Well, it’s about that time of the year: spring time. And it seems that when the sun comes out, love is in the air. In the past couple of weeks since I’ve been back from spring break, and even maybe the week before then, couples have been popping up here and there.
You probably know where I’m going with this. I’m going to be completely open and honest here about what’s been going on with me and what I’ve been thinking lately. So, hang on tight!
Yes, I am single, and yes, it is a struggle to be single sometimes. At first, when I heard about some people I cared about getting into relationships, I was genuinely happy for them. You know, being in a relationship is a great big step in life, and it’s exciting and fun and adorable.
But you know, after a few weeks or more of hearing about a few new couples getting together, that genuine joy for them begins to fade. You smile when you hear the news, but inside, you begin to think, “Wow, everyone I know is getting in a relationship. I suddenly have this pressure that I need to be in one too.”
And then after thinking those thoughts, I knew that I really didn’t need to have that pressure and that being single isn’t bad. I know this. In fact, a part of me really isn’t ready to open myself up to that just yet. So instead of moping around because I didn’t have a significant other, I began to question exactly why I didn’t. I began to criticize who I was: my personality, my outer appearance, my talents, my interests, my everything. I played the “Comparison Game” once again, and most of the time, whenever you play this game, you lose.
So yesterday after work, I was crying in my room, feeling just ugly, unlovable, not good enough. I questioned my worth and who I was and if there was something wrong with me that other people could see that I couldn’t. And while I was sulking in all these feelings, my mom called unexpectedly.
And as a girl, I told my mom what I was feeling, how I really just didn’t want to be on campus anymore with everyone walking around in pairs and how it was all just really hard. My mom gave me some advice, telling me not to think about it, but of course, that all is easier said than done.
I continued to lie in bed crying, when I noticed my His Princess Warrior book sitting in the corner next to my alarm clock. Now, I know, this sounds like one of those cheesy, Christian encouragement books, but I’m not joking, almost every single time I pick that book up and read the pages where my bookmark was placed last, the topic is always something I’m struggling with and the encouragement is just what I need. That’s a total God thing, and I know it. Only the Holy Spirit could move me to pick that book up and feel as if I could get some help from it.
Of course, it isn’t the Bible, but the fact that they are “letters from God” (written by Sheri Rose Shepherd, of course, and based on what Scriptures say themselves) that are to strengthen me in my daily walk is such an encouragement. Anyways, it was called “The Trust Factor,” and this is what it said:
My Princess Warrior,
It’s time, My Warrior, to surrender your fears, your insecurities, your pain, and your loved ones completely to Me.
I want your whole heart and mind and soul to be worry free. I want your complete trust so you can focus on your faith and be free from the spirit of fear controlling you. Give up the fight of trying to figure it all out. Don’t let your circumstances hold your heart hostage or cause you to lose your confidence in Me.
I am asking you on this day to answer this one question: In whom do you place your trust?
Your trustworthy King
That right there encouraged me so so much. The peace of God just swept over me.
The last line of the letter is in bold because that question completely struck my heart. Who was I placing my trust in? Honestly, I was placing it in other people’s opinions and thoughts. I was concerned about what the world thought of me, and I placed my value in that. And that is totally not what I’m supposed to be doing!!
Even though this letter really touched my heart, that doesn’t mean my struggle of being single went away automatically. But to be reminded that I can place my trust in the Lord of the universe was just too amazing for words.
And the verses that were given for this letter? Ahhh, so perfect:
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” ~ Hebrews 10:35-36 (NLT)
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and no grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
God’s truth and promises laid out in Scripture! Such a beautiful thing!!!
Now fast-forward to today…
This morning, there was a women’s event called “Living as a Temple: Self-Compassion, Body Image, and Imago Dei” that all women of Covenant College and even the Lookout Mountain community were invited too. I knew this was going to be an encouraging event, but I felt that I would hear the same basic things I was always told:
“You’re fearfully and wonderfully made!”
“God made you like no one else on this earth! You are made in His image!”
“Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore we need to take care of them and respect them! Here are some tips…”
And while Kellie Currin (the speaker), did touch on these things, she focused a lot on self-compassion instead of self-esteem. Self-compassion is giving yourself grace because you know that you’re not perfect and never will be. You aren’t so hard on yourself for the mistakes you make, but rely on the sacrifice Jesus made to cover those sins and flaws you have. Yes, when we sin, we are to bring it before the Lord in repentance, but we don’t have to punish ourselves so severely and wallow in guilt-ridden feelings all the time. We are FREE IN CHRIST! When we allow ourselves grace for being imperfect people and learn to love and respect ourselves, we can then show that same love and respect and compassion to others.
Something that Kellie said that I loved was that when we think about all of the negative thoughts about ourselves (i.e. Your ugly. You’re not worth it. You’re so stupid.), we would never tell someone else we knew those things. So, if we wouldn’t tell our friend or anyone else that they’re ugly, not worth it, or stupid, why do we say those things about ourselves?
I wish I’d had my journal with me to take notes during the event, but alas, I didn’t! But I truly got so much more from that than I thought I was going to. There was also an amazing video of a spoken word by two women listing our fears and doubts and reminding us of God’s unconditional love. It was on a blog called “A Holy Experience.” I encourage y’all to check it out! I think it was called something like, “This Is Us: The #EstherGeneration”.
Afterwards, we all broke off into smaller groups and discussed what we learned and what struck us the most. Our group actually got past the issues of body image and touched on deeper, more vulnerable topics. But I was so at peace and amazed how a group of girls, who sort of knew each other, could just be open about what they were struggling with and ask for prayer for those things.
It really opened my eyes to the fact that, even though some people look like they have it all together on the outside, on the inside they could be hurting so much. And now, I am so motivated to continue to pray for all the women on our campus (and even my campus as a whole!) because everyone has gone through different things and is still going through things.
My heart right now is at peace, encouraged by the truth that was spoken to me through the event and through Scripture and my fellow sisters-in-Christ. I know this doesn’t mean that I’ll never have the struggle of being single again. It will come up again eventually. But I need to remember who I place my trust in.
Not the people around me. Not this world. But my Savior, Jesus Christ, who smiles on me and sees me for who I am: His beautiful daughter.
And seeing myself as that allows me to say that it’s okay that I’m single. I can be single and still see myself as beautiful, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone around me thinks there’s something wrong with me. I can be confident in who I am because I know Whose I am!
I can use this time of singleness to focus more on living for God. Not saying that I can’t do that when I have a relationship, but it’s more difficult to focus on anything but that once I am. So, I’m praying that I see this time as a positive thing!
And I can also trust that God has a plan for my life, whether that’s being single & content with that or eventually getting married, and that it will be so very good and more than I could possibly imagine! And that’s EXCITING!!!!
And all of you who belong to Christ: you are all beautiful, wonderful creations of His! You are made in His image! 🙂 Don’t forget Whose you are and the freedom you have because of it!
I hope y’all’s weekend is going great! I’m taking a little time to write this, but then I have to get started on this homework. I have a creative writing assignment (cause, I mean, when do I not?) and Bria and I have a Doctrine 2 test on Monday! 😛 If you think of us at all this weekend, please pray that that goes well for us!
And speaking of my best friend Bria, she went to the women’s event this morning too and wrote a blog post about it as well! She’s got such great reflections on what she got out of it, so definitely check out her post on it HERE: http://bria1320.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/finding-our-worth/
Also, I just wanted to clarify that I told y’all about my struggles, not to get sympathy from you, but to express that I’m still human and still going through this journey called life, and that while I’m writing to y’all about serving the Lord and trusting in Him, I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and won’t until the day I am made perfect in Him! Please just continue to pray for me as I go through my daily walk! Your prayers are so so appreciated!!!
Love you all! Praying that your weekend is filled with fun and rest! Know that you are not alone in your struggle! The Lord stands by you! And what a comfort that is!
~ Mishy (^^) ❤