What No One Ever Tells You About Being Single

What No One Ever Tells You About Being Single

It can be one hell of a time.
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When you're in your 20s, it seems like new relationships are popping up all around you like groundhogs, or better yet, your friends are starting to get engaged. If you're that one single person in a sea of little guppies happily in love, it's more than likely that as happy as you are for these people, you'd like to hit those relationships back into the ground like Whack-a-Mole. But, that would be the naïve thing to do, now wouldn't it? There is such a negative connotation around being single, that you have to be in a relationship and you have to be in love and you have to go on dates and you have to make sacrifices and compromises. It's not "okay" to be single, and as your old Aunt Betty always says to you at your Christmas Eve dinner, "When are you going to find yourself a handsome, rich man?"

Well, Aunt Betty, maybe I don't want a handsome, rich man right now. You know what, as a matter of fact, I actually don't need a handsome, rich man, ever. When I choose to be in a relationship, it will not be because he is handsome or rich, but for who he is on the inside, but that's beside the fact. The point is, there's so much societal and familial stress put on being in a committed relationship with someone, when little do these people know how much you can truly learn about yourself while you're single.

Since I've begun my adventures through Singleville, I've found the most profound happiness I have ever known. Want to know why? Being single has allowed me the time and space to learn how to love myself. I don't have anyone to depend on to tell me that I look beautiful or that I'm actually not fat or that my pimple really doesn't look that bad. I don't have anyone to pride me on my accomplishments or pick me up from my failures 24/7. All I have is me, myself and I. I've had to depend on myself to look in the mirror and love who I see. I've had to depend on myself to push myself to work harder towards my goals and lift myself up after every single time I fall down. Maybe that sounds horrible to you, but you see, you can't fully love someone else until you are completely and wholeheartedly in love with yourself.

In Singleville, I'm on my own time. I can sit down and read the ten books I've been putting off in a matter of a week if that's what I really want to do. I can research a cool science project I've been dying to try or buy brand spankin' new camera equipment or maybe even get that furry little friend I've wanted for so long. I have all the time in the world, and that time is all my own. I can do what I want, when I want, without having to worry about someone else's agenda.

Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being in a happy, healthy, loving relationship with someone else. Coming from someone who has been in one, I can say that it was one of the most influential experiences of my life. I learned so, so much from it, but I didn't learn how to love myself and be my own person, and that's what being single has taught me. So embrace your time being single, don't knock the giddy lovers back in to the ground, but be a giddy lover yourself, with yourself.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Girls+sun+&view=detailv2&qft=+filterui%3aimagesize-large&id=CDBAF3EAD8C1B930D9B9D347BE6EF54285492FDD&selectedIndex=17&ccid=L9Laxjr1&simid=607987166241359297&thid=OIP.M2fd2dac63af5f9328dcd6cafb5d11cd5o0&ajaxhist=0

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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I've Stopped Wearing My Purity Ring

Hint: It's not because I've gotten engaged and not because I've broken my commitment.

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When I was 14, my mom and I listened to an audio series on purity and the importance of God's design for sex to occur exclusively within marriage. She and I talked at length about how sex involves literally becoming one flesh with the other person (1 Corinthians 5:15-16), and how it is very emotionally painful to separate yourself from someone after this uniting of souls has occurred. I committed with my whole heart to God that I would live His way and wait until marriage to have sex.

When my mom and I had finished listening to the series, she gave me a pretty gold buckle ring, which had belonged to her for years, for me to wear on my left ring finger until I got an engagement ring someday.

It did look like a wedding ring and was a little bit too big, so a couple years later, I replaced it with a James Avery Heart Knot ring. I wore it for six years, including for the entirety of my relationship with the one serious boyfriend I've had.

When I was in high school, almost every other girl I knew had a ring like mine. Gradually, as we moved through college, some of them were replaced with engagement rings. Others were put aside because their owners no longer felt that the commitments these rings represented were an accurate reflection of where they were in life.

Then there's a third group, and if you haven't guessed yet, I am included. In God's providence and love, it is not because we are engaged or married; and by His grace alone, it is not because we have had sex. I still remain as committed as ever to the promise I made God when I was 14 to glorify Him with my body as much as is within my power. So why don't I like that cute little silver ring that looks like a pretzel anymore?

Most of us have seen this article floating around, "Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos."

I hate that article.

First of all, it's just plain wrong—you'll notice that being a debt-free virgin without tattoos hasn't stopped me from being as single as the Pope. God's will for bringing His children together is so much bigger than these three petty things. One of my friends of whom none of the above is true is in a beautiful and Christ-honoring marriage. It isn't her fault she didn't become a Christian until after she'd had sex or that her family couldn't pay for college.

Secondly, none of those things would be true of me were it not for the particular blessings of being from a financially well-off family, having been raised Christian, never having dated a guy who pressured me for sex, and then the personal preference of just not really wanting a tattoo. The fact that these qualities are either subjective or outside our control is troubling enough, but most troubling is this idea of virginity as a commodity, a bargaining chip, a resume item, a trophy.

