Why Writing Single Christian Girls is Hard.

IMG_3357

IMG_3357

I’m totally one of those people who Google everything. I use Google like Saul used the Medium of Endor. Yes, that’s actually in the Bible. No, that’s not also a character from Lord of the Rings.

I expect Google to give me answers to topics ranging from “which musical most resembles my life,” to “will I be single forever?”

Before I started this blog, Google took me to A LOT of Christian blogs devoted to singleness. Most of them were depressing, a few of them were written by women who got married at 17, which makes me so angry I want to dropkick strangers, and very few of them were actually helpful. And thus, Single Christian Girls was born because I figured I wasn’t the only Single Christian Girl using Google like a crystal ball.

That was in 2012.

It’s now 2015 and the bloom is off the rose.

Lately, and by lately I mean this past year, I’ve been approaching this blog with more anguish than excitement. I love writing, but do I really love writing about being a Single Christian Girl? Not really. I could lie and say that I don’t like writing Single Christian Girls because I’d rather write about something more meaningful.

I did actually.

I just wrote a whole blog about how there are so many things more important than worrying about my own singleness. I think that’s true, but that’s not why writing this blog is hard. It’s hard because I have to be vulnerable about something that is happening to me right now.

I’ve never been great at being vulnerable.

I am, however, great at being “fake vulnerable.”

I learned “fake vulnerability” in college. I was surrounded by a group of people who encouraged vulnerability because those wise people recognized that vulnerability creates community and deep connection. So, I would share “vulnerable” sounding things I wasn’t really struggling with, but guarded closely my deepest secrets and scariest questions.

I’ve improved on the vulnerability front. I can tell because I’ve been in conversations that feel simultaneously freeing and painful. I’ve also experienced what an old friend called a, “vulnerability hangover.” For those who are unaware, a “vulnerability hangover” is when you wake up the next day going, “Oh no, why did I say that?!” accompanied by a headache from too much crying.

Writing Single Christian Girls in an authentic way requires confronting my desire to be married, but acknowledging I’m not married yet and I might never be married. Acknowledging desires and giving them to God is hard.

I would rather pretend I’m fine then admit I’m not.

I would rather say I don’t care about being married then admit I do.

I would rather keep my wedding Pinterest board secret then show the world that I’m just as obsessive about weddings as everyone else.

I would rather say I hate kids then acknowledge my desire for a huge family.

I would rather hide behind my career then put forth the effort into meeting new people.

I would rather say I hate breaking up with guys because I don’t want them to be hurt then acknowledge that what I’m really feeling is my own disillusionment and disappointment that yet another relationship didn’t turn out the way that I’d hoped.

Leave it to Tim Keller to call it what it is, an idol:

…Romantic love is an object of enormous power for the human heart and imagination, and therefore can excessively dominate our lives. Even people who completely avoid romantic love out of bitterness or fear are actually being controlled by its power … if you are so afraid of love that you cannot have it, you are just as enslaved as if you must have it … If you are too afraid of love or too enamored by it, it has assumed godlike power, distorting your perceptions and your life. – Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods

The tricky thing is, destroying the idol of romantic love in my own life requires deep vulnerability with myself, close friends and most importantly with God. It requires, as Brené Brown notes in her TED talk on Vulnerability, to stop “controlling and predicting.” It requires acknowledging that I am not in control of my life trajectory, only God is. I have to trust that God’s Will truly is, “good, pleasing and perfect.”

So believe me, I get it.

I get that whatever led you to Single Christian Girls feels very real and very painful. I can guarantee that a lot of what you’ve experienced are emotions that I’ve experienced as well.

I also get, that sometimes it’s easier to Google your problems and come to a website then to actually have a conversation with a friend. The Internet is quite possibly the most effective tool humanity has created to avoid the pain of vulnerability, but we’ve lost the art of deep and authentic connection in the process.

So my encouragement to you is this: spend time with the God who loves you and has good things for you. Find friends who will walk through life with you. Be honest with yourself about what’s hard and don’t be afraid to sit and wrestle with it.

And finally, it’s ok. You’re not alone.

A Single Christian Girl’s Wedding Survival Guide

Capture

Ah, wedding season …

Never have I ever felt so simultaneously elated and assaulted all at the same time. It’s a beautiful mix of joy and pain which is why I mistakenly picked up Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy and assumed it was on this very topic. For further notice, it’s not. It’s about some dude who paints a ceiling in what I’d like to refer to as “legal vandalism.”

Anyway, it’s midway through June and if you’re in your 20’s and 30’s the number of weddings you’ve gone to in the past few weeks has been akin to a blitzkrieg.

