Category Archives: A Singles Bucket List

The Ghost of Valentines Past: Why Some Love’s Were Never Meant to Die

(Have you ever had one of those days when you flip back through your journal to see what was going through your mind “at this time last year”?  I have…only, I don’t really keep a journal, so this blog has to suffice.  While strolling through memory lane, I re-read this entry from just around a year ago and decided to give it a little face lift.  So, this years thoughts are bold-ed and dispersed throughout…amazing how it’s still relevant).

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So, I am about to get a little vulnerable.  There is a point to this post, however, I feel it will be better communicated if the mental journey I made today (last year…and again today) is showcased, and for the good of mankind (so noble, I know), I am willing to expose some of the inner workings of my heart.  If you skip the backstory, please read the italicized portion at the end.

As a good percentage of the world gears up for February 14th, the temptation can arise for those lonely ride in bucket 5 individuals (Never Been Kissed reference for the ladies) to view it as the season of our discontent. (Still a great girl movie).

Even for those of us who are single by choice, gladly embracing the time we have to pursue those things God has put in our heart, it can be a little discouraging. (This year, I would reword it…not discouraging…just mildly distracting.  This past year, God has really shown me how a heart set on him can rest and be encouraged by just about anything… gratefulness–it changes everything).

I can’t lie, as I see my friends enjoying a season I have yet to know, a little stirring of desire may disturb the quiet waters of my own contented soul.  (Desire is still there, but contentment and joy have grown).

There was even a time when I readily joined in with my friends in celebrating Happy SAD (Singles Awareness Day) on February 14th (the ironic thing, those who were most gung-ho in celebration are now happily married). (Historical, thus still true).

So, as I find myself approaching this annual celebration of Love, I can hear the little niggling voice in the back of my mind.  Initially, I simply thought I would simply post something encouraging about enjoying the season of singleness or some other Joshua Harris approved sentiment. (While there may be more posts like this in the future, I’ve really learned that Singleness isn’t about being alone or not “in love”, but it’s about being open to love indiscriminately.  There is no one to be jealous, no one to feel ignored or under appreciated.  But there are plenty in need of compassion and time).   

But, the Muse of Divine Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, got a hold of me this morning with a challenge and I decided to pass it on to anyone out there who is tiered of maintaining and would enjoy taking some ground.

So, for 2011, I am issuing a Valentine’s Challenge to myself and who ever else might be game.  This year, I am determined to be an extension of love to someone without looking for love back. (I’m taking up my own challenge again in 2012…maybe it will be a tradition).

John 15:13 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

13The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

When we lay down our own gratification and seek to love and serve with our only satisfaction being the fact that we have been an extension of Jesus to someone and he has been made great in their life, we are extending true Love.  It may be inconvenient, it may not be “romantic” but it could mean the world to someone.

John 15:13 (The Message)

11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

So, this year, I’m committed to sharing in the mature Joy of Jesus by loving how He loves.  So, think about it and find a way to be an extension.  

I’ll be donating blood for example Tuesday, February 14th.  One time giving can save up to three lives.  

Some other options, send random cards to people, buy someones lunch when they aren’t looking, spend your romantic dinner serving food for those who don’t have anything.  

I’m still getting my game plan together, and the only reason I post this now is to see if together, we can make a difference and just love.

Whether you are single in facebook status or just single-minded in your pursuit, it’s really not about ring on your finger or candy in your mouth…just love.

Thoughts?  Plans?  Share them in the comments, you may just inspire someone else.

Lyssah

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Filed under A Singles Bucket List, Adventure, Personal, Thoughts

Might Need a CPR Kiss if You Keep Holding Your Breath for Mr./Mrs. Right

[This guest-post is brought to you by a great friend of mine and I am so humbled to host this on my blog.  Elaine is one of the most confident and honest individuals I know and when I asked her to share some of her experience with “All the Single Ladies”, she was ready and willing.  So, read it, take it in and show her some love in the comments-Lyssah]

 

I am closer to forty than I am to thirty but somehow I wonder why I’m not scared of the idea of aging.

The world around me gives a great recipe for all the stuff you can do to slow down the aging process. That’s of course not forgetting the onslaught of media propaganda about women and how we feel about the idea.

Today though, my focus is not on the aging process or lack thereof.

I mean I trust that we have all been around long enough to know that it really doesn’t matter what the number says right? If however, the age thing still bothers you…? Well, give it a few years and you will catch on.  I started with the age thing because it kind of defines where I’m going with this.

Women and the singleness issue!

Don’t get too excited please. This is not about telling you how to find Mr. Right.

I wonder myself where he is and why he is taking so long to show up. But my main question is what do I do until he does?

