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