24 Ways to Say "I Love You" for 24 Years
Happy 4th of July, everyone! Tomorrow, I will be turning 24 on the 5th of July, which calls for a bit of reflection. Of all the lessons I have learned over this last year while traveling the globe, I have realized that the most important lesson is the universal truth that love is the most powerful force in the world. We all experience love as humans, but the different ways that we show our love is what makes us all unique. To celebrate my birthday this year, I decided to explore many of these different ways of saying "I love you."
1. Take out the trash.
Literally, taking out the trash is a great way to show the people around you that you love them (something I did often for my host family in Korea), and, figuratively, it can also represent being willing to go the extra mile for the people you love as well—doing the work no one really wants to do, but realizing that it is worth it for the people you love.
2. Text the people who you love a moment that meant a lot to you.
The people in your life who have impacted you the most might not have any idea just how much their lives have influenced yours. Take a moment to tell them.
3. Give a hug!
My goal this week was to give 24 hugs for 24 years (mission accomplished).
4. Exercise with people you love who actually love exercising.
Dare I say it, you might just end up loving it too, but that is a risky "might." I have been running each night here in Sarasota this summer with my sister and one of our friends who is especially passionate about fitness. We decided to run a 5k this year on the 4th as a way of celebrating the holiday, but I have a feeling that our nightly runs will continue even after the 4th has passed. The best part of our running routine has been that we do it together.
5. Buy a gift.
As I have gotten older, I have found that it is just as rewarding, if not more, to give a gift to someone you love as it is to receive one.
6. Wake up early to be there for a friend.
Waking up early on Sunday mornings to help set up church is easy when you are doing it with people you love. "Just call my name and I'll be there." - The Jackson 5
7. Watch the favorite show of someone you care about with them.
I've been watching "The Chosen" this summer with that same friend of ours who is especially passionate about fitness. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
8. Buy someone their favorite drink.
Nothing says I love you quite like buying someone a Coke!
9. Take pictures and capture fun moments with friends.
Pictures are a great way to capture moments filled with love and joy.
10. Surprise the people you love with flowers.
"Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude." - Anne Frank
Let the people you love know that you are thankful for them while they are still here.
11. Spend quality time in nature with someone you love.
That picture speaks for itself.
12. Replace the toilet paper once it runs out!
13. Offer to buy gas for a friend.
Always be willing to help your friends go the extra mile too.
14. Write out a note to someone you love.
Taking the time to write out a note to someone you love shows that you really care.
15. Chick-fil-A sandwiches!
To celebrate this week, we decided to buy some Chick-fil-A sandwiches and hand them out to strangers in Sarasota. Nothing says "I love you" like a chicken sandwich, am I right?!
16. Surprise someone with their favorite candy.
If someone you love really loves a certain candy, surprising them with it will definitely make their day.
17. Keep water bottles in your car to hand out to people throughout the day.
Here in Florida, it is H-O-T HOT right now! I decided to buy a package of water bottles this week (which came with exactly 24) to hand out to people on the street. This is a powerful way to show someone you love them, and it is exactly what Jesus told His followers to do.
"'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’" (Matthew 25:35-40 NIV).
18. Buy a stranger's meal who is in line behind you at a fast food restaurant.
It is a fun surprise and the person on the receiving end knows that someone sees them.
19. In this season of COVID-19, wear a mask. When this season is over, share a smile!
The best way to show the people around you that you genuinely care about them at the moment is to wear a mask when you are asked to wear a mask. Don't let it be about you; let it be about the elderly woman or man who is scared to go to the supermarket, or for anyone with underlying medical conditions who might be around you as well—wear it for them. This is the easiest way to show the people around you that you love them enough to do something that might cause some discomfort, and, when this is all over, take that mask off and share your smile with the world again. Our world needs it.
20. Make a meal for the people you love.
Home-Cooked meals are a great way to show the people around you that you love them. This week, Hawaiian poke bowls were on the menu!
21. Exchange and share songs with the people you love.
I love sharing songs I find with the people I love and listening to songs that they share with me. Here is a powerful song a friend recently shared with me:
22. Print out pictures and give them to people who you care about to remember.
Taking pictures is a great way to show people you love them and printing those pictures out to give them to family and friends is a wonderful way to show your love too. Being able to hold a picture in your hand and look at it each day allows you to remember that special moment and the people in that moment who love you wherever they might be.
23. Donate to organizations that are changing lives.
Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama is a phenomenal non-profit organization that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, prisoners who cannot afford effective representation, and prisoners who have been previously denied fair trials. I got to hear from one of these former prisoners who shared his story in West Palm, and I have also read EJI founder Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. If you are looking for an organization to donate to, choose Equal Justice Initiative. It is the organization that I wanted to highlight this year because I love the work that they do. They are literally saving lives that might have been lost in our justice system forever. If you want to get me something for my birthday this year, donate to EJI:
24. And please, never neglect to say "I love you" to the people who you love too.
I cannot stress this enough. Make sure to tell the people in your life that you love them. We can never say it enough, my friends. Our world is so desperately in need of more love.
Our birthdays are a celebration of when we first entered into this world, but please remember that we enter anew into this world again every single morning. Each day, we are given the opportunity to give birth to new ideas, new dreams, new hopes, new faith, and new love. We get to choose what we are going to bring into the world with us when we open our eyes. Will you bring more hurt and pain into the world or more kindness and love?
Bob Goff writes, "Sometimes God will use the chaos around us to give us clarity within us about what will absolutely outlast us." If this season of life has taught me anything, it is that love always outlasts everything else. Please let what you bring into the world be love, my friends. Let your words be love; let your actions be love; let your legacy be love. With an intentional love like that, every day can feel like a new birthday.
That is what I'm hoping for as I begin my 25th year of life. Happy birthday, everyone. I love you all tremendously. Jesus loves you more.
James Davisson is just a small man with a big heart, serving a much bigger God.