Being Single: Peace (the key?)

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A couple of weeks ago I was out grocery shopping with my two best friends. I was talking to them (basically verbally processing) about whether or not I should make a year-long commitment not to date. I was talking of how all these couples would tell me that as soon as they found peace with being single, BOOM!! Someone would pop up and now they’ve been married for so many years and blah-blah-blah, happy-couple-stuff. I told my friends that I wanted to find peace with being single but I didn’t want to want peace just because I thought it would finally land me a man. I wanted to finally have peace about being single for the sake of peace. I wanted to be happy.

Now I can see that I wanted my desire to change. I mean, I’m okay with wanting to be married-that’s good. That’s a holy desire. But I didn’t want it to run my life anymore. I didn’t want my single life to be about having to compensate for the fact that I wasn’t married yet. I wanted to live a life full of God’s purpose rather than waiting around for things to happen.

By the time we left the store, I had decided not to make the commitment. I didn’t want to spend a whole year looking around the corner for my husband (remember the peace-BOOM cause-and-effect?) because then it wouldn’t be about me surrendering my single life to God; it would be about getting married.

Just a moment ago I was texting a friend about a guy I like. She responded with a bunch of exclamation points, because “it’s exciting!” (her words). Meanwhile, I was trying not to make it a big deal because I wanted to find peace with God about being single and telling my friends about a cute guy wasn’t exactly doing that. Then I had this big realization,

it’s not about having peace.

I realize that liking a guy or not doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I date or am in another relationship or am single until I’m 50. It doesn’t matter if I’m heart-broken or get married anytime soon, my life is about God. Even when I think it’s about me and how unhappy I am or how much pain I’m in because I don’t have someone, it’s really about God. Time and time again I have seen God use my pain, my happiness, my anger, my everything to show his glory and draw me closer to him.

I would so much rather have the pain of not having someone, or the pain of losing, rather than not experiencing God at all because of what I wanted.

All that matters is God’s glory.

Experiences and Ratatouille

Words are amazing. Usually words are enough. They can describe something so perfectly, it’s almost magical.

But sometimes, they’re not enough.

Have you ever seen Ratatouille? It’s an animated movie by PIXAR about a rat who becomes a chef. It’s quite fantastic. In the movie, the rat (who’s name is Remy) gives his brother a slice of cheese. The screen goes black as it shows Remy’s brother eating the cheese. There’s music and soft lights go across the screen. Then Remy gives his brother a strawberry. There’s different music and fireworks exploding. Then Remy tells his brother to eat the two together. There are soft lights dancing around, fireworks, and music.

Sometimes I wish I could hand someone a slice of cheese and a strawberry rather than try to describe whatever is going on. Then they would look at me and say, “yes. That’s exactly it.”

As great and magical as words can be, some experiences cannot be defined.

“Go Quietly”

“Talk to me, ” well all I could say,
Is I need a few days of quiet and space
Now that I’m here restless in chains
It could have been fun if it wasn’t so strange

And now you wanted to share your life
And now you want to be free to fly
But no you can’t have them both
Tonight decides what tomorrow knows

I could become some other man
You easily crush in the palm of your hand
Or one who puts you in the ring
Or runs away, runs away, runs when you swing

And now you wanted to share your life
And now you want to be free to fly
It’s sort of nothing you know
Tonight decides what tomorrow knows

Keep up with me baby
I would never want to force your hand
It’s a mystery to me
In a language that you understand

And now you wanted to share your life
And now you want to be free to fly
But no you can’t have them both
Tonight decides what tomorrow knows
Tonight decides what tomorrow knows
Tonight, tonight, tomorrow knows
Tonight decides what tomorrow knows
Tonight, tonight, tomorrow knows

Keep up with me baby
I would never want to force your hand
It’s a mystery to me
In a language that you understand

Keep up with me baby
I would never want to force your hand
It’s a mystery to me
In a language that you understand

-Cold War Kids

Pride

Last night I ended up having a fantastic conversation with a new friend. We talked about discipleship, ministry, and our own struggles in faith. Turns out that we both struggle with pride.

