Monday, April 16, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: N is for Never Living Up to Expectations #singlenessmyth#14

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than... join me on this journey! 

N is for Never Living up to Expectations.   #14:  Single people never live up to the expectations of their family. 

I'm taking this blog from the perspective of someone who doesn't necessarily feel this way, but has friends that do.  I have heard more than once from people that I love.... "Oh I can't wait till my son/daughter makes me a grandma one day." 

I cringe EVERY SINGLE TIME I hear this.  I cringe because I have parents that know what it is like to not be grandparents.  Sometimes things don't always go as planned.  Sometimes your kids don't have kids.  Sometimes your kids don't get married.  Is it okay to teach kids how to be mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles? Of course it is!  But is it okay to make that their only role in life?  Like if you never become a grandparent are they going to wonder if they have let you down? 

I hesitate to even write this post, because I think that sometimes we want to make excuses for our expectations.  It is cultural, or whatever excuse we have to make expectations of others. 

I am going to tell you this though.  Your kids... they may never get married, they may never have kids.  What are you going to do if they don't?  How would that change the way you parent them now, or would have parented them when they were younger? 

We put enough expectations on ourselves without having to live up to the expectations that others put on us too. 

How can expectations change your relationships with others? 

This post.... I think I just want to leave it there... something to think about.....  do we allow our kids to grow up knowing that they are worthy even without ever getting married or having kids? 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: M is for Moving Past the Friend Zone #singlenessmyth#14

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than...join me on this journey! 

M is for Moving Past the Friend Zone.  Singleness Thoughts #14:  How do you live in the friend zone? 

Okay, so in my lifetime I have had a handful of men that I have come to know as good friends.  Not just acquaintances, but the kind of guys that I could go to and I knew that they would be there for me no matter what.  I knew that they were there to help me through life.  You know what though....  I don't know that I have them any longer.  Something always happens to create this wall between us.  Either it is me that has stronger feelings for them, and they don't reciprocate, or they have stronger feelings for me, and I can't see them as anything more than friends. 

So, when feelings are involved that go beyond friendship on only one side, is there a way to still be good friends?  I have had to think about this a lot lately, because I recently had this situation come up.  Without going into too much detail, I had to ask myself how I was going to protect my heart.  How was I going to make sure that I kept the friendship, but didn't lose myself in the process.  It is so easy to let our feelings get the best of us. 

As a single person I feel like I have to be extra careful with the boundaries that I have.  I am not sure that I was ever taught how to guard my heart.  The safest friendships that I have had have been friendships that have ended up hurting me so much because I let my guard down and then I got damaged. 

So, do we live in the friend zone well?  Maybe some people are better at it than I am.  For me it is a learning process.  I believe in being vulnerable, but I also believe in protecting my heart. 

I guess I will continue to try to live in the friend zone with those that mean a lot to me, but I have to set boundaries, right?  Or else I am just going to keep getting a broken heart. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: L is for Loving Community #singlenessmyth#13

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things I have been learning as 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than... join me on this journey! 

L is for Loving Community.  Singleness Myth #13:  You can only have community with other singles if you are single. 

Here's the thing.... this may seem like the stupidest thing you have ever heard, but I have actually seen it happen before my very eyes.  I have seen single people not get invited to places, and become this little secret society of only single people.  Everyone is at fault here in my opinion.  We as single people, and the married people as well.  We have to branch out of our boxes. 

Yes, it is easy to call that friend that has kids the same age as you, and drink lemonade while your kids play at the park.  You know what though, your single friend that doesn't have any kids would also like to be invited to that conversation.  I bet she would be there in a heartbeat if you invited her. 

Same goes with single people.  Why do we think that our married friends don't want to be friends with us anymore.  Probably because they keep saying they are busy.  Here's the deal though, eventually they will say yes.  Everyone does.  Don't give up on them, keep calling, keep asking.  They really do care, we just sometimes get in our own heads, and create false stories about how other people feel. 

We need each other.  We need community around us, of all kinds.  We need people that are going to call us or message us to ask us how we are doing.  We need that as humans.  We need to know that we are loved and cared for.  If we are only surrounding ourselves with one type of person, then we are missing out on some pretty epic conversations and friendships.  We are missing out on the kind of community that we are supposed to have. 

So, stop just surrounding yourself with people like you... branch out... invite someone to dinner, or to hang out with your group of married friends.  Ask people to join  you even if it is hard, even if you think they might say no.  Because you never know your best friend might just be waiting for you around the corner, and wouldn't it stink if you never got the chance to connect because you were too afraid of what you don't know or don't remember? 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: K is for Kindness Wins #singlenessmyth#11

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things that I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than.... join me on this journey! 

