Jul 7, 2013
Girl Talk // The Waiting Game
Part of what I've always wanted for this blog, and really, what it's been from time to time, is for it to be a place where friends can stop, sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, and browse, feeling refreshed or encouraged or that they maybe gained something, whether it be a new recipe or some new insight or just having found a like-minded friend. And so let me take a moment to acknowledge the fact that most of those readers are women, and as women, we like to talk about boys.
So can I do that? Awesome. Thanks.
Two weeks ago, my dear friend Alayna and I visited some senior high girls at a camp, where she spoke to them about purity and having a Godly view of relationships. She did an absolutely fantastic job, by the way.
Sitting in that chapel took me back to my years as a camper (and eventually a counselor) at that same camp, always looking forward to that girls chapel, but always knowing what the ultimate advice would be for a single girl like me..."wait".
(Before I move on, Iet me clear the air...you might be thinking "uhhh...I'm pretty sure you're not single." Yes, I'm not. But I was. For a long time. And I have some thoughts about that waiting game, so stick with me, ok?)
I spent pretty much all of my middle school, high school, college, and even a few post-college years waiting. And so I know, waiting is exhausting. So many times, we impress upon young Christian women that they should just wait...wait on God, wait on the "right" guy, wait on themselves. Trust me, I'm not knocking that advice...it's good to wait. But I also think that so much of what young girls read and hear is that that waiting game will eventually pay off, as long as they just bide their time.
Here's the thing...it's about so much more than just biding time. The church tells single women that they need to seek God and become complete in Him and then He'll deliver Mr. Right. We tell girls that they don't need a guy in their lives, but does our culture (and I'm talking about church culture) really say that?
I spent so much of that waiting working on seeking the Lord whole-heartedly and trying so hard to put aside those desires, but if I'm being perfectly honest, I had grown up with the expectation that as long as I followed the rules and made it look like I didn't need a guy, it would eventually pay off, and I'd eventually have that storybook romance. God would bring my Prince Charming riding in on a white horse.
But God doesn't always. I know plenty of women who are amazing mentors and who are fulfilling God's purpose for their lives without a guy by their side...and not by their own choice.
I doubt that many of those women sat at camp and shrugged off that "girl talk" chapel because they just didn't have an interest in a relationship. And while I'm currently not one of those women, I easily could have been.
There's no recipe, no science behind meeting and falling in love with the right guy. Frankly, until AJ and I are both wearing rings, there's no guarantee beyond the commitment that we've made in a dating relationship that we will never be single again.
So now that I've ripped down most of what Christian culture tells young, single women, what would I suggest instead?
Here are three simple things...maybe they'll lead you to eventually finding your future spouse, maybe not, that's not the point. But I think that at the end of the day, you'll be a happier and healthier (emotionally AND spiritually) person for it.
1. Stop searching. Seriously...one of the biggest things I did for myself when I was in the land of singledom was to just stop looking. Stop eyeing up every guy you see thinking (is he my future husband?). And I'm not saying this in a "as soon as you stop looking, God will bring him to you" sort of way...there's no science, remember!?!
2. Make a list of qualities that the person you want to become would have and make a list of all the things you can do because you're single. Do you need to work on being more humble? A better listener? Do you want to go on a trip with your friends? Move to a new city? I recently listened to an Andy Stanley sermon in which he said "You'll never have more time than when you're single." It's true. I'm not even married and I know it's true. A dating relationship takes time. If you're dating with the intent of it ending in matrimony, it means you now have someone else to consider in just about every decision, and a future that doesn't just include you any more. Making lists like this will help you to rejoice in your singleness instead of viewing it as a curse, which, if you're anything like me, you do.
3. Get involved. Serve at your church. Join a small group. Take a class. First of all, it's a great way to fill time and contribute. But also, getting involved will align you with other like-minded individuals. Individuals who care about the same things you do. Maybe one of those will be the person you spend the rest of your life with, maybe not. That's not the point...you're supposed to stop searching, remember? The point is that getting involved will help you to create deep and meaningful relationships with others who have similar values, and that, in itself, is invaluable.
So that's my take on the waiting game. I'm no expert; I'm just a girl who didn't date until I was in my twenties but still had her heart broken over things she never had, all while "waiting" on the Lord. So if you're 16 and reading this, I hope you take this advice to heart and don't waste this part of your life searching and waiting for and idolizing a relationship...and if you're in your twenties or thirties and reading this, I hope you can find some encouragement in it.
I love girl talk, so you know where to find me if you need me.