just comes back on. The power comes from outside of us. All we have to do is wait and love.
Blessings, my friends and Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope your love is bright and strong today.