Oh sweet girl, you are not alone
You’re single, you’re 30ish, and you start to wonder…..am I weird? Am I not beautiful enough? Am I not fun enough? Am I just…..not good enough? I remember a specific time when someone, who I know loves and cares for me, asked me a question that really did not sit well with me. I know they never intended to hurt me, but their words stirred in me something that would go on to affect how I thought about my own singleness. I was sharing with a group of my family members a new amazing guy that walked into my life and he happened to be older as well. At the time I did not know it would eventually not work out so I was sharing with enthusiasm and excitement. In the middle of me sharing one of my family members asked, “Well what’s wrong with him? Why is he still single?” And man oh man, it hit me hard. I quickly spouted back at them, “I don’t know, what’s wrong with me, why am I still single?” Our society seems to have this view of those of us who just haven’t met the one yet as weak, or insecure, or even maybe they think we ourselves have not matured yet. Well, I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with you. You are just as strong as the person who got married at 24. You’re working full time on your own, paying for your own apartment or mortgage, your paying for your own retirement plan, buying your first car, paying off your student loans, making life changing decisions, and you’re doing it alone. That makes you a warrior. I will never forget a few months back a dear friend I’ve made in ministry ran into me at our area’s youth convention. As we sat in the lounge set up for youth pastors sipping our coffee and catching up on life, she went into deep conversation quick. Have you ever had those moments? Where you know someone is about to say something that is going to encourage you deeply, so you brace yourself for it? She looked at me and said, “Elise you inspire me daily. I watch your Instagram stories and I watched you move jobs, transition churches, pay off crazy amounts of debt, pay for your own place, and buy your own car. And you look like you’re having a blast doing it. I am so inspired by how much you’ve done alone.” I never knew how much I needed to hear those words. Sometimes we need someone to come up and validate that we are doing a good job at something, but no one really acknowledges that we are doing a good job at being single. Those simple words have encouraged me so much, because while my Insta-stories look like I’m having a blast, they are only the highlight reel to my real life battle that I am actually really sick of being single.
Can I just tell you, sweet girl, you are so not alone!
I’ve been there. I’m still there. But I’m starting to walk out on the other side. No I don’t have a new boyfriend but rather, I am just finally learning how to be happy with just me and Jesus.
As a young 20 year old the thought of life just being me and Jesus conquering the world seemed exciting and thrilling. But now at 30, it’s exhausting and lonely. Until I learned to retrain my mind, and actually allow God in to heal my heart, I could never fully surrender this area of hurt in my life. I wound up in a bitter, tired, and lonely season and the only way I was going to get out was clinging to Jesus and NOTHING else.
No amount of things from Target or Hobby Lobby could fix it. A new car didn’t fix it. My perfectly decorated house didn’t do it. Even my adorable joyful puppy didn’t fix it. The only way out of the hole of lonely singleness I was in, was Jesus.
And can I be honest, I didn’t want it at first. I was angry, and I was mad. Why was I stuck here? Why was God allowing it? If he knows the desires of my heart, why wasn’t He doing anything about it? Why was he allowing me to stand in wedding after wedding, and hold baby after baby, all while grieving a dream that I wanted so desperately to be my own reality? Don’t get me wrong, I adored every friend I got to experience these moments with and I consider holding my niece 3 hours after she had been born one of the best moments of my life so far. But in the back of my mind, in a dark hidden place, I was sad, and questioned when it would be my turn.
Is this sounding familiar? Are you walking through this? Do you want out of the hole?
Step one: Admit you’re mad! Or angry, sad, jealous, bitter….Whatever emotions you have you need to get them out and in safe places. Number one, you need to tell God! There were days I would drive around my tiny town and just tell God how mad I was and how much I was over it. Number two, I found a counselor extremely helpful to talk this out with. There is no shame in therapy! There is also a book I highly recommend to any one walking through hurt, it’s called Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton. It has incredible encouragement from scripture, but my favorite part of this book are the questions at the end of every chapter. They engage you in conversation with God that maybe you haven’t been able to communicate. It was a key piece to my healing.
Step two: Seek first the Kingdom of God and all this will be added to you! I began to seek God so hard it became what I craved. I found a devotional that walked me through hurt, encouraged me to dream again, and inspired me to be a better woman. My mind, and most importantly my heart, began to shift and I no longer craved coming home to a family, but coming home to Jesus. Life with Jesus became all I needed. I made sure that everything I listened to, watched, and consumed was uplifting. If I can encourage you to delete those stupid mood killer playlists you have for when you’re sad, stop watching This is Us, and put on worship music or an encouraging message from a preacher who breaths hope!
Step three: Keep going! I live on the California Delta just blocks away from the river itself and the fog we get here is unreal! Often times driving back home from out of town running errands the fog seems to get so thick I can’t see in front of me. You can’t stop because there’s no shoulder to park on, you just have to keep going to get home, and the fog….eventually lifts. It reminded me that the fog always lifts. It is not permanent. You have to keep going to see what is coming through the fog and eventually God makes a way and brings you to clearer skies. The joy you’ll receive the first time the fog lifts will be unreal! Even if the fog returns, you now know and hold on to the hope that Jesus will bring you through this patch too. Stopping in the fog does not help. It keeps you stuck. You have to keep going, and eventually the seasons will change and God will bring you to a new place where you now understand that fog doesn’t have anything on Jesus. His mercies are new every morning!
You are not alone.
You are not unqualified.
You are beautiful.
You are chosen.
And you are seen by the King.