Things To Do in the "Waiting Room"
I felt the need to write this post for all my fellow ladies who've found themselves in the waiting room of their love lives. This is for all my late teens-- and twentysomethings who've had enough with dating randoms and want to wait it out for the right one. Being in that in-between spot is rough-- knowing you shouldn't go back to superficial hookups but also struggling to navigate the headache of a journey that leads to being positioned to be found by prince charming. I know what it is like, and for the past 5 years, I've been stuck in the waiting room. I can never forget what-- rather who led me there. That final situationship that was the straw that broke the camel's back. After months of wasted time and emotional energy, I decided that I would step into the waiting room and hold out for God's best for me. By no means is this a flawless and fool-proof guide, but this is my experience. These are the things I did-- the tools I equipped myself with to get my mind, heart, body, and soul prepared for MY best one-- cause honey, there's no such thing as "The ONE".
The Experiences that shaped me:
Traveling| I'll keep mentioning this in every post because traveling opens up windows of insight and expand your world view. When you meet your special somebody, it is important that you've had a life before them so that you can bring something new to the table.
Losing weight| It's been a while since I've spoken on this, but I feel the need to lay it out there. While in the waiting room I took ownership of my body by getting healthy. At my heaviest, I was wearing a size 16/18 and constantly battled with my self-image. Taking on a healthier diet and active lifestyle not only helped me to lose weight, but it allowed me to become an active participant in my overall wellness and see as God sees me.
Graduating/Getting an Education| Getting my college degree and furthering on to my graduate degree, were not only major milestones, but they added value. In the waiting room, getting an education can be a major opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and challenge your work ethic. The exposure and confidence being educated can give, is such a great asset when navigating dating relationships but, it is only a start-- you'll certainly need experience beyond the classroom walls.
A Bad Break-Up| Honestly, this bullet point is enough for it's own blog post. While in the waiting room, I stepped out on my own accord and dated someone I was pretty sure would be "the one". Once the relationship came to an end, I learned in retrospect that I had forced so many aspects of the relationship just to make things work that I lost sight of who I really was. I stopped taking great care of myself, gained weight, fought my parents and distanced myself from friends. The Break-up was by far one of the best things that happened to me in preparing my heart for the right one.
The Books I read:
"When God Writes Your Love Story" by Eric and Leslie Ludy
"Jewel in His Crown: Rediscovering Your Value as a Women of Excellence" by Priscilla Shrier
"The Five Love Languages Singles Edition" by Gary Chapman
"Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity" by Elisabeth Elliot
"Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing your heart for His" by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
The Music I listened to:
I listened to a mixture of covers, original mixes on Soundcloud and several Christian hip-hop artists. I've created a playlist of some of my favorites that were on repeat while in the waiting room, mostly released between 2008-2015. Enjoy!
The Role Models Who got me by:
Sarah Jakes Roberts
Sarah has to be a Godsent for every pastor's daughter that felt rejected growing up. I started looking up to her sometime around 2012 when she was a struggling single mother going through a tough divorce. In the last 5 years, I've followed her journey through her blog, social media accounts, and sermons online. She keeps it 100 all day and has reclaimed her identity in Christ. While waiting, her story gave me hope and seeing her live beyond her past mistakes encouraged me to never give up on waiting for God's best for me.
I don't know this woman personally, but I often call her "Aunty Joyce". When I picked up her book "Battlefield of the Mind" in 2012, the trajectory of my Christian journey changed forever. Understanding that I have power over the enemy to neutralize any attack or influence in my mind empowered me. Her teachings pushed me to know the Holy Spirit and recognize when He speaks. This was incredibly important because I often fell into seasons of loneliness and having the Holy Spirit to encourage me and steer me away from revisiting exes was highly essential.
The Habits that changed me:
Cultivating healthy female relationships| While waiting, I realized that I always moved with a group of friends and did not have the best one on one friendships. If I wasn't studying with friends, we were simply doing social things-- and this was a problem because I could not truly confide in a person. I prayed for healthy friendships and in that season I know God brought someone who I'll call my "Vanilla Sister" who radically changed my perspective in life. We had coffee dates, movie nights, bible studies and random road trips that created opportunities to just talk. For the first time in my life, I could trust and confide in someone who didn't really know my family or have any ties to my past-- just someone new who understood my struggles. Learning to communicate with a friend about my thoughts and feelings was very important. Communication is so key in relationships and marriage-- you have to start from somewhere and often friendship is a safe place to do so.
