Faith · Five Minute Friday

Alone, Not Alone {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Friday, which means it’s Five Minute Friday time, where I join up with Kate at the #FMFParty gang to write together one a common prompt, for five minutes only (okay, it might’ve been one or two more today).

Today’s word is: Alone.


This isn’t where I planned to be. Like any normal American girl, I had intended to go to college, decide what I wanted to with the rest of my life, find a guy, graduate, marry, and settle down. Typical ring-by-spring, happily-ever-after life. But four years out from college, I find myself alone, doing something I never imaged doing (though I love my job), fighting an endless battle. Feeling alone, then again, not alone.

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Because some days, I’m thoroughly content with where I am in life. I see how incredibly blessed I am, and know that God has used my singleness to deepen my faith, develop my story, and challenge me to be brave in the unknowns, and I cling to that. I cling to His promises of goodness and walking alongside me, and I know I’m not alone. I am content.

And with a few words, that contentment is completely destroyed, replace with the knowledge that I’m 26, and this “single season” is lasting far longer than I thought possible, and perhaps isn’t just a season. I try to hold on to that contentment, but I’m bombarded by the reality that most view me as a life in hiatus.

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As if I’ve failed. That I’m not complete. That my life isn’t “there yet” because I haven’t conformed to the cultural standard of get-married-settle-down-have-kids.

And I’m tired.

I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of finding a place of contentment, only to have it ripped out from underneath me, making me feel incredibly, utterly alone. Where I’m always the third wheel, or the friend who can’t get her stuff together.

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Last night, it was a comment about having a reunion with high school friends “with all our spouses and significant others”. And it hit me like a ton of bricks….because if I went there, I know I would be made to feel “less than”. Life a failure. Like the kid who can’t get her act together.

And I sat there feeling entirely alone, dwelling in my singleness, my contentment slipping away like smoke on the wind. This place of “dwelling on what I don’t have” isn’t where I want to live, but too often, this is where I find myself.

And the battle resumes: Alone, not alone.


-Jen

 

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18 thoughts on “Alone, Not Alone {Five Minute Friday}

  1. Jen, your words so resonate with me as a fellow upper-20-something single woman. You capture the tension just perfectly – the contentment and knowledge that God is working in my life right now just as it is (that I’m not “late” for whatever he has planned), yet the daring to hope for more, and the comments from others…all I can say is, you’re not at all alone in your experience and feelings! For some reason this line stood out to me the most: “I try to hold on to that contentment, but Iā€™m bombarded by the reality that most view me as a life in hiatus.” Exactly. Thanks for sharing, and have a blessed Friday!

    1. Katy, thanks so much for the encouragement! It is hard to remember that we aren’t late, and something isn’t “wrong” with us. Rather, our paths look a little different than others, and our lives aren’t any less fulfilled than others…or shouldn’t be!

  2. Beautifully said, Jen.

    I didn’t meet my husband until I was 31, and most of my friends were married. I’d almost fallen into the trap of “I have to be married by the time I’m 25.” Obviously, I’m glad I waited.

    I certainly can’t tell you what your future holds, but I can tell you this. God uses our circumstances, whatever they are, for His glory. As long as you’re following His leading, I believe He will give you whatever He knows is best for you. And don’t give up your hopes and dreams. Sometimes, I think, He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts.

    1. Thank you, Melissa….and thanks for not saying “one day your man will come”. Because you are right. God will give me what is best for me, whether that’s a husband, a sweet dog, plenty of nieces and nephews, foster children, or something entirely different. But I can rest assured that He gives joy and contentment, and I need to fight hard so the world can’t steal it away!

  3. There are so many cliche things I could say but I’m not going to. You feel alone and I’m sorry for that. You have become someone dear to me and of course I want you to be happy and content with your life. But I am going to say THIS: you don’t want someone just to say “you have someone” you want who God has planned for you to have since before time. Try hard, my young friend, to practice the WHAT principle: Wait Hope And Trust. Much love…

    1. Susan, I love that. I never want to be with someone just so I can say I’m with someone. Being single is hard, but I know God is working through it all, even though I can get really discouraged some days. I love you “what” principle, and I’ll have to remember it! Beautifully simple!

