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Loving Ourselves

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and my entire feed was filled with folks sharing their loves with all of us. Engagements. New relationships. Baby announcements.

All so wonderful. I love love.

My co-workers had flowers delivered to them. Even I had a surprise delivery from my boo. It was a great day.

I am also aware that yesterday could have been very difficult for those who weren’t in love and in healthy relationships. There is something about seeing others happy with their person, while you experience loneliness and sadness that you don’t have your person yet. I get it. I do.

When my marriage ended, I remember hiding my married friends’ profiles for awhile because I just couldn’t handle what it did to my heart. I wasn’t mad at my friends. They deserved to be happy and to celebrate their relationships. I didn’t take it personal or that they were trying to rub salt in my wounds. They were living their lives, as they should.

In saying that, the silence allowed me to fall in love with someone else: ME.

Yes. Myself. I had spent the better part of 15 years believing lies about myself and it was time to really get to know the woman God had created and designed with purpose. And while I desired a partner and to have, one day, a healthy, honest, faithful, joy filled, romantic relationship… first goal was to love my own damn self. Enjoy my own company. Do the things I enjoyed the most and flip the script that I had been rehearsing and stop playing the part I was not meant to play.

I learned the most important lesson I could while walking through the hardest season of my life. I don’t need a spouse or a significant other in order to be happy or of significance.

You, whether single or attached, have your own gifts, characteristics and capabilities. Enjoy your own company. Being alone is not the same as loneliness. Singleness truly is a gift.

The apostle Paul even said how he wished that all of us were as he, single and without the added responsibility of having to care and worry about the needs of the other. He didn’t say this in order to shame those who were married or to present an idea that marriage/relationships were bad and ungodly. God created man and woman for relationship. He designed the idea of marriage. A covenant between two people. I trust His design.

Singleness, however, allows us the freedom we don’t always have when we are attached to someone. The freedom to move about as we please. The freedom to serve wherever and whenever. Less distractions, more time available in growing our relationship with Christ. There are lots of benefits to being single.

Singleness truly is a gift. If your hope is to have a relationship one day, that is good! Pray for that, while simultaneously loving and enjoying the time in where you are in your own company.

Loving yourself is not a bad thing. Why on earth would you despise yourself and constantly criticize yourself…..when it was God who created you? He specifically designed you with His hands and in His own image. Where in the world did we get this idea that in order to be holy we needed to despise ourselves? That in order to be humble persons, we have to list off all of the ugly traits ourselves and tell others how much we despise who we are. How dare we look at our own reflection in the mirror and say to self “I love you, because I know who I am and I know WHOSE I am. I know and love my creator. Therefore, I choose to love this person that my Creator has created.”

Yes, we are to die to selves. Yes, we are to humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God in obedience…..out of our love for Him…..not out of duty. Not out of force. Forced obedience breeds rebellious hearts.

During my time alone, I had many opportunities to write and pray and heal and grow and reconnect with this woman right here. I realized quickly that I had allowed things in my life and in my previous relationship that I never should have allowed in the first place. I was an enabler and co-dependent. And I was lonely. Lonelier in marriage than I was while going through the divorce. Imagine that.

There is something wonderful that transpires when we reconnect with our own selves and getting to know ourselves better. So then, when someone does come in to our lives and the possibility of a relationship becomes real, we know who we are. We know what we want. We have an idea of the kind of life we want to have and what kind of person we want in our full, active lives. We will already be joyful and happy. That person won’t be the reason for our happiness…..they will be a welcome addition to our world.

Enjoy singleness. Fall in love with the wonderful person you are. The beautiful soul God Himself created with his own hands. Allow God to remove whatever debris may be taking up space in your heart.

You are wonderful and you matter here.

My hope is that you will take the time and the opportunity to enjoy your own company and love the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Tiffany Rhea

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