Make Valentine’s Day Count.

With February 14th fast approaching, there are so many things to look forward to this Valentine’s Day...

First is Febraury 15th, the day that all the over-priced chocolate you didn’t have to buy the day before now goes on sale.

Second, (for those of who, like me, who watch Emmerdale) there is the highly anticipated reunion of two characters.

Finally, and perhaps most controversially is the final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy coming to the big screen (a film that admittedly, I am going to watch with some girlfriends, to the horror of my curate).

Valentine’s Day (better known as Hallmark day to the cynics) can be a difficult time for singletons, but this year is entirely different. Many of you may have realised that this February 14th is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is a day that we can focus on the one who loves us the most and is worth much more than a few flowers and an extortionate card.

Lent is a time which we can choose to fast something in the same way Jesus fasted in the wilderness or a time to take something up (a more recent trend within the Church). Over the years, I have given up many things: chocolate, television, potatoes, bread, the uni halls lift and perhaps the hardest, tea. Whilst I can honestly say that every year I have succeeded in my fasts, I don’t think I’ve ever felt it has actually deepened my relationship with God. For this reason, this year, with the sentiment of Valentine’s Day in mind, I want to fast something that will do this through showing more love to myself (but not in a narcissistic way).

This year, I have decided to fast my personal Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I say ‘personal’ because I run two church accounts and Lent is a great time for social media. I am choosing this for two reasons: First, that I may have more time to spend walking and talking with Jesus and second, that I may improve my mental health and self-esteem by learning to see myself through God’s eyes and not the likes on my latest picture, thus learning to love myself. I hope this will strengthen my relationship with God and prepare myself for any relationship in the future.

If you have never partaken in Lent before, I encourage you to do so this year. My best advice would be not to give up chocolate, it is hard work and the 15th Feb sale will be rather disappointing… Instead choose something that will deepen your relationship with God.

Or if fasting doesn’t take your fancy, why not read a chapter of the bible a day, spend an extra 5 minutes in prayer, or even aim to write a worship song.

Also, why not spend this Valentine’s telling the people around you (single and taken) that they are loved every day of their life by Jesus, this is my challenge for the day.

Lastly, I do wish you a happy Valentine’s… May your day be filled with the love of Jesus no matter where you are or what you do. Take joy in the fact you are not having to conform to buying overpriced flowers and chocolates and instead simply spend quality time with those around you.

P.S. As Valentine’s is Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday is also April Fools… get your memes ready.

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