The Single Writer Rant

Can I tell y’all something? I get a bit agitated when I read Christian single columns or books on dating. That’s my thing right? Like that is exactly what I’m working on a book proposal for, and I hate reading on the subject?

Yes, yes I do.

Here’s the reason why it bothers me so much.

Because at *almost* 36 years of age, I have a very hard time finding a substantive book on dating/Christian singleness that isn’t fluffy junk or preparation for marriage only written by another single Christian. Oh don’t get me wrong, there’s some good stuff out there and I am a big fan of several authors on the matter. The problem lies in when I scroll to their bio (on internet articles) or flip the back cover open. Every single one of them says “married to…” or “wife of…”

Yes I want their expertise and knowledge on this stage of life…but what if this stage is ultimately my landing spot? I want to know how to live in this place of life from someone whose navigating it themselves as a single. My ultimate goal in life isn’t marriage, and most days I don’t think about it. There are days I long for it, and pray about it, and my future husband, yes. (Y’all he needs your prayers, cause I’m obviously quite a handful) My ultimate goal in life is to live in obedience to God, moving ever closer to Christ and who He would have me be.

And so I bring my rant to you the church, to the fellow writers and singletons in the church…let’s step into our lives fully, and talk about them. Let’s be honest enough with ourselves and with our people to learn and grow from one another. I wouldn’t let a fresh out of college kid tell me about the navigation of retirement, so why sit back and let marrieds tell us about our single life? I bring it to the publishers, the editors, the curriculum people…singles in the church and out of the church need their voice in print, in studies, in in-depth richness that pursues more than a marital outcome, but a life shaped and molded for Christ’s use.

Becoming the Woman He’s Praying For

Recently I was looking back through the archives here on the site, pulling some content to expand on for my book. A couple of falls ago, I wrote on praying for your future husband. As I looked through several of those posts, I realized I hadn’t really been paying much attention to that part of my prayer life in the last few months.

Part of the reason (or maybe all of it?) is as I have grown older I am coming to terms with my singleness, that perhaps it’s just not in the story of my life to be married. As hard as that is to type, it’s harder to face head/heart on. If I am really vulnerable with y’all here, I don’t think it’s truth though. I believe firmly God does not give us hearts of companionship with another if it’s not meant to be part of the story of our lives. I think we often supplant the need for His Presence with that of a person, pushing into relationships or elevating dating/marriage to the level of our relationship with Christ (that’s a whole other chapter in my book…).

As I started to kind of pull through the mess that was my heart, God’s will, desires and my writing on the topic I started to lean into a really hard question, and it’s where I land today:

Am I becoming the woman that my future husband is already praying for?

If he is praying for me, just as I am praying for him, would it not seem to fit that I would be pursuing the difficult, leaning into God, working through producing fruits of the Spirit? Before I get too far into this, let me also say that we shouldn’t base our growth as a Christian, as a person, on anyone’s desire for who we should be to them….Not in the least y’all, so don’t start down that twisted path of becoming someone you were not created to be. No, what I am pointing to is if my prayers for him are for him to become who God has created him to be, then I should be focusing myself as well on living into God’s will and design for my life.

Maybe the question needs to look more like this…

Am I becoming the woman God has been desiring me to be in order fulfill His will in my life?

I shouldn’t desire to fulfill a standard of a man, but when the man whom God has created for me to be his partner is fervently praying for me to be in God’s will, for protection from the enemy, to grow closer to God? How can I not desire those same things for myself? When I look at the ways to pray for him, am I also praying and seeking those same things for my own life?

Maybe it’s not about praying more for a spouse but being intentional to pray for that person to be who God created him to be, and then also praying for you to be the woman who God created you to be…After all, He’s still in the business of answering prayers if we listen and pray in His will, seeking wisdom and relationship with Him above all others.

Bachelor Mondays

Not since I was interning at my first job out of college have I watched The Bachelor. That’s right kiddos, 2003 was the last time I chose to watch women vie for a man’s affections. Let me just say that in the last 14 years, times have a’changed.

Thanks to a writing project AND The Popcast Bachelor recaps (I shake my fists at their infectious podcast suck of needing to know) I am now experiencing life in Bachelor world once more. My roommate can attest to the fact that this is how I watch on Monday nights:

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It’s confirmed some things I long thought about the show, and it’s also caused me to question the juggernaut that is the female culture in it’s current state. This is, after all, my thoughts and opinions but y’all, I’m worried for my fellow ladies out there in singledom. I also have my questions about why a 36 year old man would want a pool of women whose average age is a decade younger than him, but I think we can all deduce that issue down to one thing….

Last night as I was watching a young woman devise a plan to make sure the Bachelor remembered their relationship (involving a trench coat and whipped cream mind you) was the important one, I could only think that what we’ve been sold as women is exactly what we’ve accepted. Use your body to get his attention, that’s all he’s looking for, all that any man wants. That we have to compete with one another for him rather than encourage and empathize and get to know him to see if what he values and what we do mesh…if he is who we are seeking to have as a partner as well.

