Wednesday, February 27, 2008

gaining knowledge and hope from married people

a couple of weeks ago i resumed my place on the creative team at my church (i'd stopped going for awhile, due to some scheduling crazyness). we meet once a week, eat together, and do all kinds of cool creative stuff around the building. most of it centers around the kids' area; we build sets that relate to whatever the kids are learning about, paint on the walls, paint the sets, etc. i love it because i'm around all kinds of different people and i get to get my hands dirty with paint and sometimes even a tool or two.

last night i had several conversations with some of my teammates that made me realize how great it is to be around people who are farther down the 'path of life' than i am. one guy on my team, who's a bit older, is getting married in june. or, as he said when i asked him when his wedding is, 'it's 6/7/8, and i can't wait!' (how cute is that!?) i also asked him how he'd met his fiancé, and that was a cute story, too. nothing crazy, just fun to hear.

he talked about the fact that he's kind of shy, and never really talked to women much (which i found a little hard to believe, as he's a cool guy, but i went with it). one night after a church event, he found himself standing next to his future fiancé as he and some friends looked at pictures from a social event on a computer. she said something along the lines of 'that looks like it was fun!' he replied, 'it was! you should've been there!' she said 'how do you know i wasn't?' his response: 'because i would've talked to you if you were there!" and the rest, as people usually say, was history. they talked for an hour after that, and now they're engaged.

i just loved it because it was so simple and cute. and, as he kept telling me, he doesn't usually talk to women. he said he just felt like god totally stepped in and kind of urged him to initiate with this woman. i love hearing stories like that. nothing crazy or weird or über-dramatic, just god bringing two people together.

i also talked a lot with our team leader, an amazing woman who's been with her husband for something like 15 years. they're still very much in love, and it very much shows. even after 4 kids!!! (maybe 5? i can't remember) they both love god so much, and have grown together in a really beautiful way. i'm also so impressed by the way she speaks about him. she never has anything but good things to say about him. how attracted to him she still is, what a good father he is, what a great family he has, etc, etc.

there's something about being around people who have solid marriages... it just gives me so much hope. i walk away thinking, wow, that is soooo cool! that is what i want! i will do the work to get it, god, i promise! and i love hearing stories of how people get together. it's like i'm soaking up the coolness and the hope of the story and filing it away in my brain (and heart!) good stuff.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

just an update/smooth sailing...

so i haven't had much to say lately. the single life has been less of a struggle. now and then i'll come home from a night out with friends and feel some loneliness, or notice a bad behavior pattern creeping up and try to nip it. but no major revelations or drama (can i get some wood to knock on?)

mostly i've been spending a lot of time consoling friends. the end of 2007/the beginning of 2008 has brought a lot of my friends back to being single again. i find myself doing a lot of listening and comforting. maybe this is one of the reasons i'm still single. i'm not bragging, but people seem to think i might know a thing or two. or maybe i'm just a good listener? oh, the irony of the indefinitely single 28 year old being the go-to girl for relationship/breakup advice. ha.

i was supposed to go to a planning meeting last week for the building trip i'm going on to new orleans this summer, but i didn't make it because of crappy weather. i was bummed; vball dude is in charge of the whole thing and i would've gotten to see/interact with him. there'll be more meetings. and the whole trip, of course, in august... plenty of time to get to know him some more.

unfortunately, i've gotten busy with all kinds of random stuff. a weekly volunteering thing at church, an extracurricular work activity, a website design for a friend.... i've let all of that keep me from the whole group prayer thing. lame, i know! but i think it will come back around if it needs to. and in the meantime, i'm praying more, and that's always good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

i think better friendships will equal better marriages

what if all of us single people just hunkered down and committed to our friends and family and roommates? what if we took the focus off of ourselves and put it on each other? would we still feel as lonely and isolated and unstable as we currently often do? would we rush into bad dating relationships so quickly or stay in them as long as we do? i think probably not.

i brought this up with my friend evan the other day and he was right there with me; he agreed that our selfishness as single people is causing us to miss out on so many good things that god wants for us. basically, we're saying to god, i want the intimacy and connection and partnership that come with a spouse! and in return he's saying, i know that, and i want that for you too, but right now i'm providing with all of these other people for intimacy and connection and partnership, and you're ignoring them!

evan and i talked about what we thought might change if each of us had a significant other. he said he thought he'd feel more satisfied (amongst other things), and i said i envisioned myself feeling more stable and connected and anchored. we talked about achieving those feelings now, and we agreed that there's no good reason (save our own stubbornness) why we can't move that direction in our current single state.

