All The Single Ladies [all the single ladies].

I hope you got the Beyonce reference. It just seemed appropriate for this entry.

I’m going to cut right to the chase. Three and more years ago, I struggled off and on with being single. I would doubt that I was worth the wait and that the wait would be worth my time. This led to poor decision making on a lot of fronts. I was striving to be someone I wasn’t. My confidence was built on false thinking. My focus was on fleeting moments & people. My identity was found in others, not who I was created to be and definitely not in Jesus. And to add to my “aloneness”, it seemed like all my friends were married or getting married, some got remarried, some had children, some had more children, and I was simply waiting for my turn and feeling left behind.

Feeling left behind is the worst. As a female, it can make you a hot mess. I questioned why I wasn’t good enough, funny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough. OR maybe I was too independent, too stubborn, too driven, too quirky, too opinionated, too [fill in the blank].

Waiting. Waiting can also be the worst. Waiting in line at the Kroghetto. Waiting for a band to play in a room full of sweaty, skinny-jeans-wearing hipsters. Waiting for my coffee to brew on a sleepy Monday morning. And waiting for the next chapter of life to begin…one that everyone else seems to already have written, read through, and lived out.

Although the details of what ignited my “light bulb” moment are for another time, what I realized when I hit my thirties was that I should be embracing this season. The last three years have been challenging yet uplifting & overwhelming yet peace-giving. I am so grateful to be brought to this place where living is embraced more than waiting, regardless of what the “wait” is for…unless it is for donuts.

Encouragement Challenge 1: Let this be a season of freedom and growth. We are our own worst critics. Instead of fixating on all the “not enough” or “too much” statements, we should first be content and find freedom with how we were created physically, emotionally, relationally, etc. “I am good enough, funny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, & skinny enough.” When acceptance of the season and contentment+confidence in how God made us comes, we should not settle for where we are but continue to aim higher. We should identify what areas of our lives need growth. “I am independent, but can let people help me. I am stubborn, but not always right. I am driven, but don’t always want to drive. I am quirky, but those things are what make me, me. I am opinionated, but what woman isn’t?!” God wants more for us than we can ask for or imagine (Eph. 3:20). Whoa. It is time to pony-up. What purpose has He placed on your life? There is such freedom in growth. Embrace it. Note: I suggest reading through the book of Psalms as it contains powerful words that can speak straight into this season of life.

Encouragement Challenge 2: We are who we surround ourselves with; therefore, be wise with whom you hold closely. If we want to aim higher, who is going to help us get there? From personal experience, I can tell you – who you spend your time with matters. Please know, I am in no way saying “Don’t be friends with so and so”, but rather be careful with who is closest to your heart. Your heart is precious and tender (Pro. 4:23). Note: Check out what the book of Proverbs says about wise, loyal, and also gossipy friends.

Encouragement Challenge 3: If we are growing and people are pouring into us, we should be doing something. How can you impact someone else? Send an encouragement card in the mail. Thank a veteran for their service. Call your grandma. Take a walk with someone who needs a listening ear. Volunteer your skills at a local homeless shelter. We are called to not only be hearers of the Word, but doers (James 1:22). What are you going to do to make a difference? Note: Although 2 Corinthians 9: 8-16 is generally geared toward the giving of finances, I also think it has to do with giving our gifts, talents, strengths, and life-experiences. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). How can we bless, encourage, and challenge others with what we’ve been given?

Encouragement Challenge 4: We have the gift of time. I still don’t know how time flies by so quickly nor how my schedule this week got so packed…but I have the ability to navigate [most of] my time. I can spend two weeks on vacation with no plans other than flight details and a Ryan Adams concert. I can go to the lake and have quality time with my dad on a whim just because it is nice out. I can drive to the north side of town and have sleepovers with my best friend and her daughter. I can dog-sit my brother and sister-in-law’s dogs so they can go visit her family in Ohio. I can sit in my hammock on a gorgeous August night writing about my two-cents on life with no interruptions. Please know, I do not mention these things as something to flaunt. I mention these things because they are examples of the gift of time – time I can bless, encourage, relish, learn, serve, and spend time with people and experiences I love. If we are just waiting for time to pass, waiting for “Mr. Right” to walk through the door, or spend time feeling sorry for ourselves, we will miss out on all the awesome things God has in store. How can you use time to bless others? Note: It isn’t just a song by The Byrds, read Ecclesiastes 3 as there is a time for everything.

Don’t let singleness define you. Let it refine you. Let it enrich you. Let it encourage you. Let it be a gift.

I am f-a-r better for my singleness. Man, God has done some powerful things in my life because of it. I understand grace in a totally different way. Had marriage come when I wished it had a few years ago, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today, I probably wouldn’t be living in this state, I definitely wouldn’t be in ministry, this blog would not exist, and my testimony of God’s sovereignty would look totally different.

Everyone is unique and has a unique story. This is part of how God has shaped and is shaping mine. I pray that He uses my words and experiences to encourage someone who may be struggling. Be encouraged (which is the word of the day), Dear One, you aren’t alone.

5 thoughts on “All The Single Ladies [all the single ladies].

  1. To my dear granddaughter, Bethany……………..you are and always have been an example of how a young lady lives her life……………yes, we all have shortcomings, bouts with not being the Christian that we long to be…………….doubts, fears, but living as long as I have, the situations just seem to not be so important………..I have prayed for years for the troubled water I was going through, it’s never really come to fruition, but am to the point of knowing God is still in control of my life……………..I love being able to just listen to a friend when they are experiencing bad times………I believe this is one of my God given talents, for which I thank Him!!!! I love the special open heart of your article……………..you are so special!!!! I love you!! Grandma Alvis

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  2. I heart you. That’s all I can say to this, is that I just stinkin’ love you, woman. I’m so blessed by your friendship over the years, being able to grow with you and stick together through ups, downs, all arounds and even Russia! Whoa. I love you, sister, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I’m slow at replying because I finally remembered the 317 part of your website.

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  3. Amen, my friend! Thanks for sharing, it’s all so true :) Can’t wait to catch up in a few weeks over drinks/dinner and further discuss!

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  4. I can remember a coversation at Arby’s we had about 3 years ago. Im so happy for you, everything worked out just fine huh! Miss you and thanks again for the only presents that have made me cry (one of my go-to books)

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  5. Bethany- you have such a gift in writing! I have enjoyed reading each of your entries—your authenticity, honesty and humor are infectious :) I especially love your list of challenges and reference to applicable scripture. You have a beautiful heart and amazing soul and this comes through in your writing. I feel so blessed God brought you into my life and we have formed such an incredible friendship filled with unconditional love, encouragement, understanding and a place for sharing our faith. I am so proud of you and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Love you much!

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