Friday, November 21, 2014

The Truth About: Being Single (4/4)

Dear Lord, please guide me in friendships and potential relationships, open my eyes to see genuine people and help to know when to put myself out there and when to save my time and energy. Help me to always put you first. Help me to be content if I should marry or if I should stay single. Help me to remember my contentment isn't based on marital status but based on your life, on your love, and grace. Help me to remember while friends come and leave, whether I am married or single, that you remain constant.

Help me to remember your loving-kindness to me no matter wherever or whoever I am; single or married. Help me to remember in Your Kingdom such differences which to us seem huge actually matter very little compared to your goodness. We are of one body, brothers and sister in Christ.

Help me to remember that I can learn from those who are married and those who are parents. Help others to know they can learn from me as well, only I must be willing to speak.... Help me to speak. help others to speak up, to speak out, that we may not hide in the darkness of superiority or fear, of pride and perfection, or lack of identity and a good self-image. Help us to lay down our defenses, turn to one another, to support one another, in our sorrows as well as in our joys.

Help us not to forget our importance is not based on marital status but on knowing you and making you known to others, by being a light in this darkened world. Help us when our priorities are skewed, when our desires might not have you first. Let us know you hear our heart... but let us not be so focused on our wants and desires that we forget our need for you, that we forget to be thankful for the good things we have in this life.
Also, help us to persevere and keep focused. 
Life is full of easy distractions. A-men.

~ Single Me

Image: 1

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Truth About: Being Single (3/4)

From November 2013 through June 2014 I wholeheartedly put myself into the world of online dating. Despite all the messages sent and hours upon hours spent on these sites, I only ever went on about ten dates, some being chats on Skype when distance was an issue. While I know many others who met this way, even as one who is more introverted and enjoys writing, I began to find online dating very unperson-able and detached. I missed actually meeting and getting to know someone, in-person.

Most people online project an image to attract others, sometimes it is older pictures of how they used to look while other times they have pictures of all the trips and fancy places they have visited. Most want a relationship ideally but don't seem bold or brave enough to do the one thing that truly matters, be themselves. Of course, that takes vulnerability.

There were some occasions on dates where women would passively belittle the place I chose to go or some interest that I enjoyed. Other times I would express an opposing view on something and they would be taken aback. I could tell this is not what they desired, for what they seemed to expect was someone to agree with them on everything, to find only commonalities. True, while commonalities and interest are important, what I found through all of this was that differences make us unique and interesting.

More than anything I found out I want a woman who will disagree with me, who will challenge and encourage me, to throw me off my game and keep me on my toes. I don't desire someone who will change me but instead someone who will make me think and who will call me out in truth when needed. This, of course, would be reciprocal.

However, after months of online dating, of beginning to feel detached, I decided to pull back, at least from being so intentional and spending so much time. I really feel like I get more out of meeting real people, making real friends and being around others with whom I can be myself, instead of feeling like I have to project a certain image, facade, and send the perfect message to connect at all. I've learned when it comes to dating, it is far less important to focus on the when and how and instead to focus on the who, on the character and depth of a person, as well as their intellect, humor, and of course their commitment to Christ.

Today while working I sat with a man weeping and yelling, his wife had just died suddenly. He truly cared for her deeply. That is what I want. Despite feelings of loneliness, I do not want to just get into a relationship or marriage with anyone, to simply not be alone. And as difficult as this journey has been, I also do not want to just give up either. There is something to be said for persistence and perseverance, for finding strength in our weakness, for believing that God can and does still do amazing things. And it is for those things and people we care about the most deeply that we struggle, work, weep, and cry.

So, I press forward, I grow in this; unable to know the eventual outcome until my life unfolds completely. But I do know that I am kept in Christ, that when everything else is stripped away, when others are taken away, when all else fails, still.. Christ remains.

To God be the glory, always. A-men!

~ Doubledb

Images: 1 : 2&3 =BMW DVD: Season 1

The Truth About: Being Single (2/4)

What you do not see and do not hear, are all the things singles hide from you. those singles not seeing anyone or who are dating but hide their feelings of inadequacy and doubt. Some dating or in a relationship hide the same things, all fearful of the unknown, of being hurt, but desiring to put themselves out there to find love and also avoid the biggest fear of all - facing the future alone.

Sure we start out with friends, but as one grows older, as one moves, friends get engaged, married, have kids, and start families. These things create distance, couples find friends with others couples and parents with other parents. Over time singles get use to being alone, having friendships drop; the un-returned calls, e-mails, messages.. it all just becomes the norm. This is simply the way of things.

The single learns to invest wisely in friendships, for these are the people who choose to stand beside you in good or bad times; yet there is a slight reluctance to put too much effort into friendships sometimes, as some can be fickle and few of us find good-quality friends that will reciprocate in ways we want - even more-so in ways we need.

Oh, there is certainly joy in our life. There are hobbies and interest, not all is perpetually sad or confusing, not all is alone-ness, but somewhere, in all the ways we will try to distract ourselves; all the books we read alone, all the movies and TV shows, the additional jobs we take, and even the times we volunteer. It is there. In the background, always there is the question: Will I always feel alone? Will I always be alone? Will God provide me friends? Will God provide me a spouse? These questions surface the most as singles try to sleep or as they rise early, in the silence of those times. This is part of the single life.
But all is not wanting, all is not alone-ness, for there is pursuit and being pursued, feelings of anticipation mixed with caution, nervousness mixed with excitement, feelings while trying to maintain some logic and sanity.

~ Single Me

Image: 1: 2

The Truth About: Being Single (1/4)

Single, married, divorced, parents, rich, poor... most of us hide our insecurities, issues, troubles, trials, struggles, longings, and questions. Someone always has to be the first one to open up, start the conversation, break the proverbial ice. The problem is... opening up is scary.

