Why I Won’t Settle

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I saw another relationship change on FB this morning. Another friend making it official that they were indeed “off-the-market” by linking their name with another’s on social media.

“Welp. I guess I will be breaking into my chocolate drawer before lunch again today,” I thought.

The stages of grief immediately taking effect.

The denial: This is some kind of internet prank to get everyone up in arms. People shouldn’t play those types of pranks. I didn’t even know they were talking?! No, I don’t believe it. I check the friends profile countless times throughout the day to see if anything has changed or if they decided to confess it was all just a joke. No such luck.

The anger: WHY NOT ME?! It’s usually about this time that I text my BFF. I let out this lengthy rant about how I’m pretty freakin’ amazing and yet I’m still single. I tell her it doesn’t make sense– in all caps for more emphasis. Like a good friend, she always responds the same way, “I know! I don’t get it either.” At least someone agrees with me.

The bargaining: Maybe I should text so-and-so and give that relationship another go. Things really weren’t that bad….I mean, why did we even stop talking in the first place? It could work. Ya, totally. And then, as if Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect is in my head I hear, “Umm…better not.” I put my phone back down with a heavy sigh.

The depression: I mentioned I’m eating chocolate already, right? There’s a small mound of chocolate wrappers sitting next to me as a monument to my sadness. Chocolate understands.

And then, the acceptance: Ok, I’m happy for them. Really. Good for them. They deserve to be happy. I’m glad they found one another.

Within the acceptance phase, I find a resolution building inside of me. I remind myself there have been opportunities for me to date. Each of them good guys in their own rights– kind, generous, encouraging. But I chose not to date them and it always boiled down to the same reason. Though they were good men, they weren’t the greatest.

I’m not talking about perfection or unattainable expectations. I’m NOT talking about Prince Charming. I’m talking about the man who will be the complementary color to my life. We won’t be the same (Can I get a “Hallelujer”?), but he’ll add to my life like I’ll add to his. We’ll be partners in the adventure– two imperfect people working on loving each other through the crazy and the mundane.

Like I said, I’ve been tempted to give in and settle. Oh, how I’ve wanted to–some days (and nights) the loneliness has been almost unbearable. I’ve gone stag to more than enough events for my liking. Or even worse yet, sitting around the table with my family. Each sibling with their spouse, my parents side by side and then single Holly.

The loneliness, the sadness, the grief cannot be reasons for me to fling myself into a relationship that isn’t a good fit because in the end it could end up leaving me even more lonely and sad. I’m not looking for more pain. I haven’t waited this long for just anyone that’ll do.

Waiting is hard. I’m impatient. I want to rush ahead on do things on my own and in my timing. I know my track record, though, and that’s what keeps me waiting. Everything I have done on my own and in my own strength has failed. Miserably. Yet, everything (yes, EVERYTHING) He has done for me and through me has prospered. There’s just no comparison and that gives me hope.

I may struggle with this single status, but I won’t settle.

What keeps (or has kept) you from settling? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know.

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Lies We Believe About Singleness & Book GIVEAWAY

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Singleness is hard.

The struggle takes place in our mind with the same question on repeat, “Why am I single?” I have this list I’ve started with reasons that could try and explain why I’m 30 and still single. Most of them are just silly. For example, I’m still single because I don’t make my bed every morning or because frequently I’ll start a conversation with, “Ya know what I heard on the NPR today?”

There are some reasons floating around in this head of mine, though, that are a lot less funny. Like maybe I’m not beautiful enough for a man to love me or maybe I’m too much of a mess. I mean, there’s got to be a reason and I’m assuming that must mean there’s a problem with me.

When I think these thoughts– these lies– I text a friend for encouragement or open up my Bible and start inserting Truth into my mind to combat those lies.

And reading Allison Flexer’s book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman is the perfect mix of those two things. It’s like I’m sitting down with a close friend over a cup of coffee and she’s listening to me spout off the things I’ve been thinking about concerning my singleness. She hears the hurt, the loneliness, and the lies. The lies that tell me that I’m unlovable and unworthy of love. The lies that tell me that I need to settle because if I don’t I’ll die alone. The lies that tell me that life is in some kind of circling pattern until I get married.

