When You’re Sad to Be Single

This is not a post for discontented singles. There is a difference between a sad single and a discontented single. Sadness is an emotion to be felt and processed. Discontentment is a state of the heart to be softened and changed.

A contented single is satisfied in God regardless of their relationship status. They know where their identity and value are rooted. Whether subconsciously or consciously, they know and believe that God is more than enough for them.

A discontented single is the opposite. They are dissatisfied and unfulfilled in God while single. Some blame and become angry with God for their celibacy. Others battle insecurity and lack of identity, believing that if they had a special someone they would be satisfied and fulfilled.

This post is for the sad but contented single.

I’m not going to put up a case for contentment in singleness because way too many others have said it better before me, and if you’re not content yet, another blog post about the joys of singleness isn’t going to get you there. That’s between you and God.

Hopefully this helps some sad, contented singles deal with sorrow, especially since Valentine’s Day is this week.

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Being sad is not sinful, but as with all emotions, we must be careful how we handle it lest it become bitterness and/or discontentment. Different things can set off sadness. I have spent the last year amazingly happy and satisfied with God and singleness. But sometimes things happen, and I get… sad. I encounter a taste of what a relationship can be, and wistfulness and loneliness set in.

So many things can prompt this odd sense of loss, and it’s different for each person.

For those who have not always been single, it may be seeing pictures of a former girlfriend with a new boyfriend on social media. Or it maybe it’s an old anniversary that is an anniversary no longer. Or a song bringing back a wave of memories and feelings in the strange, powerful way only music can work, tying lyrics and melodies to moments and seasons in life.

For those who have always been single, it might be watching a romantic movie that leaves a longing after the credits role. Or it could be the seemingly endless stream of endlessly happy couples on social media. Or perhaps it’s something that comes in a dream from which waking feels like a loss (an especially bewildering thing since it’s a loss of something that was never actually there in the first place).

But what to do with it?

When you’re sad to be single, it’s strange because it feels almost as if you’re missing a specific person. In some cases, maybe you are, but for singles like me, there’s no person to miss but still a sense of loss and a yearning for reunion.

Obviously, I am no expert, so this is by no means comprehensive since I don’t know what it’s like to cope with and process sadness and loneliness after a relationship—whether dating, engagement, or marriage—dissolves.

Take the time to be sad and even mourn, but don’t wallow. This is one of those things that is so hard to balance since emotions—especially strong ones—need to be felt to be processed.

You can’t just stuff them down to the bottom of your heart and muscle your way through. That doesn’t work because the sadness doesn’t go away; it sits and ferments. And sadness left too long doesn’t foster and give birth to healthy emotions. Sadness can be a precursor to bitterness, anger, and depression, and it’s surprising just how quickly that can happen, especially if a rose-colored reminder of a past relationship is what brought the sadness on in the first place.

But wallowing can result in the same thing. If, instead of bottling it up, you sit in it and dwell on it, sadness and what follows will control you. Your thoughts will start to circle back to it more and more until you’re under the thumb of your emotions.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway just in case: the only thumb any of us should be under is the Holy Spirit’s. He should be the guiding and controlling force. He is altogether trustworthy; our hearts and feelings are not (like, at all).

Be honest with yourself and God. Don’t bury it or ignore it. Don’t revisit it again and again. Don’t pretend it’s more than it is. Don’t pretend it’s less than it is.

Pray and do whatever else you must to work through it. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor. Journal. Read some Psalms. Listen to good music. Take a walk. Exercise. Write a song. Paint. Give the dog a bath.

And if you’re not “getting better” after a little while, get a little more aggressive with your dealings with your sadness.

Pray more and suit up. Take time to remember specifically how God has satisfied and met all your needs as a single thus far. Read 1 Corinthians 7 aloud (and when I say read it aloud, I mean actually read it aloud). Tell someone you know will pray with and for you that you’re struggling; this is no time for embarrassment or going at it alone. Read Psalm 16 aloud (yeah, actually read it aloud). If you must cry, cry out to God.

Turn away from sorrow and run towards joy. Run towards the joy of your salvation–Jesus. Race after the lover of your soul–Jesus. Hurtle towards your greatest reward–Jesus. Fix Jesus—His character, His faithfulness in all things—at the front of your mind and go.

Acknowledge and work through your sadness. It’s not something to be ashamed of; it’s a reminder that we are not complete—we are not perfect—until the day we look Jesus in His holy, flaming eyes. Watch out for depression, bitterness, and anger. Remember that sadness is not for forever, and so don’t live like it is.