A few weeks back I wrote a post about forsaking fear-based living, one of the things I fear opening up and writing about is being single. First, not everyone needs to know your personal stuff nor your deep and inner thoughts. Secondly, by opening up and writing, not only does one get to have such thoughts and feelings released, but these thoughts may help another person along the way. At least, the hope for a writer is that the words will not just go out into the dark void of the internet and the hope for a conversation if the other person doesn't just respond to such depth by sitting in stunned silence or running from you as if you were on fire. If this happens often, you might consider getting new friends, just a suggestion.

The truth is, I don't like to write about being single. Being single is confusing. Obviously I've been confused for a while now. It is also vulnerable, especially writing about it, opening up about the thoughts and feelings that well up inside. Most of the time this is simply too difficult, too taxing, and most of us, including myself, leave this part of our life silent, except maybe for a select few.

It means opening up a part of yourself you would rather keep hidden from others, and even from yourself. It means letting others into a part of your life in which you may feel the most inept, most unsure, even bitter. Even though I do write about being single occasionally on my public blog, it is only in general broad strokes, usually from an intellectual, not emotional, level, for this is far easier (and safe) than putting the whole truth out there.

If I could pick one show that is the closest to how it feels to be single, I'd say "How I Met You Mother" is the closest for me. Ten Seasons and Ted only meets his wife (the mother) at the very end. The show is all about his struggles and joys, not just in finding his wife but in his friendships and in finding his own identity: How do I approach failure? How do I deal with married and single friends? Friends with children? How do I deal with feelings of alone-ness, confusion, and even joy by myself? If I share such feelings with others, to whom do I share? These are questions the show tackles with its brand of humor mixed with drama, comedy mixed with emotion, laughter mixed with truth.

Still, the one truth that I have found is that while no single 'dates Jesus', He is our friend, our teacher, our center. God is ever-present with us, as well as the Holy Spirit as our guide and counselor. When we lose our focus on these truths, our (pursuit of) friendships and relationships become idols.

~ Single Me

Image: 1 : 2

I Don't Believe in "The One"

How a Professors Words Changed my Thoughts on Dating & Marriage

When I was in college...
I remember the day my Old Testament professor said these words:
“I don't believe in the one.”


This shocked everyone: How could he not believe in finding the one? How could he not believe in love? He's married, right? Doesn't he believe in God's plan for us all? Especially this was astonishing and disconcerting to the females who asked: And how does your wife feel about this? The professor with a thoughtful yet stoic face replied that she knew and agreed.

Slowly a smirk and grin began to appear on his face. This is when he began to speak that, of course, he believes in love; however, we are ever-saturated by a world and media that shows us these exhilarating love stories, how two people meet in the most random way, at the perfect time, and both of course are super-attractive.

The problem is that none of that is real life. A real love story is complex, has layers. Love takes action, time, and wisdom to find and grow. It takes sacrifice. Real love desires but respects. It is something in our control and yet seemingly out of our control at the very same time. However, real love is always a choice. A choice we make each and every day one way or the other.

Indeed, love is formed from every choice made. Every new friendship made, every time you shake a hand or say hello; every invitation, message, and conversation you have is a choice, whether initiating or reacting. Any love, any bond; friendship, relationship or marriage is based on choice.

Then my professor made a point I have never forgotten. He said he believed there are many potentials of someone to love. There are many people you could fall in love with, connect to through physical attraction, intellect, humor, music, and faith.

He told us we would meet many of these people before and after getting married. However, when you walk with someone, get married, and make that commitment, and then journey with that person in life – then and only then does that person become the one, your one; you for them and them for you. Not based off fate or two half’s becoming whole but based on attraction, wisdom, friendship, choice, commitment, and the life-long bond that creates.

Then when you meet someone else who might know more, be more humorous, or even more attractive. You can appreciate these qualities but that person is not the one. The one is the person with whom you are married, committed, and faced life with through all of its highs and lows, obstacles and challenges, joys and celebrations. At one time meeting such a person, they might have been a potential one, now they are others; acquaintances and friends.

It is this truth, he said, that holds and bonds a marriage together and keeps temptations to go after others, to wonder what-if, and even to get divorced at bay. It's about choice, commitment, and a shared life – not finding the one. So, I don't believe in the one, he said...

You become one over time.

~ Single Me

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meeting Leslie: Part 3

The last few months have been very confusing for me. Before "Leslie" left for college she kept putting off seeing a movie with me.. maybe next week she kept saying. Then I said I thought it would be better if we did not hang out one-on-one since she had a boyfriend. I tried to message her a few times that month and she just kept saying she was busy.

So, I met up with her when I went to go do an orientation for my second job in another city. She was supposed to get a group together, which happened to be one other person who ended up leaving before I got there, so I said we could go ahead and meet since I was already in town. We had a good time, at least I enjoyed spending a little while talking to her. We did hug as I left.

A few weeks later I got her address to sent her some of my books to borrow, related to something we had talked about when I talked with her. Shortly after I suggested we try to catch-up on Skype or through a phone call. She seemed genuinely interested and told me she made time on her calender. Since our schedules had both been so crazy I was excited to get to speak to her in person, because I tire of the internet, even if I do like to write... being away from friends and family so much makes you crave real interactions with peoples tone, humor, body language, and actually seeing their face.

So the day came and I was ready to get on Skype in an hour to chat with her when I see a new message. I just knew this was bad. I think I almost knew this was coming. She was going to cancel on me. Sure enough, my fears were true. She and her boyfriend had a talk (in the three hours since we had confirmed meeting that night on Skype) about hanging out and talking to someone of the opposite sex on the phone or on Skype.


