I am the first to admit that I have a serious issue with patience. I either have too little or too much, and it is rare that I choose the right amount of patience for the situations I find myself in. I know I'm not alone in this situation, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.
After a certain age there is this incredible pressure to be romantically attached. It's almost like we're meant to feel "less than" because we aren't married or in some sort of long-term, committed relationship. We're the third wheel, the fifth wheel, the person who has to ride alone at Disneyland. Sometimes we're left out of plans, because it's a "couple thing." We sit through sermon after sermon about marriage and family life. We're told, "You don't get it," because we're not attached.
Those things start to play on us, and so we begin to think we're too picky (we're told that over and over, after all). We start thinking we should just settle for that guy who is kind of okay. We allow men to take us for granted. We listen to words instead of paying attention to their actions. We find ourselves giving so much patience to those that don't deserve it.
And then, after so many times of being burned, we finally give up. We lose that patience. We stop giving the good guys a chance, because we no longer trust them. Everything they do is viewed under a lens of suspicion, and eventually we walk away.
So what's the fine line here? The fine line is God's voice. It's the Holy Spirit. It's trusting the gut God gave us and learning to lose our patience for the pressure to be attached and grow some patience for allowing God to bring the right person into our lives.
I wish I could say that I've mastered patience. I've found myself failing more times that I can count, but I insist I'm going to keep trying to get it right. One day I'm going to give the right man the patience he deserves, and I'm going to stop giving the men that God hasn't chosen for me chance after chance to keep breaking my heart.
Every day I get better, and I trust God more. Join me on this journey to learn patience. Let's spend this week in prayer for discerning patience. Ask God to tell us when it's time to get out of a situation, to cut ties and give no more chances. Ask Him to let the constant digs about being single run off of your back. Ask Him to help us let go of all the bitterness and hurt so that we open our hearts and give patience to the right partners.
I posted this graphic to IG yesterday (@christiansingleladies), because I loved the statement. God takes us on some incredible adventures--sometimes rather unwillingly. We get so caught up in where we want to be that we forget to look at the journey itself. We live in an instant society now. Think about it...
There is nothing we can't find, obtain, or access in seconds, and it's creating a problem with Patience and Appreciation. Not all things come easy or instantly. I think about this a lot, because I struggle with both in my ever-so-long season of singleness. I watched most of my friends and family find their partners and get married long ago. I see my single friends in relationships, and here I am still chronically single. No boyfriend, no husband. And I'm in my 40s. Patience and Appreciation sometimes have to fight for a place in my heart.
God has whispered "Patience" in my ear more times than I can count, and I've fought him over and over. Sometimes I sound like the spoiled children in Willy Wonka, where I whine, "I want it NOW!" It's shameful for me to admit, but I"m far from perfect, as God knows. However, when my head clears and my heart gets over its petulant fit, I remember that all things come in God's timing.
First, I know that if I was supposed to be single forever, God would not have laid a desire to be matched on my heart. So I find hope that God will eventually bring me my partner. Second, I do think He is taking me on a journey to end up where I need to be so that I can appreciate this season of singleness and my eventual partner in a way that honors God.
When I see the place I am right now through His lens, I know that I have come so far in my life. I don't know if I would appreciate my partner in the same way if God had just plopped him in my lap years ago. Would I have been a bad wife or girlfriend? I don't know. I do know that I may not have done all the things I've experienced over the years had I been in a relationship. I look back on my journey, and I'm not sure I would have changed it, which makes me sad that I haven't always appreciated it.
So take a moment today to pray about the journey God has you on right now. Instead of focusing on the lack of dating relationship or marriage in your life, maybe focus on where God has you right now. Take time to build your relationship with God and see where He wants to take you. Pray about the journey, not the destination. It's amazing how God can use the adventure to bring Patience and Appreciation back into our hearts.
That's the statement roaring across the internet right now.
With good reason.
