Most Valentines arrive once a year on February 14.
But would you believe I received one nearly every day for three years?
It all began as part of my plan to move to a city a thousand miles away. I had asked my friend who lived there to secure a post office box for me so I could begin the process of forwarding my mail.
That was a small, but needed detail to mark off my list. But the move itself was big in more ways than one. I was leaving a lot behind, including the burden of pleasing many “expecters.” For years I had defined myself by the unhealthy expectations of others. Eventually I didn’t have a clue who I really was. I had become the sum of their expectations. And with all my energy focused on pleasing others, my relationship with God suffered greatly.
I wish I had known the truth of what John Ortberg writes in “The Me I Want to Be”:
My main job is to remain connected to God. When my primary focus is being present with him, everything else has a way of falling into place. When my primary focus becomes anything else, my inner vitality suffers, and I become a lesser version of myself. We never have to pretend with God, and genuine brokenness pleases God more than pretend spirituality. If I am ever going to become the me I want to be, I have to start by being honest about the me I am.
In my new surroundings I hoped to do just that: prayerfully pull away the layers to reveal the Kim Jackson who was God’s original idea.
Thankfully, that’s what happened. As I spent time with God, he gently but powerfully showed me where my focus had gone askew. He used a variety of creative reminders to help me refocus, but none so specific, and certainly none so consistent, as the “Valentine” I received–from God, I believe–each time I picked up my mail.
My post office box, randomly chosen by the postal clerk upon my friend’s request, opened only when the dial was rotated first to the letter “B”, then to the letter “U.”
So no matter what type of mail I received each day, the message remained the same: “Dear Kim: Be you! Love, God.”
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed and delivered by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:11-14 The Message).