I replied that I understood but I was sad, though I couldn't truly admit why I was hurt. My brain told me I was stupid, because she has a boyfriend, what are you doing? I told my brain I was trying to be friends, at least, try to continue to connect with her, even if I cannot tell her how I feel right now, especially now with this. My feelings told me to feel horrible, that it was ok, that my brain was stupid and over thinks everything anyways, sometimes it is ok to follow your heart, to try to connect with someone, and when that connection is blocked, it is ok to be sad and grieve a little.

So, We can still do group things, only with our schedules and her being out of town... I'm just not sure how much that will really work. I try to remind myself that friendships take months and years to form, and relationships that potentially grow out of a friendship take time as well. Still, I keep finding myself asking God: Why am I in this situation? Why did I meet this women? Why did I meet her now when she has a boyfriend and not at some other time? I mean, it would have been much more convenient otherwise, right? But that is simply not how real life works.

So, this is where I find myself. I included her in a message with friends for some group stuff I'm trying to plan, though I don't know if any of it will work out or if she will even be free. Frankly, I don't know what I am doing or why I care to try so much here. I guess when you feel you connect with someone, that urge can be very strong and since I don't find myself connecting with a lot of people where I live, I guess I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I think she is worth the effort, even if it is only friendship... but I question how much effort and when does it make sense to stop.

I pray God guide me and direct me here. I've always felt a disconnect between God and my dating life. I am sure he is there and is involved, I'm just not always sure exactly how. But still, I press forward. I'm not saying I am not looking to make other friends or wouldn't be open to meeting or dating anyone else if that happened, but if the last year has taught me something, it is that finding, making, and keeping friends in this new place is going to be very difficult. People have other friends and routines, so new people mostly have to be invited into this system, trying to create one of your own from the random people you meet and know seems almost impossible here.

And so my story keep unfolding,
Though I am not ever quite sure exactly where it is going.

~ Single Me

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Adult Friendships: Part 2 of 2

In all truth, I don’t think we consciously know what we are doing all the time. I think after so much time it becomes like second nature. We hear a new friend say something that triggers a memory and we retreat. We offer to hang out or talk, they say they are busy or do not respond, and so our first and initial reaction it to cut them off because we don’t like even the potential and possible hint of rejection.

Finally, I think it is more difficult to become friends as we get older because, not only does it mean being open and vulnerable with another person; but it means that we have to carve out time from our life. One has to be a lot more intentional.
> When we were young we didn’t have as many responsibilities and friends; yet, as we get older our list of duties, of rules, of hurts, of wounds; all of these things grow and become part of who we are inside. To become friends later in life means letting someone into this larger and more complex world that we have become. I think we find this scary. I think the reason it is harder to make friends as one gets older is simply this: Fear.

There was a time when we were young and innocent, that we trusted others, when we simply asked someone if they wanted to be friends; however, now we become much more general, asking people if they want to hangout sometime or how they are doing? We put these responses out there, seeing, hoping to get a response. How and when the person responds either continues the friendship and brings connection or severs it.

Today, be thankful for the friends you have but also do not let your thoughts stay on thankfulness alone but on building and nurturing such friendships. The old ones, people whom you loved and cared for, go back and thank these people in some way, let them know how they have personally touched your life.

>What about those new friendships? Work on carving out time to make new friends, friends who might be different than you, who will stretch you and help you grow. Put effort into friendships with real people, get off your computer, your cell phone, or your tablet. Go out into the world, speak to people in person, call someone on the phone and connect.

Today, remember and honor friendship. And remember, friendships takes two people, so if your efforts are not appreciated or reciprocated, pray to God that he connects you with someone who will appreciate you, appreciate your uniqueness, how God created you as an individual, and find someone worthy of a true and intimate friendship with you.

You deserve it. You are worth it.

~ Single Me

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Adult Friendships: Part 1 of 2

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about friendship and how important friendship is in our lives. Think about growing up and how many friends you have now, how you might not even remember how you became friends with any of these people. Wasn't it so much easier back then to make new friends, even to get into a relationship?

Will you be my friend?
Do you want to hang out with me? Yes or No?

It is amazing to me that as we grow up and become more complex, so does the way in which we approach relationships. I suppose when we are young, we can easily bond over the class we are in, a particular sport we both play, or that we both seem to have the same hankering for chocolate ice cream.

Somehow, as we grow and mature, so do our taste. However, I think we might have become too picky. That person is too nerdy, too rich, too poor, and too different; so instead of trying to pursue friendship, taking a chance on the fact that different-ness might be beneficial, we usually just decide not to pursue that relationship at all.

I wonder if it goes deeper, maybe we don’t want to be seen with that type of person. Perhaps they are religious and we are not, or they wear different clothes than we do. Still, I wonder if it goes even deeper than we might be aware.

I wonder if as we become older and more complex, we found others had a tendency to judge us, either aggressively or passive-aggressively. Perhaps they found faults and threw them back in your face. Perhaps they let you hear a harsh truth and you never forgave. Maybe you were rejected and it still hurts. I think as we grow we have these wounds that never really heal, likely because we tend to run from such confrontations, so when we trying to pursue friendships we take this baggage with us.

More to come…

~ Single Me

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Building A New Community

I've had a mixture of feelings as of late when it comes to friendship, dating, and God. Sometimes I am pretty pissed at God, bitter that after all this time and how much I have sought after him I am still (feel) alone. Yes, mainly this is in regards to wanting a relationship but also with friendships, which I am making but still trying to build.

At my age you have your life set (sort of), but when you move you come into a totally different landscape, everyone you meet will have suggestions of things to do or people to meet, yet few take the time to get to know you, to invite you to do things. You have to be the initiator and as an introvert this gets very taxing on me.

I much prefer to be the guy who sees the new person and introduces myself and invites them to hang out with a group. I do not by any means prefer to be that new guy, especially if you don’t feel others are really taking time to get to know you. I feel this way in friendship and with potential relationships.

