I used to hop around from relationship to relationship and in the process I lost a part of me.
After going through a really bad breakup and a rough patch in my personal life, I did a little introspection and realized that I hadn’t truly experienced what it was like to be single. Don’t get me wrong; I of course had periods of time where I wasn’t dating anyone but if I’m being honest, I had never given myself the chance to know what it meant to be single.
For about 2 years (with the exception of some casual dates here and there) I learned a few things about myself and God during that season of singleness.
How to be alone
The first few months of my singleness were difficult because I had just moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone: new college, unemployed, new church. And I HATE being alone. I don’t even mean that on a romantic level — I just generally despise being by myself. To pass the time I binge-watched all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones and just about every movie on Netflix in 2 weeks.
I just remember feeling so lonely.
When the weather was particularly nice, I would walk down to Ocean Beach, put a blanket down on the sand and journal until the sun set. I went almost every single day. I would write about my day, my thoughts, and my frustrations to God. Sometimes my entries would be 2 sentences and other times 2 pages.
It was Valentine’s Day 2017, and I remember walking to the beach and doing my usual routine. I sat down and had a blank page open in front of me. Before I started writing I watched several couples walk along the shore and that’s when it hit me. In that moment, I was so happy to see those couples sharing that moment with each other on that day. For the first time in my singleness I didn’t feel bitterness or frustration towards people that were in love. I could genuinely say to myself that I was content. I started to realize that I no longer felt alone because I was spending time with God and with myself. And until the right person walked in, I didn’t need anything else.
how to love myself
I’ve always struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence for as long as I can remember. When left unchecked, my insecurities would get the best of me to the point where I could hardly look at myself in the mirror.
One thing I wish someone had told me sooner was that when I learned how to love myself, I learned how to love others better. If I felt incomplete and tried to fill my heart with people and things that weren’t good for me, I in the long run would hurt others in some way, shape or form. Loving myself taught me how to be patient with my flaws, tend to and heal insecurities and refute lies I’d been telling myself for so long. I went from feeling like half of a person to being whole. As a result, I could love others wholeheartedly because I had love left to spare.
Being single revealed a lot of things about my character. There were many many things I didn’t like about myself. But along the way I also discovered things I really enjoyed about myself. For the first time in my life, I could honestly say I loved the girl staring back at me.
God’s love for me
Loving and spending time with myself also taught me about the ways that God loves me. Journaling and having conversations with Him daily started to reveal His character to me more and more.
I knew God loved me but I never allowed Him to love me the way He wanted.
When you start to feel the gravity of just how much the Creator of the Universe loves you, it completely wrecks your way of thinking. The holes in my life were filled with love and compassion. I took joy in my singleness because it was alone time I got to spend with someone who loved me unconditionally and endlessly. There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing that whether I’m single or not, Jesus loves me. The omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God of the Universe loves me. How beautiful is that? His love is all I’ll ever need and it’s taken me a long time to realize that. It took making mistakes, moving to San Francisco, finding a church home, and getting to know myself to finally understand something that’s been in front of me the whole time.
God’s love is amazing. It’s unfailing, unchanging, everlasting and so incredibly satisfying. If you consider the Samaritan woman at the well, His love is the water that quenches any thirst. He has breathed in a whole new life in me. I’m no longer just living but I feel alive.