Guest Blogger: Identity

Sonnet

I reached out to my good friend (and talented writer) Sonnet Alyse* to share her thoughts on singleness.  She graciously accepted and the post Identity was the result.

But before we begin…

Meet Sonnet Alyse

I’m a native Texan, but I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel to many cities and countries.

I come from a Christian family, whose love and faith have helped shape what I look for in a spouse and how I value myself as a Creation of God. That being said,  I went through a difficult time when I was twenty: the guy I loved, broke up with me for someone else. During that time, I struggled with image and self-worth. But I  finally found healing through the truth of God’s unconditional love.

Today, I work part-time as I prepare to move to Ecuador to work with at-risk youth.

*Don’t forget to check out her blog- www.wayfaringwordsmith.blogspot.com


In a relationship… Engaged…Married… Single?

In an age of online profiles, it’s important to remember that you are not defined by your ‘relationship status’.

If someone asked me to toss out a group of adjectives to describe myself, I would probably respond with, “Christian, creative, optimist,” with things such as reader and adventurer thrown in for fun. I wouldn’t start with “Oh I’m single”. Conversely, if my “relationship status” were different, I probably wouldn’t respond with “Well I’m married”, or “I’m dating”. Why? Well, those types of labels merely describe a part of me, a possibly passing state. It’s not an intrinsic characteristic the same way that being an “introvert” or “musician” is for others.

However, if someone asks me some form of the “Are you dating/married/single” question, I’ll have to answer “single”.  And depending on the way someone asks the question and the way they look at me when they hear the answer, my answer may come with an uncomfortable twinge. But I’ve found that when I focus on who I am in Christ, I begin to care less about which relational category I fall into.

Some people, I know, have let their relational circumstance define them.  The need to be with someone at all times has caused them to lower their standards, with painful results.

However, instead of focusing on the lack of a wedding ring, I’d rather focus my attention on raising my standards in other areas of life such as…

  • learning a new musical piece
  • running a marathon
  • traveling
  • reading a list of great books
  • or doing a bunch of cool things with friends

I don’t like to think of this time  of singleness  as just a time of ‘waiting’. I prefer to think of it as a time of being myself, strengthening relationships with family and friends, and finding my true identity in Christ.

Of course being single isn’t always easy. My two closest friends are not only married, but each have two young children. In fact, I was in their weddings. I helped throw their baby showers. I visited them in the hospital and held their newborns. Although I’ve always been someone who can live vicariously through others – soaring on the joys and crying the tears of those I love – I have asked the question, “When will it be my turn”? When will I be the one blissfully throwing the bouquet instead being the one standing in a crowd trying to catch it?

And on that note, that moment, the bouquet toss, that’s the one moment in a wedding that I don’t like. Because truth be told, I love weddings until that moment. I can handle “RSVPing” as party of one, because weddings are a happy, beautiful thing to be a part of. (I will smile, cry, laugh, and dance with the best of them.) But that moment, is the one moment  in my life when someone turns on the spotlight that says, “You’re single. Get up there!”  It’s that one moment in my life that I’m defined by my singleness.

Someday, my prince will come…

Every young girl learns something from Disney movies, which she’ll likely never forget- someday, according to all the fairy tales, her prince will come. But until that someday arrives for me, I’d like to be able to tell good ‘ol Charming that I have been living a life that’s been brimming full of…well, life!

I’m not hoping for someone to complete me, but  I am praying for a godly man to come alongside me. When that day comes, we will serve Him in an even deeper way, relying on each other through Christ and loving one another with a fullness of joy. I long for that day, I do. I yearn for that love, that emotional and physical intimacy that the right man will bring.

-But-

I also have what I believe is a healthy fear of the magnitude of marriage. In an age of divorce and separation, I fully intend to say “‘Til death do us part” and mean it. It’s not something I plan on taking lightly. There will be no trial period or escape plan. But I can’t do it on my own. I feel that I need to work on being the person God wants me to be and finding fullness in Him before binding myself to another fallible human being.

I know my faults. I know that no matter how much I love someone, my faults (and his) will come between us and will  have the potential to cause irreconcilable differences. So while I often ache to be loved, I have to tell myself that God fully knows the desires of my heart” and has a plan for me. But,  I am to be His bride first and foremost. I need to let Him be my fullness. Then, if He chooses to bless me with a husband, that love will be all the richer.

