The 3 Questions That Have Emerged from My Singleness

I am the Charlie Brown of blind dates.

Not that I’m looking to go on blind dates. But as a single girl with a majority of married friends, it seems that everyone has some ‘Nice Guy’ in their back pocket they expect me to want to try on for size.

But the hilarious thing is that every time someone attempts to set me up with someone, they magically end up in a relationship a few weeks later. For real. This has happened a good four or five times!

Probably my favorite was at the beginning of this summer.

My sister had led on a youth trip and had met another leader she thought I ‘just had to meet.’ After some carousing from her, I agreed that she could give the guy my number… mainly because he wasn’t going to call.

And no, this isn’t one of those I-gave-up-on-the-thought-and-then-just-as-I-lost-faith-the-guy-called-and-now-we’re-married posts. Because I was right and he didn’t call… because honestly, that would have been weird. (Hi, your sister sent me your number via Facebook because she thinks I need to go out with more girls…) But this experience caused me to feel a little pressure from home and from myself.

I love my parents and sister, don’t get me wrong. They want good things from me and want to see my life move forward in whatever way God sees fit. But with talk of this around the dinner table, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I was missing out on something.

I mean, at twenty-two, shouldn’t I have gone out with more people by now? Shouldn’t I have more guy friends that I haven’t gained through marriage to my girl friends? And then of course the age old question of all slightly socially-awkward bookworm girls everywhere: Is there something wrong with me?

Overwhelmed by a sense of impending spinsterhood and the projected baby-fever of my family (alright, perhaps there’s some hyperbole here…) I asked a friend if she would go to coffee with me. She is a awesome single lady in her mid-twenties and I just wanted to pick her brain on how she handled this kind of pressure.

Talking with her, I was able to wrestle with some of the lies within my own heart, as well understand that those in my life wanting me to look for love only were doing so because they themselves loved me. We worked through my neurotic questions together and I came away with some wisdom and a little more gumption to enjoy where I’m at.

So at twenty-two, is it bad that I haven’t dated a ton? Not really. I mean, yeah marriage is a thought in my mind, but it’s not a priority, like say, breakfast tomorrow or something. I’ve got time and God knows what he’s doing with that time be it dating, marriage, or otherwise.

And I don’t have a lot of guy friends. Should I be concerned? Not totally, but it’s probably healthy to put yourself in some co-ed situations. So I’m trying to get plugged in with the singles group at my church. Turns out about half of the world’s population doesn’t like Pride & Prejudice (ie. men) so I should probably learn how to communicate with them about other things…

So is there something wrong with me? Don’t tell me you haven’t asked yourself this question. It’s easy to ask when the longing is heavy and the loneliness endless. My wonderful friend was able to affirm in me what I want to affirm in you:

You aren’t single because there is something wrong with you. You are single because that is the season in which you are currently placed. Seasons do not last forever. Sometimes it seems like it will, but that is just a lie. You never know what God may have around the corner. That’s not for us to know. Our job is to wait and trust and find joy in where we are, even when it seems like a burden.

You are a beautiful daughter of the king. And that king has planed beautiful things for you, my friend. Be that a relationship, marriage, grand adventures, refusing to become a cat lady… There are endless possibilities and hope. There is always hope.

Alright, so how does this tie into my Charlie-Brown-blind-dating intro? I’m getting there, I promise!

A couple weeks after our coffee date, my friend and I met up again for dinner. She asked me how I was doing with the home/self-imposed pressure.

God has really been working on my heart this summer in the areas of contentment and gratitude and I was able to tell her honestly that I am happy to be where I am. Yes, I would like a relationship someday, but for now I am pleased to be where God has me.

Just as I voiced this, the guy my sister had tried to set me up with walked past the window by where I sat. I watched as he met up with a girl very obviously for a first date. I couldn’t help but laugh and point it out to my friend. Of all the restaurants of all the nights and of all the people. It was just too funny.

And really I could laugh with no disappointment. God knows what he’s doing and I can trust that.

I am finding that I would much rather go on single than be in a relationship I have to grasp and manipulate to make happen. We’ll just see how God responds to that thought.

In the mean time, what are some awkward blind date experiences you’ve had? Any strange set-up hi-jinx in your world?

Being Single is Not the Same as Being Alone

So I just made it through wedding season. It wasn’t as intense as the last two–the amount of parties stayed in the single digits.

There is something about this time of year that always stir up longing in me. I think it’s the filling out of the RSVP cards. That blank plus-one line taunts me. So often, I delay sending in the RSVP because, who knows, perhaps I’ll run into some Gene Kelly look alike who will fall madly in love with me and want to accompany me to a wedding! I think he’ll want the beef, but I’ll just leave the selection blank and let him choose for himself. And we’ll dance and have a wonderful night and leave dreaming about the wedding we’ll someday have together…

And then some point a couple days before the RSVP card is due, I return to reality and remember that that is not happening, check chicken, leave the plus-one line blank and call it good.

I could let that be discouraging. Heck, sometimes it is. Alright, most of the time it is.

Most of my friends are married, more becoming so each summer. It’s exciting, but it always comes with longing for my own turn one day.

And then that nasty little thought I hate the most seeps in to ruin my day:

What if I die alone?

It’s a lie. I know it’s a lie. Even if I die unwed, I will not die alone.