K is for Kindness Wins.  Singleness thought #11:  Kindness for all would help our culture to be more inclusive, and less judgmental. 

I am probably not your typical Christian woman. You see most people automatically judge me when they hear that I believe in Jesus, that I go to church every Sunday, and that I try my hardest to start my morning praying, and focusing on God.  Most people that I come in contact with want nothing to do with God, because they are sick and tired of those that claim to love God, being so harsh to them and those around them.  So, I get a look of surprise when I start talking, because I believe in kindness.  I don't believe that my American heritage comes before my love for God.  I don't actually even believe that America is the best country (cue the shocked faces here).  Some of you are going to freak out at that, and it might even cause you to quit reading.  I am actually okay with that. 

I have found in my conversations, and travels that people want and long for kindness.  Not the kindness that we are prone to. You know the "I'll scratch your back if you will scratch mine" kind.  No, the genuine I care for you, and am so glad you are on earth kindness.  The kindness that says I don't care what you have done or what your background is, I would do anything for you. 

You see that's the kindness that I believe in.  That's the kindness that Jesus believed in and walked out.  You don't have to follow him to know that he was kind.  He was genuine.  He wouldn't have cast out those that we deem as not belonging.  He would have welcomed them, fed them, and found them a place to sleep. 

We all could use a little more kindness.  If we were kind to those around us, then we would be able to accept those of all different backgrounds, whether single, married, or hopping from one relationship to the next.  We wouldn't isolate anyone, because everyone would have a place.  Kindness it's what could change this world, if we allowed it to penetrate deep into our hearts, and change us from the inside out. 

I find though, that we hang on to our inhibitions.  We question whether we want to be kind to someone else, because they might be using us, or they might not be telling the truth about their need.  Guess what?  It isn't for us to question someone's need.  If someone looks like they are in need, then they are probably in need of something.  Maybe they just need to know that there are kind people in the world.  Maybe they just need to know that someone genuinely loves them.  Even if that is all it is, your life will never be worse because you were kind.  I promise you that! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: J is for Just Friends #singlenessmyth#10

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things that I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than.....  join me on this journey!

J is for Just Friends.  Singleness Myth #10:  Once you have been friend zoned that's it, there's no hope.  

I know that there are going to be some very different opinions on this one.  I for one have had multiple different opinions over the past 5 years especially.  I don't even know that I am 100% sold on what I am about to write, but I think I want to believe it is true enough that I am willing to believe it.  

Not too long ago I realized just how real this "friend zoned" thing is.  I was talking to a guy that I speak to pretty regularly and he was telling me about this girl that he has always liked.  There was one night when she suggested it go beyond friends, but it wasn't the right timing for him, and it didn't happen.  He still to this day likes her, but he doesn't want to ruin the friendship, so he is never going to do anything about it.  He says that he has suggested it since then and she has shut him down every time.  

In my experience when two people are really good friends, like in the scenario above there is always at least one that has feelings even if the other doesn't.  Yet it seems like there is always that fear in friendships that it will ruin the friendship.  So, is there really such a thing as being friend zoned?  Are there are lot of single people out there that could be in relationships with their best friends, but they are too scared that it will ruin the friendship?  

I don't buy it. I think that if something is really there, then it would be worth that risk, it would be worth it, right?  It would be worth it to learn and grow in that friendship as a couple.  Isn't life about taking risks?  

I don't believe that going through life scared of losing people is any way to live.  If we aren't willing to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there, then what is the point?  Aren't we called to a life that stretches us and grows us, a life that causes us to step outside our box, and be open to new things.  

I hope if that time comes for me, I will be willing to let down my guard, and give it a chance.  Even if it becomes like this Cole Swindell song.  

Cole Swindell- Break up in the End

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: I is for Ignoring Lies #singlenessmyth#9

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things that I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than.....  join me on this journey

I is for Ignoring Lies.  Singleness Myth #9:  You are single because you are not good enough to find someone there is something wrong with you.  

I am going to warn you this post is going to get a little emotional.  It is going to be raw, and personal.  So, if that isn't what you are wanting from this challenge... then maybe skip to one of the other posts.  

I have never been the girl that men fell head over heels for.  I am not the prettiest person in the world.  My eyes they are probably the one part of me that I have been complimented on the most.  I am not skinny, I think I was for awhile in elementary school, and junior high if I am honest.  But then something happened and it became a struggle.  Then it became the thing that caused me to think that I would never find someone.  It caused me to question my beauty.  It caused me to question my worth, and it allowed me to put myself in a category that I just never have gotten myself out of.  

