I wrote an article a few weeks ago and for several reasons (fear actually being the main reason) I haven’t shared it with you.
Well – here it is if you want to check it out!
I wrote an article a few weeks ago and for several reasons (fear actually being the main reason) I haven’t shared it with you.
Well – here it is if you want to check it out!
The other day I came across this super random story in 2 Kings 4:8-37, and by random, I mean it was never illustrated in my children’s study bible so I kind of forgot it was in there. Basically, it’s about this Shunammite woman who takes care of the prophet Elisha every time he comes through Shunem. After a time, Elisha acknowledges that she’s a true “hostess with the mostess,” and asks her if she wants anything. Her reply is, “Nothing. I’m secure and satisfied in my family.” What’s important to note, is this woman doesn’t have a son in a culture where having a son is a big fricken deal. When Elisha asked her “what do you want?” a son was probably what bubbled up in her heart immediately, but “nah! I’m cool!” came out instead.
How often do we beat down our own desires?
I know I do it all the time with my singleness.
In some ways acknowledging my desire to be married feels pretty pathetic.
I’m not completely certain, but I’m assuming this Shunammite woman felt the same way about admitting she wanted a son. From the text, we know she was a “leading lady” of the town and as a result probably had everything she needed in terms of material possessions. I even wonder if she had a bunch of daughters too. I can imagine she felt pretty guilty for wanting something beyond the abundant blessings she already had.
In all respects, I have a pretty great life. I have amazing friends and a family that loves me. I have a cute little apartment, a zippy little car and a job I enjoy. So, I feel insanely stupid anytime I admit my desire to be married.
As a result, I’m hesitant to tell my story, even though I write a blog for single Christian women.
What I’ve come to realize is I experience immense amounts of shame around wanting to be married.
Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
Shame as a single person is feeling both pathetic for being single, but also stupid for not wanting to be single anymore.
Shame is that terrible, evil voice that asks, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you keep a relationship together?”
Shame is the fear that you’re going to die alone and no one will ever care about you.
I think Satan is a big fan of shame because shame prevents us from telling our stories. And when we don’t tell our stories, we don’t connect with people. Shame creates disconnection and disconnection creates isolation and feeling alone is a terrible place to be.
There is this great scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Luna Lovegood, a very odd, yet lovable character, is talking to Harry about Voldermort, or “You-Know-Who,” the epitome of evil in the Harry Potter series. Harry is convinced that Voldermort has returned, but no one believes him and he feels alone and isolated. Luna responds beautifully:
But I suppose that’s how he’d want you to feel … if I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else, because if it’s just you alone, you’re not that much of a threat.
(You can check out the scene below …)
So welcome to Single Christian Girls, the space where you don’t have to feel alone.
You are worthy of love, acceptance and connection.
After my last blog, a friend texted me this:
I always think I’m strong for being, “I’m happy single,” but stuff was just turned upside down and I realized I really would actually like a significant other at some point soonish. And that’s okay. And it shouldn’t be weak or desperate but strong and admired to admit it to people and talk about it genuinely.
According to Brené Brown, one of the earliest definitions of courage was, “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Therefore, wouldn’t fully acknowledging and owning our heart’s desires be the purest form of courage?
I think so.
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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?