I have a few people I am glad to meet here but I have to initiate everything, which makes the friendships seem pretty one-side and lack that reciprocity I would prefer to have at least some of the time.

Sometimes I feel like I am using too much of my energy, trying to give out too much of myself, trying to tell my story to too many people... and I get little in return. I try to distract myself by watching movies, reading books, even playing computer games but the feelings of loneliness are there, of wanting to be wanted, wanting to be invited, wanted to be known.

Isn’t this all of us? I’m surprised how many of us feel alone yet shrink back into our abodes, our mediocre friendships, settling for less with people who don’t value or care for us... or at least not enough to seek us out more often and ask how we are doing.

How can we be so connected with one another and yet so very far apart is surprising. Why are we so prone to hide ourselves, to not let others see who we really are? But then, I feel like when I put myself out there I get smiles and well-meaning responses but rarely does it turn into action. Any relationship, including friendship, is built upon time, reciprocity, and trust.

Half of the time I want to ask people why they don’t respond or why they tell me about all these things to do around town but do not invite me to come with them. I want to know why they would see a person who is new and ignore them. I guess we all have our priorities, but then you find yourself on the bottom of everyone else’s list. You just begin to feel down and a bit depressed. You want more but can’t force relationships.

These last months I have begun to see how people who are single depend on God a lot more, especially for those single people who find themselves moving for whatever reason and having to start over again and again. They have to build new relationships, friendships, and communities every time. True, some do find this easier than others, because for some they just have those personalities that attract others.

For the others who are quieter and laid back, it can be extremely tough to find those friends, sifting through all the people, seeing who you connect with, and out of those who will spend time and reciprocate your feelings.

So, today for those of us who feel lost in that void, stuck in the middle. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am not alone. There are many of us who feel alone out there, while all these people pass us by everyday. Know my reader, that God is always there, that God has never left you. God is there right by your side and desires to know you and for you to know Him. People will fail, friendships and relationships will come and go but Jesus is there with you forever.

When you feel you have had enough, let Him know. When you find a new friend, offer God your thanks - but whatever you do, don’t simply give into those negative thoughts, don’t become a recluse, don’t shut yourself down, don’t retreat from others into your shell. Go out and shine your light. The people who respond to your light will be the ones who are worth spending time and fighting for... but as with everything, it will take time and effort.

May God give us perseverance, strength, patience until then…

~ Single Me

Friday, August 22, 2014

Meeting Leslie: Part 2 of 2

That is when I was completely confused and excited. The next two weeks I tried to plan a time and she would say she was going out of town unexpectedly or because of other previous commitments she was busy. The thing is, she’d keep saying “maybe next week” after with an exclamation mark. Then she told me she was leaving back to college the next week. I was sad we didn’t meet up, a bit confused, and this is when I felt I really wanted to come out and let her know I liked her (or saw potential there), so I wrote out this initial message:
I'm gonna lay all my cards on the table here and be honest…. it is probably good we didn't meet up one-on-one for a movie, even though I know we both want(ed) to. I'll admit, from the first time I asked you if you’d like to get together for coffee or a movie sometime, I was a bit discouraged to find out you had a boyfriend; however, you seemed (and still do seem) a special enough person that I want(ed) to pursue friendship with you.

I think it’s pretty obvious from our interactions and messages that we enjoy being around one another but I will admit I do feel there could be the potential for something more there. With our interactions and how we have danced between spending time together in a group or one-on-one make me think you might as well. Of course, you have a boyfriend and I really want to respect that fact, respect you, respect him, so hanging out one-on-one in person might not be the wisest thing to do right now.

At this point, you don’t have to let me know if you feel the same, cause either way it wouldn't really matter since you are seeing someone and we are friends. But if things should change in the future, you become single and are interested, I would like to ask you out and see if there is the potential for something more there.

That being said, I think it might be good to set some boundaries for the both of us. I'd like to still hang out in groups (your friends or mine), keep up a bit through Facebook, and maybe have a phone call every now and then. I'd be totally down with coming to meet-up with you and your friends depending on my schedule with my jobs. We can just keep one another informed on stuff and I'm sure we will be able to stay connected.

I hope our friendship can take my honesty here. I think it can even though it is relatively new, but I didn't want to wait until later and drop a bombshell on you with this out of nowhere either. I look forward to continuing to know you as a friend…  and as my sister in Christ. Hope your weekend and going back to campus next week goes well. I'll message you again in a while and we can catch up. Later!
I let it sit for days, as I pondered, prayed, and sought advice from some other godly men I know. I wanted to convey to her that I liked her, still wanted to be friends, and wanted to respect her relationship with her boyfriend. But then I was hit by the thought that if I had a girlfriend, I wouldn’t want her hanging out one-on-one with some other guy. That’s when I re-read the message and saw how incredibly selfish parts of it were. As I sought out the wisdom from my friends and prayer, I really felt it was best not to tell her how I felt, but to tell her I enjoyed her presence, getting to know her, and set some boundaries since she does have a boyfriend. Then I sent this message.
So.... I ended up seeing Guardians of the Galaxy with my friend and his wife. It was really good, so if you like Superhero movies, I'd go see it but I liked Spider-Man 2 and the new X-men movie better still.

I think it’s pretty obvious from our interactions we enjoy being around one another as friends which is great; however, I feel since you have a boyfriend hanging out one-on-one in person might not be the wisest thing to do right now. I just want to put that out there. I'd still like hang out in groups (your friends or mine), keep up a bit through Facebook, and maybe talk on the phone every so often. That being said, I'd be totally be down with coming to meet-up with you and your friends depending on my schedule with my jobs. I've been there twice this year and when I wasn't stuck in traffic it seemed like a nice place ;) We can just keep one another informed on stuff and I'm sure we will be able to stay connected.

