May 4, 2011
Before we began this project, we did some research into resources available for women online. Most websites seemed to be geared toward married women, dealing with marriage and parenting. And frugal living. There isn't a great deal out there for single women, unless it has to do with sex and seduction. Marriage, parenting, and frugality are definitely important to women, and we knew we wanted to address those topics, but we were also aware of an often overlooked audience: single women of faith, striving to be obedient to God's holy will and struggling to understand their purpose in His plan.

Not many people have an explicit call from God to live a single life, without also being called to a religious community. There are challenges particular to the single state, which perhaps are exacerbated by friends and family not understanding what your experience is like.

How to cope? Here are some thoughts from my own experience of the single life:

1. Family is important, whether natural or manufactured.
"It is not good for man to be alone". God created us to be in relationship. We need companionship, fellowship, and connection. Women especially need to relate to others, to share of ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We need to be seen by another, to be known and understood in close friendship. Single women today may not live with or near their parents and siblings, so it's important to gather a group of good friends that you trust.We need those intimate and honest relationships in order to be held accountable in all aspects of our life.
Speaking of accountability, because singles have not made promises or vows to another person or community, our spiritual well being would benefit from a good confessor and/or spiritual director. Submitting to the care and wisdom (and, dare I say it, authority) of another person can be helpful in keeping balance and proper perspective.
Another element of family not to be overlooked is the help they provide. Whether you need advice when repairing a car, signing a contract, hiring a plumber, or physical help when changing a lightbulb, or getting home from an eye doctor's appointment, it's good to have people you can call on when life throws you a curve ball.

2. Treat yourself well. Look after yourself.
Make sure you occasionally prepare a proper meal for yourself, and set the table for dinner with your favourite linen napkin. Have your afternoon tea in the fine bone china Grandma Noreen left you. Paint your nails in that colour that always makes you smile when you see your fingertips. Don't get into the habit of wearing yoga pants everywhere you go no matter how comfortable they are - remember that taking care with your appearance helps you to feel good about yourself. Look after your health. In the words of L'Oreal: you're worth it.

3. Don't wait for your life to begin. Live to the full, today.
We don't know what tomorrow may bring: Prince Charming could knock on your door tomorrow, or it could rain for the third day in a row. Either way, God has given you the gift of each day that comes, and the potential of each day has to be seized in its moment. Don't put off taking that class, picking up that hobby, going on that trip, losing weight, becoming organized or whatever it is you're telling yourself you'll get around to doing 'when you get married'. You've been given gifts and talents to share with us, and delving into their possibilities will make life richer and sweeter.

4. Recognize the blessings of single life.
I know there are tears and heartache, sorrows and struggles in being single. However, there are blessings to be enjoyed. Looking at your own life; can you see what they are?

5. Acknowledge the sacrifices/challenges of single life.
Yes, it's true: being single isn't all fun and games, and it's important to allow yourself to recognize it. Be honest about what you find particularly difficult, and challenge yourself to find ways to cope.  Make an offering of your tears - nothing is wasted when given to the Lord.
Life is hard (to greater or lesser degrees) for everyone, regardless of vocation or state of life. To some extent you just have to endure the Cross you've been given; joy comes from allowing yourself to be at peace.
You don't want sadness (or self-centredness which comes from focusing too much on your woes) to be the focus of your life, but by the same token, some of the hardship you're experiencing may have spiritual roots that need to be addressed. The reasons for being single are many. If yours are keeping you from moving forward, please be open to seeking help. Many of us are carrying old scars from our past, but through healing, it is possible to be freed of those wounds.

6. We are all called to die to self; how can we do so as single people?
Married people have plenty of opportunities to serve, to love, and to sacrifice - right in the family home. Our service may involve volunteer organizations, helping friends who have children, offering to take extra shifts at work, or taking the early hours at the Adoration Chapel.
Being of service to others means we're placing less emphasis on ourselves. A friend once suggested that when I got to feeling blue about my life, I reach out to someone else.  Giving to others what we want for ourselves sends self pity packing. Conduct a 'charity check'. Are you overlooking an opportunity to serve? 

1 comment:

  1. "...Giving to others what we want for ourselves sends self pity packing..."

    If this statement wasn't inspired by the Holy Spirit, I don't know what statement would be...well done author, well done.

    ReplyDelete

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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!

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