“You will realize that a little loneliness goes a long way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colorful you.”
I took myself on a date today.
It’s something I started about a year ago. The art of dating myself.
It’s not the same as typical dating. (At least, I don’t think so. I have about 0.007% experience in that category.) No hair-gelled man pulls into your driveway at a quarter till 7, no butterflies erupt from your lower intestine. You always have to pay. And when you show up to your date, there’s no one there but you. You pick the restaurant or the movie, use your own gas money to get there. You show up on your own time. And you keep your own company.
And I know, it kind of sounds pathetic. But I have learned that it actually takes a certain kind of strength, a certain knowing about who you are, one that I want to be in the very core of who I am.
Summer has been longer than I’d hoped. I’ve learned that one way to detect the Will of God is by asking yourself if you would have written your story the same way it is. If the answer is no, then well, you’re probably exactly where He wants you to be. I would have never written the pangs of loneliness into the fiber of my story, but it has been a centerpiece, and because of that I know that it’s important.
I think I date myself partly to find out why.
Today I chose a local organic coffee shop, somewhere I could write and read and drink almond milk lattes, which are just really, really good. I don’t know how they make milk out of nuts but I don’t care as long as I can drink it all the time. I let myself sleep in, applied lipstick to the sound of the Backstreet Boys (yeah, you heard me right), and donned my favorite new pair of checkered black and white shorts that are probably super unfashionable but I’m gonna wear the heck out of em anyways.
At a table by the corner I write to you today. It’s an odd thing, wearing your favorite lipstick that no one will see, but I think it’s important, and I’m here to show you why.
A special part of you grows inside when you show up for yourself, and that is why I believe singleness to be a gift. If I had my way, I would never choose it to be like this. I want a love story, a man that sweeps me off my feet, tells me of the beauty I possess and appreciates my ugly checkered shorts. Of course I want that, don’t we all?
But there is a strong danger in premature romance. Many people never let the loneliness settle in. Instead, they search for counterfeit love and steamy infatuation, lowering their standards and pretending they don’t exist.
Standards will lead to some quiet days in coffee shops, girls, but I believe that it’s worth it. Oh, is it worth it.
I’m at that age, maybe you are too, where friends are being married off and relationship statuses are a huge deal. And it makes sense- the older we get, the more we start to feel our God-given desire for companionship. We want to know we won’t be alone, that our adventures won’t be quite as scary with a man by our side. Because the truth is, that’s probably true. Mountains probably wouldn’t be quite so hard to climb with a strong man helping you up. But maybe, just maybe, this point of this whole season isn’t ease. Maybe it’s depth.
What if we stopped viewing single years as a waiting room and instead recognized them as a wide open door for the most important truths we will ever learn about ourselves? We are beautiful, strong, courageous and ambitious young women, and my prayer is that you know that to be true, deep, deep inside of you. Don’t hate me, but my prayer is that you find yourself alone sometimes, that you settle down into a latte with only God for company. And I pray that you find yourself there.
Because if and when that man finally looks up from whatever the heck he’s been doing for the past 23 years and finally sees you for the radiant woman you are, I want you to be so enthralled by the love of God that you hardly notice. I want singleness to do it’s work in you, showing you who you were meant to be on this Earth and what God has created you to do. And I want you to do it.
I found writing in my loneliness. Last summer, I had an internship several hours from home or any familiar face. For the first time in my life, I was alone in a strange city. Without a car. I had a bike, though, and after work I would ride it 3 miles to the nearest Barnes n’ Noble and I would write. I would write about anything and everything because I learned that it had a way of filling the empty seat across from me.
But my favorite thing to write about was my own story, the one that God was writing in front of my eyes. I began to realize that those long, hard days I was living were working to create the backbone of who I was. That the moment the page turns on my singleness and I find myself living a new story, the person this season created me to be will matter more than I ever could imagine.
It breaks my heart that so many people cut it short. They sell out, marry people that haven’t yet learned who they are. I get it – loneliness hurts. It’s not easy, and not always fun. But girls, listen, it’s worth it. Allowing this season to run its course is worth it. Keeping your standards right where they should be is worth it.
So wear your new pink lipstick and lavender perfume, and celebrate the fact that you’re alive. Celebrate the fact that God speaks loudest when we’re alone long enough to hear Him. Go on that trip and take that job and lean heavily on the God that is strong enough to sustain you.
And please, please, please don’t think I have this all together. Honestly, the reason I’m writing this post in the first place is because I needed to hear my own words. My heart hurts- I’m not afraid to admit it. Wedding talk has been flowing from friends and family members, their stories at a very different place than mine, and it’s not lost on me.
But there is beauty in it, and please, pretty girl, remind yourself of that day in and day out. Satan will try and use it as a foothold- don’t let him. Every day- don’t let him. Fight it and choose to follow Jesus.
And that’s my letter to you, friend. Maybe more of a word-vomit sundae, but words that need to be said. Words that I need to hear – if even from myself.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”