I look forward to continuing to know you as a friend and sister in Christ as well. I hope your weekend at the fair and with your parents goes well... and going back to campus on Monday. Talk to ya later!
I do hope we can be friends, though I do think even in this message it might be slightly obvious I do like her, the point is to pursue our friendship but with some boundaries that respect her relationship with her boyfriend. Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t do it and don’t think I would like who I would become if I tried to break them up or gave her an ultimatum. So, I prayed to God and sent SEND on that message. I hope we can be friends. I’d like to get to know her more. If this is God's will for friendship only I pray God lets me know. If this is something more, I pray God would open doors and both of our eyes. I pray his guidance and blessings either way. But as always, the future remains uncertain and sometimes you find yourself along for the ride.

This is what it’s like being single…

~ Single Me

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meeting Leslie: Part 1 of 2

After nine months of treading through the confusing waters of online dating, I felt God calling me to something different. But I wasn’t exactly sure what. I cut back on the online dating, rarely checking the site and not sending out any messages over the last month or two. After so long it just became cumbersome, seemed futile, impersonal, and created frustration inside of my heart.

I decided I was going to go to a college and young adult bible study that a mega church runs here. Yes, I was considering I might meet someone there I might want to date but I also just wanted to find some friends, some people who like to have fun, who are in my same life-stage, even if they were a bit younger.

That’s when I met Leslie (not real name). Not the first week but the second week, even then I only got her name and the fact that she was going to be there the coming week. The next week I got her full name and one of her friends name and added them both on Facebook.

A lot of the underpinnings happened in those messages on Facebook. I asked her to coffee or a movie, she said sure, and then later told me she spent the weekend meeting her boyfriend’s parents. She never said she didn’t want to meet, which confused me. I still decided to pull back so I told her and one of her friends if they wanted to do something to let me know. Plans either never happened or kept falling through.

For the first few weeks at the bible study we set separately, either her or her friends couldn’t see me or she sat in the middle of her friends. Eventually she came to either invite me to sit next to her and her friends or she would come and sit next to me. It was nice. I liked her as a friend but obviously since I asked her out for coffee or a movie in the first place there was always that initial attraction. I wanted to acknowledge and respect the fact she had a boyfriend... even if inside I wanted to dismiss and ignore that because of my own desires and feelings.

Well, then I got into a car accident. Those who know me best know I am somewhat anxious driving, but add a car accident and the anxiety of having a rental I can’t get into an accident, and it’s pretty terrible, at least the first few days. Because of this and because I knew she would be driving close to my apartment on the way to the bible study, I asked her for a ride. First, this would help me with my anxiety and secondly, it would give me extra time to talk with her, friends or no friends riding along.

No friends ended up coming, when she texted me that fact I just called them losers and laughed but inside I was obviously excited. It would just be the two of us, not that I would try anything, but I would get to know her a bit more. It was during that ride she brought up her boyfriend, letting me know they were courting not dating. I still do not know why she decided to tell me this fact, being that either way she saw him as her boyfriend so what difference would it make.

After the bible study she was dropping me off and I asked if she… (Then I corrected myself)… she and her friends want to get together to let me know. We had been talking about movies earlier and how I wanted to see “Guardians of the Galaxy”. That is when she said, "If you'd like a movie buddy to go see Guardians, let me know".

To Be Continued…
~ Single Me

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On (Online) Dating and Friendship

Edit: I wrote this a few days ago but have been struggling on whether or not to post this publicly on my blog. I have come to the decision that while most things regarding being single (or married for others) might need to remain private or personal, sometimes we use this as an excuse to remain silent in our struggles, desires, and journey's regarding friendships and relationships. Additionally, I know from some married friends, their struggle can be to maintain that "perfect image" to other about their marriage. The reality is life is full of complexity, lots of confusion, but if we will let Him, God will challenge us to far greater things than we could ever attain and accomplish on our own... because our nature is selfish and His nature is full of love, holiness, kindness, and community. So, here we go...


It's time I come clean, let the rabbit out of the hat, and admit what only a few close friends and family have known the past few months. I have been pursuing online dating, even asking a few females out that I have met face-to-face.

For years I found myself feeling a bit rejected, mostly relegated to the friend part of life with all my female friends when it came to relationships. Since this last November, about nine months, I started online dating after losing weight, gaining confidence, and finally deciding I would put myself in that wacky of world online dating despite my first experience at it a few years previously to be rather odd, if not slightly disturbing... If you call getting messages from sixty year old ladies disturbing. I did.

Let’s just say online dating is such an odd thing and I almost feel sad how many people are relegated to finding someone this way. I find it odd that we cannot connect with one another and network enough to find matches in real life, because in community we all know who is single, their personalities, and yet those looking stay silent (in shame or guilt I suppose) about their desires and longings.

Recently, I asked out a few females I had met in person, which is always a lot more dramatic and emotionally vulnerable than sending out the "hey you" message on a dating site to someone you do not know. The thing is, I've also recently been getting some opportunities to become friends with some females, which is odd when you are in a “dating mindset”, like the one that (online) dating produces, that seems to make women into more of a meat market of potential relationships than actually getting to know them as person, uniquely created by God.


The last few weeks God has really been laying friendship on my heart. I still do not have a lot of friends here in the area. It’s like being the new kid at a school where all the social groups are set and you are trying to fit in, to be accepted, to find your niche.

