Monday, October 28, 2013

Single and not waiting

So I just read this article by Rachel Selinger from Converge magazine and LOVED it!! I'd simply post the link, but my neurotic self has convinced my normal self that the article may one day be taken down, never to be accessible ever again. So I'll copy and paste (and post a link at the bottom.)

"I’m 23, I just graduated from university, and I’m single.

Many of my friends are married, and a few are starting to have children. And I feel as if I just graduated from high school again. You could say my life is in transition. And it’s true; I am in the middle of shifting myself from university to the career world. But I’ve started to wonder about whether it’s right to refer to my singleness as an in-between stage.

What exactly am I in-between again?

“It’s the first day of the rest of my life.” I recently I heard someone on TV say this about her wedding day, and it really bothered me. While I don’t want to discount the gift of marriage, I must say I’m a bit confused and frustrated with this sentiment. I’ve heard the cliché before, but I suddenly felt the weight of it. As if it equates marriage as the start of life, or at least the good part.

Don’t misunderstand my frustration; I think there is a beautiful element of starting a new family with your spouse. I’m all for godly marriage. But what I’m afraid of is viewing life through the lens of marriage as the goal. For waiting to get married before life starts.

I’m afraid, because I’m afraid it has happened to me. I’ve been living like I’m waiting for someone to get here. And it isn’t Jesus.

I’ve wasted my time, my energy, and my emotions on this concept that singleness is just a waiting room for a relationship. I’m tired of this view that my life begins when I wake up next to my husband, because I’m pretty sure my life began 23 years ago when my mom gave birth. And this mentality has robbed my joy.

As much as I’d like to place all the blame on Christian culture, the perpetual “Have you met anyone yet?” question the world asks me, and the reality that my Facebook feed looks more like a Pinterest wedding board these days, I am convicted of my own failures.

I’ve been living like God owes me something. Like he hasn’t held up his end of the deal. He has given me the desire for relationship and marriage, and he just hasn’t followed through.
I’ve been living under the impression that I deserve a relationship.

I’d be lying if I said Christian culture does much to inhibit this mentality. There seems to be a deep understanding and appreciation for the gift of marriage, but not so much for the gift of singleness (if it’s treated like a gift at all). Rather, singleness is something to be cured. Like I’ve got a disease, and introducing me to your single friend might perhaps cure us both. Singleness is the lump of coal, the gift that is never on your Christmas list.

There are at least a handful or us standing around, wondering what happened. (After all, I have been pretty nice this year.)

But it’s never been about being entitled, or even about being nice. I have to stop thinking that I’m doing something wrong here.

Well actually I am, but it isn’t about fixing something that will magically make a boyfriend appear. It is about changing the direction of my heart.
 “I’d rather have the right God than the wrong man.” –- Christen Rapske
People talk all the time about pursuing people or things for the wrong reasons, but maybe we pursue God for the wrong reasons. Maybe subconsciously I’ve been treating God like he’s a vending machine. And my pursuit of him has really been a pursuit of someone else.

When did Christ cease to be enough?

And when did I stop finding my identity, self-worth, and fulfillment in Him, only to place my life on hold for someone I’ve never even met?

Each day is a gift, and I’m not waiting for it to get here. It is present in every moment, and it begins anew daily.  Man-less or not, I want to wake up every morning and be excited because I get to spend my day with the God who created the universe.

And I want to do that for the rest of my life"

Link to the original article

Friday, October 25, 2013

Journey Journal

Stepping into "single-dom" isn't easy.  I can't speak for all women, but I go through stages, some last longer than the others. Sometimes I go back and forth between the stages, and sometimes I can be in different stages at the same time. What is interesting is that whenever I go through these stages, it is totally unconscious and I am only aware of it after being in that stage for a while. I am a hermit by nature (and zodiac sign- cancer..woot woot!) and so most people don't know what goes on under the shell. The shell isn't necessarily a tough one; sometimes it's just a smiling face- but unless I want you to'll have no idea where I'm at. So it's easier to sway from one stage to another without anyone knowing/ keeping tabs ..or being held accountable. It's not that I'd feel judged- my friends and family are very accepting and supportive. It's just that I want to take my time with it. I don't want to feel rushed, because eventually if I feel like closure has not been achieved, I will revisit the stage. So it's more like..taking my own dang time with each of these stages. It's the freedom I like. Or maybe it is a self-defeating behavior. I'm not sure yet. I'm still working on Operation imatter.