Like any good friend, Allison reminds me where my value truly comes from– that it’s not wrapped up in a man (even a bearded, flannel-wearing man). In her book, she discusses 10 common lies that we can struggle with in singleness. Each chapter brings the Truth to the lie and backs it up with Scripture. We all need reminders of the Truth found in her book.

A WORD FROM ALLISON: I started writing Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman when I was 33 years old and very much single. Having just quit my corporate job, I was dealing with a lot of emotions regarding self-worth and my identity. As I wrote, God began to reveal lies I believed and the negative effect that deception had on my life. As I filled my life with God’s healing truth, I wanted to share it with other single women. I’m so passionate about single women believing they are valuable and loved and beautiful. For all of the single women reading this: There is nothing wrong with you. Your marital status doesn’t define your value nor does it make you second class. God delights in you, and He’s the one who can satisfy your deep longings to be fully known and loved.

GIVEWAY ALERT  And because I’ve been encouraged by this book and the truths found inside: I’d like to give you a copy. Well, not all of you, but ONE lucky person. In order to be entered into the random drawing, please share this blog post on FB (there’s that super easy share button at the bottom of the post) and then leave me a comment below. That part is important, because if you win I’ll need to know how to contact you! The drawing will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 15th, 2014!

If you’d like more information on Allison, please check out her bio below.

flexerAllison K. Flexer is an author, speaker, and blogger who is passionate about communicating the love of God to others. Her first book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press), tells the story of her single journey and gives practical steps for letting go of the lies that destroy the joy and confidence of unmarried women. Allison was also a contributing writer for Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman. You can connect with Allison on her website at www.allisonflexer.com or on Twitter: @allisonkflex.

I’ll tell you what you can do with that list…

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A few weeks ago, I was sitting around a table with some friends after a leadership meeting. As we always do, we ended the meeting going around sharing prayer requests.The usual requests were made– jobs, families, school, etc. Then, of course, there was my request for a single, bearded lumberjack to fall in love with me.

I’m serious.

I tell people to pray for me to find a lumberjack to marry. Preferably bearded. Might as well keep it specific.

Jokingly, my friend (my MARRIED friend) turns to me and asks if I’ve made my list yet. 

List? Oh you know, “THE LIST”. The list that girls sit down and write when they’re 12 years old all the while dreaming about their Prince Charming. The list of “must-haves” and “can’t-live-withouts”. They usually sound something like this:

#1: MUST love Jesus.

#2: MUST be at least 6′ tall, blonde hair blue eyes.

#3: MUST love children.

#4: MUST floss daily.

#5: MUST have been on 5 mission trips and want to adopt a child from a Chinese orphanage.

#6: MUST have seen a miracle first hand.

#7: MUST pray for every meal. That includes at all fast food restaurants and meals while driving. Snacks, too.

#8: MUST only watch rated R movies if it has something to do with Jesus.

And on. And on.

Don’t get me wrong, none of those things are bad. Actually, I’d prefer my mate shared some of those characteristics and desires. Here’s the problem.

Having a list for a potential mate is….dumb. 

Ya, I said it. Get out your flaming torches and large stones and escort me out of town. Tell me how important it is to have standards (which I agree with) and how you’ve got to KNOW what you want. 

Here’s some advice from the single girl, stop looking for the person to match all the criteria on your list. Stop looking for perfection. Stop looking for someone to meet all your needs. Another heads up (all this FREE advice!) no person will be able to do that. Not a spouse, not even one that has a 10/10 on your Marriage Rubric. 

Lists, in this scenario, look a lot like boxes and God doesn’t work inside our little man made boxes. So many times, we think we know best, but I’ve learned (the not-so-easy way) that is not always the case. He does give us certain *good* desires, like wanting to have a spouse, but He knows who will fit that bill better than you…and me. Let’s be serious, there are shirts in my closet I’m still questioning what I was thinking when I bought them. Why would I even begin to trust myself to know what I need in a man? 