I read and share articles all the time in my Facebook about how men and women can be friends. I believe that in my mind, ideally, but my life the last few months hasn’t been showing what I profess to believe. It is very easy to cut out females from your life when you are so focused on finding "the one" or a "potential one" that you miss all the friends you could make, even if a relationship is not possible.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. - John 15:12-15
Jesus told his disciples that they were his friends, so friendship doesn’t have to be some derogatory phase regarding the opposite sex in regards to relationships, nor does it mean there has to be some alternative underlying motive. Certainly there may be some form of attraction, but I believe friendship is appreciating the beauty of the other as a person without being in an intimate physical relationship, because the reality is all friendships are certainly emotional and spiritual, if not humorous and intellectual, sharing life with another.

Friendship is also known as "Philo” or “Philia" (Brotherly, Sisterly, or Friendly love) in the Greek and CS Lewis writes about friendship in his book "The Four Loves". There is something there, something God is showing me. Despite not wanting to be put in that “zone”, I question why, what am I seeking? What am I running away from? Am I only seeking what I desire but missing something I need, namely friendship? How can I so quickly dismiss that? How quickly do we dismiss others as friends based on many things like gender, socioeconomic status, etc. That thought is haunting me, convicting me, and God has not let it leave me the last few weeks.

Trust. Hope. Anticipate. Let Go.

So, for now, I am toning down on the online dating. Still pursuing it somewhat but I feel I’ve been stuck in extremes and need to re-prioritize, moderate, to find a balance between giving up or completely giving myself over to the (online) dating system. I think God has another way, a different way, one in which I get to know another, and one in which rejection of a relationship doesn’t have to be the end but can be the beginning of something new, a friendship with someone new, created by God that can add value to life.

What are your thoughts?

How do you feel about (Online) Dating?
How do you feel about friendship?
How about friendship with the opposite gender?

~ Single Me

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On Dating And Becoming Who You Want To Be

Honestly, I never wanted to do online dating. In fact, my preference would have been and will always be to find some woman at church who loves God, we both catch each other’s eye, we become friends, and then it develops into something more. This of course will seem almost effortless.

The Truth: That is unlikely to happen.

First, it presupposes I will find someone at church, when past experience shows that is likely to never happen. All of my efforts to initiate dating with someone from church have never worked out. Secondly, it presupposes she will want to be friend and that she is not currently seeing someone. Thirdly, it also suggests there is a pool of singles in churches, when you can clearly look at the stats and anyone ages 25-35 are basically absent from church.

So, I had to decide to do something else, to be someone else, someone more intentional, aggressive, and willing to take more risk.

I went on a date with a woman this past Monday out of town. We met for dinner and then had a nice walk around a reservoir in that city. While I’m trying to figure out my feelings about her, I’m also thinking about the nurse at work who is seeing someone, not to mention the other females I have messaged or might message online.

This all makes me feel like a... player?

I guess if the women knew, it would make then feel I didn’t value them. But it is difficult to find a balance. In dating you can put all your efforts into one person (which is what I did in the past) only to be rejected or you can start putting yourself out there more and see all of the potentials.

This changes your mind a lot, as far as rejection. making you less inclined to stay in that spot of being hurt and helps to propel you forward; however, it also seems to make you question each woman you meet. Do I like her? Can I find someone better? Should I see where this goes or just move on?

But this also makes you question your assumptions about compatibility. Does she have to be into watching the same movies or TV shows? The same music? Will she like to talk or read about theology or psychology?

These questions begin to be replaced by: What are her values? Would our personalities fit together? Do we and will we enjoy eachothers company? Not to mention, if she is nice, is it a friend nice or relationship potential nice? The hardest thing is trying to figure this out through one meet-up or date.

I always wanted to be a more outgoing person and I have accomplished that in some ways. I feel fine initiating contact and going on dates with different women. But part of me regrets that it can’t be easier. I read books and blogs about (Christian) dating and many say to wait, to follow God, and things will have a way of working out.

I have found in my own life that nothing I have accomplished came through waiting. I never sat by, waiting for a job to call me, but instead sent out multiple resumes a week; so for me, to suggest I should seek God and wait seems unintelligible.

I want to believe it could be so easy, but anything good in my life has come through hard work. If I had known in college what I know now, I would have pursued a lot more women during that time (and maybe gone to less bible studies). But you can’t look backward, only forward.

~ Single Me

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Past vs. Present-Self:
The Struggle to Overcome Insecurities

I'm not really sure I want to write this. I’ve gone from gaining more confidence at times, to finding myself lacking confidence at all. I plan dates, chat online, and am meeting new females, while other times I am at home alone curled up on my couch because it is just emotionally difficult and confusing. I want to open myself up, but the process of finding someone to open myself up to means risking myself and facing rejection, as well as rejecting others.

People who date are brave. I am brave.
But I don’t feel brave.

I don’t know how else to say it, putting yourself out there emotionally is very vulnerable. You are basically putting yourself before another person and seeing if you find enough value in the other to pursue a relationship. In the past, when you are single and under 25, this isn’t as complicated because it can be done by meeting females through friends or through other female friends. However, once you get out of college or graduate school, you have to be more intentional about dating. You cannot "wait" for friendship to see if you like someone or wait for some person to fall into your lap. The truth is, male or female, you have to put yourself out there and also pursue. You gain nothing without taking action, without taking risks. The risk may come out well, but there may also be a long road of confusion and some sticky emotional feelings that arise. You have to be sure about your foundation in life; your family, your friends, and your faith if you are a religious person. Simply put, you cannot put all of your identity into dating, in what these others people think of you, as the people you are pursuing should not hold you up on some pedestal as well.

This past week I was getting tired of waiting. I’ve wanted to pursue some females at work for a while now. Well, one day this week she one working and I passed by one of them and said hi. I work at a hospital and the (damn) floors are always busy and so is the staff, including myself. I thought about the idea for a while now of writing her a letter and putting it in her box but know in-person is always the best choice to ask someone out. This week I just got frustrated with myself and the situation.

I often lack confidence and wait.
Other times I just want to get it over with.
Is there a happy medium?