You’re barely alive at this point. You need food, water, a fricken’ bubble bath and a gift certificate to Target because those wedding presents do not buy themselves.

So am I late with my survival guide to weddings?

Possibly.

But a wanderer in the desert never turns down a cold glass of water.

So here we go!

A no nonsense guide to surviving weddings.

(Imagine Destiny’s Child’s I’m a Survivor is playing quietly in the background)

Capture

Don’t be afraid to look AWESOME. There’s nothing that makes a wedding sadder than an outfit that makes you feel like you’re only one step up from a muumuu with a cat pattern.

If you have a plus one, take a date. Weddings with a plus one are code word for “Adult Prom.” Stop following your work crush to the copier and timing your bathroom breaks so you just “happen” to run into him at 9:17 am, 11:23 am, 1:24 pm and 3:07 pm. It’s getting weird. Just ask him to be your date to your friend’s cousin’s wedding. Make it casual. You can do it.

Or maybe – don’t take a date. You’re single and ready to mingle! Scope out those groomsmen! Get your flirt on! But for all of our sakes and your own self-respect please do not huddle in a corner, rocking in the fetal position.

Make a budget. You make a budget and you Dave Ramsey the crap out of that thing. Weddings are expensive. The outfits, the gifts, the transportation costs … excuse me well I give my bank account CPR. Make a budget and STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.

Get the kid’s meal. There is nothing worse than getting dry chicken when your friend was smarter then you and ordered the kids meal which is mac and cheese and chicken tenders. What’s better then mac and cheese and chicken tenders? Nothing. Except for maybe the glorified mac and cheese and chicken tenders that you’ll be served at the wedding feast of the lamb, but other than that … nothing.

Have a go-to dance move. Mine is a lunge with a hip thrust. It is equal parts awesome and a future trip to the chiropractor. That lunge, hip thrust combo though? People love it. However, my fellow wedding guests might not be so much laughing with me as at me, so there you go.

Request the Macarena. Why? Because it’s hysterical, and a crowd pleaser.  Even Great Grandma Edna knows what it is.

Bring tissues. Crying at a wedding is the best. Be prepped and ready.

Write your own card. I was at Target a few weeks ago buying weddings cards and in order to buy one they ask you for your first born child. Who knew a piece of paper with a stupid design on it could be so expensive? And there’s only like 5 varieties so you know the couple probably already has a gazillion of the one you chose. Also, in my never ending search to find a funny wedding card, I’ve repeatedly failed so welcome in the “write your own wedding card.” Not only is it less expensive, but it also means more. You took 10 minutes to think of something sentimental to say and got carpal tunnel in the process? Your newly married friends are going to love that.

EAT CAKE. Oh wait, what? You’re on a gluten free diet and you’re avoiding sugar? Not today girlfriend. Not today. You stuff your face full of cake and you ask for a second piece! When Marie Antoinette said “let them eat cake” she was referring to this very moment. So stuff your face. (Unless, of course, you have Celiac Disease and then please don’t. No one wants you to be violently ill …)

Get excited for the couple. This is one of the biggest days of their life – to be totally honest, it’s not about you at all. It’s a chance to celebrate with a friend that liked you enough to invite you to be a part of the most significant party they’re ever going to have. So chin up, enjoy it.

Sunday Worship Tunes

You know, just casually listening to this song on my commute to work on Friday and sobbing hysterically …

Just, you know, casually listening.

Clearly this baby had an impact. I love the way it starts out:

In the process

In the waiting

You’re making melodies over me 

Want more? Check out my Spotify P&W playlist.

Sunday Worship Tunes

Just because at some point on Sundays I end up rocking out to something and figured I’d share it.

Already cried to this song once today … just super great.

I also have a whole playlist on Spotify with some of my favorite worship songs called P&W catchy huh?

Seeds and Hydrangeas

hydrangea-endless-summer

I asked my amazing and wise friend Steph to write a blog for Single Christian Girls. If you enjoy this post, you should check out her blog Everyday Awe. It’s beautiful. Also, if you’re close to Minnesota, and like digging into the bible, Steph leads Socratic Scripture Studies that you should absolutely check out!

Enjoy.

The early chapters of Genesis have gotten trapped in scientific arguments and children’s stories. It’s not often the place we turn when looking for some inspirational Bible reading. Yet, the poetry and images contained within these earliest chapters paint some stunning portraits of God and humanity, if we have the eyes to see them.

One of my favorites comes in Genesis 1:11,

“Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.”