Watching The Bachelor showed me more than I cared to see about dating life these days (and more of certain women than I ever want to) but it taught me a valuable lesson that when I question whether my standards for being pursued or being in a relationship are a bit too high that it means I value who I am as well in the relationship and am not just turning into someone who I think he wants me to be in order to not be alone. It also affirms my desire to talk with women of all ages (and the men of our generation as well) about what singledom is, how we can walk it with beauty and dignity, and how we can all respect and enjoy single life and the pursuits of relationship without the degradation of ourselves in the process.

I didn’t show up to the Bachelor watching to preach on a soapbox but to see what a decade-plus later is teaching us and the Millenials about dating life, about relationships and boundaries. But I am also here for the hilarity that is Dolphin-Shark girl, how many times I hear “I am here for the right reasons” and the moral compass that keeps getting reset each week. (Also Corinne…y’all that’s a whole book in itself) I am here for the fun of watching dating life play out in a weird vacuum, edited for entertainment and then presented to the masses starved for a break from their own relationship woes, or lack thereof.


Join me right back here each week as I look a little deeper at the episode and what it can teach us all about dating and the single mindset.

My Extreme and His Opportunity

Earlier this week I shared a bit on the reality of a single. Most of what I shared was from a vulnerable place, but a real place nonetheless. It is one that I find I am not alone in feeling, as conversations have sparked with numerous friends after that post (and even before).

Over lunch yesterday I was talking with someone that I didn’t know a year ago. I had never met her, nor heard her story, and there we sat in the cafe at work discussing her family and mine. Our work life and our home life. I couldn’t help but put our lives down on paper in my mind at how different they are, with our commonality of pursuing God’s purpose for us and our lives.

The reality of both of our lives and the stories we are living out is that God meets us in them, in the hard and painful and in the joyful and contented. While my pain of singleness can often be hard to bear out, so can marriage and raising children. I can honor that and know that perfection and 100% satisfaction will not be seen this side of heaven. But it also shot through to me that in my extremes of life-job loss, singleness, illness, anxiety-God’s very present.

“My extremity may be God’s opportunity.”

-A.B. Simpson, Seeing the Invisible

When I am in extreme times of life, what if I considered those opportunities for God? In my agitation of extremity am I harming myself? others? my relationship with God? It’s difficult to see the opportunity when you have just lost your job, when that relationship has just ended. You can’t quite slap on the “glass half full” mentality.

But I want to see it as His opportunity in my life. I want to believe and hold fast that His miracle is at hand in my life. I desire that He shows up big and loud, and that it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I want that.

But I don’t ask for it. I don’t seek it out. I don’t allow Him the space in me, in my extremity to work. I get my hands and I mash up the clay He’s been forming, trying to make it into a jar to contain my life when He’s crafting a bowl to receive His goodness in. I don’t stop to see the opportunity for His work, but my chance at control.

I don’t live in the silence of opportunity, of His work, of the wait.

But I will. I must. I have to choose the cost of His opportunity in my life over the return of self, investing in His economy and not my own. Seeing the maturation of promises He gives rather than the immediacy of my will.

So I stand in an extreme, not wanting to be in the throws of my own will but in looking on it as God’s opportunity. Believing He is rather than what I think I am. Choosing His opportunity over my extreme self.

A Single’s Reality

I am single.

No, there’s no fella.

Table for one, please.

 

Words I have to say at times. Awkward silences, even more awkward inner emotions. Then the reception of pitying eyes, or pats on the arm of “One day dear.” Oh friends, I wish for something else. I pray for something else. I work and read, I pray and I dig into who I am and what He desires for me.

But the sting of singleness happens. It hurts. Some days it’s fine, in fact there’s a joy to know that I am ruling my couch and my fridge that evening. But when you are in your mid-30s there comes a turn, at least from what I can attest personally and from friends. It’s a turn towards hopelessness, doubt and even fear.

We doubt we’ll find the one. We fear something is inherently wrong with us. We lose hope in there ever being kids, or even a spouse. We fear God’s best for us is several decades of loneliness or solitude in our homes. We fear being labeled “less-than” by those in our lives due to our marital status.

Frankly we are scared.

But we don’t admit it. At least I haven’t… until recently. Because to talk about singleness, and our state of mind in it would be to label ourselves as such. For years I have been told to live a full life and then some man would be attracted to that, rather than the laments of a heart desiring to be a wife. While I am not suggesting you run around with “Wife Material” emblazoned on every article of clothing, I think it’s time to shed a light on singleness and the hurts we face.

For too long we have been scared to say we are lonely, that we don’t like this single life, and that we fear facing the rest of our lives this way. Fear gives place to worry, anxiety and depression. It allows words of shame and regret to fill your life and cloud out all the rest. Fear tells you that you are alone in those feelings and that everyone will think you are unable to cope, and that is the real reason you are alone, that you just aren’t reliant enough on God.

