Single – for those that are and those that aren’t

There are two types of people in this world – single people and not-single people.

Too simple? Ridiculous, I know.

The other day my friend and roommate sent a couple articles about singleness in the church:

Then there are these others articles which speak to the truth about singleness and using this “status” as a way to glorify God:

There are so, so many more. What I’ve found since my college years, is that no matter my relationship status, I have always been single, as in unmarried. And while we unmarried folk need you married folk just like we need older and younger folk, we need each other, too. I think there is great growth that can come from those unlike us but also from those in similar seasons as our own.

I think my church overlooks the young single in our church and I think that is unfortunate. I went to an event recently where the speaker talked about the great opportunity single people have, and I agree. There are so many less obligations – your schedule is your own and you can form it to be whatever you’d like. That might not always be the case.

This season of being unmarried is nothing new – maybe it’s a season, maybe it’s my life forever, I have no idea. But I do believe those unmarried need to rethink how they view singles and treat them, especially in the church. I also think those of us who are unmarried need to embrace this time and relish it in.

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breaking up [and moving on].

Catch up with the part I and part II of this breakup series.

I talked about breaking up and allowing yourself to feel during the season post-breakup.

Moving on begins the minute the relationship ended. As I mentioned in part II, you have to allow yourself to at least acknowledge your feelings before you can move past them. Again, do not allow yourself to sin as a result of your negative feelings, and don’t get stuck in them. But DO allow yourself to feel them, if just for a moment, and then choose joy and hope.

The moving on process is on-going and it is so beautiful, especially when hope starts overwhelming all the ugly feelings. Almost immediately (thank you Lord) I started feeling hopeful and joyful about what God had planned for me. I knew that if that relationship wasn’t for me, there was a reason. And although I believe I was the cause of the pain (I shouldn’t have dated this man in the first place and I definitely shouldn’t have gotten so involved) in the first place, I also saw how God had pursued me and never let me go even in my disobedience. Therefore, I knew He had something great planned for me! And He does for you too!

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So, again immediately, I decided to grow and become better through the experience of dealing with the breakup and moving on. For starters, I began this blog to share what I was learning in case it could benefit someone else. I spent my new free time reading and spending time with God. I thought about how I wanted to change and how I wanted to grow and who I was becoming each day. When you break up you get the chance to redefine yourself. This was my chance to figure out who I am (again, but at a new stage in life) and figure out who I wanted to be. I needed to define somethings for myself so that in any future relationship, romantic or otherwise, I would not compromise or try to change but that I would know I was loved just because of who I was.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou

Make a list of your weaknesses and your strengths. Make a list of things you want to do and the qualities you want to have. Choose this time to pursue your dreams and to do good for others.

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Breaking up isn’t easy. Let’s be real, it sucks. But when you choose joy (shout out to Amy and Bobby from the Bobby Bones Show! #pimpinjoy) you will find hope and you will grow. Growth is good!

related posts: Holding Patterns, Beauty no Matter the Season I, Beauty no Matter the season II, Lessons in Waiting

breaking up [the good part].

In the first part of this break up series I just barely talked about it being hard, even though I called it the hard part. Breaking up will almost always be hard because it is a change – no matter whether or not you wanted the breakup. Like I said, the last end of a relationship I had, I wanted. But I also hated it because I was losing a best friend and a adventure partner, I was losing someone I loved.

There is a hard part I didn’t touch on, but to me I’m learning it is the good part. When you go through something painful (whether it’s breaking up of a relationship or some other kind of loss) there are often a variety of feelings you go experience. In no particular order, I have felt the following over the time I’ve gone through post-breakup:

  • Anger (why’d you “stop loving me?”)
  • Joy (this is where I am supposed to be, I’m so glad God has a plan for me)
  • Peace (this is where I am supposed to be)
  • Relief (I’m glad God is leading me through this and I’m not alone)
  • Bitterness (why’d that man pursue me and then stop?)
  • Sadness (oh that place and that thing remind me of him)
  • Longing (I want to be loved and pursued)
  • Loneliness (I miss my partner in life, I enjoyed sharing things with him)
  • Regret (why did I waste so much time? Why did I allow myself in that relationship?)
  • Doubt (did I make the right choice? I really wish I hadn’t allowed myself in that relationship)
  • Excitement (whoo!! I wonder what it is God has for me that this relationship had gotten in the way of!?)
  • Hope (there is more to come, after winter always comes spring!)