How easy it is to jump to what God created, without pausing to notice how God created. Both the product and the process reveal things about the Lord’s character.

The anticipation had been building. God called light from darkness, and crafted space between the waters. Creation had begun, but yet life had not yet become part of it. Hydrangeas and roses, oak trees and pines, cacti and fruit trees were all resting in the imagination of the Creator, waiting to be birthed.

Yet when day three came, when the time for vegetation arrived, God did not thrust full grown vegetation onto the scene. The Creator shared with the creation the role of bringing life. Did you catch it? God did not say, “Let there be plants.” God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.”

God did not create plants. God created seeds.

God planted underground the seeds of future life and beauty, and allowed the earth to partner in the act of creation.

“The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.” – Genesis 1:12-13

Then, the Creator waited. God let the earth break open the seeds, nurture the sprouts, and grow the flowers, vines, and trees into full grown beauties. Once those mature plants carried fruit with seeds in them, ready to start the process all over again, the Creator’s work and the earth’s work was done, and God called the day good.

——

Ephesians 2:10 is an oft quoted verse for good reason. We are God’s masterpieces, created intentionally, carefully, and beautifully. The second half of this verse adds to the first, saying we were also created “to do good works.”

Though the word “good” is often trapped in realms of “moral,” let us not forget that the first use of the word good is in that creation narrative of Genesis.

We, like the earth, were created to create. There are seeds of future life within us, waiting to be broken open, seeds we are called to nurture and water and grow into something that will make this world a deeper reflection of its good Creator.

Those seeds are what make us unique, and can come in many forms. Poems, paintings, and more traditional forms of art are surely among them. But so are well-ordered meetings that honor the gifts of those participating in them, or great meals that satisfy hunger and companionship, or helpful spreadsheets that bring order to a problem, or deep questions that bring life and purpose to conversations.

Too often, we don’t let what we have grow into something that we share with others. We are afraid that what we can bring isn’t good enough, or are waiting for a job that’s better before we really let ourselves dig in, or have had seedlings squashed in the past and are nervous to try again. Pretty soon, we think there aren’t any seeds there at all.

Don’t let your circumstances fool you. The seeds are plentiful. Sometimes, they rest dormant for a season, like the bulbs lying in wait below the winter snows, but they are there.

—–

One of my favorite flowers is the hydrangea. I love the burst of blooms at the end of each stem. I also have an affinity for potted flowers whose blooms last longer than the cut variety.

hydrangea-endless-summer

I also love the variety of colors from true blue to deep purple to bright pink.

In the seed, the hydrangea has the potential to be any of those colors. It is the pH of the soil that determines the hydrangea’s final hue.

Our hurts and fears and history, if we let them, can actually weave their way into the beauty of the life that comes forth. They have not destroyed the seeds, but have only changed the soil. Even if we carry a similar seed to someone else, it will not be the same. Our unique stories will make our flowers pink and theirs blue, which makes neither better nor worse, but works together to make this creation shine.

—–

The Creator is inviting you to bring new life and beauty to this world. Will you let what is within you come forth?

Things We Learn About Being Single on Tax Day.

The older I get the more I realize the government is stupid.

However, I would also like to run for public office one day so can we say hypocritical?

I think it’s because I’m an idealist and like every young American, I expect the government to be perfect and then it does something just super dumb and you sit there wondering if they have an even basic understanding of modern economic theory…

But I digress.

Bringing it back, yesterday was Tax Day!

#winning

via Pinterest.
via Pinterest.

Or not if you had to pay in and then I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m sort of like an ostrich when it comes to taxes. My head is in the sand. Don’t tell me what I’m paying, I don’t want to know.

However, I hit up ye ol’ google machine yesterday which solves a lot of the world’s problems and I typed in a fated string of text, “difference in tax rates among married and single people.”

Don’t do it friends.

Don’t do it.

In the wise words of Bon Jovi, it was indeed a “shot to the heart.”

Because as far as salt in a wound goes, this is a big one. Right behind how no one ever buys me jewelry.

Basically, single people pay more. And the government is doing this intentionally to encourage marriage. To which I want to say to the government, “would you get off my back?! I’m TRYING ok?!?!?!”

But am I really trying?

Uh oh. I’m about to drop bombs.

I’m not really trying. Not at all.

I’m reading this great book by Mark Batterson called Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge it’s a follow up to his book The Circle Maker which I highly recommend ESPECIALLY if you’re in a season of not knowing what the heck to do with your life. Which has been most of my 20’s so far … so basically if you’re in your 20’s you should buy it.