Anyhow, we were talking about stages...I'm not going to just give away the stages- I am a Cancer after all ;-) But what I can tell you is sometimes I am hit with a wave of independence; where I realize I am single. The next step, I know is to focus on myself. I start thinking about what do I want? What does this beautiful amazing creature of God want? More importantly, what does Papa want from me? So I journal. Almost daily. I am able to pinpoint what I love, what I want- what Papa wants from me. Our lines of communication are awesomely clear- it's one of the perks of being His favorite ;-)

So, what's keeping me? Well, you know how people always love to show off their Befores and Afters? Be it a renovation of the house/ weight loss/ beauty make-overs etc ... People forget to show the DURING. Seriously. The crux of the transformation. It's not the revelation or the result. It's the in-between. When you are struggling, when your will power is not at its best. When you want something and instead of listening to your gut and running the opposite way- you go with it anyway. When you've been climbing a steep mountain for months and you shift your focus for one second and down you go. You scrape and try to dig your nails as hard as you can into the dirt and you try to cling on to the weak blades of grass that come down with you , you keep sliding down and panic sets in because you don't want to go back to that place. When you are ashamed of yourself for giving in or not trying hard enough to not slide back downhill- The Failures. That, my friends, is the DURING. It's where I am and that's what I will focus upon.

Why? Let's be honest. It's very easy to look at pictures or read stories of the befores and afters and then to dreamily wish that you were in that After. Where you've gone through the grunt work and life is now just that peachy. And it's also very easy to remember your struggles and then talk about it- but I think a lot of the heartache and realities of the struggles are forgotten. You never truly capture the true essence of the During. So, yours truly volunteers to be your guinea pig and welcome you to join me in this journey. Now, I understand a lot of you might wonder why I am so confident- smug even- to KNOW that there is even an After in my future. Well, I'm confident there is because I am child of Christ and I know He has an awesome plan for me.

So here goes:
   October is a hard month for me, and all 2 of you reading this know that. So, I've definitely taken a few steps back. I'm not just talking about dating life either. I'm talking Journaling and Papa time as well- which I will be fixing tonight ;) In regards to the healing heart- Some days I am a mountain climbing expert and go through the days with ease..sliding across that smooth marble floor like Tom Cruise did in that stupid movie with his stupid shirt and tighty-whiteys. Other days I am like one of my video game characters that has repeatedly hit a brick wall (and keeps walking into it... for hours on end.) Strides that have been taken in healing my heart from generational curses or even the original sin...well I've got to go back a few chapters and re-read and re-learn it all. It's funny it takes so long to learn things- but it takes 2 seconds to unlearn those things- mainly because it's not engraved in my personality yet. (AHA! moment for me and Arya!)
    Today is a mix of shame and panic. I was doing well until I chose to step of the ledge and ended up sliding down- digging my nails into the mix of rubble and grass blades. I *thought* it'd be okay, and I even had a small voice telling me that I knew better- but I chose to experiment anyways. And so now I'm face down on the floor, dirty and looking like a mad woman because between panic, shame and anger I'm not sure which emotion has got the best of me and which one to deal with first. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Part of it is because my self-love self-worth has only begun to stick- a long way from it actually being engraved in my personality. In the past, I'd have hated myself for my failure- I would have paced the room back and forth yelling at myself for my choices. I'd even have called myself a few choice words- but a big stride has been made in sense that I don't hate myself for it and no sort of pacing or name calling followed. I'm at a point where I can say "okay, this is where I am. How do I get to where I want to be and what will it take?" And then go from there. I am okay with experimenting, with theories and hypothesis and dealing with different possible outcomes. What I am NOT okay with is feeling like I've taken a step away from Papa. What I am not okay with is trying to find someone else to blame for this. My choices have consequences and I am not at a point where I can say this is me. What's frustrating me right now is the fact that when I am going through the motions, I seem to lack the intelligence to listen to my heart...listen to Papa and STOP when I need to. (Or start... depending on the situation.)
    So every day I seem to discover more things that I need to work on. There are accomplishments as well- don't get me wrong. But I also know...that in order for me to be able to CLAIM that "That's Me" .. I'll have to be consistent in accomplishments. In order for me to say "that's my personality".. will take a long time and it's a long road ahead of me. But I got new shoes and I got Papa by my side. So hopefully Papa will take me: Golden Soul Fire Princess, turn me into a golden fireball and NITROBOOST my butt into awesomeness ;) I have faith ;)