Enough

I was sitting in a lodge this weekend, surrounded by the never ending falling snow wondering about one word: contentment. 

It was a women’s retreat, all about finding contentment. Contentment in possessions, relationships, circumstances. 

The question I struggled with the most was how to be content with relationships I don’t have. 

I’ve always struggled with this. This desire in my heart to be married and have children. To see people in love, to hear stories of both trials and triumphs, to see the faces of loving children. And I think to myself, I want that. 

And so far, God has said not yet. Or maybe he is saying no. 

But what this question comes down to is being content with myself. Right? Am I content with myself, with my current circumstances, with what I have right now. Am I enough?

But dig deeper and an even bigger truth comes out: is God enough? 

The obvious answer, the Sunday school answer, the right answer for a life long Christian is yes. 

Yes of course God is enough. Obviously. He is God. 

But saying yes and living yes are two different things. 

Saying yes is easy. Believing yes is hard. 

My head knows the truth: God is enough. My heart has harder time. 

God is enough. He is the giver and sustainer of life. He is everything. He is and was and is to come. He knows the thoughts in my head and the desires in my heart. He knows my past, my present, and my future. 

He has a plan for me. And it might not be my plan for myself. 

God knows what I need better than I ever will. And the truth is all my needs are met in Him. 

My prayer: help me to believe that. And help me to live that. God is enough. 

God is more than enough. 

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Ready, set…date?

I’m single. 

I’m 26 years old. I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’m single. 

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my singleness. As most people do I think. 

I want to be in a relationship. I want to be with someone, to get married, to have children. I want to have a person in my life who knows me, who loves me, who challenges me, who complements me. 

But I enjoy being single. Being with myself. Answering to no one but me. Life on my terms. 

I’ve believed, and still do, that part of the reason I have remained single is to work on myself. To be happy with myself. To be content with myself. To know who I am, and to be who I am with God. 

And I’ve done that. I know who I am. I am closer to God then I ever have been. And I am content with my life. Even while wanting more.

But here’s the thing, I do want more. 

But where do you find it?

I love my church, nearly everything about it. But the one downside is there are very few single people (male or female). So I’m not finding a relationship there. 

My friends don’t have a lot of single friends. And if they do, they probably don’t share my religious beliefs which would be a deal breaker. 

I’m not going to bars, I don’t talk to random strangers at the coffee shop, I’m not part of any clubs or groups. 

So where does that leave me?

Well, in this world of online living, I guess that leaves online dating. 

So I did it. 

And now I am nervous about it. This is an intentional decision to date. To change my life. To be vulnerable. To open up. To have a relationship. 

And maybe that’s what I want. In fact it is what I want. 

But the choice is scarey. 

It’s a leap of faith.

I’m not even sure I know what I’m looking for in a relationship. In a partner. 

Maybe this won’t work. Maybe it will just be another learning experience. Maybe st the end of it I will be in the same place I am now. 

Or maybe not. 

Either way, I won’t know until I try. 

So here goes nothing. 

Read, set, date. 

Be gentle with yourself 

I talk to myself all the time. 

In my head of course, anything else would be crazy. 

It’s always there. My thoughts processing themselves. Analyzing my day, my actions, my words. 

And when I take the time to really listen to the things I say to myself or about myself there is one thing that really stands out to me: they are all predominately negative. 

It’s so easy isn’t it? To tell myself what I did wrong. To question my decisions. To criticize myself. 

That comes naturally. 

And, also naturally, the more negative my self talk the more negative my self image becomes. And the more negative thoughts I think to myself. 

I am no good at being positive towards myself. I am no good at finding my strengths. 

Ask me in any given day what I did wrong today and I could point out 20 things with ease. 

Ask my what I did right and I’ll have to think about it. 

And isn’t that a sad reality? It’s sad when not even I can build myself up. 

When I was in training for child protection the instructor kept saying one thing over and over again and it really stuck with me: Be gentle with yourself. 

Because even though it’s easy to be hard on myself, to point out the negative, it is better to be gentle with myself. 

It is better to build myself up. Not with lies, but with truth. 

It is better to dwell on strength then weakness. To build up rather than to tear down. 

To be gentle. 

To love myself. Flaws and all. 

To not be my worst critic, but my own cheerleader. 

To make mistakes, own up to them, but to not beat myself up about them. 

So I will try to take this advice to heart. And I hope you do to. 

Be Gentle with Yourself 

I am (happily) Single

At least I think I am.

Most of the time I am.

I used to hate being single. I wanted to be like everyone else. In a relationship. Or married. With someone special by my side, someone to love.

Don’t get me wrong – I still want those things. But I want them differently now.

It used to be the goal – now it is just one part of life.

What I have learned in my 24 years of single-dom is that it doesn’t matter.

In the Christian community a single woman is told to prepare herself for marriage, to get ready, the special someone is coming any day now. As if God’s only purpose for us is to be wives and mothers.

In fact one of my single friends told me that the other day. She said “I don’t believe God would put that desire in my life if He wasn’t going to fulfill it”

And I used to think that to. But now I disagree.