With much love,

Rosalie

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Winter Bucketlist 2018

Since we are almost halfway through winter, I should probably have put this up on the ol’ blog a while ago or not at all, but whatevs. I like winter, and I haven’t even gotten to most of the stuff on this list, so it’s basically new.

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  • Finish Draft Five of Beasts. Yeah, this old rag. Right now I’m doing a lot of re-evaluating of themes and characters. It’s an unruly story, and if it’s not careful, it will get torn down and rebuilt again.
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this gif makes all the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve poured into Beasts okay

  • Reread The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The sequel–Reclaiming Shilo Snow–comes out on March 6, so I need to refresh on this beautiful, difficult story.
  • Reread Unblemished by Sara Ella. The final book in the trilogy comes out this May, and so I need to start in on the reread of Unblemished and read Unraveling so I’m all set for when Unbreakable comes out (I’ve had Unraveling for several months, but I decided to wait until closer to Unbreakable‘s release to read it since I’ve heard it’s a heart breaker).
  • Register for Realm Makers. (Done!)
  • Memorize Psalm 46. There are so many Psalms I want to memorize, but Psalm 46 is currently one of my favorites. It’s only eleven verses, so I think it shouldn’t take me too long to get this baby down.
  • Submit two pieces for publication. (one down, one to go)
  • Some sort of polar plunge thing. Apparently all the official polar plunges take place on New Year’s Day. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s already long gone. SO, I’ll probably wait until some of the ice melts on the lake and just go jump in with a few people hanging around to make sure they can drag me out in case I black out from the cold. (Fun fact for you: this is actually research for Flickering Lights.)
  • Visit an art museum. (Done!)
  • Read a book about French impressionists. As it turns out, I enjoy French impressionist paintings a lot. So I’m on the lookout for a good book about those French geniuses.
  • Go ice skating. I’ve only done it once before in my life. I had a very up-close and personal relationship with the ice and a bunch of bruises by the time I left the rink, but it was fun! I definitely want to try it again.
  • Go on an early morning walk in the snow. This needs no explanation.
  • Walk on a frozen lake. (Done!)
  • Go sledding. This is mainly because I recently rewatched The Giver and love the wonder of the main character when he goes on his first sled ride. I want to relearn some of that wonder.
  • Go snow skiing. I’ve also only done this once before–maybe I’ll tell you guys about that adventure sometime–and I MUST DO IT AGAIN.
  • Electronic detox. E’rebody needs one of these periodically, and it’s about time I had another one.
  • Watch Black Panther. No explanation needed.
  • Rewatch Gifted. I cannot stop thinking about this movie. I must rewatch it and take notes. So good.
  • Go to an open mic. Probably not to perform anything but just to get out of the house and do something I haven’t in a while.

What about you? Are there any things you want to do before spring melts the snow??

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – nine days until Valentine’s Day, people.

The Things that Wake Up When the Lights Go Out [thoughts on sleeplessness]

A lot of things came together to inspire this post.

I’m not usually an insomniac, but a few times a month something comes up that keeps me awake when I’m trying to sleep, something that wakes up when the lights go out. My Grandpa rarely—if ever—sleeps through the night because of all his broken parts. The little boy I nanny suffers from nightmares. Many dear ones feel the weight of life most keenly when it’s time to sleep and they’re alone with their thoughts. And there are so many others. Thus, this post.

So this goes out to all those who are as wakeful as I am and especially to those who are more so. These are the measures I take to make use of the time when I’d rather be sleeping and/or combat the things lurking in the dark. Pick and choose what proves helpful for you.

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Things can go… bad in the dark, after the lights have been turned off, the covers have been snuggled under, and the silence has set in.

Sometimes the mind shakes off any semblance of sleepiness and decides to wake up all the way and ruminate over the stresses of life—the next bill to be paid, the child who left God, the mess that is the relationship with a friend, the car that is currently throwing that check engine light again (like, it must be doing it just for kicks now, right?), upcoming tests that you feel like you should be cramming for instead of trying to catch up on all your sleep debt, or whatever other stressers might be robbing you of your sleep.

Sometimes the mind takes a darker turn, one toward self-harm and inadequacy and silent tears and a sense of helplessness. Isolation folds in and a millstone drops on the chest, suffocating, crushing, draining.

Sometimes the mind twists toward something else, something more alluring. Fantasies in the dark can feel anonymous, an inviting cocoon to drop into in the wake of loneliness and unfulfilled emotional and physical desires.

Other times, the mind runs its merry way right to sleep… but then the whole body is frozen awake by a nightmare that leaves the heart racing and the mind shivering. Every sound in the hall is the footstep of humanity’s most depraved approaching the bedroom door.

