I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of singleness but I enjoy reflecting on life. Reflecting forces me to stop and appreciate where I am right now and be thankful for the last seasonWithout reflection we would never know the true depth of the Lord’s faithfulness. And if you haven’t figured it out for yourself – He is faithful. I am truly blessed and completely undeserving of this current season but that makes me even more thankful for it.
This isn’t a post on faithfulness (it is intertwined throughout) but rather on lessons learned. To add some background, I recently got engaged and I find myself in this new and exciting season but completely foreign. I think I like change, especially when it means I’ve found my future husband, but my anxiety levels have been off the charts because I’m in new territory. I’m learning it’s only when I have control of change that I actually like it. So back to this reflection – I asked myself, “How now at 30 am I ready to be married and what would I want to tell my single friends?” Those questions stirred up a lot of thoughts on things I would do differently but there were a few things I got right. I’m not saying if you do these three things you’ll find your life long partner but I do think you’ll find yourself which is most important.
And so here you have it, the three things (I’m fairly confident) I did right during my season of singleness.
I figured out who I was and then remembered! Maybe figuring out who you are sounds really hard. I’m sure some would argue you could spend a whole lifetime figuring it out but I would disagree. I would argue it’s actually quite simple. Sure you evolve as a person but at your core you are who you are. You love what YOU love and so I asked myself, “What do I love doing?” I made a list, like I really wrote it down, and I scheduled time to do the things I loved even if it meant doing something alone – like going antique shopping or reading at Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks hot chocolate. I started writing. I stayed in when I wanted to and went out if I felt like it. I stopped feeling guilty for who I was and started embracing the person God created me to be. And then I fought to remember! Life gets busy, bills need paid and friends need you (the list goes on) and if we aren’t careful we begin to neglect (forget) the things we love doing that make us who were are. Something else, those things you love doing will become the very things your future spouse loves about you so take the time to figure them out.
I learned to live in the moment. I don’t remember when the flip switched but I stopped dreaming about being married and having a family. I reasoned maybe I wasn’t meant to have a traditional family or perhaps the homeless neighbors I was serving were my family. I read the book, Kisses from Katie, and I remembered her saying she had 20+ kids, they were the ones she cared for at her home in Uganda, and in a non-traditional way she was a mother. The Lord will accomplish his purpose. It’s our responsibility to be open to whatever method He chooses. When I stopped dreaming about a life I didn’t have and started living in the moment I discovered how much I loved my life. I was fulfilling my purpose in that moment (living out my mission). It surely doesn’t mean you will only have one purpose in this life but I would recommend fully embracing the purpose you’re called to live right now and stop dreaming about the purpose you want to have someday.
I stopped compromising. Sure our parents taught us not to compromise our morals and value when you’re dating someone. But I’d take it a step further and say don’t compromise before dating. I found my future husband on eHarmony. I went on quite a few dates before meeting him and one night after another terrible date I asked myself, “Why are you trying to manufacture this?” From that moment on I promised myself I wouldn’t compromise. I wouldn’t overlook a photo of a guy who had three women hanging on him, convincing myself they were probably his sisters. I decided I wouldn’t push aside the annoyed feelings I had when communicating with someone before even meeting them. Yes, my examples are related to online dating but you’re smart, evaluate the situation and if you’re making excuses for someone you haven’t even gone on a date with chances are he isn’t the right one for you.
As I wrap up this post on singleness I remember a Pastor saying it’s okay to be single – it’s okay. And I guess when I started believing and living out my single season I discovered it was okay to be single. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I met the man of my dreams (really) and I can’t wait to marry him. I used to laugh when people said enjoy being single (because isn’t the dream to be married) but seriously enjoy it. You’ll never experience another time in life when you get to do whatever you want. It’s a precious time to discover who you were created to be.
Update: As I was driving this morning I realized the most important piece to a successful single season. Leave the past in the past. I remember the exact moment I closed the door on my past. From that moment on my life was changed. I met my future husband two months later…