I am here, right here, to say enough. There is no shame and no fear in admitting that being single is scary, when prospects are few or non-existent. Singleness is hard when the bills and the mortgage rely upon your work. Singleness hurts when you are alone on a Friday night but want so desperately to not be. It’s the cries to God that we get singleness is a good thing but is the loneliness and hurt too?

We hide behind veneers too often that tells everyone we are single and we love it, when in fact we grumble and hurt in it. We fear it. The platitudes no longer cajole or soothe us, in fact they wound us deeper. So let’s come to the table together in our single lives to face reality of fear and doubt. To be honest with one another and ourselves that singleness is often lonely but we are together in it. To look one another in the eye and face it all with hope, confident expectation, and understanding of the reality of our hearts longing.

Singleness and Social Media

Babies are filling up my social media these days. And wedding announcements, engagements and hands held high with mouths in shock.

“He liked it, so he put a ring on it!”

“Excited to announce the newest arrival!”

Spring has sprung the nesting and additions to families all across my friendships.

If I am honest, as this is occurring and I am diving deeper into a healthy relationships with my church family it would be easy for me, the single gal, to slip into an ugly place of sin and discouragement. To find myself seeing what I don’t have and what others do have. To covet. To find jealousy lurking in the depths of a heart not in tune with God’s truth for me. To see depression set in once more, a true depression of the entire body where I shut myself off and shut myself down accepting this life as it is now.

Last week I talked a bit about questioning why we are in the place we are in. And I do from time to time, especially when these life celebrations begin to fill up my life for everyone else, but myself. I started to realize that it wasn’t about them but the state of my heart, and my relationship with God first before it ever got to my relationship with them.

You see, if I am loving God with all that I have (mind, heart, emotions) with everything I got (strength) even in my sensibilities and will (soul) then I am not focused on the others. My gaze isn’t on the scrolling screen of “good life, good wife” mentalities but on the One who gave His life so that I might be in this relationship with Him. When I lean into Christ and what my relationship is with Him, I don’t leave space for coveting because I know without a doubt in my head or heart that I am overflowing with gratitude, love, joy. When that happens, again and again, and I live into that truth for my life instead of the truth the world is trying to craft for me that I need to be this person or in that relationship, fruit develops. I bear out lovingkindness, peace, patience, goodness.

This is fruit for others to enjoy, for me to give away and not allow to sour or rot on the vine. Alot of times I want that fruit for myself, but when He points us to loving others as we love ourselves that means giving away what has filled us up-the good stuff, His stuff, HIM.

He pushes out all the other that I find I sometimes want to live in and loll about in on a quiet Friday night. But He’s right there, ever-present, whispering truth that my relationship with Him is filling me so that I am not growing into what the world thinks I should look like as a single lady but what He has defined for me to be as His.

So I can celebrate weddings, births, new jobs and adventures of friends with a heart full of joy, gratitude and love. For them. For myself. For Him.

Not Interested

Today was the day. I had an extra pass to a movie screening this week as the opening to see if he wanted to go out. I thought if I finally saw him I would just ask. It has to do with this whole “do something you’ve never done before” idea I am carrying with me this year.

My interest in this guy goes back to April of last year. I met him at a service event and we chatted. But after that I couldn’t bring myself to really strike up a conversation with him…On a whim over the summer I thought I’d facebook message him, kinda joking that it was easier that way…no response. So life moves on and we get to November when I let it slip to a friend of his that I think he’s cute…seriously, am I in middle school? What has gotten in to me? (That’s what I asked myself all through December as I weighed my words and how very immature I was being about this interest in a guy I did not even know)

So here we are today. Yes, today, I think I am just going to do it. When I am met with nothing short of uninterest. That’s truly the only way to describe. Did I ask him? No, because I was greeted with a mumbled “hi” and staring at a phone.


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Why did I share all this with you all? Simply so I can share that it’s okay if he’s not interested. It doesn’t mean he’s the worst person in the world, or that he doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged. It simply means that he’s not that into me as I had been with him.

That’s okay.

It’s a kick to the ego and pride a bit, and I think we could all say that hurts. Here’s the thing, life goes on. I am not balled up in the floor worrying over what it is about me that he’s not into. I am going to keep being the me that I am growing into, that God is molding and making.

I do hope there’s a point where I can be friends with this guy because he seems like a cool guy, who serves and is interesting. It doesn’t mean I close off having any friendship with him or paint him as some horrible person. But I also don’t allow it to be a reflection of myself. There just wasn’t an interest there.

I think we have become a female population that believes if a guy isn’t interested that we must overhaul all that we are in order for him to want to be with us. Ladies, no. Fellas, I seriously love ya but you gotta stop finding these molds of perfection too. They simply aren’t real. They lead to alot of pain, for all of us.

The¬† next time there’s an interest there, go for it. And if it’s not reciprocated, if he doesn’t call after that first date, or you don’t get a like back, remember it’s okay. It’s not about who you are (unless you are a hoarder of all things cat, and then maybe it’s a little about you). It’s not the end of all things though. It’s a part of who you are becoming and how you respond to it that speaks volumes, not if he’s not into you.