My sweet, beautiful single friend,

I’ve been there – Brokenhearted after a long relationship comes to an abrupt halt, collapsing to my knees halfway up my apartment stairs because the pain is so deep that it is causing physical weakness.

I’ve been there – Praying that Jesus would take the pain away and give me purpose in the midst of the season but silently hoping that Mr. Right was assigned to be a part of my next group project.

I’ve been there – Knowing that alcohol only would numb the pain temporarily, but weighing options and deciding that numbness, even just for thirty minutes, would be better than the overwhelming feelings of loneliness.

I’ve been there, friend. I’m writing this today because this topic has been weighing heavily on my heart and because YOU deserve to hear real, practical truth that will help you not only survive this season, but thrive in the midst of it. After all, Jesus created us to thrive.

Bare with me as I open up about my most difficult season and share with you some things that I wish I had known sooner. My prayer is that the Lord would use my experiences to help you today. Whether you are single and ready to mingle, single and brokenhearted, happily dating, joyfully engaged, blissfully married, or having a rocky time in your relationship – I invite you to join me as I dissect five pieces of advice that I would give any person navigating through the season of singleness.

#1. Submit to the Lord’s will. 

Y’all. It’s embarrassing to admit exactly how long it took for me in my singleness journey to actually submit to the Lord’s will. I don’t mean passively praying, “Thy will be done” on Sunday mornings – I mean humbly accepting the truth that God has a plan for His kingdom and that God will get His way whether we are on board with Him or not. I mean sitting down and praying daily that God’s will would be done instead of my own.

I had to get to a place emotionally and spiritually that I was able to pray, “God, if it is in your will for me to be single for the rest of my life, then have your way and grow me in the midst of your truth. Lord, if it is in your will for me to be single for a season, then have your way and grow me in the midst of your truth.” That prayer is something that is difficult to type because I remember wanting so badly to be married one day, to have children one day, to experience the world with someone one day. But that prayer is what humbled me in the middle of loneliness. It reminded me of who I was truly living for and of who had the ultimate control.

Trusting that God is in control and that God knows exactly what He is doing is easy when everything is going right. But when you check social media and see your ex-boyfriend with a new girl, hear about all your friends going on dates, and seem to be completely invisible to the guys you are attracted to (yes, totally speaking from experience in all these areas), it can be hard to trust that God has a better plan. Submit to His will anyways. Trust me, God is going to get his way no matter what. and I wish I had been on His side from the beginning instead of resisting His pull which eventually lead me to breaking point of submission anyways. Do yourself a favor, friend – let go and submit.

#2. Focus on Becoming. 

My all time favorite quote about being single is from Andy Stanley. He says, “Stop focusing on finding the person you are looking for. Instead, focus on becoming the person that the person you are looking for is looking for.” Did you catch that? Instead of being so wrapped up in looking for the guy who is wearing the cross around his neck in your anatomy class, focus on becoming the person who’s spirit would immediately attract the godly man that you are dreaming of.

I love Andy’s words because it switches the focus from what we cannot change to what we can. Trust me, I had NO control over whether or not the Jesus-loving fun guy would snap me back, but I had COMPLETE control over how I would chose to daily pursue the Lord, pursue my personal health, show up in friendships, explore passions, and respect my body. Being single was actually a huge blessing because it allowed me the time and freedom to figure myself out. I had time to start this blog, learn how to play the guitar, run many miles, and invest in friendships. I learned who I was and what I liked and I focused on becoming instead of chasing – dreaming instead of doubting.

Just being real – my weekends are now usually spent traveling to support my fiance at football games or traveling to make long-distance and wedding planning a little easier. I LOVE ALL THESE THINGS and am beyond blessed for this precious season too, but being single can give you the freedom to spend time growing yourself and your relationship with God. Take this time to enjoy what you enjoy and become who you want to become.

By the way – this process has not ended just because I am engaged. The journey to become the best version of myself for the Lord and for my future husband will never end – and that is part of what makes the journey of life so messy, unpredictable, and beautiful.

#3. Go on dates with Jesus. 

