Meet Brooke. Brooke and her husband, Andrew are the Young Adult Leaders at my church, Refuge. She is a wonderful friend of mine and is someone that you can’t help but love! Brooke is an amazing example of someone who made the most out of her season of singleness. I trust you will be encouraged by this blog post, as I absolutely was!
Making the Most of Your Season
I was never the little girl that always dreamed of being married or being a mom someday. I don’t remember it hardly ever crossing my mind. I mean, I knew I would get married and wanted to, but it wasn’t this overwhelming desire. And now, here I am, married for almost 4 years with 2 kids. I honestly never thought I would be the “stay at home mom” or that girl who looked like she was half-crazy chasing a toddler around with a baby on her hip and a husband by her side. It was never me. But now it is! I tell you that to say that I loved being single. I didn’t have a strong desire to get married. But that wasn’t always a good thing.
During high school, I was single until my junior year. And I loved it for all the wrong reasons. I partied and hung out with lots of different guys and I took pride in the fact that I wasn’t “tied down.” Then, I dated someone for almost 3 years, and as I left home and went to college, I met other guys and didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t hang out with them. So in my attempt to be “free” I broke up with him and moved on. Shortly after trying all there was to try, I found myself empty whether I was with a guy or not.I finally gave up running and sprinted back to the only One who truly made me happy, Jesus! And this is the part where I was finally single for the right reasons.
I went to Bible school in Arkansas, all by myself, not knowing anyone else and I was single and loving it! For the whole next year and a half, I had the time of my life. You could say I was so in love with Jesus that I didn’t have a strong desire to date, let alone be married, and it was great! I studied, traveled, went on missions trips, and made new friends.
Although a year and half doesn’t sound like a very long time, in my spiritual life it seemed like forever. It was a time that God used to grow me and mature me in my faith like never before. Now don’t get me wrong, I did think about guys and wonder what my future husband would look like, what his name would be, where he was, or if maybe I had met him already. And I’ll admit I probably flirted with guys more than I should have and I had a couple guys that were interested in dating me. They were cute and loved God just like I did, but for some reason, God protected me from desiring any of them. It’s like I couldn’t quite see past my relationship with Jesus and I know now that God did that for a reason – because my future husband was already waiting for me back home in Wisconsin, I just didn’t know it yet!
As I was thinking about what that single season of life was like for me, I was reminded of some things I wish I would have known or done differently and also some things that really helped me and I hope they can encourage you no matter where you are at right now.
1. Let God work on you NOW.
The struggles you have when you’re single, don’t just “go away” when you get married, it’s actually the opposite – they get magnified. Oh, how I wish I knew this when I was single! I wish I would have talked through some of the things I struggled with from my past. Things like purity, handling my emotions, hurts from other people, or caring too much about what I looked like or my body image. Or even just questions I had: questions about men, sex, God, and doubts or fears I had. Those things didn’t just go away when I got married, in fact, they all came out! So, talk to God about anything you struggle with or have questions about and let Him root them out of you and sort them out during this season of life before you involve another person in them.
I like to think of God as The Great Surgeon; we all need open heart surgery to fix some of the things that are wrong inside of us and if you let Him he will do it and you’ll be a better, healthier person afterwards, better equipped to do His work on this earth. If you have doubts or fears or questions, talk to someone about them and be honest and real. Talk to God about them, too. Begin to let Him search the deepest parts of you. Sometimes that can be scary because only we know the deepest secrets we hold. But He knows too and He is always gentle, loving, and kind when we give them up to Him.
2. Don’t label yourself as a “single” person.
What? Aren’t we talking about being single? Yes, but let me explain. Sometimes constantly viewing yourself as “single” brings along with it an underlying feeling of incompleteness or waiting. Like you’re in some phase of life that is not quite good enough. Or you’re in some season that is somehow incomplete or lacking…until you get married. And eventually that will become your identity.
The truth is you are not waiting for anything. You are not lacking anything. When or if you get married someday, you still will not have finally arrived and if you have trained yourself to feel incomplete in this season of life, what makes you think you won’t feel that way once you are finally married? Don’t view your season of singleness as incomplete until you find “the one.” It is completely possible for you to be totally fulfilled, happy, purposeful, and content right now just as when you are married someday. In fact, that’s what God has called you to. You are not in some phase of life where you are waiting for something greater to come along.
The key is to finding that in Christ you are completely and totally fulfilled RIGHT now no matter what season of life you are in. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to desire a guy, desire to be married, talk about, and pray about your future husband. But those thoughts, words, and prayers should come from a foundation of contentment and peace. Ultimately, His will is that you desire Him more than anyone or anything else and marriage will only be another tool to draw you closer to Himself.
Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking: “That’s easier said than done, Brooke! Or, I know, I’ve heard that all before,” or, “that’s easy for you to say now that you’re married.” And it’s true. It is easier for me to say now that I’m not going through it. But, the part I didn’t know is that God could give me the grace (power and ability) to actually walk it out. To be completely fulfilled and content where I was at. He will give you that if you ask Him. I think it’s a great lesson for every human being to learn and one I had to learn the hard way after I got married. But you can grab a hold of it now!
3. Have fun!
This is the part that I excelled at and I have no regrets. I was adventurous. I went on road trips, mission trips, and I traveled a lot. I traveled to Peru, Nicaragua, and several southern states in the US. I saw things that helped me grow in my faith and my worldview. I studied the Bible like crazy. I volunteered at different places. I did a marathon and an iron man and I learned how to swim laps the right way. Sounds silly, I know. But for me, it was adventure. I also met lots of new friends, guys and girls. I made some amazing best friends that I still keep in touch with today. We stayed up late, laughed, encouraged and challenged each other, went to movies, dinner, the beach, and whatever else you can think of. Doing all these things helped me to not be so self-focused while I was single.
I encourage you to take risks, be bold, and find a new adventure! Maybe you can’t go on a mission trip or move somewhere new, but you can find something new to try right where you’re at – you just have to do it!
No matter what season of life you are in, it is a journey where we are always walking with The One, holding His hand, and finding true love in Him. Even after being married and all the times I have run to other things looking for satisfaction, I have still come to find that He is everything I will ever need and nothing satisfies like He does, whether single or not. I hope you are encouraged and challenged to make the most of your life, exactly right where you are at!