To the Girl Who’s Never Been Kissed…

I'm the good looking diva on the far left.

I’m the good looking diva on the far left.

Dear Friend,

I’m writing to you because we share something in common – neither one of us has ever been kissed, but don’t tell anyone, OK? 😉

You’re probably wondering how you got here. You’re 15 and freaking out because there is obviously something wrong with you (there’s not). All of your friends have already kissed – and some have done more – and you awkwardly avoid eye contact during “Never Have I Ever…”

You’re 20 and most days you think you’re normal until you realize you’re halfway through college and you still haven’t kissed anyone. Some of your friends are talking about engagements (especially if you’re in the Southern United States) and you’re just enjoying life where you are. Should you be freaking out???

You’re 25 and your friends are having babies, oh the babies! You’ve moved from wedding showers to baby showers with nary a first kiss. You know all about stretch marks, epidurals, and bumby seats.

Be encouraged, dear friend, you are not alone! Before we go any farther, I want you to know this is not a just-wait-your-first-kiss-will-be-worth-it post; mostly because I don’t know. But this is a post to encourage you, because I’m still waiting, just like you.

I do know it is worth it, though. What is this “it,” you ask? Life. And more specifically, your purpose in life. I don’t know you or your situation, but I know you’re worth more than a sloppy teenage kiss or a drunken frat kiss. I know decisions made in desperation rarely lead to happy endings.

On a good day you are confident, sure of your decision, and not going to take crap from anyone. But then, there are those days when you question your decision, your self, and if someone will ever love you like that.

On those days, we have to remind ourselves that we are created in the image of God. You bear a sacred mark of the divine in every part of your body, lips included. Your life has more meaning than marriage, kids, work, and school. Even if you never walked, talked, kissed, or laughed again you are loved and you have value. Your friend – the one who was in the car accident, who is now paralyzed and will never walk again – has just as much value and worth as you because you are both image bearers. You already know this, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. You are more than the functions of your body, more than the sum of your actions, more than your physical contributions to society.

You are more than the functions of your body, more than the sum of your actions, more than your physical contributions to society.

So take heart! Life rarely turns out like we expect it, but that’s the beautiful part. The pain, the scars, the disappointment, the unexpected happy endings all remind us we are not in control. I hope this brings you comfort. You don’t have to fret, scheme, worry about life because there is a holy, powerful, gentle, kind, and just God working for His glory, which means your benefit – even in pain and disappointment.

I hope you have your first kiss and I hope it’s worth the wait. I hope you know the deep rest and satisfaction of being known and still loved. More importantly though, I hope you find satisfaction, first and always, in knowing you are already known and loved.

I hope your time of waiting is worth it.

 

 

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24 Things to Do Instead of Getting Married Before You’re 24, a response

Get lost in a city where you don't speak the language.

Get lost in a city where you don’t speak the language.

I recently read this article titled, “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”. Normally, I don’t read these as they are usually written in an in-your-face-I-can-do-what-I-want tone. For whatever reason, I read this article, perhaps because I am 24 and not married and I was curious as to why 23 was the magic number. Unfortunately, the article is pretty much the same, lame advice for twenty-somethings, written by twenty-somethings whose sum total of advice is “17. Eat a Jar of Nutella is one sitting.” I didn’t think much about it until I saw at least 3 people repost it on Facebook.

I don’t know about you, but if the highlight of my life (outside of marriage???) before I’m 23 is to eat a jar of Nutella or “22. Be selfish” then I think marriage to anyone sounds pretty good.

My goal for life as a single or married should not be “22. Be selfish,” “2. Find your ‘thing’,” or “10. Cut your hair.” If any of those are my goals for an hour, day, or a year then my life is going to be very empty. However, the emptiness is not because I don’t have anyone to “cuddle and talk about my feelings” or “18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places.” With or without a partner, my life has greater meaning than this entire list.

I am created to worship. I will worship, whether I worship marriage, a boyfriend, Nutella, or the Creator of the Universe is up to me. Instead of purposing myself to “16. Watch GiRLS. Over and over again” maybe the secret to happiness with or without someone is to die to myself. Over and over again. Maybe instead of “11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face.” I can sponsor 2 orphaned children so they’re not separated from their families. Instead of “20. Hangout naked in front of a window.” I can hang out for an hour a week mentoring an at-risk child.

I think this author has a point that some people get married because it’s the thing to do, societal expectations, or whatever crazy reason:

It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.