Yes, sex before marriage is a sin. But there is no other sin that we wear a ring for not having committed. I don't have a "Haven't Stolen Anything" ring or a "Haven't Murdered Yet" ring. Why should I wear a "Haven't Had Premarital Sex" ring?

I have moreover become convinced that I don't deserve to wear my purity ring anymore, as I have broken my commitment to remain pure until marriage. In fact, I break it almost every time I see an attractive shirtless guy if we are being thoroughly transparent.

In the words of our Savior in Matthew 5:28,

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Jesus does care what we do with our bodies; there is no question of that. But He cares about our hearts too, and this is what the purity ring concept loses track of. Obedience includes things like not having sex until marriage, not stealing, and not murdering, to be sure, but it goes so much further than that. Lust, covetousness, and hatred are just as sinful as pre/extramarital sex, theft, and murder.

Thus, we all stand equally condemned, hopelessly wicked, and without excuse before the burning, holy wrath of Justice. Virgins are not better than people who have had sex. In God's perfect love, He has provided His sinless Son to take the punishment for the sins of His people, no matter what their past held, be it lust or premarital sex, covetousness or theft, hatred or murder, all of the above, or anything else. His blood is strong enough to wash all of it away. We were equal in our desperate wickedness before, and we are equal in His righteousness after.

So with all of this in mind, tell me why I should wear a symbol of one sin I haven't committed, even when I have committed so many others, when I was condemned to hell same as everybody else, when I was rescued by the blood of Jesus same as everybody else, when I am forgiven through Him same as everybody else, when I still sin and need my High Priest to plead my cause day and night, same as everybody else? If I haven't committed one sin, what meaning could that possibly have when I've committed thousands of others?

If I am on trial for murder, should the judge care that I've never gotten a speeding ticket? Would it not work against me that I'd even think that would count for something? If I brought up that I have never exceeded the speed limit while on trial for murder, would it do anything in the world besides emphasize that I don't understand the severity of my crime?

Says Isaiah 64:6,

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (KJV)

I'm not trying to downplay the importance of waiting for marriage. The Bible is clear on it, and it brings great glory to God when His people joyfully submit to His commands. But if you have not had sex, and take pride in that and boast in it, then you don't yet understand how grave an offense your other sins are to a holy God; and if you have had sex and can't escape your guilt, then you don't yet understand what a powerful sin-soap the blood of Jesus is. If you are in Christ, your sin is nailed to the cross, dead, gone, cast as far from you as the east is from the west. As long as Jesus stands in heaven, no one can hold your past sins against you, least of all a judgmental and theologically weak woman on Facebook.

Someone asked me when I told them why I don't wear my purity ring anymore if I was worried guys (potential boyfriends, I presume) might think I'm not a virgin. No, I'm not concerned about that at all, and here's why. The kind of man I want won't care what specifically I have and haven't done in the past, no more than I care or have any right to ask which sins Jesus forgave him.

I don't care whether pornography is in his past, as long as it isn't in his present or future. I don't care if sex outside marriage is in his past, as long as it's not in his present or future. In a similar way, he will care much more whether or not Jesus Christ is the King of my life and whether I am actively being sanctified, building the Church, and learning more about Jesus daily. I try to make all those things true of myself, but the truth is, there are a lot of girls who have had sex in the past who are doing a lot better job than I am. Let them think I'm not a virgin, let them know that I am a more vile and wretched sinner than every girl I know who's had sex, as long as they see the power of the work wrought by Christ in me.

The concept behind the purity ring is dreadfully, unforgivably ignorant of the Gospel. I wouldn't question your salvation for wearing a purity ring, but I myself don't feel good about it in light of the above reasons. There are a lot of things we can do that are not necessarily wrong, but may be misleading or give others the wrong idea. These are a matter of individual conviction, and I feel that purity rings are among them. It is good to teach young people not to have sex before marriage, but it is imperative to teach them the rest of the story, lest they wander off into the weeds and think that's all there is to it, as I have been guilty of doing in the past. There are more dangers in purity culture than I have time to list, and loving simplicity as I do, I prefer to avoid all of it, rather than pawing through the bathwater in search of a baby.

"When Christians concentrate on the exterior – on things which can be redeemed, restored, and overcome – they present a version of Christianity that is both HOPELESS and POWERLESS. This article will cause a stir. But it will draw no one to Jesus. If anything, it will depict Him as the unapproachable God so many already assume Him to be. I'm here to tell you: You can be a debt-free virgin without tattoos and far from the heart of Christ. Your appearance and bank account and sexual history do not earn you favor in God's eyes. By grace alone, we are saved, and that is GOOD NEWS for the debt-free virgin and the tattooed college graduate alike. Because with Jesus, there is always hope. There is always redemption. There is purity unearned, unmerited, yet freely given.

This is the scandal of grace: We come empty and inadequate, but He doesn't leave us there.

God is holy, and when you truly follow Him, you'll desire holiness and freedom, too. But you don't have to clean yourself up before you get there. God does that for you."

-Phylicia Masonheimer, "God's Not Looking For Debt Free Virgins"

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