Wait in a holding pattern?

Put my life on pause and stop living?

Convince myself I am better off single while I slink into the land of utter depression and anxiety while secretly checking out the male species to see who will express the least bit of interest in me?

Let me go back to the age thing and say that I do not worry about the ticking clock because I really like who I am and how I look as I grow older.

I say that to point out that I do not have all the answers to all of life’s issues on aging or dating or the single life. I do what works for me on a daily basis based on the situations and circumstances I am faced with.

In each of those days I wake up entrusting my life and my day to God and trusting him to give the wisdom I require to survive another day as myself.

To that effect I am a constant work in progress.

So give me a minute or two to share what I have learned from being single.

I choose to be happy. To derive joy from the person that I am, this unique being that God created with such care and love. I choose to enjoy me, to be self-aware and look deep inside and tell myself the truth of who I am.

To change what needs to be changed.

To be better, make better decisions, love more etc.

Identify the ugly in me and ask for help changing stuff up.

To face the hard truth even when I am tempted to ignore things like character traits that are downright ugly.

I choose to identify the good and harness it to make it better.

To have fun with my life.

Discover myself more and more each day.

Be comfortable in my own skin.

Love my own company if there is no one to enjoy it with.

Go to the movies on my own or to a fancy shmanzy restaurant and have a blast at it.

Give myself a treat and take a trip alone if I so desire or just hang out with my married friends and have fun being the third wheel.

To love their kids with such intensity it scares me sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong I do have days where it’s hard to do any of those.

When I don’t feel like going to the movies alone to watch a sappy love story with all the couples cuddling at the theater. Days where a friend gives his wife a hug and a kiss and I just hurt so bad it’s almost a physical ache. Nights of yearning for someone to just hold me and tell me that I matter.

In all of that, I choose to breathe in and breathe out rather than breathe in and hold my breath as I wait and wait and wait and wait for a man who will come to make me happy and show me how to enjoy my life.

Do I stay in that state of deep inhalation and not ever exhale?

What if he never shows up?

What if he shows up and has no CPR skills?

What do I do? Die? Oh heck no!

Get out of the holding pattern!

Discover you!  Make you better!

Live. Life. Better.

Not for anyone else but for you and God who created you.

Let’s breathe in and breathe out together.

Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a real kiss than feeling like you need a CPR one?

What do you think?

 

                                       -Elaine Otuije

Can you relate to the feeling that finding the “right one” will somehow bring you to life?  

CPR Kiss?  Can you think of any other crazy expectations that we may, as singles, harbor in our hearts?

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Filed under A Singles Bucket List, Guest Post

Dear Christian Singles: This isn’t the Hunger Games

We all sat stationary in the circle, sizing up our opponents before the signal to start sounded.  The girl to the right of me was tall and slender, her red hair cut in a trendy way and her gladiator sandals revealing perfectly manicured toenails.  The blond immediately opposite me was as cute as a pixy.  I was convinced her ethereal look housed the most manipulative competitor of all.  The tall, dark haired man to my left also scouted, and settled on the blond.  The seconds ticked by, laced with energy as we drew our mental battle lines. The food and supplies laid out before us tempted us to venture directly into the fray.  My initial instinct was to run and get as far away from the pandemonium as I could.  I was considering an escape route as the signal sounded.

“Alright guys, let’s pull out our Bibles and take a look at the book of James.”

Why is it that a “Singles Group” can look more like the opening moments of the 74th Hunger Games than a time of Christian Fellowship?  Simply put, because many singles view it in the same light.  We are on a playing field that will only be thinned out as the game progresses and if we don’t act soon, we’ll be destroyed in the process of the winner being revealed.  It’s easy to fall in with the “There can be only one,” mentality that was made famous by the McCloud clan and made its most recent resurgence in the popular young adult series.

The funny thing is, for those who are familiar with either parallel, that conclusion was birthed out of misunderstanding and power hungry enemies pitting would be alliances against one another. 

As I’ve embarked on this new journey of discovering a full life in the Single scene, I’ve been surprised at the twisted paradigm that has been presented to and embraced by many young single Christians. 

We view the girl sitting next to us as potential competition rather than a sister in arms.  We size up the guy next to us, wondering if he may be the one, all the while feeling the growing apprehension as he strikes up conversation with another competitor.  As time passes and the field of play is thinned, desperation sets in, discouragement takes root and we’re tempted to climb a tree and wait for the end to come. 

We didn’t really have a shot at winning anyway, right?  So, might as well be “content” with our loneliness.  We let fear begin to weigh in before faith as circumstances push us into contact with other players.  We question motives, compare abilities and appeal and find ourselves more isolated with every cannon, I mean wedding bell, that declare someone else is out.