So far, I have lived a life filled with love. Not only from my heavenly father, but from my wonderful parents and awesome sister. From so many beautiful, talented, and gracious friends. From mentors, pastors, teachers, co-workers. I’ve been so gosh-darn blessed and so often I ignore it.

No, I have not experienced very much in way of romantic love. Yes, that can be sad to me.

But there is still great love in my life.

Being single is not the same as being alone.

I do not live in solitude. I live in community with many many wonderful people. I mean, really, filling out that RSVP card without a date to put on it does not mean I am not loved. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have a friend who fell in love and I gained a new friend in her husband. So now two of my friends are getting married and they loved being in relationship with me enough to invite me to celebrate with them. And at that party, I will enjoy the company of our mutual friends. We’ll laugh and dance and talk about the future lives of our newly-married friends.

If the longing for your significant other has become heavy in this season of summer romance and weddings, do not be discouraged. Recognize that God has you where you need to be on your journey. The loneliness may seem suffocating now, but realize that you are not alone here. For one, I’m here. I can also guarantee you have many friends and loved ones, married or not, who care about you and want to encourage you where you are.

You’re loved, my friend!

Revel in that.

If you would like more reading on singleness, I highly recommend this post from Shauna Niequist. I was greatly encouraged. I ran across it a couple days before I actually sat down to read this post and was excited that the two were going to be live around the same time. I hope her words are refreshing and encouraging!

I Live in My Parent’s Basement with 50,000 Cats…

The title is what it says.

No, I did not get a cat. I will not get a cat. Gross.

In the house my parents recently bought, there is a huge bathroom in the basement where me and my sister’s rooms are. And the walls are covered in cats. Lots of cats with staring eyes and odd facial expressions.

I love our new home. There is plenty of room to entertain people and I’m really figuring out how to make my space my own. It’s wonderful.

But the title is what it says. I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats.

Not exactly living the dream.

Here is a close-up of my lovely cat friend. I think
the hearts beside the names signify some sort of
rating system, though I’m not sure why Fat Cat
is better than Calico Cat…

‘Tis the season for engagements. ‘Tis the season of remembering that those engagements are not my own. ‘Tis the season for discontentment and materialism and poor-me-ness. ‘Tis the season to forget what this season is truly about and wallow in self-pity and loneliness.

This season is not about me. Not the Christmas season, not this season of life, and not life in general.

And yet I feel entitled to pout. Pout because I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats. Pout because I am alone at Christmastime. Pout because I have been alone for a while. And pout because its just easy.

Honestly, I often hold a negative view of singleness because I am lazy. Rather than seeing each season as the classroom God has placed me in, I wine and belly-ache, trying to get my way with no avail. I am wasting what God has given me in the hear and now.

Rather than spending this time investing in the friendships, opportunities, and time he has given me, I allow myself to sit and do nothing. By doing nothing, I get bored. My days become filled with discontentment, loneliness, and honestly too much Netflix. Rather than investing in a redemptive friendship, I watch White Collar reruns. Rather than deepening my relationship with God, I deepen the butt divets on my couch seat. Rather than taking time to better myself and my craft, I piddle away my creativity trying to formulate witty tweets and statuses that will garner numerous retweets and likes. I am wasting this season.

I am not seeking God more fully, I am not growing in community, and I am not becoming a better writer. I’m hardly traveling beyond the basement!

If this is singleness, then yeah! This is shit!

But I have fallen for the grand lie. You see, I have not been doomed to singleness and a life among the cats. I have been blessed so completely with opportunity up the wazoo!

This is the cat I can seen from the shower. Notice his
disturbed facial expression. I call him Peeping Tom Cat.

Here is the truth:
My parents are wonderful God-fearing people who have encouraged me to live my dream and pursue the calling I believe God has given me (aka. writing.) My parents are sensible people who understand that writing pays nothing…. sometimes negative nothing. As such, they allow to me live in their house RENT FREE as I pay off my schooling and pursue a job in the publishing industry. Let me repeat: I live in an awesome house, complete with pool and cat-laden bathroom RENT FREE.

As such, I have an opportunity to gain experience in my field of study. I have a splendidly patient supervisor who wants me to learn and make industry connections. God has equipped me for this position in oddly comical ways and has provided wise counsel exactly when I need it.

I have time in the evenings to work on the novel I’ve been itching to get to for the last three years. I have a chance to host small groups in my home and grow in relationship with the word of God, the people of God, and the spirit of God.

Because I am living rent free and have a wonderful job that helps me keep the loans in check, I can begin to save to travel. I have the chance to invest my time, treasure, and talent into so many things that I would not be able to be as devoted to if I had married right out of school.

God has blessed me with the season of life that I need right now to become who I am called to be. I am not settled yet. I am not all he is going to make me. I am not ready to be married and it is not until I get off the couch, and out of the basement, and into his word that I begin to realize there is more to this season than my wants and desires. There is a God who is shaping me to be his servant no matter what lies ahead. 

I live in my parent’s basement with 50,000 cats.

Title is what it says. I live there as God trains me to go out and embrace his will. I won’t have the company of the cats forever. Time to devote to my writing won’t be so generous in the future. The quiet moments with my Father won’t be as easily gained.
I need to enjoy and embrace this season while it is here. This is one chapter of many more and the next one can’t begin until this one is written.

It’s gonna be a good chapter. I can feel it.