Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You Ask, I Answer, Take 23

Today's You Ask, I Answer question comes from Johanna, who asked,

Is it "ok" for you being single right now? Isn't it sometimes difficult to see friends who are your age getting married, having children and having a totally different life? How are you dealing with things/thoughts like that?

Ooo... Good question!

The answer is yes to all of the above.

Yes, I am okay being single most of the time.  I have a good assortment of married and single friends, and I really enjoy the independence and fun that can come with being single.  I like the ability to pick up on short notice and travel, see a movie, shop, go for dinner or so on.  I think part of the contentment that I have with being single comes from the fact that as an introvert, I really do love time spent alone, and even require it to recharge and be fully engaged when I'm spending time with my friends.  That said, there is definitely a part of me that is looking for a man to share the day in and day out parts of my life with.  (I actually think often about a line from one of Donald Miller's books where he talks about wanting a girl who, when he's with her, makes him feel like he's alone.  He's referencing the comfort and freedom that comes with that sort of relationship - that he feels just as at rest with her, as he does when he's alone.  That's kind of what I'd love to find eventually in a husband.)

That said, there are times (actually, especially when I'm with my family), where I feel very lonely, and almost invisible because of being single.  It's quite painful, and I wrestle at those moments, and try to remind myself to be continually seeking my contentment in the Lord, and asking him in those times to guide my steps towards a partner if he has that for me, or to continually give me peace and restore my contentment if a partner isn't what Jesus has for me.

As for being with my friends, it's been an incredible privilege to watch them be married and have babies.   With some of my married girlfriends, the only thing that has really changed since they've gotten married is a few topics of conversation.  I'm not now and never have been particularly close friends with their husbands, and so when I hang out with those friends, we still usually hang out as just us girls.  With one friend in particular, though, when we spend time together, though it is often just us, it doesn't make a difference in our conversation if her husband is there.  He's always made me feel incredibly welcome, that's he's grateful for my friendship with his wife, and that he's interested in my story, and who I am.  (Can I just suggest that if you're married, this is one of the most precious gifts you and your spouse can offer to single friends?)  When the three of us are together, the conversation is the same as it would be if he wasn't there, but with another voice, and an even fuller perspective, and I LOVE that.

I've also been really blessed and challenged by the process of watching a lot of my friends become parents in the past number of years.  There has been something incredibly holy for me in watching this transition take-place - watching women I've known for a very long time become mothers.  It has blessed me deeply to see the new sides of their character and personality emerge as they carry, birth and begin to raise their children.  It's been great fun to watch as their children begin to grow and interact with their parents, to see the different ways my friends are blessing the babies that Jesus has entrusted to them.  It's made for fascinating conversations - to talk about the challenges they're facing in parenting and marriage and life.  To talk about the struggles and questions that come with those stages in life.  I've found that though the context is different, their is still so much that I can relate to, be challenged by, and encouraged to grow in in the midst of these new aspects of my friendships.  And, there is nothing quite like the way a little boy or girl's face lights up when you walk into the room and they recognize and love you.  Nothing quite like cuddling a baby, or playing peek-a-boo.  There are things about my friends having children, and me getting to relate to those children that have brought great healing and joy to my soul.

So... I guess you could say that yes, I do struggle at times with being single as I watch a great number of friends marry and start families, but that I have also found incredible blessing and joy in these new stages of life for my friends - that Jesus has worked in them to show me new things about himself, and about myself, and that He has challenged me to pray in new ways for my friends as they transition through these various stages of life.


kirsten said...

A poignant question, and I loved reading your answer! Up until about 3-4 months before I actually got married, I was pretty sure I never would. So many of the thoughts and feelings you express here resonate with me as being deeply familiar.

Thanks for your honesty -- these are always fun to read and help me to know you even a little bit better. :o)

Lisa said...

Thanks Kirsten!

I'm still unsure if I'll ever marry (though I'll admit to wanting that if Jesus leads that way). And so, I suppose that means I need to make peace with the ongoing array of thoughts and feelings in this realm.

And thanks for reading these questions and answers :) You're welcome to chime in with some questions of your own!

Anonymous said...

I also loved reading your answer. I can relate to a lot of thoughts you wrote.
Thanks for answering this very personal question. I wasn't sure if it's too personal... But then I thought that it's your choice to answer those questions or not...
Have a great day, where you don't freeze too much! In Germany we're waiting for the snow to come, but it's too warm right now, which isn't normal for that time of the year. We'll see...

Lisa said...

I'm glad you appreciated it, Johanna! I don't mind answering personal questions (with some caveats!) mostly, so if you have more that you'd like to ask for future weeks, fire away! I think the personal questions probably actually make for better posts!