i think that in order to get there, i've got to start putting other people first on a regular basis. for example; if my friends are going to watch movies and hang out friday night, and i really don't want to watch movies, well, maybe i need to suck it up and go watch movies just to spend some time with them. most of the time, i'd go look for something else to do with some other group of friends. and sometimes that's ok. but if i keep choosing the activity over the people, i never really commit to anyone. i never say you're important enough to me that i'll do something that i don't really like all that much just to spend time with you.

maybe the intimacy we all desperately long for is right in front of our faces. we just have to work a little harder to find it. die to ourselves a little. be a little more vulnerable with a few of our friends. really let them in, and really show them that we want to know them.

i think those things (sacrifice, service, vulnerability) are at the heart of a good marriage. why can't we start learning them now? good relationships are good relationships. a healthy community is a healthy community, no matter if it's singles or couples or a mix of both.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

every singleton's favorite holiday

what's a blog about singleness, dating, and relationships without a post about every single person's favorite holiday!? here's mine...

i think i have a unique perspective on this special day. i have been single for every valentines day in my entire life, except one. kinda strange. for the last 3 years, i've done something to mark the day. last year i threw a gigantic singles party at my apartment. i invited every single person i knew and told them to invite their friends. and they did. there were so many people in my apartment, it was ridiculous. i mean we're talking like 100 people. i had meet 'n' greet games, an awesome party soundtrack, champagne punch, and heart shaped name tags. to this day i am still known as 'that girl that threw that giant awesome valentines party.' a few lucky people even got dates (not me; i was too busy playing hostess).

the year before last was the one year of my life i was in a relationship at valentines day. as i recall, i went over to the bf's house and we hung out. he made dinner, i think. i might have helped or something. he wasn't working at the time. it was a nice evening. i think things were still ok in our relationship at that point. the whole thing went downhill not long after that. i'm not bitter, i'm just telling it how it is.

three years ago, my first roommate and i threw a giant 'black hearts' valentines day party. like the singles party i threw last year, this one was huge. people my roommate and i didn't even know showed up. the next day at church, two ridiculously hot guys came up to us and said sc! lisa! that was an awesome party last night! great job! we looked at each other, and i know we were both thinking the same thing... yes! we are awesome.

this year, i really don't have any plans yet. bev and i have tossed around a few ideas, but nothing concrete yet. i have to say; i am totally cool with whatever happens or doesn't happen. it'd be nice if we had some fun young professionals thing to go to, or had planned a ladies' night in at someone's house. but we didn't. we may end up at some hip bar, drinking pink martinis or a nice cab sauv. who knows. whatev. i don't feel the need to rebelliously flaunt my single status in the face of 'singles awareness day,' as my friend dave likes to call it. i used to, but not anymore.

so, happy valentines day/singles awareness day. i hope your comfortable enough with who and where you are in life to enjoy the day or at least have some fun with it. do you have any cool plans? if so, share 'em below.....

Thursday, February 07, 2008

no more bad boys (probably can't say the same for bad decisions)

we all know the stereotype of the bad boy. i admit, i've fallen for a few. i've never seriously dated one, but i've 'hung around' a few, and um, may have made a bad decision or two concerning a rally-attending socialist venezuelan and also an underachiever rich-kid with bad words tattooed on his knuckles.

i am definitely making better decisions now, though! heck, the last guy i made a bad decision with was a really good guy! baby steps, right? right.....

so i saw vball dude at a church function last night. he was in line next to me for communion. we chatted some, and that was that. i hung around afterward hoping to talk to him some more, as i actually had something to tell him, but he was deep in conversation with someone else. i emailed him today, and when he emailed me back he mentioned the humanitarian trip through our church thathe was helping to plan, and added that if i wanted to help out, to just let him know. and before i really knew what i was doing, i hit reply and said, yup, i'd love to help out.

and with the click of my mouse and the stroke of a few keys, i committed to a trip to new orleans in August to build houses.

now, in my defense, i was thinking about going on some kind of trip like that this year. a few years ago i went really far away (africa), and i'm not ready to shell out for that again right now. but new orleans is much more do-able. and i was thinking that with some of my experiences, i could help with leadership stuff if they need it. but before that email, i still wasn't sure if i was committing or not. but i think that now i am committed.

but, you know what? vball dude is a good guy. a really good guy. even though at this point i don't think he's being anything more than nice to me, i'm ok with me doing a few silly (but hopefully subtle) things to hang around him a little more. for the first time in a while. i've found a good, solid guy, and i'm intrigued. i'm intrigued by his goodness! that doesn't happen much. hopefully we'll become friends and i can see what he's really all about, and if he's as good as he seems.