Having a healthy social life|Enjoy yourself! Enjoy fun sleepovers, go to the movies, hike-- you name it. Get yourself out there and enjoy your waiting period. There is no sense in sitting around indoors binging on Netflix all day-- put yourself out there and be social.
Abstinence/Celibacy| y'all saw this one coming... We can't talk about singleness without addressing sex and physical intimacy. In the waiting room, there may be lonely seasons. In fact, you may look around and realize that the friends you were once waiting with are no longer waiting and are happily married-- leaving you waiting alone. This is often what sets us up to pursue random hookups or dabble into masturbating. Yep. I said it. Loneliness will sometimes make you do the unexpected and devalue who you are becoming. Getting caught up with a makeout session that gets heated can set you up for opening up parts of you that are meant to be opened up and protected under the covenant of marriage. In the book of Songs of Solomon, a remarkable petition is repeated 3 times:
On 3 different occasions, we see the wife of Solomon adjourning us to let love sleep until the time is right! I'll be real with y'all-- THIS. IS. HARD. Especially when you have raging hormones and "needs". What is initially a simple lustful encounter quickly becomes a distorted and perverted belief of love. When sex is in the picture of your life with Random situationships, it will trip you up and blind you spiritually. Once you see the nakedness and experience a close vulnerability that gives you pleasure, the "wrongness" of the wrong person will suddenly become right. Don't give up, wait on it.
Getting closer to my family| this one is understated because often people don't correlate family and their relationships. As millennials, we often meet someone and "bring them home" far into a romantic relationship. I've had friends who dated someone for a whole year before bringing their significant other home. I'm not sure how it is possible to have a healthy relationship with your family members and spontaneously have a healthy thriving relationship. Your family is an extension of you and even if you come from a broken home, you must begin to pursue a healthy balanced relationship with your family so that when the right person comes they won't reject him. If your family doesn't know you deeply enough or respect you highly enough it is difficult for them to accept your choice, even if it's in God's plan. Notice how I never said anything about your family loving or approving you? Because sometimes this won't happen due to the poor dynamics of some families. Don't let having a dysfunctional family discourage you from having a healthy relationship with them or let it push you away from introducing your future spouse.
I Created Boundaries from my exes| Y'all--I deleted and blocked my exes. Call it petty-- but I did not trust myself to leave certain doors open in my life. I needed to find a way to guard my heart, due to having some unhealthy and broken previous situationships. I've shared before that I changed my exes number in my contacts list to "DON'T EVEN BOTHER/LEAVE IT ALONE". It was a way to get me to rethink reaching out and reopening wounds that just needed to heal.
I forgave myself| this was the biggest breakthrough for me personally because I often held myself to a high standard of perfection growing up. Which is why every time I stepped out of the waiting room and slipped up, it would take me so long to recover because I dwelled in self-condemnation. So I had to learn how to accept the forgiveness that Christ gave me as well as apply that same Forgiveness to myself on a daily basis. Forgiveness is so key because it is a powerful process that allows you to love Deeper with grace and someday soon love your future spouse Christ.
- I fell in Love with Jesus Daily|The bible talks about Jesus as the "bridegroom" and we as the "bride of Christ" (Matthew 25). To simply state, Jesus sees us as his bride and this notion tells me that He is highly interested in having a one-on-one relationship with me that is founded on the commitment of our love. Seeing Jesus as my true helped me-- and is still helping daily. I had to get to this place where Jesus became my best friend and not just a story that's told every Christmas and Easter. In the waiting room, the benefit of having a personal relationship with Jesus is liberating and has a way of teaching you so much about true love. Imagine having the assuredness of knowing what love is, and being able to take that into the right relationship? Making a daily decision to chose to love Jesus and honor Him daily will inevitably make you a better friend, lover, and person.
Though the above points are non-exhaustive of the things I did in the waiting room, I felt the need to share MY experience. Everyone goes through a different journey-- but when applying simple principles along the way, it makes the journey more focused and reduces the unnecessary hiccups along the way.
I ask you not to look at the waiting room as a prison cell, but rather an ocean of possibilities-- a land fertile and ready for you to cultivate. So step in, and wait.
Please comment and share any other tips for what to do in the waiting room!
Grace, Peace & Love,