Monday, November 25, 2013

perk #1 - self-sufficiency

so far, i have a list of perks and other blog topics i'm going to be writing about at some point. but to kick start the perks of the single life segment, i thought it appropriate to begin with the most obvious one, at least in my opinion, and that is self-sufficiency. 

i actually googled the definition of self-sufficient (nerd) to see what good ol' merriam-
webster had to say about it, since these gentlemen can more eloquently explain such a simple idea. here are a few ways this phrase was broken down: "able to live or function without help or support from others" and "able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid; capable of providing for one's own needs." i think that pretty much summarizes my life as a single woman, and i'm not gonna's pretty awesome. 

before you jump to conclusions, i know exactly where the blessing of self-sufficiency comes from. i know that without God i wouldn't have a job, a home, my very life, for that matter. but he has provided me a job, which in turn has given me the ability to provide my own needs without assistance from another person. 

i'll be honest, another word that coincides with the title of this post is "independent,"  
which immediately makes me think of the song "independent women" by destiny's child (throwback!). you know the one...sing it with me, won't you? "the shoes on my feet, i bought it. the clothes i'm wearing, i bought it. the house i live in, i bought it, cause i depend on me..." and if i'm being real, that makes me feel really good because it's so true in my life. 

i look around my home, and i see the life i've built for myself, and it's a good one. don't get me wrong, i owe a lot to my parents, too. they have sacrificed a LOT to help me get my house, and they paid for my undergraduate education, they bought my car 10 years ago. they helped me find the strength to stand on my own. i don't know where i'd be without their love and generosity, and their ability to financially support me until i could support myself. but ask them and they will tell you that i've always been an independent child, wanting to get out on my own and do things for myself. 

a word of caution to this happy tale, we singles need to be careful to not let the negative kind of pride blind us to who truly is behind all that we are able to provide ourselves. the Bible talks a lot about the bad type of pride that can destroy us. but there is another type of pride that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside when you do something good, or a job well done, or finish a difficult task. the type of pride that doesn't compare our situation to others, but instead recognizes the gifts God has given each of us, and is just happy we accomplished something positive in our lives. 

i'm proud of the fact that i have a bachelor's and a master's degree. i'm proud that i've had a steady job for 4 years, and that i'm actually good at it, when i didn't have any confidence in my abilities before entering the job market. i'm proud that i'm a homeowner as a single, 27 year old woman. i'm proud that my only debt holding me down is my mortgage, and i bought everything i own and pay all my bills without needing a second income or a handout. i'm proud of myself when i make a difficult, but good decision that i know pleases the Lord. but i also know that all of these things have been given to me out of God's overflowing grace. i'm proud of that. i'm proud to call myself His, and i'm proud with what He has accomplished so far in my life. i'm proud of the self-sufficiency i've been given by Him. and let's be honest, i'm proud that i'm not the type of girl to wait for someone else to take care of me. God takes care of me by helping me take care of myself. 

without this period of singleness and self-sufficiency, i may never have known my full potential or truly appreciated what i am capable of on my own. i'm thankful for the opportunity to know this side of myself. if you are single, really take a good look at what you've accomplished in your life, and be grateful for God's willingness let you stand on your own two feet for a time. take pride in your work and your accomplishments, and don't forget it is a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted.

yay for self-sufficiency! high-fives all around! come back next week for another perk of my single life. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

the point of my single life.

i'm 27 years old and single.

i'm willing to bet that some of you after reading that first sentence felt a hint of pity. it could have been the tiniest amount, but pity, nonetheless. even sitting here, contemplating how to begin my first post to introduce this new blog, that first sentence seems almost too brazen. then i remind myself why i decided to start a new blog in the first place (because i haven't kept up with any of the others i've started). i've felt embarrassed by my singleness more now than ever before, as if it's a dirty word. embarrassed that at my age most of my friends are married with multiple children, embarrassed that life is no where near the place i thought it would be. then i ask myself...what is the cause of my embarrassment? why am i so nervous or hesitant to make a statement that includes both my age and marital status? i can come up with a couple of reasons...

first, it's not a secret that i want to meet a godly man, fall in love, get married, and start a family one day. but i think that sometimes when singles discuss these desires with their friends and family, they immediately get answers like "have you prayed about it?" and "be content where you are." while these bits of advice are meant to be helpful, what singles hear is "you're the reason you're single." while sometimes that could be true, if God still has work to do in us, sometimes there are other reasons why God hasn't started that chapter in someone's life. either way, some singles, like myself, will start to feel like their friends and family are bored when they seek advice, so we become hesitant to seek it.

second, there is a significant amount of pressure put on singles by friends, family, and unfortunately, the church, and with each passing year it gets worse. i'm one "have you met anyone yet?" from going crazy. what answer are these people expecting to hear? when someone asks a single person "why haven't you married yet?" or "there's got to be someone you could date, isn't there?" are they hoping that the light bulb will go on and we'll respond with "wow, settling down...what a great idea! i never thought of that." trust me when i say, that unless that person is called to a life of singleness, you are just perpetuating the idea that there is something wrong with us if we are still single. please do us a favor, and don't ask these questions. we likely get them enough around the holidays when our extended family gathers together (i love my grandma, but the pity in her eyes kills me when she starts hammering these questions at me). we don't need to then hear them with our friends, at work, and at church as well.

all that to say, the older you get, the more of these questions you get. i am not that old, but i feel old when the pressure is put on my shoulders. the single person knows that it starts to make us feel inadequate, or that we are doing something wrong. i'm sure i'm not alone in this, but it honestly starts to put a strain on my relationship with God. the questions you ask me, i in turn ask Him. i start to question my standards, and if they are too high. i question myself, and if there is something about me that i need to do differently.

i realized recently that the more i hide my feelings on this subject, the more embarrassed i get with the stage of life i feel like i should be in right now, the more frustrated i am, the more doubtful i am, and the more untrusting i am in the Lord. i don't want to meet someone because the world says i should have at this point. the desires i have run deep and have always been present in my life, and there is a longing that i can't satisfy. i don't need a reminder of what i don't have. what i do need is a reminder that God has a very good reason for why i haven't met the person i will marry, and that one day this never ending period of waiting will make sense, and i will be thankful for it.

while i'm waiting, i want to stop being embarrassed to talk about my singleness. i want to stop being hesitant to talk about my story and how the pieces of the puzzle have fit together so far. the more embarrassed and hesitant i am, the more i believe the lie that i am less than my peers because of my stage of life. i don't want that. i want to be an encouragement to others, and i want singles to know that there are others that feel just as frustrated and lonely, and they are not walking this road alone.

if you can't already tell, i'm pretty honest and transparent...and sarcastic...about my own life and how i feel about this unique stage. so here is what i propose. this blog is going to be dedicated to the perks of the single life, and the annoying or humorous questions and situations that seem to be reserved just for us. it could be serious or lighthearted or downright hilarious at times, because this is going to remind me, and hopefully some people reading this, that this time of singleness will end one day. and when that wonderful day comes when we will get to start the next chapter, we will miss the perks of singleness. i can honestly say that if that chapter started for me tomorrow, i would be very excited. but i can also say that i've started to appreciate the awesomeness that is my single life.

i encourage comments of stories, thoughts, or your own 2 cents.