Remember the time in third grade when your teacher cleared her throat and said,
“Now class, next week is Valentine’s Day and we are going to have a contest.”
Tell me who in their right mind, doesn’t like a good contest, especially a third grade girl with a craft project and a chance to win with her creative genius?
Your teacher went on, “Find a shoe box or oatmeal box, or cereal box and decorate it for Valentine’s Day. Next week on Tuesday, bring it to school. We will vote on the best Valentine’s Day box. Then on Valentine’s Day you can put your valentines in the boxes for your classmates. Be sure your name is on the box somewhere.”
And then do you remember jumping off the school bus and running across the front yard to the house?
Quickly throwing your homework on the sofa, you searched for a box and finally emptied the oatmeal into a mixing bowl so you could have that for your project. And you covered it with paper and glue and little red hearts cut from construction paper, and lace from the stash left over from a project months before. And carefully with a red and pink crayon you wrote your name all fancy and pretty like.
And you set your box on the dining table and it felt like your eyes sparkled with gold and silver glitter as you looked at it with great admiration. You thought it was the most beautiful Valentine box you’d ever seen.
Then on Tuesday, you carefully balanced it under your forearm along with your Math and Spelling books. You made sure that it didn’t get bent or scraped or torn on the bus ride to school.
But once you walked into the classroom and set it on the long counter against the wall with all the other Valentine boxes…you started to compare…and second guess what you had done,
because there were so many beautiful boxes…35 beautiful boxes to be exact. And you thought your box was the most beautiful until you saw all the others.
But the fact is…there will always be someone who makes better valentine boxes, or has just a little bigger house, or who drives a fancier car and has more kids than you…or less…and a family that you admire more than yours, and someone prettier, and skinnier and happier and funnier and more organized and less messy and faster and fancier and more well spoken….
You know…comparison just absolutely sets in and steals your joy, and even sometime your LOVE!
And it is hard to realize that OUR best just has to be enough.
And it is hard to realize that we just need to stop the comparison…already!!!
So this Valentine’s Day if your heart is blue, or crying, or sad and dark because you’ve lost in love and relationships or because the comparison trap and the hard knocks of life has yanked you up and turned you inside out…
sometimes you just choose the love even when you’re sad and blue.
Here are 3 ways I choose the LOVE and maybe they will help you too:
- Quote scripture to change the negative words playing in your mind, such as Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that well.”
- Look for others who maybe going through a hard time. Fix them a meal, or write them an encouraging note. It is amazing how reaching out and showing love brings light and joy back to you.
- If you don’t have a spouse or children, light candles anyway, make a fun meal or order pizza and invite a group of friends over who may need to feel your love and joy…AND who knows…you may just find yourselves making Valentine boxes!
So what do you do to “choose the LOVE”?
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