single-ing

 
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this blogpost looks a lot like my life.

i thought i was going in one direction but ended up taking a completely different approach on this topic of singleness. i’ve had a lot of you reach out to me + ask to share my “secret” to being single. do i desire marriage? if so, how do i remain so content in my singleness? i decided to switch gears + just speak to you about my personal experience as a single girl in hopes that there are parts of my story that you can both relate to + find hope in. at this point, i’m basically a professional in the department so you may want to take notes.

 

i absolutely desire marriage, but my priority until the Lord ushers me into that season is to single well. to find a balance between wanting a husband + living in a way that honors this future man i do not know.

i’m going to give you a quick rundown of my past relationships:

in high school, i dated someone on + off for 3 years. it was extremely dysfunctional + left me really calloused towards relationships in general.

in college, i went through the most intense heartbreak of my life, dealing with the pain of unrequited love. i had no business being emotionally invested in this person to begin with BUT young + dumb or whatever.

in between those, i had many (wow, how do i say this without sounding prideful!?) guys confess their love/feelings.

the story of my (love) life seemed to go something like this: i had no interest in anyone who was interested in me, but the ONE person i’d have given my friggen’ left arm for wanted nothing to do with me. *cue the soundtrack to my emo playlist + don’t join me for my pity party because misery doesn’t always love company*

disclaimer: God is the realest mvp + stays looking out for us. i'm thankful he doesn't always give us what we ask for. now, the heartbreak? i would have loved to have done without it, but i learned a very valuable lesson + it’s one i want to share with you today.

 

let’s talk about guarding our hearts.

 

God doesn’t give his heart in pieces… + neither should we.

there’s a verse in the bible that says, “above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it”. growing up in the church, i would hear that verse referenced often but i never fully grasped the meaning of it. not that i gave it too much thought in my younger years, but i mostly related it to the physical aspects of a relationship. don’t have sex outside of marriage + you will have a guarded heart.

i thought that as long as i followed God’s plan for sex & didn’t get physical in a dating relationship, then i was guarding my heart. hear me: refraining from physical intimacy DOES NOT EQUAL a guarded heart. we have to do both: fight for sexual purity in our relationships while ALSO fighting for protected emotions.

when solomon talks about guarding your heart, the heart is referring to who you are as a person, to your character. more than the physical aspect of you, guarding your heart is about guarding your thoughts + your emotions. it’s about caring for who you are at your core—your very essence. if you’ve ever been through heartbreak, you know that emotions are a serious thing. they have the power to control you, to dictate your days + to set your mood. it’s when we’re careless with our emotions that we start to lose who we are. it’s why my high school relationship turned a very loving, hopeless romantic into a calloused, unbothered, jaded version of myself.

 

to be frank, i think we’re making really irresponsible choices with our hearts + our emotions.

 

i believe every word we speak, every interaction we have, + every relationship we cultivate has the power to either enhance or diminish our lives. what we fail to realize is that every word, every interaction, + every relationship is an emotional transaction that is either withdrawing from our emotional bank accounts or depositing into them.

we’re swiping our emotional credit cards left + right, blissfully unaware of how quickly the debt is adding up, + then standing dumbfounded as we look back at the ruins.

it burdens me to see how many of us are meandering through life emotionally bankrupt, completely void of the true, sustaining, life-giving JOY that our romantic relationships should be bringing us. the compounded interest of these seemingly insignificant transactions we have made over the years hit like a freight train all at once + it seems that all we can do is watch as the dust settles around us.

if you ask me, it all boils down to value. if you don’t know the value of something, chances are you will undersell it + get way less than you deserve.

so my question for you + for me is…

 

do you know the value of your own heart or are you gravely underselling yourself?