And yet other times still, wakefulness isn’t due to stress so much as it’s due to bones that were once broken and still ache enough to keep you awake. A hip, a back, a migraine, something physical that won’t let rest come.

So here are four things that help me.

Pray. I am a firm believer in the sweet tenderness that God has for his people and that he is more than able to meet every one of my needs—including pouring out the purest comfort on my unsettled heart and mind. So, when rest is not restful, I pray with honesty. There’s nothing more peaceful than taking refuge in God and falling asleep aware of his presence. That begins with prayer. And don’t pray only for yourself. Sometimes it seems as though God is keeping me awake just so I can pray for the people he brings to mind.

Music. Music helps pull my mind from wherever it is to look at God and offer tranquil worship as I rest on the truth shared beautifully in the lyrics. Some of my favorite restful songs include Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle, Come Thou Fount performed by Kings Kaleidoscope, Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy by Shane and Shane, Far Too Wonderful by Shane and Shane, Sweet Hour of Prayer performed by Casting Crowns, and Captain by Hillsong (feel free to check out my sleep playlist on Spotify). Pick some songs that encourage and calm you and play them quietly when you’re having trouble sleeping. (You do have to be careful that you don’t train yourself to rely on music to fall asleep.)

Psalms. I’m a bit over the moon about the book of Psalms (which may be part of why I cannot recommend the entire Psalms Vol. II album by Shane and Shane enough; seriously, go look the album up and listen to Lord of Hosts – Psalm 46 first). The Psalmists knew how to commune with God, and they understood the dearness of intimacy with the Lord of Hosts. Turning on a lamp and slowly reading some Psalms draws me back to the God of peace.

Meditation. Take advantage of the opportunity to meditate on Scripture or work on whatever passage you are currently memorizing. Remember that this is the mightiest of swords we’re talking about here; there is no foe that can withstand the words of God. So use the Sword; make it part of your heart, mind, and soul. There are few better uses of your sleeplessness.

All these things help me, and I hope they help the restless of you too.

Do you struggle with insomnia? What do you usually do? What would you add to my list?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – did anybody notice that these four suggestions in this order make “P.M.P.M.”. Which is kind of swanky since we sleep at nighttime which is called “The P.M.”. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. – also, extra points to me for taking a picture of my meager seaglass collection and randomly throwing it up on the ol’ blog for a post on sleeplessness. #winning

The 6 Stages of a Weekday [if ever there was a post to be a gif-full post, it is this post] [seriously, though, we’re looking at less than 200 words]

This is a #realtalk post, my friends. It’s about weekdays.

Let’s get to it.

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Stage One: Waking From Slumber.

Alarm #1.

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*gently snoozes*

Alarm #2.

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*snoozes less gently*

Alarm #3.

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*failing to silence alarm #3*

Stage Two: Waking From Slumber [the sequel].

Actually up.

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Profound words.

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Food is our friend.

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Coffee.

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it’s all better now

Stage Three: Assessing the To-Do List.

On first glance…

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After further contemplation…

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A little bit later.

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sometimes I get some earthshaking revelations

Stage Four: Work.

(Disclaimer: I enjoy my day job immensely, but it requires departing from the the house. Thus…)

At first.

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Suiting up.

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At work.

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because I can

Stage Five: The Revenge of the To-Do List

Approach #1.

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Approach #2.

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Approach #3.

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Approach #4.

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Approach #5.

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Approach #6.

doing stuff 4

wait a sec. I think something might be happening.

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oh wow

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you better believe it

doing stuff 5

boom

doing stuff 3

yassssssssssssssss

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MWAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Stage Six: The End of the Day.

Reading.

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Food.

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More reading.

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General merrymaking.

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The End.

Yeah, that basically sums it up.

Does any of this apply to you wonderful people? Which stage do you find yourself caught in the most? What stages do you experience that I do not?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – congrats to Lisa from Inkwell on winning the magazine giveaway! Watch your inbox for an email from me! :D

An Instance When You Shouldn’t Think of Others Before Yourself [an autobiography]

Usually, it’s a good think to think of others before you think of yourself. In fact, it’s always good to think of other’s needs before your own. We’re to consider each other as more significant than ourselves, looking to their interest before our own. This is a huge part of how Christians are to love each other, how we’re to be Jesus to one another.

But today I want to talk about an instance when it’s wrong—sinful, even—to think about someone else before you think of yourself. After several stabs at this post, the best way to do this seems to be by sharing a bit of autobiography.

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A not-so-hypothetical situation.