My anxiety rose that day and I got nervous. I also got a call and had no reason to go back to that area of the hospital that day, unless of course I just began wondering around the halls aimlessly, looking like I am lost when my badge shows I clearly work at this place every day. I wrote to a few friends online to get suggestions, cause I was tired of waiting and thought maybe the letter was a good idea. It wasn’t. It isn’t. It will never be. I know that.

Honestly, I only ever asked one female out on an actual date in person. She did say yes; however, I think by the time I asked her I was well acquainted with the friend-zone and she clearly did not see me in a romantic manner. Despite things not working out there, I’ve found myself through the years asking females out, typically through Facebook if I know them in-person. Only recently, as you readers know, have I pursued online dating. It has given me more confidence, but to say I still don’t have my issues would be incorrect.

What I haven’t shared is that I’ve been chatting with at least three females the last couple of weeks. I even went on a date to the zoo, which was good; however, I did not feel a spark with this female. I felt as if I was asking questions, telling stories, and trying to be engaging and she simply wasn’t responding back. Sometimes it was like talking to a wall. I’ve noticed this with some females I have had coffee with, like they stick to the basics, so while I want to know their personality and hear stories about their life, they seem to mostly want to give and receive facts. If dating is only about facts, I could send you a resume. And well, you DID see my online profile. But that profile is not me. It is an image or portrayal of me. I am a whole and complicated person.

In addition to this, despite losing a lot of weight, I still mentally and emotionally see myself as a fat person. That is just the truth. I can look at my pictures and in the mirror and in my mind know logically I’ve lost weight and am more attractive; however, emotionally I mostly feel the opposite. When I think about asking someone out, I feel like they will reject me because I am a fat loser with no confidence. The irony is I know I am not a loser, know I am not fat, and know by asking I am actually expressing confidence, so long as I'm not mumbling like an idiot. I think it is taking time for my newer image of myself to throw out the older image, writing a new update over the old software that ran my mind and life for so long. I am still that person on the inside, but the dark doubts and ways I felt about myself must change, need to change, simply HAVE to change. They fit me and my life no longer.

Pressing forward is not easy,
but the alternative is that the old ideal of myself will remain,
but it cannot and the new self I am making must rise.

~ Single Me

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two Coffee Dates: Part Two

We both shared stories and asked questions. She told me how she grew up in a home where her mother wouldn’t watch any movie that was R-rated. Of course, we agreed that there are some really good movies that are R-rated. I listed off Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, and then she brought up Fight Club. It is kind of funny because in some weird way I think my heart kind of jumped. The movie is so good because it has so much depth. So, we both talked about our love for the movie and I told her how bad I wanted to read the book.

Our conversation went on from there, talking about family a bit and college life. I told her a bit about some pranks I tried to pull in college until I figured out that while I had a limit, my roommates did not, so I decided pretty early on to accept their pranks but not retaliate lest I be thrown into a never-ending and escalating battle.

What I didn’t tell her was that I did secretly try to think of ways to get them without them knowing: I considered itching powder on their bathroom towels or putting ex-lax in their water or milk (we didn’t share our beverages).

It's SONIC fast!

Honestly I was having such a good time but after an hour I was waiting for the lull in the conversation, much like the lull that happens when you are chatting with someone online or on the phone. I find it is better to try to end the conversation at this point that to carry it on any further, especially when you are just getting to know someone.

So, we decided to part ways and I walked with her outside. As we were walking in separate directions, I let her know that I would be interested in seeing her again. She seemed genuinely happy and told me she would like that. Now, I know realistically that she may have been nice because I put her on the spot; however, I am going to send her a message tonight anyway.

Even if she declines a date, I would totally be fine being friends with her. It has been so hard to meet anyone up here and sometimes this whole online dating thing leaves me with an odd taste, like if we don’t fit, even if they are cool, we just toss that person out of our life.

Maybe it is the introverted part of me, because I only develop a few close friends, so it hurts when they leave and I also hate the idea of investing so much energy into someone only to have it become nothingness. Still, any relationship takes two people, so we will see where things go.

I sometimes think about how arduous this process is, messaging females, barely getting responses for so long, getting rejected, yet trying to remain hopeful. However, I do think rejection from someone you barely know is really a lot less intense than one who is already a friend.

In addition, it is odd that as I have met more females in the last six months than in the last few years. I feel like I am coming to a point in my life where I have to become comfortable being single. For so long I desired someone. It is ironic that now I am putting myself out there. I kind of feel like I am happy with this personal growth but meeting up and going on dates, while progress, do not mean relationships, marriage, or children.

I feel like life and/or God is showing me that I have to be ok with myself where I am at now, that if I cannot be content with who I am, I am never going to be truly happy with someone else. And if I never end up meeting someone, if my focus is purely on finding that person, I will end up sad and depressed and alone.

Therefore, I have been more intentional lately about my faith, my conversations with God, and looking for ways to be more involved at church. I feel like God is doing something in me, helping to make me a better man; yet it isn’t as if I am already changed but like I in a longer and drawn-out process that is happening over time, as small changes are happening. I hope to continue this progress.

~ Single Me

Edit: Female Number Two never did reply to my request for a second date... but this is the way of things I suppose. Still, I press on...

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two Coffee Dates: Part One

Anyone reading this, who knows me, is aware I don’t actually drink coffee, so it was really two hot chocolate dates; however, that title didn’t seem catchy enough.

This week, seemingly with a throw of the proverbial dice, I was able to meet with two females. I will call them female one and two. Female One lived outside of town, so I drove to meet her at a Tim Horton’s in a small town. As I waited I started to get the feeling the rough truckers and day laborers were looking at me with my polo shirt and dress pants, wondering what I was doing in their town. I certainly felt out of place.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity for her to arrive, even though it was only a few minutes. Ladies have a real skill at coming in three to ten minutes past the meet up time. There has to be some book that tells them exactly how to do these things, small things, that make us wait and can drive men a little mad, just ever so slightly.