I’ve found its much easier to hand all of this list business over to God. I don’t need to write a list because I can trust God to bring me the partner who will compliment my life, and whose life I will compliment in return.

To reiterate, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have certain standards. Heck at 30 years old and still single, I’ve been accused of having too high of standards, which I find laughable. If that’s my problem, then I’ll gladly stay single. Standards are good. At times, they’ve weeded out guys that I would have gladly settled on and made a very poor decision in the process.

My advice? Toss the list. Keep it simple. Ask God to bring His pick your way and for you to be smart enough to choose him. That’s my prayer at least. 

And because I know you’re curious, if I had a list, it might look something like this:

#1: No sissy hands. If they’re softer than mine, its not happening.

#2: Must never wear Crocs. This will be included in my vows because those things are gross.

#3: Cleans hair out of shower drain. Yes, its gross, but my hair isn’t the only hair in that drain, Mister. 

#4: Kills snakes for terrified partner. Always. Oh, and mice too.

#5: Will let me watch Jane Austen movies without any heavy sighs or sarcastic commentary. 

#6: Is not a Boston Red Sox fan.

 

5 Moments I Hate Being Single the Most

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I can see that look in your eye. Before you start whipping out some well-intentioned encouragement make sure it didn’t make it to this list first. Also, as I have stated previously there are TONS of singleness perks, but this week I’ve been reminded of some of the not-so-sweet moments of singleness.

Moment #1: When I’m sick and there’s no one to pity me and take care of me

All I want is for someone else to get up and get me another box of tissues or to fill up my water glass so I can lay here and bemoan how much I hate being sick. Thank God, I have a best friend who drops off medicine and sends me a “You still alive?” text, but its not the same. I want someone to snuggle up to me and my mound of used tissues while we watch the entire Season 1 of Sherlock Holmes.

Maybe if I had someone to take care of me I’d be getting better, quicker. I don’t know. Just a thought. 😉

Moment #2: Going to events solo

In a moment of sheer stupidity, I RSVP’d “yes” to a wedding knowing full well I’d be rolling in solo. I think I was just excited to have mail that wasn’t another bill or politician lobbying for my vote that I forgot how uncomfortable it is to show up alone. I will, of course, know people there, but those first few nail biting moments when you walk through the door searching for a friendly face is the worst. You’re hoping to find someone…ANYONE…to talk to– even that annoying guy who you’ve tried to avoid once (or twice) before.

If no friendly face is found, the phone becomes your only hope. I begin texting every single one of my contacts in hopes that someone will reply and I’ll at least get to have a conversation with someone. Albeit someone not in the same room, but I’ll take what I can get.

It’s not only weddings, though. That one may be the most obvious answer, but there’s others. Like that day I was craving Chimichangas and decided eating at the local Mexican Restaurant alone would be no big deal. It was rough. Even the waiter had this look of pity in his eyes. Next time, I’ll just take a sad Taco Bell drive thru substitute instead.

Moment #3: Holidays

I’m not just talking about the BIG ones– like at Christmas when you’re drinking Egg Nog and listening to your Grandma tell you for the hundredth time how you’re “going to find a good man one day”. Or when the balls drops on New Years and you’re left taking a very long sip of your champagne (or soda or whatever) until everyone comes up for air and a “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!” cheer.

No, I’m not talking about those holidays.

I’m talking about the long weekend holidays– like Memorial Day or Labor Day. The majority of your friends are planning BBQ’s or hikes at local State Parks and you’re just hoping one of them remembers to call and invite you over. Thankfully, I do have friends who remember me, but sometimes being squished between two car seats gets you thinking that maybe you need to try that online dating site one more time.