 

i read in a book somewhere that a parents’ job is to raise their children in such a way that they have as little unlearning to do as possible when they become adults. i think we have the same duty as single people. if you’re not married, you should make it your job to live your single life in such a way that when you finally do get married, you have as little unlearning to do in your relationship as possible.

remember those emotional transactions we were talking about? how many of them caused deep rooted insecurities in yourself? guess when you’ll have to deal with those? in your marriage. what about your porn addiction that has caused a rewiring in your brain leaving you gravely dissatisfied with physical intimacy? you’ll have to deal with that in marriage. or how about something as simple as memories? be careful who you make them with because those things can last forever. you’ll have to deal with unwanted memories of past relationships in your marriage.

i’d bet you a box of blackberry-cucumber la croix that you would be a lot more intentional about your day to day decisions if you knew, REALLY KNEW, just how much weight they actually carried.

i’m not saying this to burden you (or me, ha!) but to encourage you to be intentional + to give thought to the decisions you are making on a daily basis—especially in your love life. if there’s one thing in life i don’t think anybody should settle for mediocrity on, it’s love. God’s design for marriage is so beautiful + is meant to be so incredibly fulfilling.

i mean, God literally created marriage to model his love for us. the tenderness, patience, + ferocity in which a husband loves his wife is the same way God (the bridegroom) loves his church (aka us, the bride). BUT THATS ANOTHER BLOG POST FOR ANOTHER DAY. seriously. change subjects right now because that whole thing just blows my freakin’ mind.

 

so back to my singleness.

 

do i desire a husband? a resounding yes.

you want to talk dreams? must love jesus, obviously. let’s pray together + read scripture + sprinkle God’s love around the world like confetti. i like them tall, dark + handsome. six feet minimum. man bun. tattoos. (how basic am i being right now?) less superficial: spontaneous but laid back. kind + gentle but also a fighter. must make me laugh 24/7 + be witty enough to keep up with me. confident but humble. adventurous enough to hike through yosemite in a suit to elope, just us two with a bomb behind photographer to capture every moment. oh + finally, i’d love to have @dirtybootsmessyhair repost said photo. & THE CHURCH SAIDDDDDDD… (amen).

however, am i content in my season of singleness? i am.

as with anything, there are highs + lows. some days, the longing to have that forever best friend is more intense than others. insecurity can easily start to creep in: holy crap, i’m 24. i’ll be 25 next year. WHAT IF I’M SINGLE AT THIRTY!? then there’s fomo. fear of missing out on super cool, super special moments in my future husband’s life. i’d love to be there for his big milestones… but i’m here by my lonesome. then there’s comparison. am i the LAST one in my friend group that is still single? always a bridesmaid never a bride. (27 dresses, anyone?)

i’m a glass half-full kind of person. i get it from my dad. we have this super positive outlook on life + it doesn’t matter what situation we are dealt, we have this ability to adapt + find the silver linings. so when the thought of meeting my husband weighs heavy on me, i think about all of the ways that being single is beneficial. having the freedom to pursue my dreams. to travel. saving money on all the gifts i’d have to buy the guy over the course of a single year, etc etc.

in all seriousness, though, the main reason that i am able to find contentment in this season is because i fully trust God with my hearts’ desires. father knows best. it’s not just about meeting the right person; it’s also about meeting the right person in the right timing. & the thing about God’s timing is it’s always perfect—he’s never late.

my parents met very young. my mom was 14 when she met my dad, 17 when she married him + 19 when she had my sister. twenty-eight years later + they’re still happily (most of the time) married. i grew up certain that i would follow in my parents’ footsteps. maybe not married at 17, but by 20? or 21? i for SURE thought i’d be married by 24. another secret to my contentment has been throwing my own timetable for my life out of the window. easier said than done, but it goes back to the trust that i have in God. i know that anything left at the feet of Jesus is safe + so i’ve left my love story at the altar of his grace + am hopefully expectant for the day that he hands over that first chapter.

until then, i will do my best to single well. to become the person that the person i’m looking for, is looking for. to continue to practice the discipline of keeping God first. i want him first in my life + first in my marriage—that’s a learned discipline that i’m still trying to navigate through. progress, not perfection.

my advice for you?

be patient. wait for the right person. there are a lot of lonely married people.

let jesus satisfy your inmost desires, because he’s the only one that can. + know that when God brings that person into your life—it’s going to be wicked awesome. just don’t get published on dirtybootsmessyhair before me, k?

one final piece of advice: read romans 8:25. as often as you need to. maybe everyday, maybe every hour.

“but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

i think you’re worth far more than rubies. i hope you think so too.

all of my love,

jess