Stepping into a new season of life can be exciting and breath-taking and dream-engineering: Graduation. That job you’ve always wanted. A new love. Your first house. A much-anticipated baby.
But there are seasons that are devastating and overwhelming.
And being single when all you’ve ever really wanted was to be a wife and mom as you watch the tide of time roll back out to sea.
I started to write how I suspect the most challenging aspect of singleness—at least for women—is fear. And then I did an online search to see what the experts have to say about this topic.
This insight from Karen Arndt, Ph.D.:
I see this fear of aloneness in my female patients far more than my male patients, and I believe this mirrors a reality in the larger culture.
Fear of doing life alone. Because we were created to be relational.
Which begs the question: Isn’t it time we break up with fear?
If you’ve been navigating widowhood—or any unwanted singleness—and haven’t yet written the break-up letter, here’s a start:
Hey, fear, I’m breaking up with you. You’re not welcome here anymore.
It’s not me. It’s you.
You’ve sent the letter. But what do you do when fear starts calling and texting again?
There are several things that worked for me. And it begins with drafting a list (pretty sure list-writing solves just about any problem there is).
Go ahead … create a list of:
1. Things you’ve always wanted to do. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Rock babies in the NICU. Teach English in Mongolia. Swim with sharks.
2. Places you’d like to visit. Or re-visit. The Galapagos Islands. The place where you and your beloved spent your honeymoon. The natural wonder in your area you’ve taken for granted, but people come from miles around to see.
3. New habits you’d like to develop. Buckling your seatbelt before actually driving away (listed first because it’s a habit I need to work on). Adding to your gratitude journal on a regular basis. Daily physical activity — preferably outdoors.
4. Stuff you’ve been putting off. Sorting through your deceased husband’s belongings. A road trip to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Updating all your accounts to reflect singleness.
5. Things you’ve always wanted to learn. Martial arts. Fluent Russian. Guitar. Tight-rope walking (because you never know when that might come in handy).
6. Ways you’ve always wanted to give back. Teaching computer skills to new immigrants. Rescuing women and children from human trafficking. Volunteering at the local homeless shelter.
Now present your list to God and ask Him to help you face down fear with His strength and courage.
What if, as an action step of breaking up with fear, you accomplished at least one item on your list each month?
Would that send the message to fear: “Quit texting me … I’m tired of hearing from you”?
Speaking from experience: Absolutely.
Visiting those places and learning those lessons and stepping outside your comfort zones to give back — these will absolutely send a message as you watch your brave self grow, as you stand up and blind fear with all your brilliance.
For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. — 2 Timothy 1:7
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