SHINE Daily

Why I Love Valentine's Day

I LOVE Valentine’s Day! I get giddy and overjoyed like a kid on Christmas morning when all of the pink and red start to hit the shelves in January. I even start counting down the days before the New Year even happens.

Typically, when people find out how much I love this holiday they comment on how odd it is and follow up with asking why.

Growing up, I really struggled with believing that I was loved and that I was worthy of being loved. I knew that there were people who “loved me,” but it felt more like when you say “I love tacos,” or “I love taking naps,” than it felt like this intense affection and desire to actively be a part of my life.

But that changed when I met Jesus. These were the things that Jesus said when I started hanging out with Him:

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8

“See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

It was a process, but over time, I started believing that I was loved because it is true! Jesus LOVES me and He doesn’t just love me the same way He loves tacos.

He has such a deep affection for me that He chose me before I ever even knew who He was. He preferred to die by being nailed to a cross for something that I was guilty of just so that one day I could have a relationship with Him. And the only thing that can explain such radical behavior is that He is wildly in love with who I am.

It gets better because Jesus went on to explain that His love is constant and I am to remain in His love every day, but it didn't just stop there. Because of His love for me, He tells me to love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, AND to love others.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” John 15:9

“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” 1 John 4:9-11

“Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

I don’t love Valentine’s Day because I am married, have a boyfriend, or have a group of girlfriends who enthusiastically celebrate this day with me.

The reason I love Valentine’s Day is because I know Jesus and I know His love.

I see Valentine's Day as a unique opportunity because love is already on people's minds, whether they want it to be or they would rather it not be. What better thing could I talk about then God's love on a day our world is already thinking about love?

The purpose of Valentine’s Day for me is to celebrate God’s love and to share that love with others, especially those who may get overlooked or feel pain because they don’t fit "the mold" for what culture says this day is about.

My encouragement to you this Valentine’s Day is to really believe that God loves you and to find one person that you can share God's love with.

Remember, YOU ARE LOVED!

Laura Smith serves at 95.1 SHINE-FM as Project Manager. She's working her way towards an M.A. in Pastoral Counseling with a focus in Life Coaching at Liberty University, and she can polish off a pint of ice cream in one hour.