It is officially Valentines Day season, which can be extremely difficult for someone who’s single. It doesn’t have to be, but the sad reality is that it is for many. We often hide behind passive aggressive comments or making fun of all the couples participating in Valentines Day activities, but our reality is that we wonder why we aren’t “good enough” to experience those things as well. We shift our singleness from a period of waiting to something is wrong with me. That is not at all what singleness is. I learned the most about myself through my time being single. that’s when I was truly able to find myself and learn what I wanted.
I want to make sure you know that you’re feelings of frustration, loneliness, anger, whatever it may be, those feelings are are valid and normal. It doesn’t matter if you should feel those things or not, you do. That is what makes them valid. Allow yourself to feel those things. Navigate through those feelings. Talk about them with someone. Don’t journey through this alone.
Hey, I’ve been there. I actually fasted from social media the whole month of February one year because it was too much. I was battling things, struggling with comparison and insecurity, and I knew social media during the month of “love” wasn’t going to help me. I’m not saying you should do that, but in that month, and the months before and after, I learned so much about myself and being single. I learned that so much good comes from being single if you allow it to.
Here are the Steps I Took to be Patient in the Waiting
*disclaimer: I was only really single for a little over a year before meeting Brad, but I had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and singleness was really difficult for me. Not because I longed for a relationship, but because the only relationship I had left me so lost and broken. If I’m being honest, I really struggled at the beginning. These steps are what helped me. Everyone operates differently but this is what worked for me, changed my perspective on singleness, and allowed me to be patient in the waiting.
I took time to learn who I was and how to love myself. When I got out of my five year relationship, I took a year off of dating to really find myself. I had put my whole identity in my ex and our relationship and so I had to learn who I was a part from him. We dated all throughout high school and part of my freshman year, on and off. And we almost dated when I was in junior high, so I spent a lot of my developing and discovering years of my life with him. So, it literally took me separating myself from any type of relationship to really navigate who I wanted to be and what I wanted in a relationship. Throughout this year, I fasted social media at times, I studied my Bible more than I ever had, I started serving more in my church to see what my passions were, and I did things I never would have done before. I experienced this unexplainable freedom in finding myself. I learned so much about myself in that year and none of it was associated with a guy or a relationship. It was the year of me and we need that. We need to take time to focus on ourselves when we’re single, because once you get married “me” turns to “we.” You still learn about yourself but everything shifts because you’re now a team and being selfish isn’t an option anymore. Be selfish in your single years. Make it about you and truly discover yourself.
I realized that the type of relationship I wanted wasn’t like most people my age. I had dated for “fun” in high school and it didn’t end well for me. I did the whole “date around” thing on the “off” periods when I would be single for a matter of weeks. I was over it. I don’t fit well in this Tinder generation. I had experienced things that made me have to grow up faster than most my age. Honestly, by the time I realized I wasted 5 years of my life with someone I thought I was going to marry, I wanted a husband. I wanted the real deal. I wanted someone willing to commit, who loved the Lord, had a plan for his life, and would love me well. That’s hard to find in college, especially in Denton, TX. This changed my whole perspective on “dating,” I didn’t want to date simply just to say I was in a relationship anymore. I wanted to wait until I found the right person. This allowed me to say “no” to guys who weren’t worth my time, which I never would have done before. Knowing your why behind dating is a huge part of being patient in the waiting and dating with purpose.
I read the book The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas. This book changed my life and my whole perspective on dating. This book really helps explain the purpose behind marriage and talks about how it’s so much more than attraction. I read this book after getting out of that 5 year relationship and it completely rocked my world. This book is what changed everything for me. Brad and I read it together when we were dating and it was really helpful for us to make sure we were looking at our own relationship through the right lens. I totally recommend it!
I focused on my friendships. I surrounded myself with really encouraging and life giving friendships during this time. I pursued friendships with people I loved being around. I met a ton of new people during this time in my life, many I’m still friends with today. I didn’t need a guy to fill my time because I had friends to spend that time with. I believe loneliness is the hardest part about being single. We get to choose if we want to be lonely or not. I chose to spend my time that I would have spent crying in my room or scrolling through social media with people who loved me, challenged me, and made me laugh. I also had friendships from many different walks of life: some were younger than me, some my age, some single, some dating, some married, etc. It gave me a variety of people to go to with different situations. Focusing on friendships meant that I had people to talk to when I was struggling with being single, lonely, confused, etc. So often when we are in times of waiting, we try and go through it alone. God never called us to do life alone, whether we’re single or not.
I realized how old I was and that it really wasn’t something I needed to happen right away. I had experienced so much in my high school years that I often forgot how old I really was. It is honestly so crazy to me how upset I was about not having met my husband at the age 19. Granted, I did get married young, 23 to be exact. But Brad, my husband, was 27 when we got married and 26 when we started dating. I had to take a step back and look at my life in a different perspective. I was young. I was still in school. I had so much life left to live. What was the rush? My best advice is don’t waste your single years. You never get them back so enjoy them. Don’t rush yourself. Go on roadtrips, attend concerts with your girl friends, have sleepovers, live your life. If you rush your single years, it’s going to be a rushing game for the rest of your life. You start dating, then you want to be engaged, then married, then you want kids, and it never ends.
I invested in things that I enjoyed. I am the type of person that goes all into everything I do. So, the same goes for dating. During my single years, I really focused on doing things I loved to do. I joined the worship team at my church and really invested in learning how to be better and growing in my talents. I invested in my schooling, which allowed me to graduate with two degree and a GPA ranked Magna Cum Laude. I became a youth leader and was able to help girls younger than me avoid the things I didn’t when I was their age. I went on multiple missions trips and found the things I’m most passionate about, like fighting human trafficking. I became a small group leader and was able to come alongside girls my age and do life together. I never would have invested so much time and energy in those things if I was investing in a person. Relationships are a lot of work and when we are single, we often times forget that. It’s not just “good morning” texts and kisses. It’s conflict, being vulnerable, stretching yourself, learning how someone else works, allowing someone to learn how you operate, and so much more. As I mentioned earlier, be selfish in your single years. Invest in you and the things you love or might love. Now, as a married woman, I am still leading worship, I’m a youth pastor’s wife, I’m still leading small groups, and I’m planning to get my masters in the fall.
Of course, singleness isn’t that easy to tackle where there are certain steps to take. Those steps were just some of the things I did to navigate that season and what helped me to be patient throughout my waiting. I can promise you, it’s worth the wait. Don’t settle just because you’re lonely or tired of being single.