Over the last few years, the month of February, characterized in our culture by hearts, cards, flowers, and gourmet chocolate, and affectionately known as "the month of love," has increasingly become one of the most difficult and painful months of the year for me. As a single woman quickly approaching the threshold of my 40th birthday; having dreamed of being a wife and a mom for as long as I can remember, and then having my favorite uncle, who always sent me a card on Valentine's Day, passed away in this month, the heartache, loneliness, and longings have been so deep they could be tangibly felt.
This year as January faded and February rose above the horizon, I felt that familiar twinge of heartache encroaching, and I began to ponder and pray about how I would not only survive but intentionally thrive in moments that would encompass these 28 days. If, like me, you find this month to be difficult, allow me to share with you a few things that I am doing to not only make it through this month but to make these days meaningful.
First, be honest with yourself and with God about your emotions. Your unfiltered thoughts and feelings are safe with the Lord. Draw near to God and allow him to draw close to you. (James 4:8) His love for you is boundless. He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) He promises to be near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) A friend to the lonely. (Proverbs 18:24) Spend time in vulnerable prayer, journal, or find another creative way to process your thoughts and feelings. Try to surrender your heartache and your hopes to your heavenly father. He is the author of your story. The pen is safe in His hand.
Second, practice praise and gratitude daily. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Research backs up the Bible showing that the regular practice of gratitude can create new neural pathways in the brain that lead to feeling happier, being healthier, and living life more fully.
Third, get active. Exercise is good for our mental and physical health. Moving your body can help release difficult emotions and flood your brain with endorphins that will improve your sense of well-being.
Fourth, find a way to connect in person with other people. God created us to be in community. As we look at the creation narrative, we see that loneliness was the first thing God said was not good. (Genesis 2:18) Isolation leads to death but community breathes life.
Fifth, spend time in nature or with a pet. There are many noted health benefits to connecting with
creation. God created the world for us to enjoy and marvel at; as a means of leading us to worship Him.
Sixth, laugh. "A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)
Seventh, serve someone. Scripture tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35) I have found that serving others leads to a feeling of joy and a sense of overall well-being.
If singleness feels heavy for you in this season, I hope and pray you find these tips to be helpful. If you feel like you could benefit from having someone come alongside you in this time, reach out to one of our counselors here at So That We Biblical Counseling. It would be our pleasure to journey with you.