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2014_11_03 Relationships

Life as a single mother can leave one feeling quite isolated and alone. Despite the rise of single mothers in the statistics, there isn’t much in the way of community or networking for most of us. When you start to add other traits that delineate between us that isolation becomes even more apparent. Most of your business friends don’t have kids or their kids are grown. Your church friends are married. Your homeschooling networks meet at times where you have to work and have nothing for your younger ones to do. Then your singles networks are so consumed with dating and sex that they think you are completely crazy for your beliefs in courting and celibacy. If you are a nurturer who has to take care of everyone on top of it all, you have to be extra careful with this. I know I’ve been there. As a matter of fact, it is something that I still regularly have to evaluate myself on to make sure I stay in balance.

Loneliness and isolation have a bad habit of fostering some level of desperation. No matter how mild it may be, however, desperation is a terrible bedfellow that will take you all sorts of unsavory places. Then one day you look up and realize that you don’t actually matter to the person who is so dear in to you in life. The smaller your social circle is and the harder it is for you to find people you connect with, the more devastating this realization can be. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Change starts with you realizing that you are worthy of being loved, cherished, prioritized, and respected just as you are. If you don’t believe those things, then no one else will either. The biggest boost in that regard is learning who you are in Christ and how much your Daddy in heaven truly does love and adore you. I’m not saying this will make the loneliness disappear, but it will help you realize that settling for less than you need and deserve is not the solution.

Set up a list of goals that you have for a type of relationship and stick to it. Are you looking for a friend you can talk about scripture with over coffee on a regular basis? Are you looking for a mentor type acquaintance that inspires you to grow just by the way they live their lives? Whatever it is you are looking for, be specific and don’t settle! Keep in mind however, that just because someone meets your list, doesn’t mean you meet theirs.

Be open with people, let them know what you expect and what you intend to give. I know it all sound very distant and unnatural, but this can be accomplished with a natural, empathetic flow with practice and commitment to the process. If this is new for you, remember you are learning a new skill and all new skills came with a process of steps. Over time those steps begin to flow together so seamlessly that you can hardly tell they were ever separate.

As you’re growing your skills and internal strength, there are some things you can be on the lookout for in your current relationships and those you are building. It is a good idea to flip this list around on yourself from time to time as well to see how well you are treating others. Keep in mind though, just because someone in your life fits this list doesn’t mean they are any sort of “bad” person. It simply gives revelation as to the level of priority you hold in their lives. Just a few of those things to carefully consider:

1. When you need help, they’re consistently nowhere to be found.

2. Your absences aren’t noticed and/or investigated. They don’t check on you if you are out of contact.

2. Most, if not all, conversations are centered on them and their lives with no regard or curiosity as to what is happening in yours. {Be honest with yourself about whether or not you have “trained” them to do this by consistently giving short answers to questions or disregarding the events your life yourself. Ask yourself if they were like this from the beginning or did this pattern develop over time.}

3. The deposits that make into your life account {energy, spirituality, emotionally, etc.} are few and of low caliber, but their withdrawals are grand and frequent.

 

It is so important to keep in mind through all the changes, isolation, loneliness, and other trials that come along with single motherhood, that quality is a much more valuable asset than quantity. One person who is truly there for you, who appreciates all you add to their life and adds to yours in that manner in return, and who respects who you are and what you believe is worth waiting and preparing for. Future husbands are not the only ones who need to be prepared for and whose relationship need to be cultivated with care. You will do your life a great service if you apply that scrutiny to all of your relationships from the smallest to the largest.

 

Surrendered to Him~

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