I was 26 years old before I had my first official boyfriend. I was 26 years old before I ever said, “I love you.”  To clarify, it’s not that I didn’t want to say those three words or finally have a #ManCrushMonday to post.

Over the years I definitely had my fair share of flirting, awkward first dates, declarations of my undying butterflies, breakups that weren’t actually breakups because the other person didn’t actually know we were in a relationship and, well, you get the idea. But none of that was love. And so I never tried to label it as that.

I just have to say it -- Emma Stone lied to me. So did Ryan Gosling. Romantic Comedies are not real life… There is no narrator to tell me what he is thinking, I've never run into a guy in the street due to “fate”, and fights do not get resolved because someone broke out into song (trust me, I tried)!

Can I be real for a second? Sometimes I think we like the image of a relationship more than the reality of it. We’ve watched the movies and listened to the songs for so long that we think if we can just have what they’re having, everything will be perfect and we will be fulfilled. So we flirt and we filter but we’re left feeling heartbroken and confused, wondering if we are ever going to find “it,” whatever “it” is.

Maybe today you need to be reminded of this one thing -- being single is not a disease. It is not a red flag. It is not a club. And it is certainly not something to be “tolerated” until you find “freedom” in a relationship.

Relationships don’t bring freedom, they bring exposure, and if we haven’t spent long enough in the dark room with our Creator, the picture won’t be pretty.

Maybe today, you just need to be reminded that being single is an adventure in itself, and that adventure can be enjoyed when you remember that God knows the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). From a new-wife who got a rude awakening, trust me. If you are not fulfilled in your now, you will not be fulfilled in your next. So while you’re in this season, here a couple of things to focus on:

1.    Learn love from the Creator of love.

“But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.”  
Romans 5:8

Often we spend so much time trying to find our forever love that we lose sight of our first love… Jesus. He showed us true love when He who created us, died for us, so we could be with Him. You see, before we ever knew we needed love, He created it.

2.    Spend time with yourself

The truth is before you say yes to someone else; you need to say yes to yourself. Understanding the fun in dating yourself means less nights plotting your Fantasy Football team, or watching The Bachelorette while eating too much popcorn (or was that just me?), and more days driving to the beach with the windows down and John Mayer blaring. In this season you get to decide where you want to go and how you want to get there, and with summer on the way, that’s something to enjoy!

3.    Find your bridal party first

There is a lot I don’t remember about my wedding day, but one thing I will never forget are the moments I got to share with our bridal party. The time getting ready and taking photos, the dinner we ate together and the hugs and tears that were shared. They are the best friends I have spent 27 years loving, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Before you find your groom, make sure you’ve found your bridesmaids. Before you plan your wedding on Pinterest, plan a weekend away with your girls.

The best thing you can do right now is find your forever friends. And the only way to do that is with chunks of unhurried time.

Perhaps you find yourself right now in the season of singleness buying your own coffee, taking yourself on day adventures and building strong friendships with your karaoke, bowling, and games night crew. Don’t wait for the late nights and spontaneous adventures to be over to be grateful for them. Enjoy them. Instagram them. Remember the moments.

And as for today? Grab a friend, go drink coffee and catch a movie. Why? Because you can.

As Seen In Propel Magazine -- June 2017