Your approach is faulty, not you
For example, Erin’s first point is true. There’s nothing wrong with you just because you’re single. But then she proceeds to dance around that bush with quotes ranging from 2 Nephi to Sister Oakes.
This doesn’t address the root of the problem. WHY do singles feel that way?
Erin proceeds to use logic to convince people they should feel a different way. But you can’t reason your way out of negative emotions. Quoting sources saying you should feel better doesn’t translate into people actually feeling better.
Instead, we should question ourselves and our habits. Yes, many LDS singles feel there’s something wrong with them. But that’s simply a natural response to their subculture that positions marriage as a rite of passage.
When groups of humans collect together, rites of passage will naturally emerge. It’s how everyone can tell who “belongs” and who doesn’t.
Most of us have embraced our subculture without even thinking about it. We want to belong; that’s a normal human desire. So when we singles note we’re on the wrong side of that rite of passage, we feel very much out of place, especially in general membership wards.
I posted last week about how singles can consciously choose to bridge that gulf they feel. So I won’t repeat that here. But feel free to click the link and read more if you like.
You've talked yourself into negative thought patterns
Erin’s second point is well-taken. I do like her attitude of owning one’s life and constantly looking for a solution. Constantly doing something — anything — to improve your situation is quite healthy.
Even still, we can dig deeper. WHY is this thought and the feelings of hopelessness that attend it so common? Here’s my answer: Many of us singles have developed a habit of negative self-talk. We keep repeating discouraging messages to ourselves out of habit.
I’ve discussed self-talk before. Most recently, I extolled our need to understand the role that habit plays in our lives and to replace habits of negative self-talk with more positive habits.
God's love is enough
It seems Erin links feeling unloved with feeling unaccepted within the subculture. In that light, I could respond as I did to her first point. And it would be a good response.
But when you’re talking about love in life, how can you just not mention the biggest source of love in the universe? Yes, we can feel love from those who surround us. But what about God's love? Erin makes not even a passing reference there. This is a HUGE omission.
When you truly feel in your heart as well as know in your head how very much God loves you, you’ll never feel unloved, no matter who surrounds you. And your thoughts won’t be inward on what you don’t have. Rather they’ll be outward, on sharing what you do have.
Your focus determines your reality. When you focus on the love that God has proven and is constantly demonstrating to you, your reality can’t be anything other than bright and hopeful.
God isn't punishing you, but you might be
Erin’s final point really got me going. Here’s what she said.
"Is God punishing me? Is that why He won't answer my prayers to find a spouse?”
This question is inevitable? Seriously? Wow, my ship must not have sailed yet. In my almost 20 years of singleness, I’ve never had that question.
Here’s the question I have had. Why hasn’t God blessed me if all this time I’ve been trying to make the right choices? Of course, I have answers in my upcoming book.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: God has been trying to lead me to my desired blessings. But I don’t have them because of choices I myself made. Acting from habit, I usually wasn’t aware of those choices. But I made them nonetheless.
God isn’t punishing you with singleness. But you might be. That’s why it’s so important to understand the role of habit in your life. Want to know more? Download the first 60 pages of my upcoming book for free.
I agree with Erin that we shouldn’t believe lies about singles life. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that dancing around on the surface will solve anything. If all you do is snip at the leaves, the roots will remain. And that leaves the weeds in the garden of your life to sprout another day.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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