This is something I did when I was single and completely 100% recommend that you do too.

Once every week (or at least – that was my goal), I would carve out some time to have a “date” with God. A lot of times the date was on Friday afternoons after class or Friday nights when I knew I would be alone in my apartment. I would pray to God about meeting up with Him and would look forward to the date all week. I didn’t date much when I was single because I needed tons of time to heal from the breakup I had been through (and because I think God made me invisible to some guys in order to protect my heart during this time of healing), so having this “date” to look forward to was simply beautiful.

Some dates I would walk around on my favorite trail, listen to an Andy Stanley or Steven Furtick podcast, then pray with the Lord. Other times, I would grab a Dunkin’ caramel iced coffee (a pure gift from the Lord himself) and go read my bible and pray at my favorite park. Sometimes I would spend fifteen minutes driving around, blasting worship music and praying to God. I remember spending one Friday night playing my little acoustic guitar, reading my bible, and hanging out with my dog. It was so simple and so beautiful. I remember how full my heart felt in the presence of the Lord that night.

Those dates helped me find comfort in the only one who could ever bring me complete comfort to begin with. He taught me so much about myself and about Him through those simple appointments. Maybe it sounds weird to go on a date with Jesus, but I’m just saying that those dates gave me life.

#4. Pour into friendships. 

My friends were life-savers in the midst of my single season (and they still save my life on the reg). God did not create you to walk through this life alone, sweet friend. I found that I had neglected a bunch of my friendships because of how toxic and co-dependent my relationship with my boyfriend had become. It was such a blessing in disguise to be able to pour into the friendships that had become stagnant when I was dating my boyfriend. I encourage you to reach out to the circles of friends that you have, get plugged into a community group at a church, go to a campus ministry, call your parents and siblings. Pour into relationships and make plans with people who care about who you are and about what God is doing in your life.

One word of caution – try your absolute best to not dump all your hardships on one specific friend. Those “best” friends are ROCKSTARS, but no one person was created to carry the weight of all your burdens (except for Jesus, of course). Reach out to multiple people, gain multiple perspectives, and keep an open mind to those who may be brave enough to tell you something that you don’t want to hear. Friends are a beautiful gift from the Creator and friendship takes time and dedication. If you were caught in a toxic relationship like me, then allow yourself the time and grace to open up to your friends again. I prayed specifically for friends during that season of my life and WOW did God ever deliver.

#5. Always remember where your true joy comes from. 

If you are feeling empty, a boy will not fill you up.

Neither will a job, or a family, or a degree, or a drink, or a puppy, or a raise.

One of the reasons why my boyfriend and I had broken up was because I was expecting him to measure up to unbelievable expectations that were literally impossible for him to reach. I was expecting him to bring me joy, love, peace, and comfort when in reality he was never created to be those things for me. There was a hole in my heart that I wanted my boy to fill. He wasn’t filling it, so I broke up with him in hopes that I would find someone who could. Oh trust me, I did find someone – but the one who filled my heart did not show up as a 6 foot brunette athlete. He showed up beaten and unrecognizable on a cross designed to kill. Only Jesus Christ – the one who died for the sins of the world – could completely surpass all of my expectations and fill the aching in my soul.

After a tough year of God shifting my perspective and teaching me how to walk with Him in the midst of loneliness, God allowed me to get back together with the same man who I thought had been toxic for me before. With a new perspective, a new hope, and a new sense of fulfillment that was not dependent on an earthly man but on my Heavenly Father, God has allowed for our new relationship to flourish and thrive the way He intended for it to all along. I only mention this to give you hope. When we broke up, I did not think in a million years that things would ever work out between us. But oh, God works in mysterious ways. The season of singleness is so tough, but with God within you, you are tougher. You are beloved. You are chosen. Oh, how much God must love you if He is willing to give you this time to focus on Him and on yourself. Embrace it. Live it. Fall down and get back up. He’s got you and is working all things for the good of His kingdom. Your story matters, friends. Give God the pen.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

With all the love in my soul,

Caitlyn <3

And pictures of sweet doodles always make life better – Meet Biscuit. (:

biscuit

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