Divided and distrusting, chances are, we will never survive, and on the rare chance that we do, we’ll be so haunted by the process of elimination that we’ll find it hard to function in community. 

It’s got to stop.  So many battle lines have been drawn in the church, from denomination to dateability.  When will we realize we’ve bought into a lie, meant to keep us weak, segregated and manageable?

Ladies, the other single girls near you aren’t the enemy/competition.  If we are focused on seeking God and His Fullness, we’re not going to be Husband Juked if we build strong female relationships.  Not to mention it’s not fair to try and hang our hopes on a guy…really, how can he be expect to carry that load? 

So consider this the Mocking Jay pin.  Let’s rally to hope and realize that we are strong together, focused on what unites us and not who will be left standing when the last cannon sounds.       

This post may have been about ‘singleness’, but maybe I need to broaden the field.  How can we as Believers get past the competition mindset and build strong relationships across the board?

Note: Guys, I’m not purposely leaving you out.  I don’t really know how singleness effects guys (probably because I see fewer single guys in the church than girls, and I tend to avoid relationship talks with them).  Feel free to weigh-in in the comments. 

Single Bucket List Item of the Week: Make an effort to build relationship with someone I am tempted to view as competition.

Disclaimer: This is in no way meant to be a parody of an actual meeting…it is a parody, not a reflection on any particular group/entity. 🙂

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Single, not Solitary…

Can you hear it?  The epic soundtrack building to a crescendo as, a dark field littered with the hopelessly oppressed is broken by a shaft of light descending to illuminate a lone figure, staggering to stand up, braced on her sword.  Using its point as an anchor, she crawls backward, toward her army’s line.  She sees a friend to her left and attempts to reach out, only to cringe back as a white horse gallops up and a shining knight jumps down and scoops up her dejected compatriot.  The instant he holds her in his arms, she is transformed into a shining princess and as they mount and ride back to safety, the lone living figure on the battle field collapses, feeling all hope is lost.

Love is a battlefield. And many times, for the Single soldier fighting to stay alive, it can be a dark, lonely place. 

Dramatic much?  Yes, very much. 

All metaphors and epic battles aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about Singleness.  If I’m being completely honest, over half has probably been more of the dramatic perceptions and hopeless feelings of being alone.  Probably a good deal more than half…depending on the day.

I know I’m not the only one. 

The slight irony…I’m really happy being independent.  I enjoy the freedom I have.  But somewhere inside, the God given desire for a husband has mingled with the social pressure to be part of a couple and the lie of being less because I’m not.  It can be a confusing, dangerous cocktail of condemnation. 

Somewhere along the way, I think I bought into the idea that being single is a season to be endured until the real season begins

Kind of like being at the airport.  You have to wait, just like everyone else, until you board the plane.  There are a few things you can do (read, get coffee, watch other people moving on to their destination), but there is always the fear that if you leave your gate (explore, meet new people, take a nap), you may miss the boarding call; and we all know that the real trip only starts once you have buckled your seatbelt, have turned off your electronics and take off into the wild blue yonder.  Sometimes, it’s more like being stuck on the tarmac with a crying baby in front of you and a kid kicking your seat behind. 

Why do we view singleness as a holding pattern?  Why is it the dreaded world between worlds where you can see the doors to so much promise, but if you’re not careful, you’ll get dazed and stuck there, never really living life? 

So many times, as Christian Singles, we are encouraged in staying pure and preparing ourselves to be Godly spouses.  That is awesome.  But what about living a full, promising life? 

How can we get rid of the interim mentality that has been associated with singleness and embrace life here and now?

Somewhere along the way, these musings fused with ponderings on Bucket Lists.

You know, those things you want to do before you die, like ride an elephant or discover a cure for cancer (even though you’re not a doctor of any kind).  We have aspirations, but what good is having a list of things you want to accomplish with life if you aren’t actively doing it. 

I wouldn’t want to find myself confronted with 6 months to live and a lifetime’s worth of dreams to experience.

This is my new journey.  And lucky you, I’ll probably be documenting some of it here.  So, if you are married and a thought like “Oh no, another single’s going to whine about being alone,” crosses your mind, stop right there.  If you are a single thinking “Oh, someone who can commiserate,” hold the phone.  These posts, which will now be under the tag “A Singles Bucket List: <insert topic>” are not about whining or commiserating or trying to hold on until.  It’s about living.

So, whatever your relationship status, let’s commit to live fully and love fully, wherever we are.

Lyssah

Singles, do you find it hard to be single?  Why?

Married-s, looking back, is there anything you wish you would have accomplished/done/experienced while single?

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