Anyway, in Draw the Circle Mark talks over and over again about how we need to “work like it depends on us, but we also need to pray like it depends on God.” In most areas of my life I would say I’m pretty good at the working part and need to do more in the prayer area part, but when it comes to a future spouse I’m zero for two. I don’t do anything (big issue) and I don’t pray about it (arguably bigger issue).

Let’s sideline the praying about it deal because you people are like toddlers and I can only hold your attention for about 100 more words (true story – it’s science).

But we, as single christian women, DON’T DO ANYTHING.

UPS isn’t going to drop off a guy at your house. They just won’t. And not only because the packaging is expensive and it’s really hard to ship live things but, apparently, if you’re trying to ship a person there is some nonsense about them needing “air” because they could “suffocate.” I don’t know – the government made it up.

Anyway, you, (and by you I mean we) have to get off our butts, stop watching Netflix on Friday nights and get out into the world!

I feel like a mother wood duck about to push my little ducklings out of the nest.

wood duck

We can’t complain about being single, but also refuse to go out on dates.

We’ve got to put forth a little bit of effort ladies. Like signing up for one of those dumb dating sites I’ve talk about before. Yeah, they’re stupid, but people get married because of match.com all of the time! Or sign up for the Bachelor! Just kidding, don’t do that. Volunteer! Be nice to random men who have fantastic socks (sign of a winner – just FYI). Go outside! Or my favorite, join singles BSF! Because we all KNOW the people who sign up for BSF are NOT 100% there to study the bible.

“Oh, I’m just here to learn about God and his word!”

“Yes – and I’m here for the amazing coffee.”

No.

Anyway, you can do it! You’re powerful, confident, capable and beautiful. And in case you need to hear this too – you’re good at relationships.

Fly my little wood ducks! Fly!

Sabbath.

I hardcore failed this morning.

I was at a party last night and therefore didn’t get out of bed until 10:25 am.

Church starts at 10:30.

I was going to try to make it, until suddenly, shortly after I had looked in the mirror, realized church probably wasn’t going to happen.

Side note, when you have short hair, it is possible for them to stick straight up.

New discovery.

To spare the good people of the world my #IWokeUpLikeThis face, because lets be honest, it makes children cry and there are a lot of children at my church, I made myself coffee and oatmeal and sunk down to … rest.

FullSizeRender

I guess rest is the best word to describe what I’m doing right now, and it feels awesome, but it also feels like I don’t deserve it.

My friend Gabby wrote the most beautiful post on rest the other day and she basically said even though God commands us to rest, we often fight against it because we either don’t trust God will provide, or don’t believe we deserve it.

I think about the first one a lot. I worry ALL. THE. TIME. The worst part is I know it’s a sin. I know we’re not supposed to worry, but I can’t help myself. It’s sort of like it’s the sin that I was born with, my personality is predisposed to worry.

And it sucks.

But I don’t think about the last one, the “I don’t deserve it” one, but as soon as she put it on paper I immediately thought, “yup, I totally believe that.”

I’m pretty Type A, and by pretty Type A, I actually mean psycho crazy all the way Type A. If a day goes by without me achieving anything it’s a waste. So resting is REALLY hard, if not impossible. I’m also studying for a test, applying to grad school, working and honestly failing at making this blog a real thing. So basically, there is always something in the back of my mind going, “why are you reading? You should be doing XYZ instead!”

Because at some point when I was younger, I decided if I didn’t do XYZ, if I didn’t perform, if I didn’t accomplish, I didn’t matter.

So resting is hard, because when you rest, you don’t do anything.

You just rest.

You take a nap.

You read a book, and not even an impressive book, but something kind of stupid. (and by stupid, I mean awesome, because I pounded this book called Rose Daughter yesterday and it was great).

You go see a movie.

I’ve been going to see a therapist lately and it’s kind of great.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. Like I said before, I worry, but sometimes it gets really bad and becomes full-blown anxiety.

One of the things I’m learning, is my anxiety is really bad when I’m not taking care of myself. My therapist and I were talking the other day and she asked me what I was doing to “fill my bucket.”

I couldn’t tell her anything.

It was actually pretty sad.

So this weekend I’ve been filling my bucket. I had brunch with friends, I just read all day, I skipped church to write, and I saw the new Cinderella movie by myself because I just really wanted to see it (glorious by the way, so, so amazingly good).

And I think it’s all working.

I’m feeling rested and I’m feeling at peace.

I’m feeling like it’s ok to not have to achieve all the time.

It’s ok to take it slow and to not have to do everything.

God’s going to provide.

Happy Sabbath friends.