It was Sunday morning at church, and a visiting pastor was speaking from Ephesians 4 about how our leaders are gifts to our church, admonishing us to be unified, reminding us what—or rather who—unifies us as a church, and calling us to grow up into the image of Christ. I sat there in my pew, brimming with enthusiasm. I had a running list of people who I thought needed to hear that sermon, who needed to hear it and then heed it. I’m not the type to call out an amen in the service, but I wanted to that morning… until I realized I was deciding how everyone else had to change because of the truth we were told that day except for me. I wasn’t thinking about how I needed to learn and grow; I was thinking about everyone else who needed to learn and grow, calling them out in my head.

It was a strange, disorienting, somewhat sickening moment.

The problem.

In December 2016, I was reading The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, and that was the first time I was made aware that this sort of thinking was a problem… and that I had this problem (The Screwtape Letters can do that to a person). It ebbed in and out of my mind for months as I caught myself thinking about how the truth being preached and taught to me could be applied in the lives of all these sinners around me. Goodness knows I’m painfully aware of their sin and problems and am so wise as to know how they need to go about growing up, and I sure hope they are actually listening to this sermon because they really need to get their lives in order.

But here’s the deal.

Sermons on Sunday mornings, daily quiet time with God, convicting books on the Christian life—these are rarely the time to be assessing the sin of others.

The Holy Spirit puts me in church on Sunday for me to hear the message and learn from it, not so I can steam about how so-and-so had better be awake to hear this because I think I know so much about so-and-so’s heart and life.

My quiet time with God is my quiet time with God where he and I set up a battle plan for my life and my sin issues, not where I pick out pieces of what I’m learning and wish my sister or friend or whoever knew it so that they could stop being such a difficult person for me to deal with.

The Holy Spirit is with me while I read that book on the Christian life to convict me, not so that I can convict others.

These are all situations where I should come first in my mind, but so often I don’t. There is something sickly satisfying in looking down on someone else from the safety of my mind, from the high vantage point my self-love so readily gives me. But my mind isn’t safe from God’s eyes, and my high ground is just an illusion I’ve made for myself.

The source of this mindset.

It all boils down to pride. This is thinking much of myself and hardly anything of those around me.

There is a time and place for coming alongside a brother or sister in Christ and exhorting them with the power of the Holy Spirit, but the only power of the Holy Spirit that has to do with pride is the power that the Holy Spirit uses to expose and then cut down pride. There is no upside or strength in pride, only sin and self, and in the process of sanctification, both of those must go.

A holy heart.

How can I learn to look first at myself before turning my eyes to the lives of others? Humility and love. Humility and love. Humility and love. Humility and love.

Humility is for looking at myself first. I have sin issues. So do you. So does everyone else. But the sin issues that need to occupy my mind are my own, not anyone else’s. When I feel the tug to look at the sinners around me—whether it be in church or during my devotions or reading a book on the Christian life or anywhere else—I will stop and pray.

I will pray to the holy God to whom I should have no right to lift up my voice. I’ll ask for help from the Holy Spirit whose presence I should have no access to. I will look to Jesus, who has given my what is his, and I’ll remember that grace has nothing to do with deserve.

Pride has a hard time standing before the brilliant holiness of God, and I think that might be part of humility in a nutshell. It’s not about looking at others or yourself or comparison at all. It’s looking at God, truly looking at him, and remembering why you can.

Love is for when I do see legitimate sin in someone else’s life. Love, 1 Corinthians 13 love, is not blind, but it is true. 1 Corinthians 13 love gives the correct heartset for confronting a brother or sister in sin. It is devoid of pride and the sick urge to rejoice in the faults of others and tear them down or feel superior.

Instead of thinking anything about self, love immediately moves toward the best interest of the beloved, even if it involves painful confrontation. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Further reading.

I wrote this because I know I’m not the only one with this sin, and so if you’d like to read the Scripture behind this post, here’s a list of some of the influential passages: Jeremiah 17:9-10, Proverbs 16:18, Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:31, John 8:1-8, Romans 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 2:3-10, and James 4:12.

Who has read The Screwtape Letters? Did anyone else get major speck vs. plank vibes from this post (if you did, it was probably because Matthew 7:1-5 was hugely influential)? Which is harder for you—humility or love? Speaking of humility, what do you think it is (I ask because opinions seem to vary)?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – this is a messy subject, and there were several things I didn’t clarify because it was getting to be a monster huge post. What clarifications/follow-up posts would you like to see?

P.P.S. – don’t forget to enter the giveaway from last week’s post by Just B. Jordan!