I have a newfound respect for arranged marriages. Think about it. A panel of loved ones who know me and have my best interest at heart, sift through a stack of eligible suitors and decide which one will be my soul mate. Perfect! Don’t agree??? You must not be a Christian, mid-30s single mom entering back into the dating world!
Yes, I do trust my loved ones that much, but I hate dating that much more! It has become so very clear to me how much I have changed since my early 20’s. I don’t mean physically. Obviously after having a litter of very large babies, I’m not the size 6, B-cup aspiring actress I once was. No, I’m referring to what lies beneath this fleshy shell; the way I think, the way I feel, the way I react. It was a bittersweet reality this weekend.
After three months of skipping his weekends, my ex actually came and picked up the kids last Friday. I was SO ready for some much needed “me” time! I didn’t want to be alone all weekend and the bar scene… well, to be honest I can’t determine if it’s a nightmare or a cruel joke! So, when a close friend of mine invited me to a singles event at her church and I was more than game! After hearing it was a country/western theme, it became a MUST! This particular friend and I seem to have fun no matter where we are. I was confident that regardless of how this event turned out, we would have a blast!
Being cute is a must in ANY single male/female interaction situation. This doesn’t change with age. Neither does tearing through your entire wardrobe to find the perfect outfit. This being a “themed” event, a purchase also had to be made in the form of a plaid button-up. Very cute and theme appropriate. Still feeling like my younger self.
THE POINT OF CHANGE: realizing that I needed to color my hair before I showered because a few gray strands decided to shine brighter than the sun through my locks of auburn hair. Although this was a physical difference, it unlocked the chains that had bound and held my perception hostage. And so began a night of revelation.
A (not so) Grand Entrance
I must admit, I felt pretty cute. Even standing next to my friend who is 29 years old, blonde, and very beautiful (did I mention she teaches classes at a local gym???) I still felt secure. We walk into the event, two confident women; cute from head to toe and ready to tear up the dance floor and the mechanical bull!
REVELATION #1: I’ve become meek
The 20ish year old me would have taken center stage as soon as I busted through those doors, or at the very least, would have shared the spot light with my friend. Instead, I watched as the 35 year old me slowed a bit to allow her friend to lead the way. When had I become a follower?
REVELATION#2: I’ve become reserved and hesitant
Still feeling confident, we made the rounds, greeting the people we knew, being introduced to a few others. I even caught the eye of a cute guy or two! As I studied the rows of line dancers who congested the dance floor, I got excited and even said to my friend, “I know this one!” The 20ish year old would have bopped her little butt right out there and joined in! No hesitation, no reservation. As much as that 20ish year old wanted to burst out, this older, more reserved woman didn’t allow her to. Why not? Being a stick in the mud was NOT how God created me! Was it fear? If I went out there and made a fool of myself would I ruin any chance of a guy coming up and talking to me? When did I start letting fear win?
REVELATION #3: I’ve started allowing the opinion of others to influence me
You just can’t possibly know how every fiber of the 20ish year old inside of me wanted to hop up on that mechanical bull and become Tuff Hedeman, hanging on for 8 seconds of glory! Especially after watching my friend “urban” cowgirl up and go airborne at least three of her SIX rides! But after a few smiles from “Hi My Name Is Jonathan” there was NO WAY the 35 year old prude was going to let little miss 20ish humiliate both of them by climbing their not-size-6-anymore butt on that electric longhorn! Did I lose the shroud of self-confidence adorned just hours earlier? Since when did I allow the opinion of others to dictate my actions?
By the end of the night, my friend had ridden the mechanical bull six times, lined danced several times (even when she didn’t know what she was doing), did the Cotton Eyed Joe, busted a move, out ran the running man, attempted Thriller, and even took her turn down the Soul Train dance line. Believe it or not, I had a blast! I had the BEST time watching her throughout the night! I had my own fun, too. I wasn’t a TOTAL bore! I line danced! I didn’t bust a move or even give a second thought to the running man, but I did do Thriller and even belted out “Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely woooooorrrrrllllld” to the camera. And although “Hello My Name is Jonathan” never came up and talked to me, I left the event with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Good Things Come…
Reflection is a wonderful thing. Since last Friday, I’ve had time to sift through the revelations, taking both the good and the bad from each. I actually looked up the definition of meek to be sure I truly understood the meaning. Humbly patient is what I read. Being meek is something we should all strive for. At the same time I cannot lose my voice. The most beloved leaders and teachers are those who are humbly patient. After all, the meek shall inherit the earth.
There is a time and place for everything and there is a lot to say about being reserve. I attempted the bar scene recently and the lack of reservation in some women is truly grievous. I want to remain reserve enough to reflect Christ while maintaining a sense of adventure; stepping out in faith instead of living in fear. And as far as allowing the opinions of other to influence me… there is only ONE opinion that really matters, right? And if I am striving daily to be in His light, then His light will shine through me. My weakness has always been seeing my self-worth through the eyes of other instead of through the eyes of the One who created me. I will be working on this!
With all of this new insight into myself, I think that I will put off the arranged marriage for now, completely forget the bar scene, continue to go to the singles events at my friends church, surround myself with the people I hold dear (the ones I can still be my goofy 20ish self around), and wait on the Lord. Easier said than done, I know! But you know what they say… Good things come to those who wait. Even those who suffer from bittersweet insanity!
Don’t forget to be a blessing!