Moment #4: Going to bed

During the summer I get this awesome opportunity to be a Camp Counselor for a week. I get my little “flock” of girls that follow me every where I go. At bedtime, I turn out all the lights except for the Christmas lights I’ve strung around the ceiling. We share funny stories or things we’ve been struggling through. Sometimes they ask me to share stories. So far, their favorite stories are of my “worst dates”. These stories usually leave them in an uproar. Through chuckles they try to get out the words, “Did that really happen?!” And I have to tell them it did…and they laugh even harder.

Then, like a modern version of the The Waltons, each girl tells me “Goodnight!” and we drift off to sleep each one wearing a smile.

For the other 51 weeks out of my year, my bedtime routine is much less fun. It usually involves one last chap stick application, my bedside lamp turned off and the glow of my phone as I check social media sites one last time.

Sure, I get the whole bed to myself, but where’s the fun in that?

Moment #5: At church

Sunday mornings may be my biggest struggle in regards to my singleness.

Firstly, I still sit with my parents. While this is MY choice, everyone else is sitting with their families so it would seem like the right thing to do. I remember being in high school, all of us teenagers would sit together and make whispered remarks….until we got the look from our parents. Then, we’d shut up for fear that they’d make us sit with them as punishment. Apparently, being single at 30 means I willingly choose what was once considered punishment for lack of better options.

But it’s the cuteness of my parents that kills me. Every Sunday, without fail, my dad leans over to my mom and tells her she looks beautiful and then gives her a kiss. My parents have given me an amazing example of a godly marriage and I am very thankful for it. Honestly, they’re the best! So good in fact that I’d like a marriage like that of my own.

Then, there are the dear wonderful church ladies telling me I won’t be single forever. That I’ve still got time (like I’ve got a “freshest by” date stamped on me– Marry before 12/12/17) and all the other things people say to encourage the poor single people.

I promise, this isn’t turning into a blog about my singleness. It’s just what has been on my mind lately and I’d rather share honest feelings than something contrived. Thanks for sharing in the laughs with me! 🙂

If I knew then, what I know now…

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I turn 30 this week. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten wiser. Although some days that’s questionable.

Here’s some things I’d tell a younger version of myself, if I had the chance:

Don’t be so selfish. Give of your time, money, skills and love to others. Those “deserving” and those, not so deserving. Those you like, and those you don’t.

Don’t ever regret loving. Sure, you’re gonna walk away with a broken heart some of the time, but its worth it. It’s always worth it to love.

Set more boundaries. Boundaries aren’t selfish, even though I still struggle with this idea. Boundaries help healthy relationships grow and protect us from unhealthy ones.

Don’t date him. Or him. Or him. Or him. Mom was right.

Stop being so insecure. You’re awesome. Sure, you’re not a size 2. You still get pimples. And you can be extremely awkward in social settings. It’s ok!

You’re not going to remember– write it down. This includes the trivial (like things you need at the grocery store) to the sentimental (like funny things dad says). I can’t tell you how many times you’ll walk away from a sermon at church and think “Wow! That was good.” and then forget everything that was said. Or the amount of times you’ll go to the store, only to come home with the one thing you needed most (like TP), but failed to because it didn’t get put on the list. Or the amount of times grandpa said something witty and later on thought “What was that silly saying Grandpa told me?”

Take more risks. Fear held me back from doing things I should have tried–even if to say, “I’m never doing that again!”

Being perfect is unattainable….so stop trying. And when you realize you can’t do something perfectly don’t beat yourself up over it.

Forgive faster. Forgive even if you think the other person is wrong. Forgive even if the other person IS wrong. Trust me. Swallow your pride on this one.

Grandma was right–make new friends, but keep the old. Though you may not text, or write, or call as often as they are on my mind– know when you do it will be like there hasn’t been any time or miles between you.

Jesus isn’t as hard on you, as you are on yourself. He’s more loving, more understanding, less judgmental and just more awesome than you could ever grasp, but try to grasp it anyway. Every time you ask Him for more of Himself, He’ll do it.

What are some things you’d tell yourself if you knew then what you know now?