She came in, we shook hands, and said hello. Before we even made it to the register she pulled out her wallet and took out her card. Apparently, I didn’t have to question one bit if she expected me to pay or if she wanted to split. She is a Resident Director for a woman’s dorm with a background working in youth camps; however, over time all the traveling got to be a burden and she wanted something more stable. Like so many others, she had a difficult time finding a job, so, like myself, she found herself moving out of state and a little far from family.

She was nice, at one point trying to correct herself, even though I told her she had no need to apologize, that it was fine. Why do females apologize so much? I actually find is amazing and sad. What, in our culture, makes females feel sorry for the silliest things that they have no need to apologize for? Is it that females are nicer than guys or are they conditioned to be submissive, so saying sorry a lot comes with that conditioning?

We had a good time chatting and later the next day I messaged her to see if she wanted to go on an official date. I was going to offer to pay but wanted to see if she was interested first. A day later she replied that she did not desire a date but wouldn’t mind being friends.

Now, I always want to take people at their word, and since I am a stranger to her, I don’t know why she would feel the need to say this to "ease my pain" so I told her I would enjoy being friends actually (which was true). However, I did put the ball in her court to message me sometime to chat or maybe get together. See, in the past (See my Dating Series) I would always keep trying to contact females who said they wanted to be friends but obviously they did not, so now I've changed my method. Now I think it is perfectly reasonable that the one who did the rejecting should be the one to extend the hand of friendship, not the one who was rejected.

Then today, yes, just a few hours ago I met Female number two. I know, I should really come up with fake names, right? Anyway, from the moment I met her she smiled and well, she was FUN. Female number one was nice but was almost so intellectual it was like she couldn’t really laugh or enjoy herself, it made her pretty intense, like there was a wall between us in our conversation.

This was different…

Different you say, How so?
~ Single Me

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reasons Being Single (and Living Alone) Is Not Cool

(01) You (Still) Have To Think About Dating.

What are the rules again? Expectations?
Someone slay me now. I don't like this game.

You still read articles or books on dating,
Your friends are reading about marriage enrichment and raising children.

Looks Like He Really Has To Go!

(02) You Don't Have Anyone With Whom To Share Your Life.

You post photos and statuses online and try to feel connected.
You still write blogs, even though it isn’t cool anymore.
You call people to talk but they just seem disinterested in your life.

(03) You Wake Up In Silence.

No, "See you later."
No, "Hey, how you doin?" (in a Joey, from Friends, voice).
No, "Oh your car won't start. Let me take you to work honey."
No, "Oh, you feel sick, let me take care of you today."

(04) You Come Home To Silence.

No, "So, How was your day?"
No, "Let's watch a movie."
No, "Let's go to learn to swing dance."
No, "Lets steal the space shuttle tonight and be the first to get to mars."

This is Houston: Please Return our Shuttle.

(05) No One Sees The Kind Things You Do (And You Don't Want To Brag).

Did you see me let that guy go before me, even though I had the right-of-way?
Did you see me hold the door open for that mom and her child?
Did you see me light that bearded mans cigarette?

Thanks Man. You Rock.

(06) You Get Bored On Weekends And Consider Getting A Second Job.

Extra Money is good, right?
I might need it for future dates.. or student loans!
I might meet someone at another job.
Or I might be too busy and tired to date with a second job.

(07) You Better Yourself But Feel You Are Not Increasing Your Odds.

If I am witty, then they will notice me.
If I am skinnier, then my fat won't matter so much.
If I keep eating meat, vegetarians will not ask me out. There is one win!

Those Veggies Never Saw it Coming!

(08) You Lose Friends Who Get Married.

I got an invite to the wedding. Sweet!
I go and give presents.
Then I stop hearing from them... Priceless.

(09) You See Family And Friends Having Children.

You start feeling your life is one, no - two, no - lots of steps behind everyone.
Life isn’t a competition.
But Rays kid just took his first poo on the toilet (and he just posted a pic).

(10) You Actually Consider Adopting.

You feel you have love to give, but not outlet.
But then having a child seems like a lot of work for open person.
And really expensive.

(11) You Have No Outlet For Your Cheesy Romantic Side.

Roses are Red, My Life seems Blue,
If you go out with me,
Then I will be going out with you too!

See, I'm a natural!

(12) You Feel Like Dates Are Interviews And Wish They Were Fun.

What is your name?
Where did you go to school?
Where were you on April 21, 2029?
Did you really steal a space shuttle with your ex-husband? Cause that’s crazy!

(13) What's Easy For Others Seems Increasingly Difficult For You.

Oh, so you met when you were in High-school... College... Grad school.
Oh, we met after I dated lots of girls and she dated lots of guys.
We met after years of rejection and sad stories.
We met after I accepted that Tina Turner was not my soul mate.
And Burt Reynolds wasn’t actually her ideal match.

(14) You Have Tried, Or Are In The Process Of, Dating Online.

I should do online dating.
I shouldn’t do online dating.
My friends suggested I try.
My friends met through online dating.
My friends just got married after dating online.
Maybe I should try online dating.
I should try online dating.
Ok, answering the first question: Now, who the crap am I?

(15) You Get How Single’s Throw Themselves Into Their Careers.

Young You: Go for the Girl.
Forget your career. Love wins.

Older You: Go for the career.
She will reject you. Money is useful.

Older Older You: Go for the career and date long distance.
You've now got Skype and Facetime! It could work, right?

What do you think?
What things do you dislike about being single?
Do you live alone or with friends/family?

Are you a single parent?
What additions do you have?

~ Single Me

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