Here, however, is the good part: ALL OF YOUR FEELINGS ARE OKAY!

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Did you get that? What you are feeling is okay!

I am bad about getting upset with myself for feeling some of those things at times. I feel like I should be over it, or happy about it, and most of the time I am, but I get mad when I feel I’m back pedaling.

Here’s the important part about all your feelings being okay: do not let get hung up on the negative ones and allow yourself to relish the positive ones. For example, I found myself bitter towards the man who had pursued me for some time and then stopped. As I talked to a mentor about this, she pointed out how bitterness is a natural feeling, no matter how good he was and how good the relationship was. If I allow myself to wallow in the bitterness and to wish him harm because of the bitterness, that is not okay.

I think the point is this when you have what you view as a negative feeling: do not push away a feeling. Feel it, consider it, think about it, but do not wallow in it and do not sin because of it. And then… move on. 

read on to the final post.

breaking up [the hard part].

Phew. This is a tender and tough post for me to write. The rough season I’m coming out of is the result of a fantastic relationship I probably never should’ve been in, and the falling apart of that relationship. It is still fresh and new, and as I write this post about a month post-break-up, I’m not sure when I’ll be posting it.

To begin, I started the relationship on cloud nine. He and I were so happy, so excited to be together, pursuing each other and pursing adventure together. We had three solid months where I felt like the only girl in the world, looking at the only man I ever wanted to look at again. There was one major problem – he was not a Christian, I considered my relationship with Christ key to my life. But, I started negotiating this fact, thinking if I just kept praying for him and eventually asked him to come to church with me, our relationship would one day be shared with Christ and everything would be rainbows and butterflies.

Wrong. First of all, I never gathered the courage to ask him to church with me. Okay, what relationship is really a life-time relationship (like we talked about ours being) if you are scared them to ask your other half to participate in something that you claim to be so crucial to your existence? Easy to say now, tough to think about in the midst of the relationship. Second, this man who pursued me and treated me so well during the start of our relationship slowly started slipping away. We would have these conversations about our relationship and the words he said told me he wanted me just the same as the first day he saw me. Oh, but his actions. His actions showed me other things were starting to become more important to him than me and our relationship together. He continued to state his desire to love me forever but he continued to show me he wasn’t so sure anymore, mostly without him claiming to even realize it. Just writing those words is still tough.

So, the last half or three-fourths of our relationship I unknowingly was grieving the loss of our relationship while still fighting for our relationship. So, when we broke up it was very, very difficult but it was also mutual. We both knew we had lost something that was needed to sustain this relationship. We knew it had finally come to an end. It was heart breaking and tough, but so quickly after the conversation to end things I was so full of joy and peace.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been through similar situations before. Maybe it’s because I’m older and more mature. Maybe it is because the breakup was mature and without any nasty actions or words. Or maybe, it’s because months earlier God had prompted me to start praying He would open and close doors in our relationship.

Like I said, I started noticing a change awhile back. I would bring it up and my boyfriend and I would talk about it, and I’d see him make an effort for a day or two, and then I’d feel unloved once again. While it seems like such a good reason to get out, it was hard because we also had so many good things about our relationship. But God prompted me to pray, and I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be praying for. Eventually, it became clear and I needed to move out of the relationship, no matter my feelings for this man. God was pulling us apart. God was pulling us apart because He had more planned for me. 

Hear that! God had allowed me to stray away from His plan for some time because that is what He does. Freedom, people. But He beckoned me back because He had more for me! He had a plan! He had something beautiful for me and He didn’t want me to miss out.

Oh, my heart is overwhelmed thinking about HIS pursuit of me! Even when I had given up on Him, He never left my side and never stopped pursuing me.

Here’s what I want to say until we get to part 2 of this breaking up part:

If you are pursuing God’s plan for your life, sometimes things will hurt. Sometimes, things will not make sense. There will be times when you feel crushed under the weight of all of the trials of this life. You will experience pain, you will mourn, you will question, and you will probably even doubt. But oh beautiful one, there is more. Spring always follows the winter. God always pursues His children, and He will guide you through. Do not try to rush the process or to rush to forget the hurt. Learn from it, grow from, become better because of it.

go on now to part 2 or to part 3 of this series!