Ladies, it’s that time of year. The holidays. Friendsgivings, gift shopping, Christmas trees, travels, the end of the year rush to check off goals from your list and you’re doing it all alone. Without a bae to help you enjoy the festivities. The holidays definitely have a way of highlighting unfulfilled areas of our lives. Because we’re spending more time with family and friends, the notion that we’re still in the same predicament a whole year later compared to some of our friends who have gotten engaged and married can be daunting. And nosy aunts don’t make it any easier.
But fret not, we can’t forget all the blessings we do have. God has done so much in our lives. Our weddings may not have happened yet, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t blessed in other areas. Have you finished school this year? Be grateful. Did you get a new job? Be grateful. Did you get a promotion? Be grateful. Did you check off 3 countries on your bucket list this year? Be grateful. Do you even have a boyfriend that loves and cares about you even though he doesn’t seem to comprehend all the marriage hints you’ve been giving him on a monthly basis? Be grateful.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I know it’s tough to be grateful at times of certain situations when your heart is set on particular accomplishments. Here are some ways that have helped me remain grateful while waiting for The One.
1. Sing Songs That Keep You Grateful
The Bible says that Jesus Christ came:
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
When I’m feeling moody, I look for ways to increase my joy and singing does that for me. I put on my “garment of praise” and just begin to worship. It may feel weird at first, to start singing when you’re feeling down, but it does help. I naturally burst into singing at any given time, but even I had to train myself to sing when I’m down and depress. It reminds me of the bigger picture of life and that I have a God that is in control even when I don’t feel that I am. Music is powerful.
The other day, my mom was expressing her disappointment with the fact that I’m not married yet. As she was talking, I kept telling her that she needs to trust God and the process. Then I hit play on “Even When It Hurts” a Hillsong United song and I started to sing. She calmed down and I stayed focused on being at this moment in my life. Staying focused on the present moment is big for me. Because whatever happens in the present affects the future. We can’t constantly focus on future wants and neglect present needs. In this time, I need to work on improving myself and community, which will pay off in the future.
2. Remember That Past Time Can’t Always Be Reclaimed
As much as we want to reclaim our time like Auntie Maxine Waters, we have to remember that time can’t always be reclaimed. Being single with no kids and in control of our time and energy is a stage that we can’t revert back to when we are married with kids. I can’t emphasize this point enough. As much as, I adore my friend’s babies and their marriages, I also remember that God has given me a unique purpose and a time to fulfill that purpose. I have to do what is required of me to fulfill as a single person. Whatever assignment we have at this stage can only work effectively if we’re single. We may not realize it, but our married friends do. Some of them are trying to accomplish goals they should’ve accomplished when they were single and now it’s much harder to do.
There is a lot we can do now, without a spouse. If we get married without accomplishing what we’re supposed to accomplish as single women, then our lives will become more complicated. We don’t need it to be. Let’s not add any more complications then is needed. When we’re married, we’ll get new assignments that will be easier to achieve if we’re married. Let’s not skip necessary steps. Let’s treat time like a precious commodity and value it enough to accomplish goals in their season.
3. Stop Comparing
The act of comparison is just evil. I don’t see the point of it, even though I do it too. It’s so easy to compare, but it’s so hard for it to be completely true. Comparison strips away necessary factors that need to be considered for each individual in order for life to be fair. Nigerian women especially love to compare someone’s age and marital status. If someone is 27 and married, while you’re 31 and single they believe the 27-year-old is doing better than you. Even though you’ve earned 2 degrees, have a great job, bought a house, traveled to 27 countries and been voted the coolest aunt 2 years in a row by the toughest judge, your 4-year-old niece, the Nigerian community would still believe that because you aren’t married with kids, you’re not winning in life. The 27-year-old can be working at McDonald’s still trying to earn her 1st degree, but if she’s married with kids and her husband can provide, she’s winning.
Listen, don’t fall into the comparison trap. It’s not fair to you or to the other person. Everybody goes through life at a different pace and we’re all called to accomplish different purposes. Trust God and keep focused on your path. Not someone else’s. The way to remain grateful is to focus on what you have accomplished, irrespective of another. At least we even have that. We could have nothing. The very few times it may be okay to compare, is when we recognize that others have substantially less than us. Then we realize that we’re truly blessed.