  4. Oh friend I sooo get this. Realizing I’m ten years older than you and feeling the exact same emotions: alone, not alone. So much THIS: ” I see how incredibly blessed I am, and know that God has used my singleness to deepen my faith, develop my story, and challenge me to be brave in the unknowns, and I cling to that. I cling to His promises of goodness and walking alongside me, and I know Iā€™m not alone. I am content.” But then in a brief moment is vanishes. Glad we are journeying together friend. Love ya!

    1. Yes! So glad we can journey together. Because we need strength and encouragement from other single ladies, to reassure ourselves that we aren’t messed up or broken. Rather that God has beautiful plans for us, even if they are a little different than society expects.

  5. I really appreciate this post. One of my best friends is single. We’re in our early 30s. I know that she wrestles with these exact same things. She would love to be married, but at the same time enjoys the freedom that she has to do her own thing.

    I think us married folks need to remember that marriage doesn’t complete us. Only God does that. We need to be sensitive to our single friends and make sure to include them. I think we should also work to flip the meaning on the whole “______ wheel” thing. After all, the more wheels, the more stable the vehicle!

    1. Aw, Marie, you are right…marriage (or kids or work or travel or …….(insert whatever here)) doesn’t complete us. I need to remember that as well. Only God completes us, and something that involves walking a different (unwanted, even) path.

  6. I am new to the mission field, but everything you described is what I’ve been hit with these past few weeks. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this. It helps strengthen us all and remind the rest of us that we are not in this alone – or crazy for feeling so back-and-forth.

    1. Thanks Katie! No, we aren’t crazy! Instead we’re always fighting a battle to be content with where God has us placed, and not allowing the world to tell us where we need to be!

  7. Jen, you remind me so much of me. It is hard to see cousins and friends all happily married or involved and to be single!! I am praying that the Lord will place the right person in my path and at the right time. I am 30 now and it hit me like a ton of bricks a few years ago, probably when I was about 26, when my grandpa said to me “you know, when I was young, a woman your age would become a nun over being an ‘old maid’ ” OUCH!! Since then though I have come to see how few people really are committed at this age. My aunt was pregnant with her second the same time I had my first, that was 13 years ago and she is now 47… She married “late”. When I am at the school with my kids almost all of the other parents are closer to my aunts age, or even my own parents age. My parents were asked this past season at hockey by an older lady if they had planned to have my son and daughter so many years after me and my brother!! It is crazy -yet seemingly normal. God will send you a mature man who is confident in himself and his walk with Christ, it just takes time!! ā¤

    1. Things are definitely changing in society, but in small-town Iowa? šŸ™‚ I think it would be easier to handle being single in coastal cities here, where the trends really have changed. Thankfully, many of my friends are not yet married, and I have support there. It’s just that many of them live all over the country, so I don’t get to see them all the time and hang out with them! šŸ™‚

  8. Oh sweet Jen! Go wish on those milk weed puffs for me! I do love your photos and your heart for honesty. Go to the reunion…rock on with your bad self! You are good, you are golden, you are a girl that God is crafting with fine art. I know singleness is not easy, but in being single you are free to do something we married women cannot. Your career and home are shaping up just for you!!!

    I love that you shared these words and pictures. I’m virtually toasting you with my empty tea cup. Up early here on the east coast. We have quiet now. More rain coming all weekend and next week likely! We’ll pass some to Iowa too for your crops hopefully! Love, Jenn C

    1. Jenn, do you know how amazing you are? You are such a brilliant encourager! How can I not have a smile on my face now?

      Your words are treasured, know that! And I will store them up and use them to beat back the thoughts of being incomplete or messed up or broken or a failure. Now I’m toasting you with my partially full cup of coffee, and wishing I could give you a hug right now!

  9. Jen, so many things I can say but then, they’ve probably already been said. And who wants cliches? All I will say is this… I prayed before hitting “comment” that our God would give you the desire of your heart, someone to share your life with. And may He fill that longing with more of Him until He brings the perfect one along. Blessings!

    1. Thank you Joanne. Your prayers are precious to me, and they bless me immensely, as do your words! So grateful to have people like you surrounding me in love and in prayer, reminding me that I am NOT alone!

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