Not too long ago I had to question a few choices that I had made, and the reasons that I had allowed men at different points in my dating experience to treat me the way that they did.  I had to ask myself why I was allowing giving in to men that weren't even trying to win me over.  Why was I just giving in to say yes when they treated me like crap. I had to ask myself why.  

It is because I believed the lies that I had heard, that I had seen when I watched different shows.  I believed that you were only worthy of love if you were skinny, pretty, kind and someone's idea of a perfect woman.  How many of us have believed these lies?  How many of us still do?  We allow words that have been said to us play over and over again in our mind, and create in us this awful feeling of self hate and disappointment.  

I've had people tell me that I'm wrong.  Here's the thing though, those same people after they tell me that there is nothing wrong with me having never been married or had kids at the age of 36 are the same people that look at me with pity in their eyes.  You see I really did care more about living overseas, and sharing love with people in another country than I did finding a husband right out of college.  Because of that though I feel like I have lost my chance.  It is hard for me to believe that I am single, but it has nothing to do with the way I look, or how I am.  

It is hard for me to believe that I am the only one that feels this way.  

So I take time to look at the lies.  The negative thoughts that want to distract me from living the best life that God has for me.  If I let those lies get to me.  If I allow myself to think about the guys that have been best friends with me, and then told me I wasn't dating or marriage material.  If I allow those words too penetrate my heart, then I will never be able to live this life and give of myself for others.  I will allow the hurt and pain to be too much.  That's not what I want.  I don't want to live anything but the best journey I can.  So, when those lies spring up, I replace them with truths.  

These truths:  

I was created for a purpose.

I am loved.  

I don't have to be married to make a difference in this world.  

I have a family that cares about me and would do anything for me.  

I am worthy of love.  

Everyone is weird.  

I am not too damaged to be loved.  

I was made for community, and to serve those around me.  

These truths help me to let go of those lies, and focus on what's important.  

Monday, April 9, 2018

A to Z Blogging Challenge: H is for How to #singlenessmyth#8

My A to Z Challenge is a blog about singleness.  Some myths, some thoughts, some of the things that I have been learning as a 30 something year old single American woman, in a culture that sees this as something that is less than.....  join me on this journey.

H is for How to not be defined by singleness.  Singleness Myth #8:  I will always be defined by my singleness, there is no way to get out of it.  

It is true that our marital status is a huge part of our culture.  Just like our race, national heritage, economic level, etc is.  We are defined by all of these things.  Here lately though I have felt like across the board our culture has decided that the way we are defined is more negative than positive.  I believe that we are all trying to change this, but I think that there is still a long ways to go.  

So how do I get away from being defined by my singleness?  What do I do?  

First I have to recognize for myself that being single is not something that is holding me back.  I am not missing out on life because I am single.  Sure I am missing out on the aspect of married life, but that also frees me up for a lot of things.  This past winter I was able to volunteer at a homeless shelter once or twice a week.  I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had other obligations at home.  It kept me out till 11:30pm, something that I just wouldn't have been able to do or felt comfortable doing if I had a family at home.  I'm not saying I wouldn't have done it at all, I just probably wouldn't have done it as much.  

I think that how I view my singleness definitely affects how others view it.  If I am constantly posting about wishing I had a husband and kids, then I am not going to be content, right.  I am not going to be content with any part of my life, and people are going to see that.  

Instead if I see my singleness as a gift, then that is going to be how other people view it.  I won't get as many looks of pity as I would otherwise.  

Another thing that I do is fill my life up.  I fill it up with people that are like me, aren't like me, and people that I genuinely just have fun with.  They are my family.  Some nights I do spend at home, but I have come to believe that those nights are for filling my cup back up, so that I am able to go out into the world and serve my community in a greater way.  

The third is that I have an answer for those that ask why I am single.  I don't just say the "I don't know, I wish I could find someone."  I have an answer. I am single because there is something that I need to be doing right now, that I couldn't do married or in a relationship .  That's my answer.  Some days I don't wish it was, but it is. 

Finally how to not let singleness define you is to be who you are.  Don't get stuck on having to go places with people, don't look at every couple holding hands or with kids and let it pierce you like an arrow to your heart.  Know that you are living life the best way you can.  Our culture has programmed up to think that being single is a curse, when in reality being single is sometimes the best way to really understand who you are and the role that you have in this amazing world.