My pride is usually manifested through my thoughts. I don’t know how much my own prejudice is shown, but I know that internally the comparison game is hard. It usually starts when I see something in a friend’s life that I’m jealous of (it can be anything between them having a good dinner, to having a boyfriend). Then, because I feel sorry for myself, I end up asking myself what I have that they don’t – and that’s when it happens, the inflation. Rather than being glad that my friends are blessed, I end up turning their blessings into my own insecurities. Then to make myself feel like a decent person, to confirm my own insecurities, I remind myself of how great of a person I am. And not in a humble way, no. Rather, I end up whispering to myself what I have or do that is better than my friend’s.

This results in being a puffed up, prideful person who is still insecure – but I can fix that with, wait, more pride! Which leads to more insecurity and unhappiness and all of that…

This is not a once-every-so-often problem – this is a moment-by-moment, thought-by-thought problem.

So what can I do? How can I save myself?

Only by the realization that I cannot. I cannot do anything to save myself. I am a big ball of insecure, broken, messiness that I cannot unwind.

“The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; their strength in time of distress.” – Psalm 37:10 (NASB)

This means that God alone is my salvation. He is the only one who can save me and unwind this ball of tangled messiness. Only him. Not me.

So God, please come. I accept your salvation, and I ask that you come and be my security. Give me the strength to choose you over food or thinking about boys or anything.

I need You.

Dedication

It didn’t occur to me straightaway after my recent relationship ended that I would be single again-in fact, it wasn’t until almost a week later that I realized that I was single and what that would mean. But by that time, I was excited to go back to being single because of things like,

FREEDOM!! I mean, it’s not like the guy I dated was awful and controlling, it’s just that being in a relationship takes up a LOT of time and energy. Time and energy that I now can spend however I want. For instance, I don’t have to stress over if someone else wants to do homework when I have to, or want to watch a movie when I want, or whatever.

This also means that I am more of an individual. I mean, I should have been more independent in the relationship, but now I know that a relationship is made up of two individuals, not one perfectly matched being (though there should be things that the two individuals have in common-such as God’s calling on each person’s life, but the rest can be determined by each separate couple). What I’m getting at is that I’m no longer “so-and-so’s girlfriend.” I am Jessa.

But being single also comes with some cons, one of which is fighting feelings of loneliness, and despair. This only comes to some people, not everyone is super-obsessed about being in a relationship and not everyone gets their identity from it. For me on the other hand, this is a real, serious, deep issue that I have. I find myself being obsessed and it is a constant wrestle not to define myself or my life by any relationship, current or future.

So what if I never get married? Will my life mean nothing? Will my ministry fall apart? Will I have no meaning? Will I be lonely all of my life?

No.

Being single in no way effects how passionately I live out my calling. Yes, some things change depending on whether I am single or not, but overall, my life is what I make of it. My life is made up of my choices.

So, will I choose to live my life constantly searching for someone else to fulfill me?

Or will I choose to follow the will of God, whatever it may be (with or without a boyfriend/husband/male-person)?

Right now, here in my dorm room, at the age of nineteen, I choose to follow the will and calling of my Lord God

I dedicate my single life to Him.

He is my constant. I will never be alone. Ever. Not once. Because He are good, and He stays the same. He is here with me. He is the one who has never left my side, the one who sends me flowers in the spring and showers me with snowflakes in winter.

My life will not be perfect, and this will be hard. Really, really hard. Harder than I can even imagine. I will be tried and I don’t know if I will make it-but I know that God will be here, through whatever trials or fires that come. And He is enough for me, for the rest of my life. I need no other.

And what else, I am enough on my own (with God).

Without a man.

God is enough for me, and I am enough with him.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:12-13

Not by me, but by God’s strength. Amen.

Fantastic Articles

Hello! I wanted to share with you some of the amazing articles I have recently read (ya know, that ones I read instead of reading for English…). I used to have a policy of not reading articles (most especially if they were on Facebook), and now that I think about it, I’m not entirely sure why. So anyway, I’ve started reading all these articles and they are AMAZES!! So here they are, because sharing is good. . .

Introducing the Antique Series, by WordsRememeber.