I think in my singleness I have learned to trust God more completely.

I think in my singleness I have been given the chance to build healthy habits.

I think in my singleness I have discovered who I am and who I am in Christ.

And I don’t think I could have learned these things if I was in a relationship.

But in learning these things, I have also learned a hard truth. It might not be God’s plan for me to be a wife and a mother no matter how badly I might want it. It might be in God’s plan to put these desires in my heart and then to ask “am I enough?” every day for the rest of my life. It might be in God’s plan to use me in my singleness.

I would like to live in a world in which I am not defined by my relationship status. Where that first question I am asked by a stranger isn’t “do you have a boyfriend?”.

Perhaps someday, people like me (and many of my single friends) will change that perception.

Until then, I will have to continue saying I am single.

(and it’s okay)

My Person

This is my best friend. We are very much the same and yet very different.

She is an extrovert. I am an introvert.

She likes to ride bikes. I like to read books.

She pushes me out of my comfort zone every day. (at least it was every day when we lived together)

We laugh together, cry together, do life together.

We are crazy sometimes. We are serious other times.

We are there for each other.

I never though we would be as close as we are. That we would share our lives together. That we would grow to together. That we would pick each other up.

It happened anyways. It was meant to be. God had a plan for us.

Without this girl, I would have never moved to Kansas.

Without this girl, I would have never made all the other friends I made in Kansas.

Without this girl, I would be missing a lot.

We live apart now. Thousands of miles apart. We don’t talk as much as we used to. But still she is my best friend.

Just one word from her will bring a smile to my face.

Just a small piece of advice from her will point me in the right direction.

And just one hug from her will make my day.

I love you forever and always.

This post was inspired by the daily prompt

Best Friends Forever

Do you remember your high school best friend? Did you promise to be best friends forever? Did it last?

I had a high school best friend. We were inseparable. We talked, laughed, dreamed together. We planned our lives together. We planned our future weddings, planning to be each others maid of honor. We planned to be aunts to each others kids. We planned to travel the world.

We planned forever.

And then high school ended. And when friendship was convenient, when we saw each other at school every day, it was great. But we left high school behind. Friendship required work. And soon we grew apart.

We were in different places we said. We were going different directions. Forever ended.

Sometimes I wonder if forever really exists.
No, I’m not really that cynical. But it’s in the back of my head.What is forever?

While I was in Kansas I thought I lost my friends at home. There was a communication failure between us. We were in different places, going different directions.

Now that I am home, I am still not sure where we are going. If we are heading towards forever or away from it. People change in 2.5 years. And sometimes that change is too much to overcome. I hope we can bridge the gap. But I am not confident that we will.

Then there’s the other side. I made great friends in Kansas. Some of the best. We laughed and cried together. We grew up together.

And then I left. And they stayed. And where does that leave us?

Because distance is hard. It changes things. It challenges forever.

But love can survive everything right? Friendship, if it is true friendship, can survive it all.

That is the hope I hold on to.

Forever exists.

Marriage: When Life Begins

I was doing my usual Facebook newsfeed  scroll the other day when a I saw a post on someones page. It was a nice little note congratulating this girl on her recent engagement (which I do find exciting) and it was all nice and loving and congratulatory until the last sentence. Which said:

“I can’t wait to see you get married and see your life begin.”

And I just had to stop. And pause. And read it again to make sure it said what I thought it said.

And to my absolute horror, it did.

I think this is a problem among Christian women. Life begins with marriage.

But I’m single. And could be single for a significant period of time (after all, who really knows?). And I would like to think that my life has already begun. Because it has. It began 23 years ago. And I’ve been living ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be married. I want that relationship. I want children. And I know marriage is a significant life change. But there is a difference between a life change and a life beginning.

I think Christian women teach this poorly to young girls (and even to young adults). My whole life I think I’ve been taught to wait for marriage. To save myself for marriage. To prepare myself for marriage. Is everything I do supposed to be for marriage? Or should my life be about God? Should I trust God unconditionally or should I trust God to find me a husband?

Why should I need a guy to fulfill me? If God is enough, I should rely on Him and Him alone. It shouldn’t matter if I stay single forever, become a serial dater, or have a long and happy marriage. I choose to rely on Him, instead of holding on to the promise of a future husband. Because no one ever promised me a husband and no one can guarantee me a husband. It would be futile to spend my life preparing myself for something that might never come. Instead I should spend my life pursuing God.

And why should I be less than whole until marriage? I know marriage brings people together in a way that unmarried people cannot understand. And two become one, and they do life together. But as a single person, I am a whole person. There is nothing missing from me. And even if there was, I don’t believe a person can fill any hole that might exist. I believe only God can truly and fully fill me up and make me whole.

My life began a long time ago. Everyday I choose to live my life, rely on God. Not waiting for the right guy to come along. Not looking for a husband in every guy that walks by. Just living in the moment, now, trusting God for whatever his plan is for me.

I will be content to be single.

I will rely on God.

I will run after God.