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I realized what I do want is to truly focus on MYSELF for the first time in my life. I've always been a people-pleaser and my job has always required love to give and give and give some more. And I've also always been terrible at self-care. Put the idea of marriage and parenting in my mind and I realized if I'm to take care of a future husband and kids, I need to first learn how to take care of myself. This way, I can care for them in the ways they need and deserve while maintaining my well-being, too.
So I'm taking some time off from dating to be selfish, so to speak. I want to focus on myself so I can grow and be ready for that future relationship that I feel God preparing me for and eventually leading me to.
So you want to enjoy singleness?
You know all those posts that tell you that you need to enjoy your singleness? Yeah, I do, too. I have a love/hate relationship with them because of the cliches and twisted truths that can be sprinkled throughout the internet. But that statement on enjoying singleness is one of the biggest truths I've read.
To be honest, I've never actually enjoyed singleness. I may enjoy moments, but the moments leave as quickly as they come because my mind is always set on the future. Since I was a little girl, my dream has always been to get married. I want to enjoy life with someone and have adventures and late nights conversations and inside jokes. It's such a strong and deep-rooted dream that I realized I would do anything for it and was making it an idol. It was clouding my vision for myself in terms of growth, passions, and peace. It was also preventing me from living my best life NOW. And it was hurting my relationships, especially my relationship with Jesus.
So my goal is to simply enjoy singleness. I want to love singleness just as much as I love dating and being in a relationship. I want to find freedom, confidence, and love for myself. I want to appreciate Jesus' love and pursuit of me. And I want to seek joy in singleness because it is truly a good place to be and my hope is that it will encourage others to enjoy the season they're in, too.
What does this REALLY mean?
As of right now, I'm not quite sure. What I do know is that I am taking time to focus on myself and my relationship with Jesus. To challenge myself to do scary things on my own, to spend time pursuing Jesus instead of guys, and to love the person God's created me to be.
I have no idea how long this will last. I'm not sure if it'll last a few weeks or a few months, or even for an entire year. I'd love to give myself an end date but I know that if I'm truly following Jesus, He'll lead me and tell me when the time is right to get back into dating.
I also don't know what exactly I'll gain from it, either. I know I'm not guaranteed a relationship as some sort of "reward" for this choice and this isn't some sort of bargain with God, either. This is a choice and one that I feel Him leading me to. My hope is to simply gain more of myself and more of Him. It won't be easy, but I'm hopeful and I know that hope is what will keep me going.
So I hope this season brings...
More LEARNING. I want to pursue more passions and learn more skills and deepen and expand on my community of loved ones. I want to get better at verbalizing my needs, write and read more, use my camera more, and think about what other dreams I want to pursue.
More CONFIDENCE. I've never felt completely confident with myself and if I want my kids to be confident, then now's the time for me to work on it myself. My hope is to rid myself of insecurities and worries and fears and gain more peace, confidence, and love for myself. I want to date myself and love myself in the way that Jesus loves me.
More JESUS. If Jesus is my priority in life, I need to live it out FULLY. For me, that means more prayer, more Bible reading, and more intentional time with Him. During my relationships, I felt a lot of my Jesus time slid to the back burner and I don't want a relationship to change my relationship with Him. I also want to rid myself of idols and make sure my dreams and goals are surrendered to Jesus first.
More INDEPENDENCE. I want to embrace this thing called adulting. Understanding budgets and all those financially foreign terms. Planning for my future financially. Trying more recipes so I can cook more than a handful of favorite meals. And doing all of those other adult things that are mundane and sometimes boring, but still necessary.
More HEALING. I kind of already touched on this, but I need to heal and get over past hurts that can and would likely affect my future relationships and security in them. I realized that I suffer from over-thinking and anxious tendencies and my hope is that more confidence in myself and in Jesus will help with being secure in myself and in God, too.
But boy, this decision was tough.
Not only did it take healing from the break-up, but it took me a good week or so and then an uninterrupted hour of prayer journaling to get to this point of peace, acceptance, and excitement. I was so scared to write it all out because I knew the instant I did that, I was committing to it.
So I rested and prayed about it some more. I thought it over and yet the only thing I felt was the peace, confidence, and the calling to pursue it.
The Enemy has definitely caught onto this choice. I've had whispers of missing out on dating and relationships, whispers that I'm making the wrong choice, and whispers that I'm not strong enough to go through with it. The whispers are so tempting and they come to me at waves, especially when I least expect it.
But I've also felt God's presence and strength more than I ever have before. It's in those weak moments that I feel His strength and reassurance swoop in, encouraging me to pray and cry out to Him. Thank goodness for She Reads Truth posts (this one, especially), texts from friends, verses read at random, and songs lyrics, too. Falling back on these truths has been one of the best lines of attack when I hear the lies that enter my mind.
It's still scary, though.
This is honestly one of the toughest decisions I've ever made. The scariest part is that I don't know how long it will last. If I'm brutally honest, I'm scared it will last my entire life. I also worry I'll fail and cave into the temptations to date again before I'm ready (there's nothing wrong with dating, I just need to make sure I'm ready!).
So I'm hoping and praying for accountability and strength. And I'm hoping I can be a source of love and encouragement and accountability to YOU, too, during this season. We are not living in this world to live our lives running the race alone. The world is filled with people with hearts and lives and we're meant to share them. Amen?