Single & Stung

I definitely didn’t fit the mold of the typical girl at my college. You know how every college has a different flavor and culture? Well I didn’t really fit mine. I was too feisty, too loud, too unconventional, and too sassy. I think most of the guys at my school thought I was a freak!! And I definitely picked up on that. And I was definitely hurt by it.

I felt like something was wrong with me! When I was talking to guys, even just casually on campus, I felt like most of them were kind of off-put by me. Like I was just too much for them to deal with. And so I would put this pressure on myself to act a bit more tame, try to fit the mold, and just be more normal! Ha! But really. I was struggling. I felt like I had to prove my value to them, and it wasn’t a good feeling.

And then, I met Devon. On the very first day we met, I got dared to eat a sour gummy worm off of the floor of the bleachers and did so with absolutely no problem…real smooth. He for sure thought I was insane. But for the next several months, I continued to act like a COMPLETE fool in front of him when we hung out with all our friends. In my mind, he was off-limits because I thought my friend liked him. So I just acted like my crazy self! And you won’t believe this, but I later found out that he LIKED that I was different! Something was different about him from the other guys too, and it matched my kind of different perfectly. But first let me rewind.

One day after one too many encounters with guys who brought out this ugly insecurity in me, I sat down by myself on the grass and wrote out a little letter to myself. It was a letter of encouragement, but it was fueled by frustration. I was so done trying to convince others that I was worth loving. I was irritated with the way I would beat myself up for just being authentic, and this letter was my way of putting an end to that mindset of desperation. It listed expectations I had for myself, the future man I would marry. Here’s a little bit of it:

“I do not want to date a man unless I am truly and genuinely excited about him. I want to be able to go on and on about how amazing he is, and tell everyone who asks about him how incredible he is. I don’t want to have to say “but he smokes” or “but he’s not super intelligent” or “he’s not very Christian” or “he’s a little rough around the edges”. I don’t want to have to pick up his slack. I’m not expecting perfection, but I am expecting him to desire God as his first priority. I want to be on the same page as him, the same level, the same playing field. And yet while I expect this from someone else, am I worthy of the kind of man I am holding out hope for? Does the kind of man I want see all the qualities he hopes for his future wife reflected in me? Am I matching up to what I’m demanding?

The point of marriage is to make me a better woman in the eyes God. The man I’m waiting for will challenge me and grow me, he will coax my dreams out of my hesitant heart and encourage me to make them a reality. I won’t settle for a man who is after anything other than becoming one with God. I won’t settle for a man who I have to make excuses for. And he also won’t let me make excuses for myself. The point of marriage is not just to make me feel good about myself or to become unhealthily infatuated with. The point of this relationship is not just to have someone to waste time with when I’m bored. There is a bigger picture, a bigger reason for this union, and that reason is to draw us closer to God. I will push him, and he will push me. Together we will become better. We will bring out the best in each other. We will remind each other of our mission. We will wake up each morning and pull each other along.

It’s important that I’m ready for this. Or is it? Will I ever be ready? I don’t think that I will ever be prepared or equipped to handle a marriage. Apparently nobody is ever ready until they do it. While I might not be ready, I will be willing to keep trying. Relationships are exhausting. Relationships require us to choose each other every single day. But trials will only strengthen our relationship. We will become too strong to break-nothing will tear us apart. There will be ups, and there will be downs. But I will trust this man with my entire life. I will know he is capable of protecting me and our family. I know he will be willing to lay his own life down for mine and for our children. I know this man is made of strength and humility. I know that he wants a deep love with me and I know that he wants to please God. I speak about this man with confidence, because I am speaking the things into my life that I want to see. God honors bold prayers and specific desires, and I am confident in the man he will unite me with.”

Little did I know that when I wrote this, I had already met the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with!! He was less than a mile from me at that very moment, and in less than 6 months after writing this, we were dating. I wrote this with the determination to wait for God to paint my love story in vivid color instead of trying to scribble my own with a broken pencil. And I can say with such incredible joy that God answered my prayer ten times over and blesses me so immensely through Devon every day!!

So if you’re single on Valentines Day and sad about it, I get it. And I’m sorry, because I’ve been there too. But my advice is to tell God what you want. He already knows, but still tell Him so you can remind yourself. Speak boldly over your future and wait with determination. Ask for patience and practice being thankful no matter the circumstance. I know it can be so lonely, but God has infinitely more love to give you in your loneliness than than the wrong man ever will in his embrace.

What I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College

I’ve finally figured it out. After months of uncertainty, confusion, and overall anxiety about what to do with myself post-grad, I have realized what’s actually going on here.

I am nearly positive that all adults are getting together at some huge annual convention where they collectively (and secretly!!) decide to pretend they know what they’re doing!! Even if they have no idea!! I’m currently waiting to be invited to one of these meetings.

For real though, the moment I realized we’re all just “winging it” was a huge relief. As the end of my college career approached, I naively assumed that when I graduated, things would immediately fall into place. I genuinely believed that within a few months, some fantastic opportunity would fall out of the sky directly into my lap. I thought that a couple of job applications would result in an awesome, fulfilling job.
So when a few months passed and that didn’t even come remotely close to happening, I felt a deep sense of failure. I felt like I was stuck in a cloud of anxiety that obscured all truth and direction from my life.

I wish someone had told me that it would feel really strange to graduate. I felt out of place, left out, and lonely. Many times I wondered if it had even been worth it for me to work so hard to graduate a whole year early and in turn, feel completely isolated from my friends. I felt like I graduated with grandiose ideas, but then just floundered in anxiety and uncertainty for months. I waded in negativity instead of focusing on all the amazing blessings in my life.

The reality of life is that things take much longer than you think they will, and probably much longer than you want to wait. It took me a while to get this, but I am finally understanding just how important it is to take the pressure off of myself, be patient, and be okay with figuring things out along the way.

Nobody ever gets an instruction manual or a map of where they should go. Can you imagine if there were some life map where everyone had a different colored line to follow like a subway line for their life? Like Google Maps but for life decisions instead? That would be awesome. But actually, that wouldn’t be awesome.

The unpredictability of life is what produces character in us. Challenges are what make life meaningful, and without them we would miss out on the deepest kinds of joy. Like the joy that comes when you finally reach a higher understanding and feel like a light has turned on and reached the darkest corners of your pain, or the joy that comes wrapped in sorrow, or the joy that comes from the best surprise of your life. The uncertainty of the future reminds us that we are not on earth to chase pleasure. We are not here to idolize happiness or money or success. We are here to live with purpose and grow every day. And not knowing where we’re going humbles us and helps remind us of the insatiable yearning we all have, deep down, to live a life of meaning.

I think we all walk around with anxiety weighing on our shoulders. We buy into the lie that we have to get everything perfectly right, and we end up taking on incredible stress about it. We hold onto our plans with white knuckles and melt down when things don’t go according to that plan. It’s probably going to feel uncomfortable and even unproductive, but letting go of your timeline and accepting God’s timeline is the best thing you can do for your anxiety.

I’m trying to remind myself this every day. It’s a daily challenge for me, but I know that giving up control actually leads to freedom.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what you read, I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog! You can do that below, or to the right of this article.