Posted by: charityliz | January 26, 2012

Single&Thriving: Lesson 1

I’m not sure how to begin this, but I’ve decided to start writing about being single. Not just a little tidbit or mention of it in one of my other blog posts…but I’m gonna really start talkin’ about this! I mean, it’s no secret that I’m not married, and therefore being single is a significant part of my life experience, even at Latitude37. So why not start to share what it feels like, what I’ve learned and why I choose to live like there’s more to life than looking forward to marriage.

Now for those of you who don’t know me well enough, you probably think I’ve gone off the deep end or I’m suffering from pre-midlife crisis or some kind of really bad break up. But let me just assure you—and those of you who do know me well enough to already know—I’m fine! I haven’t broken up with anyone lately and I’m fairly satisfied with where life has brought me. Period. And if it’s still hard to believe, hopefully my motivation will become clear as you read on…

So why write about this, and why now? In a nutshell, I guess I’ve realized it’s kinda a rare thing to be 32, single, ready to mingle, and yet still convinced that life as a single person is a great thing that I don’t want to waste by wishing I were married instead. And I feel like I might have a few thoughts to share with the world on what it’s been like to thrive in this reality for quite awhile. And what better time to talk about it than right now, while I’m still living it! After all, it kinda bugs me when people who are already married blog about how people should thrive as singles, be happy alone, date following such-in-such rules, and wait patiently for marriage and blah, blah, blah (and this is especially perturbing if they write like an expert on being single, but they got married at, say, age 22). I’m sorry, it just loses some weight when they’re trying to talk about it from the “other side”. I mean, these people certainly have a lot of wisdom that I’ve appreciated and gleaned from, but in the end I can’t help but think, “yeah, easy for them to say…they’re not living it!” (No offense to my amazing married friends, who actually have been a huge source of encouragement to me—ya’ll know who you are!). On the other hand, when you’re actually living the single life, it seems ridiculous to try to write about it or make sense of it all! But I’ve decided I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to be one of the girls who has an opinion before she has a ring on her finger. Does that make me an expert? No way! I imagine that if I ever get married, I’ll have even more to say about being single (and probably even better perspective). But at least ya’ll know where I’m coming from presently.

Lesson 1: God is my main source of inspiration for how to thrive as a single woman

Make no mistake, being a single woman has been and is challenging…and being a Christian single woman definitely adds to the challenge. But I can also say that my faith is the one thing that I can point to that has undoubtedly made me who I am today—a woman who’s managed to thrive through my twenties and now into my thirties—the whole time knowing that I’d love to be married someday, but also completely convinced that the pages of my life have been written by the Great Author of life. And it’s a book of adventure, good things and great plans, as long as I keep looking to God for direction. (Jer. 29:11-13)

I can’t even begin to describe how much comfort and guidance I’ve gleaned from the pages of my bible, from conversations with other people with faith who remind me of God’s truth, and even from songs that put a melody to my heart’s cry to live life to the fullest. Oh, so many great verses in the Bible, so many inspiring stories of people who invest their life in things that matter—those things that have eternal significance! Even on the “rough days” when I begin to wonder why the heck am I not married yet – even on those days, my soul finds comfort in the truth that I was made for more than just marriage.

And yet, I still struggle with doubting that God actually has a good plan for me.

For example…even with all the reasons, I’ve shared above… I was still afraid to write about being single. I seriously worry that this kind of writing (other than in the privacy of my own journal) is going to leave me with nothing but checking off the Single box on surveys… forever. I mean, what guy is going to want to attempt to disturb what I’m making out to be a great life—why would I need him if I’ve already got it all figured out on my own?! All I can say is A) I don’t have it all figured out, and B) I hope that my story isn’t interpreted that way. Boy, do I need other people in my life (I’m sure I’ll write a bit about those lessons later)! Instead, I hope that a guy (i.e. good man) might actually see the benefit of marrying a woman who knows how to thrive through a season of life that many would rather just skip altogether or literally die instead of live through it. I’m not sure what will come my way in life, but I hope that I’m learning to thrive not just in this season, but in many seasons to come—like thriving if marriage does finally come along and I have to adjust to life without as much independence, thriving when two kids are running around the house, there’s bills to pay, the toilet is clogged and the sink is full of dishes (ug!), and thriving when loved ones get sick, suffer, and even pass on. Life is full of seasons—I know they won’t all be easy, but many years of being single have taught me the value of contentment in one’s circumstances (1 Tim. 6:6-7, Phil. 4:10-12). So despite the fear that this kind of blogging will completely douse any chances for future love, I’m choosing not to worry about it, trusting that tomorrow will take care of itself. (Matt. 6:33-34)

One last example (among so many) on how my faith literally compels me to thrive, even when I can be quite hesitant…

For at least a year now, I’ve thought many times about blogging my thoughts on being single, but I just kept feeling trapped somewhere between a deep desire to share what I’m learning and a huge fear that maybe what I have to share isn’t really worth it, or will misrepresent me, or even worse–misrepresent God.

And then a providential “game-changer” happened this past week. I was sitting in church and my pastor was speaking on Luke 1:1-4. He encouraged us to think about how Luke (the author) took the time to write down everything he knew about the heritage of his faith, and more specifically about Jesus. And the main reason why Luke decided to write about all the stuff he had learned and seen was so that it would encourage his friend, Theophilus, in his own faith. I couldn’t stop thinking about this idea of taking the time to write about what we know, in order to encourage other people around us…and better yet, encourage them in their own faith. And it reminded me of why many friends have told me to write more–so that it would be something that encourages other single women in similar shoes. Of course, I’m no Luke, and I’m certainly not an author worth adding to the biblical canon! But somehow, I feel like once again, despite the insignificance that I feel inside, God has challenged me to make more of my circumstances and thrive in the freedom of telling my story. I almost hear him saying, don’t just get through this season, but share what you’re learning, so that others might be encouraged if they’re in the same boat.

And so there you have it…I’ve learned and I’m still learning to thrive—but it’s only by God’s grace. If you’re single, I pray that you’re encouraged as you read this and the lessons I hope to share in the near future.

In case you’re wondering what all those random references are about…

Jeremiah 29:11-14—For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7—But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Philippians 4:10-12—I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Matthew 6:33-34—But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Luke 1:1-4—Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilledamong us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

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Responses

  1. thanks for sharing the first chapter of your future book! seriously, i’m going to write the foreword for it… single, married, or whatever – people are people and we all can learn from one another, so thank you for your insightful words on where you are at in life. continue to thrive. you are a gem!

    • Thanks, Leah! I love that you haven’t forgotten about the whole book idea!

  2. I love that you’re writing out your thoughts to encourage others. And I love that you are not wasting this time in your life. You live with such purpose, and it inspires me. 🙂

    • thanks, Linda! I’m often inspired by your life-stories as well…so funny that we live pretty different realities, but can provide such encouragement to each other! Love it!

  3. […] doubt anyone out there was sitting on the edge of their seat wondering when I would post another Single & Thriving Lesson.  I mean, I was on a roll and totally loving the process—but I think I was probably having more […]

  4. […] my single years were sprinkled with a few random dates, I was definitely a solidly solo, albeit thriving girl for all those […]


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