Okay, this lady is great. Seriously. I know her and she is one of my favorite people. Also, she knows how to art. Like, for real. Check out her stuff, be amazed, buy something-or if you’re a poor college student, simply drool over her amazing creations and read her and her husband’s awesome writing.

I’m A College Student That Doesn’t Want Free Tuition

Here, it gets a tad political. But so much YES! Having grown up in a lower-middle-class home with a “large” family, I had to do a lot of things for myself. I’m not complaining, I’m simply stating a fact. It taught me that hard work not only pays off but that I am more likely to enjoy something when I have worked hard to get it or produce it myself.

Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate

I think this one was the first or second article that I read that got me on this article-reading track. It helped to rekindle my creativity, and it helped me to accept the fact that I am, in fact, a procrastinator.

10 Things Only Writers Will Understand

All of this is true. In particular regards to #8, I’m pretty sure my imagination had shut down this past year but beginning to read again has set it alight! And #9 is outrageously true!! Everything is a story. Every. Thing.

Don’t Try To Be Humble. Just Try To Be Yourself.  

The woman who writes this is married but what she says also relates to singles. And it is amazes.

6 Characteristics of a Hero: How Many Do You Embody?

First off, this writer is probably one of my favorites. He writes plenty of blog posts and books, he even has a workshop, on stories. I strongly suggest you not only read this post, but any of his books.

Well, that’s it! Have a fantastic weekend!

-Jessa Winter

Sadness and Good Things

“[Sadness is] happy for deep people.” – Dr. Who

Yes. Yes it is. When I am sad, whether it’s just a little sad or even when I’m bawling my eyes out sad, I feel so good (isn’t this crazy?!?). Why? Why am I happy when I’m so sad?

It’s simple: when I’m sad, specifically when I allow myself to be sad, I feel alive. I feel so perfectly myself. I feel comfortable because I’m not pretending to be something I’m not.

I mentioned before that I feel good when I cry and it’s because when I cry, I’m being honest. It’s not because being sad is where it’s at and everyone should be sad and depressed and think dark thoughts and have low self-esteem and be a mush of a person. No. It’s because when I cry, or accept my feelings of sadness, I am being real. This being real makes me feel alive rather than like a hollow frame. I feel like a being. A human.

When I accept how I feel (however I feel, it isn’t always sadness), I am the most creative. The best example I can think of is Van Gogh, probably because we talked about him in class today (and I nearly started crying because Dr. Who). Van Gogh was depressed for most, if not all of his career. Yet his work is gorgeous! He expressed his feelings through his art and it paid off (although he never got to see how). How often is it that the artist who is most truly in touch with their feelings creates the best art?

Piggybacking off of that, when I’m sad I feel the most inspired. I have the most to say on things because when I get sad, I get introspective and I go deep. I tend to sort of forget my surroundings and focus in on certain things-actually, it’s more like the opposite of that. Rather than honing in on random details, I see more of the bigger picture and random details stand out in contrast to their surroundings.

Another weird aspect of this is that I can feel sad and happy all at the same time. While the sadness is like a deep underlying emotional theme, it seems to intensify my other emotions, such as feeling good (not quite happiness, but not quite joy either-simply, good). Like right now, I’m still sad over some things that have happened recently and things that are not-so-recent in my life yet I have never felt better. Part of this is due to accepting how I feel, not letting it be the boss of me (simply feeling it and expressing it), the rest is due to seeing what I can of the blessings God has been giving me.

I say “what I can” because I seem to be under a waterfall right now. This has less to do with where I am in life/what’s going on (life is not fantastic) and more to do with how I’m looking at my life right now (for instance, I’m happy I got to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night today in class). When you’re under a waterfall, you can’t see everything. You can only see what is directly in front of you. Because of this, I know I am missing other things that are going on in my life right now, things that can be good or bad. Examples of this abound. Like when I realized the other day that I have been so wrapped up in how I feel that I haven’t been fully present with some of my friends and been happy or sad for/with them.

And we know that [a]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28 (NASB)

I hope the rest of your day is good, whether sad or no.

-Jessa Winter