Yes, the world is big and scary. Yes, it is nice to have someone to share your dreams, fears, and life. Yes, it is wrong to get married only because you’re afraid of being single. But the (opposite?) healthy response is not to become an expert on all things GIRLS or to belittle those who choose to marry young – their journey will be different, but no less in need of purpose than the person who remains single. Married or single, we all need a life of purpose outside of ourselves.

The crux of the argument centers on the idea that “you owe it to yourself”…to find yourself, make out with a stranger, not ruin the sanctity of marriage by marrying young, to do whatever you want because you want to do it. I don’t know where we got the idea that we owe ourselves anything. We literally did nothing to be on this earth. For the first years of our lives we were completely helpless. In fact, we’re still pretty helpless and dependent on others for life or even just to breathe. Case in point, let’s all give a shout-out to the Ozone for remaining in tact (mostly) so we don’t fry to death today. Also, does anyone else get annoyed with constantly reminding your heart to keep beating? I mean, really, 100,000 beats per day – too bad our hearts don’t beat without us thinking about it. Oh wait.

Instead of finding ourselves, thinking that “Millennials deserve the opportunity to develop ourselves, alone,” perhaps we should think and develop outside of ourselves and ponder deep questions – like who created us and this world we live in. What privilege do we have that we can take time to find ourselves while 12 year old girls in Afghanistan are being forced to marry middle age men and find themselves enduring a lifetime of abuse and suffering?

I understand the impulse to have fun, enjoy life while free of many responsibilities that occur in a relationship, but fun can and should be had after marriage too. Responsibility can and should occur in all of life. Unfortunately, you cannot compare a lifetime covenant of marriage to “13. Accomplish a Pintrerest project.” You can, however, live a fulfilling, purposeful, fun life in any stage of life.

Instead, I propose my own list of 24 Things to do Instead of Getting Married by 24…

1. Sponsor a Child for a year

2. Read at least 3 NY Times articles every week

3. Take your parents out for a fancy (non-fast food) meal

4. Work hard at a job – any job

5. Travel to a new country

6. Travel to a new state

7. Read a classical fiction novel

8. Teach someone a new skill you have already mastered

9. Learn a new skill

10. Learn a new language

11. Pay off debt

12. Read the Bible in a year

13. Be selfless

14. Join a sports league, art club, orchestra, whatever you’re interested in.

15. Write a letter to a friend

16. Learn how to properly set a table

17. Stop taking bathroom selfies

18. Vote – local, state, or national election

19. Embark on a goal that will take at least 10 years to accomplish

20. Hand write a thank-you note

21. Buy a nice dress or tux/suit for weddings and funerals

22. Re-read a favorite book

23. Spend a day in the mountains alone

and last, but not least…

24. Make a friend and share a jar of Nutella with them – one sitting or otherwise

All the Single Ladies (and everyone else too)

Immediately upon graduating college I was unknowingly thrust into the world of singles. All of a sudden the question of whether I was dating anyone seemed to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind. I was frequently asked about “my unique perspective as a single” which I didn’t really know I had until it was pointed out to me.

On this journey with the gift that no one wants keeps on giving, I’ve had some wonderful people who have honestly helped my post-grad transition as a person. Here’s what they’ve done well:

  1. They treated me as a person first, not just a single.
  2. They pushed me towards Christ in all areas of my life.
  3. They let me share my pain, fears, and joys.
  4. They shared honestly about the fun, difficulties, and struggles of marriage.
  5. They upheld the value of marriage.
  6. They upheld the value of singleness.
  7. They opened their entire life up for me to see, including marriage and sex.

Now here are some things they didn’t do:

  1. They didn’t ask me “Why aren’t you married?” or say “I’m so surprised you’re not dating anyone!”
  2. They didn’t tell me “As soon as you stop wanting a husband then you’ll get one.”
  3. They didn’t act like sex was a dirty word.
  4. They didn’t tell me to “guard my heart.”
  5. They didn’t make me feel like my life was on hold waiting for the one.
  6. They didn’t pretend like I had tons of free time or assume that I could drop everything because “I’m a single and don’t have any commitments.”
  7. They didn’t act like I should be miserable because I’m single; they weren’t surprised when I was genuinely content with my life.

I am honored to have so many people who have shared their wisdom with me. I’m also thankful that I have the opportunity to speak on behalf of so many people who may not have a voice. That being said, if you know of any tall, dark, handsome, Jesus-loving men be sure to send them my way!

So what about you other single ladies, how has the gift treated you?