Today I’m telling you how to be single.
^I don’t mean like that…
The internet is filled with billowy words and dreamy wisps of meandering advice about this and that about being a woman of God and waiting on a man. The advice is everywhere from abnormally toothy women with perfect hair and flawless makeup and big smiles and distant, unbothered voices. What a Proverbs 31 woman should look like. What you should be doing in this season. What must be wrong with you. What you need to get right.
I was hearing and learning these things too. My mother set me up in an intensive course on becoming the Proverbs 31 woman when I turned 14. The course must have been written to study the chapter itself, rather than teach a young girl how to be the woman God blessed.
All I came away with in that year was that if I got up before dawn I was worthy of a husband. If I made things by hand I was blessed. If I was frugal I was blessed. If I provided I was worthy. On and on and on the list goes. Grace and redemption through actions.
Nothing told me I needed to love myself, face the demons that fight my spirit each day, how to have a healthy relationship, figure out how to navigate this world alone, to bravely and boldly try new things and make something of myself, to learn to love life in each season God has for me. I was never told that I might not find Mr. Right directly out of the starting gate.
I recall a conversation I once had with a girlfriend. Another pastor’s kid. A great girl. At the time I viewed her as more of the Proverbs 31 woman than I was by the standard we’d both been told to expect from ourselves. She could make and mend anything, she was thin and pretty, and always looked so put together, she kept her nails pretty and neat. Her smile was adorable, and by golly if her bedroom wasn’t even the perfect minimalist style everyone secretly envies when flipping through a lifestyle magazine. (I’m not even kidding) Anyhow, she and I were talking about life after highschool and what we planned to do between graduation and marriage. We agreed that we hoped it would be a few short years between the two events. I had just come out of a very serious relationship and was still reeling. I didn’t know what to do now that marriage was suddenly off the table. I needed to make plans and fast. She on the other hand, bless her, was still a year or so away from graduation and there wasn’t a man in sight. I asked her what her job and college plans were.
I nearly fell over when she said she didn’t have any. She planned on living at home for a little while and maybe moving in with a friend. (frugality) Maybe working part time in a shop downtown (provision). Keeping up her hobbies (no idle hands here). A husband was surely just around the corner.
Images of her growing old doing all of those things suddenly gave me the definition of spinster. I remember being so blinded by shock and alarm that I interrupted her dreamy ponderings of what to do with her life with a question.
“So what if he does come along and you’re living life and he’s just as mediocre?”
It made her think a moment but she shrugged saying, “He’ll be the man God has for me.”
I felt betrayed by all that we had been taught just then. We were told to roll over and let the man lead. (And yep, the man is the spiritual head of the family and home if there are 2 believers in a union) He could have the dreams, and make the money and work hard outside the home. We were supposed to be little squirrels who had babies, raised them, cooked, cleaned, and made a home. Sure, in a perfect world that’s all that happens to a couple. And then they can grow old together.
“So what happens when your husband gets badly injured and can’t work? And you have 5 kids at home?” I can still feel the panic in my mind. You need a plan, you need experience in SOMETHING to get you through the harder times. You need to be able to step up when the man can’t. (Because that day may come.) “What if your house burns down? What if your husband dies? Or leaves you?”
All of her answers chilled me to my very core. “I’ll move my family in with my parents.”
“What if you’ve moved 3 states away and are stuck far away from home?”
“The church will take care of me.”
That’s a wonderful thought, but unreasonable. Not to the church, but to humanity itself. She needed some kind of net! SOMETHING to help her provide for her family if she had to. What if she was an unexpected widow?! You never see those things coming.
“He wouldn’t leave me, because God will be at the center of our marriage.”
By now I was delirious with worry for her and myself. At the time, I had already learned firsthand that sometimes you can do everything right and by the book and things still fall apart. From the looks of things falling apart was going to be her life’s anthem.
I probably had trouble swallowing at this point as she addressed each and every scenario I had with an even more naive answer.
Aside from all that what man wants a woman with no ambition or initiative? No concrete dreams, goals or aspirations?
I struggled for a moment wondering how she got out of bed in the morning.
That conversation left me terrified for a couple weeks.
So one day I took the bull by the horns. I wanted to figure out how to live as a single, christian woman in this world without being out of touch.
Let me tell you, I’ve figured some things out.
That’s why I’ve started this blog.
I’ve discovered that being single is only as bad as you make it out to be. You can have a TON of fun being single. Once you unlock the endless possibilities you realize just how limitless you really are.
The first steps:
-Learning to appreciate being alone- and I mean truly alone- is a great start.
-Finding your identity in Christ is important, as well as just knowing what and who you are.
-Don’t be afraid to look up your zodiac sign. Read what people have studied about your personality.
-Take a Myers-Briggs test.
-Make a list of absolutely EVERYTHING you love.
-Make a list of absolutely EVERYTHING you hate.
-Make a list of things about yourself you love.
-Make a list of things you don’t really like about yourself – if it’s something you want to work on and change, take steps towards a healthy transition from the character flaw. (If you aren’t sure ask a trusted friend or mentor about flaws you can improve for a better you.) If it’s something you have to live with -like your nose is too big, of your toes aren’t cute and short add next to your entry “and I’m ok with that”. Begin to love the things that are uniquely you. You never know who is falling in love with those same things you want to hide.
-Accept and understand that you are always changing and that’s a sign of a good and healthy life.
-Keep reading The Mild Millennial Blog. (Yes, I did just shamelessly self-advertise, and I’m not sorry)
Keep checking back, babes. I fully intend on exploring this topic.
The Mild Millennial