meeting random guys

last week i went to a large wine-tasting event on thursday night and out to a bar for some karaoke on saturday night. at both places, there were available, good-looking guys. thursday night was kind of awkward. i don't know why. maybe because my focus was off. i was totally in scope mode. it took me until now to figure it out, but i think scope mode is the problem. saturday night when a tall hot guy walked into the bar, i immediately went into scope mode; trying to catch his eye, trying to make sure i was smiling if came by or looked over, trying to figure out how to position myself near him, etc. it was a lot of work and it stressed me out.

now, i'm not saying that there's anything wrong with a little bit of strategy. i think that meeting people is an art, and that practice makes perfect. but i think the problem comes when the focus changes from me being out with my friends and having fun and meeting people to me figuring out what i can do to meet someone who's caught my eye. when the latter happens, i need to just tell myself to relax.

i don't turn into some desperate wierdo or anything. it's more of an internal shift. it stresses me out. i stop having as much fun. the funny thing is, saturday night, once i turned my focus back to my friends and singing and having a good time, i ended up standing at the bar next to the hot guy, and i even had a conversation with him. i was relaxed and we had a nice chat. it felt really good. a nice reminder that yes, i can talk to pretty much anyone. even good-looking guys at bars. i might have chatted with him more, but i'd seen him outside smoking earlier, so that kind of killed some of my interest. that, and i was leaving.

i think i'm starting to get this whole thing. if i'm confident, i'm more attractive, and i feel better. and if i'm relaxed, it's easier to talk to guys and i don't appear desperate. on top of that, if i take a few risks by talking to some random guys, it gets easier! ha, who would've guessed.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

life on pause?

atypical christian woman posted a great comment on my entry beginning to end the prolonged singleness blame game. in it she wondered if i had asked myself, What about being single is keeping me from living the life I want?

i've thought about that question before, and i've always been satisfied with my answer; being single isn't keeping me from anything i want except marriage. but for some reason i stopped and thought about the question, and my answer, a little more when i read atc's comment.

being single has always felt sort of transient to me. like things could change or shift at any moment. that's not my reality, it's more of a mindset. the truth is i've worked at the same place for four years and lived in my current apartment for three. it's been a pretty stable life. but still... i feel unanchored. maybe part of that's because i feel like i have to get new friends every so often?

the other part is definitely this thing in my head that says this is all just temporary; going out with random groups of friends, living in this apartment where i can only do so much (no painting, not too much stuff on the walls, etc)... like i shouldn't latch on too much because the people will change and this isn't what it's really all about, anyway. and heck, my last two roommates moved out to get married. i just assumed i'd be next, or soon, or not too far down the line. but i guess the truth is this is what it's about. this is my life. it hasn't changed and it probably won't unless i change it. if i want to feel more anchored and less transient, then i need to buy a house and pursue some of my married friends who've moved out to the suburbs and had kids. i need to go after some of the things i want, i guess.

i've subconsciously thought that soon enough marriage would come along and anchor me. i'd get a house and some nice furniture and i'd finally be allowed to do what i want to where i live. we'd have two incomes so we could travel or get grad degrees or put money into the house or whatever.

so now i have choices to make. what do i want to do? what would make me feel more anchored? or, i guess more importantly, what does god have for me? what risks can i start to take to be more in line with him and feel like i'm living and loving my life right now, not waiting for it get better?

i've started on this path recently with some little steps, and it's been good. but i admit, i'm kind of afraid to commit. like the house thing... if i buy a house, or the building down the street that i really like, then i'm committed. it's just me. sure my dad can help me out and i can have roommates, but it's in my name and it's my responsibility. i would go from the most expensive thing i own being my stereo to having to pay a mortgage and build into a house. woah. not that i can't do it, it's just that doing it by myself doesn't have the same appeal as doing it with a husband. of course, living in this apartment for the next 5 (or who knows how long) years isn't very appealing either. and sure, i know, i could buy a condo or something. but i think i'd rather have a house or an old building.

Monday, February 04, 2008

starting to think of others

thanks to everyone who commented on the last two posts... some great points and more importantly some great questions. there is so much future content in those comments, you don't even know what you've started.... :-)

i'm still trying to figure out the prayer group thing. i probably just need to step out and invite some people, but i'm unsure about a lot of things. who to invite and how often are the biggest things. and like novagirl, i'm still trying to figure out why some would be more open to this than others. and shooey, you are right... there are a million followers of a million different schools of thought. but i don't think this is about that. i really think that pursuing this would be a way of pursuing a healthy and holy arm of the christian community. it would be about meeting together to encourage each other and just talk to god. we'd lift each other and others up in prayer.

lately i have been trying to pray for others on my own more. my first instinct is always to journal about myself; what's happened to me and what i'm thinking and feeling. i've been trying to at least pray/write some about others' hopes and desires and situations. i think that's a good step.