For the first time in years, the mason jar beside my pillow in my bedroom has flowers in it that I did not buy for myself. This is equally cute and sad. I started buying myself flowers on a regular basis years ago. I had been in and out of relationships during this time yet still the only flowers that were placed in that mason jar were the ones I’d purchased myself.
This, I was completely okay with. Being independent and kind to myself publicly on social media? Yeah, go on and make me the poster child for loving yourself. I’ll take that leader role any day.
And let me put something else out there. It wasn’t that I was never offered flowers during these years. Believe me, I have a long history of dating only hot and chivalrous guys with low standards. It was just I didn’t feel the need to accept the bouquets or gifts of any kind really. I am fully capable of opening that door myself, you feel me? And what in Heaven’s name am I supposed to do with this giant bouquet of soon to be dead peonies? I flipped my hair over my shoulder and silently congratulated myself on yet another moment of confidence and “self-love”. Crushed it.
A change in this way of thinking has been a long time coming. It’s been years of pretending that I don’t love having my date pull my chair our for me all in the name of independence. This is exhausting as all heck.
Last night at work, I spent the majority of my shift getting teased by a table I was serving. This resulted in my spending an embarrassingly long amount of time crying in the walk-in fridge. Restaurant business is about as romantic as it sounds. I complained to him over text and then regretted it. “On my way.” he replied, to which I promptly called him and assured him that I would be okay and there was no need to drive all the way across town. We had only been together a month and he was already willing to come and console me about a long teary-eyed night in the refrigerator? The anxiety was crippling and asking him not come turned into begging.
I started thinking about how much he does for me. How the things around him are heavy enough yet he doesn’t complain. I knew where he ate dinner on Thursdays so I cleaned my section early on hoping I would be able to leave an hour early and surprise him there. I ran out the door at half til ten and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw him leaning up against his truck. For me. I ran over and melted into his arms, telling him how I had wanted to do something for him because of how good he always is to me, but he’d beat me to it. I turned around to put my wallet in the car and saw them tucked under my windshield wiper. My eyes widened. A big bouquet of vibrant flowers sat on the front of my car. I smiled from ear to ear. It was like something out of a really predictable chick flick.
The truth is I wanted to curl up into a ball. I don’t need the flowers. I can handle myself. I don’t need presents to be able to get over the awful night I’d had. I can do this on my own. I love myself… right?
It was as if no matter how hard I tried to tell myself this, it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. As offended as I wanted to be at the romance, I just… wasn’t. My heart was full despite all my attempts to harden and empty.
As crazy as it sounds, I had to give myself permission to accept the flowers. I, myself, had to untie my hands and choose to not be appalled at someone doing something for me, even when I knew I could do it myself. It’s not easy. It takes guts to let yourself be loved before you love yourself. I think this is everyone’s issue with the gospel. We’re pretty dang caught up in the idea that until we love ourselves perfectly, we can’t be loved fully by anyone else. No wonder we have such a hard time accepting the fact that the cross didn’t start it, it finished it. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy because we’ll never be able to. We don’t have to gain control over our situation before we’re adequate to ask the Lord for His hand on the situation. We’re allowed to accept the flowers before we get to the point where we feel like we deserve them. There’s nothing for us to earn. It’s belonged to us the whole time. The truest form of loving yourself is to become familiar with humility and learn to receive the overflowing fountain of goodness that He so longs to give with open arms and no reservations. I think that’s the most beautiful part about Heaven anyways.
So have your romance novel moments. And I know we’re all raging feminists and whatnot, but let the poor guy pay for your dinner and open your car door and put the flowers on the hood of your car. You are independent and you can do this on your own. But by nursing that idea in the name of self-love, we might be missing out on some of the moments where Jesus is screaming, “this is how I love you! this is exactly what I feel like when I look at you!”
How jealous is our Savior for our love, our humility, our acceptance of Himself and the price He paid.
This is confidence. This is self-love. This is self-kindness.
And it’s never been so beautiful.