I don't know a single woman that hasn't experienced some form of sexual harassment or sexual assault in her lifetime. Not one. For the lucky ones, like me, our experiences were minor in comparison to those who experienced rape or other abuses.
Studies say 1 in 4 women are raped, but that the number may be closer to 1 in every 2 women due to a lack of reporting. I remember being a young child walking down the streets in a t-shirt and shorts being subjected to wolf whistles and jeering. I was maybe 10. TEN. For 30 days, Noa Jansma posted photos on Instagram of her with the men that cat called her on the street (IG: dearcatcallers). There are 22 pictures. That's 22 picturess too many.
The issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault isn't something Christians should ignore, it's something that should outrage us. The BIble is incredibly clear that this behavior is unacceptable. As Christian women, we should be leading the charge in this movement. Lending our voice to the cause. Sexual harassment and worse is not only morally wrong, but it's biblically wrong:
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."
Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV)
"And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her."
Genesis 32: (ESV)
I could rant on for ages about how it took something as extreme as a Hollywood producer's despicable behavior finally being outed (after decades of it being swept under the rug) to open people's eyes. That it took being in a period of political turmoil to add fuel to a fire for women to finally find their voice. But that's not productive. Yes, we've been ignored for years. Our voices were ignored, but we don't need to let it stay that way.
What I love about this moment, about this #metoo status, is that it's opening up the eyes to a lot of men about how pervasive the problem really is. Will all men listen? No. I'm positive women will still be subjected to all kinds of harassment and abuse. However, maybe it won't just be "women whining" anymore. Maybe more people will listen. Maybe more people will confront the bad behaviors. Maybe we'll see more perpetrators go to jail or be ostracized from the communities that once ignored the damage they were doing.
I have seen the status of several men who have said they didn't realize just how big an issue this was. One friend said, "I only know it is true, that you felt it, you suffered, and you were harmed. It happens all too often. And I’m sorry. The names that came through on my timeline, made me say, ‘you?’ and ‘you?’, over and over and over again. Keep it up, you don’t know what might make it change."
And we don't know what will make it change, but I feel God is using this moment, and we shouldn't ignore it. God is telling us to speak up and speak out. He does not ask us to remain silent. He shines his light on injustice and hurt, and for once, people are watching and listening. So let's all stand and share our voices. Post your #metoo story. Speak up for your friends who you can say #themtoo, because when was the last time you saw a post that said #notme?
Once upon a time I was a naive young woman who thought I'd find my Prince Charming right after college and I'd go on to balance a career and children. Well, now I'm 46 (yeah, I admitted my age), not married, supporting an older parent, have zero desire to have babies, and going from failed relationship to failed relationship. Sounds pretty miserable, right?
The thing is, I can't say it's fully miserable, because it's not. I'm not depressed. I get sad sometimes, I'm not going to lie. However, I'm not going to say that I'm always depressed about it. Sometimes I love the freedom in my life to not have to justify my actions or explain my behavior to a partner. Sometimes I like my alone time and my ability to make my choices without having to consult with anyone.
God has me where I am for a reason. Maybe being able to put together something that inspires the modern single woman is that reason. Maybe I'm like Gloria Steinem (okay, I'm not. She's wayyyy out of my league, but bear with me), where I won't find the love of my life until I'm 50. I don't have the answer. I do know there is a desire for me to meet that life partner. God hasn't erased it from my heart.
So what do we do? Do we sit at home and wait? No way! Let's get out an enjoy life as a single person, because when that partner comes along, then we can enjoy life as a couple. God has plans for us whether we're single or not. Let's focus on the plans He has for us now.
Me? I'm going to church, joining small groups, eating out, happy hour-ing with friends. I do paint and sip classes, snuggle with my dog, watch chick-flick movies, read fun romance novels, cheer for my Bears, yell at CNN and more. Do I keep myself busy to distract from being single? No. I keep myself busy to enjoy the life God gave me.
Tell me, what are the things you love to do as a smart, vibrant single Christian woman?
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