So, to those who are married, engaged, or in a serious relationship: I’m so very happy for you. Just please remember: I’m your friend- not your single friend. Just your friend. I’m not putting a reverse label on you. I don’t label you as my ‘married friend’.

I’m a flawed and beautiful person. That is my heart and that is who I am. Someday I’ll meet someone and we’ll trade the keys to our hearts, but until then, I’m much more than just a label or an online status on a screen.

To you who are also single, enjoy it.

  • Be a traveler
  • An artist
  • A really good friend/sister/daughter
  • Live without excuses or regrets
  • Be a good and faithful servant of our loving God. He hears our prayers before we say them.

But remember, we are not just “single”. We are His.

Sonnet Alyse

Laws of Attraction: Let’s Get Practical Part 2

BoyMGirl2

Disclaimer: I believe…

  • in the sovereignty of God.
  • that God’s timing is often not our timing.
  • that no one can provide a surefire-money-back-guarantee on how to find the love of your life.

-However

I think that some of us could use some practical advice about attraction and dating. So, if you will indulge me, here are my two cents.

(To read the first part of the series, go here )

5. You Might Have To Be Proactive (especially if you are out of school)

If you’re like me and you grew up in the church, inevitably, someone will tell you that you need to just “wait on God” and when the time is right, God will bring that person into your life.

In all honesty, I think this approach is strange, especially since we seldom apply this kind of logic to other areas of our lives.

If I said that I wanted to find a church, a job, or even a hair dresser (which we all know is hard to find), few people would tell me that I should just pray and wait for God to fulfill my desire in His timing.

Let me say something that bears repeating (or at least needs to be put in bold font 😉 )

Being proactive doesn’t mean you are desperate. 

And for those who are no longer in college, the reality is, there may not be a large pool of potential dating partners in your social settings (work, church, apartment complex, etc.).

In fact, in the book How To Get A Date Worth Keeping, Dr. Henry Cloud remarks that the college experience creates multiple opportunities to meet potential dating partners due to demographics and social activities. But upon graduation, those great demographics and social activities tend to  dry up. Which means if you want to meet like-minded people in a similar age bracket, you might have to be proactive.

Being proactive can be as simple as joining a co-ed organization (e.g. a sports team or a  meetup group) to something more intentional like going on a blind date or meeting someone online.

However, if you make the decision to try to “put yourself out there”, please remember…

6. Don’t Take Things Too Personally (especially in the “getting to know you stage”)

Just because the object of your affection doesn’t want to sweep you off your feet and ride off into the sunset, doesn’t mean that there’s something horribly wrong with you. Sometimes when romantic opportunities don’t work out, it can be a good thing. You, and the other person, may not be a great fit for each other.

For example, when I was in college, I went on a few dates with a fellow coworker-scandalous…I know. 😉 Although he was cute, friendly,a great guitar player, and really nice, we didn’t share the same convictions about God and other areas of life. Since I was (and am) looking for someone who shares similar values, we didn’t go beyond the friend stage.

And to be honest, when I look back at the other relationships that didn’t pan out too well, I’ve come to realize that it was probably for the best (kind of like the old Garth Brook’s song “Unanswered Prayers”).

It’s been my experience that if we seek God and prayerfully seek His guidance (and listen to the warnings of friends and family), we can spare ourselves a lot of misery and heartache. Sometimes not getting want we want can be a blessing.

And finally, just to clear up any misconceptions…

7. It’s Okay To Be Single

I think that when some people say, “I found love when I wasn’t looking for it”, what they really mean is “I was open…not obsessed.”

From my perspective, it’s perfectly acceptable to put yourself in situations where the odds of finding a match are stacked in your favor. That being said, sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, great haircuts, and witty conversational banter, we still may find ourselves unattached.

This situation can be frustrating, hard, and painful.

My solution is…proactively wait.  Meet other people. Pursue your passions.  Own your feelings and desires.  You may not meet “the one” on the time table that you hoped for, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fulfilling relationships or even learn how to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex. The key is to seek balance. Don’t obsess, but don’t repress.

Hope this information helps. 🙂

-CS Woman