Sunday, December 5, 2010

Regarding Relationships

Regarding relationships, people are generally in one of the following 5 categories:  single, dating, engaged, married, and divorced.  Nearly all of my friends are in one of the first 4 categories.  The older I get, the less friends I have in the "singles" category.   In fact, I also see a significantly less amount of friends falling under the "dating" category as well. 

I'll be the first to admit that being single can have some pretty frustrating consequences (though that may not be the appropriate word to use).  For example.... being the 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel.  Constantly having people saying "Hey, (insert guy's name) seems like a great guy... attractive, creative, fun, and loves the Lord.... what about him???".... to which I kindly remind my "in-relationship" friends that we single people don't go hunting on the weekends for other single people, and unlike some desperate singles I do know, I don't plan on spending every waking moment plotting how to get more attention from other men.  Also, there's always the family vacation scenerios where each couple is supposed to cook a meal for the others... or each couple gets a date night out... or each couple gets their own bedroom, but the single person must sleep on the couch in the basement (true story).  How about weddings?  Do you take a date?  Don't you?  To answer that question, you first have to ask every other single person you know going to find out if they are taking a date, realizing the whole time it is absolutely ridiculous to feel the need to do so.   I usually opt out of taking a date.... mostly because, revisiting paragraph #1, I have very few single male friends..... and, I don't like taking guys who will get awkward about it (yes, I'm talking to all of you Taylor University, or any other Christian college students, who were shamefully bred to react this way in social situations).

Now, since I'm a musician, I do spend quite a bit of time with other guys, even in one-on-one situations.  A lot of times other single girls see that as some sort of "step ahead" of the rest.  If I'm around guys so much at rehearsals, shows, church, in the studio, etc.... then surely I am more likely to meet someone, right?  Wrong.  The reason I can say this with so much assurance is because I have been single for 5 years now, and have been spending even more time with male musicians than I did when I was dating (there may actually be a correlation between those, since my last boyfriend wasn't exactly thrilled about my spending so much time with other male musicians).   I would also say that when I'm with those guys, my mind is so focused on the music that I usually don't even give the whole "are they dating, or single?" question any thought.  They are my friends... my colleagues... my bandmates... my creative sounding boards... my fellow dreamers.   In fact, I can be somewhat over protective of it... I don't like it when other girls come in and try to steal the show, because that whole "craving fame" thing is not what we're going for either.... we're artists trying to create, not famous musicians out for the stardom (though, I doubt any of us would argue if it were handed to us).  Luckily I have had the pleasure of working with a handful of female musicians who get that, and who don't use their position as a musician to try and get boyfriends (trust me ladies, it ain't gonna work like that). 

Basically, being single can be a royal pain sometimes.  But there is something beautiful about being single:  freedom.   I'm not here to make those of you who are dating, engaged or married feel depressed about the things you've had to give up to be with your special someone.... God has blessed you with that person, and you can find so much joy & companionship in that relationship.  However, from a single's perspective, God wants to use me just as much as the two people in a relationship.  And, for that matter, I think God blesses single people with the gift of freedom to allow us to experience life more fully on our own.  For example.... I love to travel.  Any of you who know me at all, know that I am gone all the time on some new adventure.  I only worry about my schedule, my money, my wants, and my needs.  I can be selfish with everything.  Ok, not really.... [insert some church answer about everything is God's, and nothing is really my own].... but in a narrower perspective, yes, I can be selfish.  I've been able to pursue music as much as I want... and not have to worry about some jealous boyfriend sitting at home.  I've also been able to try new things, and not feel the need to run it by someone else first.  For example:  moving to California for 3 months on a whim.  Maybe a boyfriend wouldn't have said not to do it.... but I know it would've been even harder to just pack up and leave so suddenly, and I probably would've felt guilty or something for doing it.  Also, I don't have the distraction of someone else in my life to take away from what God is trying to teach me and show me through this time of my life.  I'm so glad to know that while I'm growing into the person God wants me to be, knowing that when the time is right, God will bring a relationship into my life.  I happened to see someone write, "I'm ready when God's ready" the other day.... and that is exactly what I think the single person's perspective should be.  We fail, a lot, to maintain that mindset.  But wouldn't you agree that the gift of being single can be powerful, inspiring and freeing

I'd like to challenge two groups of people....

First, to the people in relationships, engaged, or married.... continue seeking how God wants to use you together as a couple, but also as individuals.  I don't believe God has called people into marriage to forget who they were before.  Cherish the person you're with for who they really are.  Also, don't hesitate to encourage your single friends.... don't pressure them by suggesting they pursue that eye-catching person across the room, but rather encourage them by showing interest & excitement towards what they are doing with their life.  My friends have been SO great about doing that for me, and words can't even explain how encouraging it is!

Second, to the single person.... first and foremost, understand that it is OK to feel lonely and frustrated, as long as you trust God to use you regardless.  If you're in your mid-20's or 30's, you're at the age where people tend to put the unnecessary pressure on you to find someone.... but I challenge you to embrace this gift of time & freedom, and do something extraordinary with it!  Create, experience, indulge, inspire others, volunteer, and allow God to shape you into a better man or woman who can be used for His glory.

Till I write again.... 

                                              .... here's a picture of me with this cutie (Owen)

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