Friday, March 31, 2017

The Single Series: One Of My Hardest Lessons

Hey y'all! I know it's been a while since my last post in The Single Series. Life is just crazy. If you read my life update post, you have an idea. Major kudos to you other bloggers who have found the balance between work, life, and blogging!

Today's post is all about one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn being single. And it actually has nothing to do with men. It's all about your friends. As a single gal, I've found that I have that much more time to pour into my current relationships with people. One of my biggest struggles I've faced (besides not being married by now) has been talking with my friends. But there's no shame in my game - I will tell pretty much anyone pretty much anything about me - I'm an open book, and I'm very open with my struggle being single. But my friends haven't always been as supportive or encouraging as I wanted them to be.

But this is what I've realized: you cannot expect every friend to be everything you need. Did you get that? You cannot expect your friends to be everything for you. As humans we fail and we're broken. We won't always be as encouraging or compassionate or understanding as someone wants us to be. Sometimes you straight up just don't understand the struggle someone is going through because you've never been through it or you just can't imagine the depth of their pain. But realizing that not everyone will understand your struggle or have an appropriate response, it can start to alleviate some of the pressure you might be putting on your friendships.

Let me share my personal story on this: In grad school I've met some incredible women. Our friendships extend beyond chemistry and I'm so thankful for that! But a big struggle for me in grad school has been being single. I've watched all of these friends date, get engaged, get married, and even talk about having kids. Since we're all so close I assumed I could talk about my struggles being single with any of them. I sit and listen to their struggles in dating, engagement, and marriage as well as giving them encouragement or as much advice as I can all the time, so why couldn't they return the favor?

What ended up happening is this. I would talk to one of my friends about how I'm struggling with being single. She listened and let me vent and I'm so thankful for that. But as soon as I was done talking and ready to hear her advice or encouragement, she would tell me how she struggles being married. And in that moment after I've just opened up my singleness wounds, literally all I could think was "at least you ARE married!!!!!" Of course I would never say that to her face, but I always left our conversations frustrated, angry, and hurt. Like hello! I just poured my heart out about being single and all you can do is talk about your marriage? Salt meet wound.

Instead of talking about my singleness struggles with other friends, I kept trying to force her to respond to my struggles the way I wanted her to respond. And every time we talked about it she responded in a way that left me feeling hurt and angry. Then bitterness built itself up in my heart toward her. Y'all I was so bitter and petty! Anytime she would mention her husband, her wedding, being married, whatever I would roll my eyes. This girl has been such a dear friend to me and here I am rolling my eyes at her every time she tries to talk!

But y'all the Lord is good. Over time I realized that I was trying to force her to have a very specific response to my pain. And that's just not a response she can give. It isn't a bad thing! (We ended up talking about this and she thought the best response she could give was to show me the sucky part of the other side so at least I know it wasn't intentional!) I'm sure there are things my friends avoid talking to me about because I don't respond they way they need me to. And that's okay! Like I said earlier, you cannot expect every friend to be everything you need. But I promise you there are people in your life you can talk to about this stuff!

Have you every noticed this in your life? You try telling a friend about a struggle you're having and you always leave that conversation angry, frustrated, or hurt? I get it. I want to encourage you to find the people who leave you feeling encouraged, heard, and lifted up after those conversations. Of course sometimes we all need a little tough love that might leave us feeling a little bumped and bruised, but we shouldn't feel terrible after every. single. conversation.

Your friends will fill many different roles in your life, but no one is going to fill every single one of them. Let me say that again. Your friends will fill many different roles in your life, but no one is going to fill every single one of them. Once you realize this, the next step is to figure out which roles your friends fit into. Maybe you have a best friend where nothing is off limits and there's a deep level of understanding with every single topic and that's fantastic! But you likely have more than one friend so think about which friends you can talk to about the hard stuff in your life. And the hard stuff doesn't have to be your struggle with being single either! When you talk to a friend, do they respond with love, truth, and grace? Or do they respond by belittling your feelings, turning every conversation back to them, or just brush away your hurt like it's nothing? This is going to take some reflection, time, and prayer. And it may not happen overnight so be patient with this!

Shameless Jesus plug here: So who can fill every single role? Jesus y'all. Jesus. This entire process has drawn me closer to him and I'm so incredibly thankful. He is the only one who won't let you down or fail you. If I can give you a piece of advice, it's to run to the Lord. When you're upset, when you feel like your friends have let you down, when your hurt, run to the one who created you! I cannot express how liberating it is to lay all of your hurt at the cross. If you're a song person, I encourage you to check out the song "In The Eye Of The Storm" by Ryan Stevenson.

I hope this post encouraged you! If you're struggling with talking to some friends about your struggles, you are not alone sweet friend! I've been there. But you cannot expect everyone to be everything for you. It's not fair to them or to you. The only one who can do everything is Jesus. Know that. Believe that. Remember that.

As always I am here for you! I haven't been posting nearly like I wanted to, but know that this is always on my mind. You, my sweet friend, are always on my mind.

In His hands,

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Tunic

This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission if you shop through them.

I'm going to get super real right now: As a grad student I need to be comfy at work. But I also love looking cute! And honestly grad school hasn't been nice to my waistline because I don't deal with stress well. So when I find a top that is flowy enough to hide anything I'm self-conscious about without making me look super pregnant, I'm all for it! 

I dressed this top up with skinny jeans, a utility jacket, and peep-toe booties that would be perfect for a day date or hanging out with your girlfriends. You could easily throw on Converse for a day running around the lab. Then throw on a pair of heeled sandals for a night date! The solid colors mean you have endless possibilities for accessorizing: scarves, necklaces (long or short!), statement earrings, jackets, and so much more!

So when Cents of Style has this amazing tunic for sale (under $20!), trust and believe I want to snatch a few up! This babydoll tunic comes in so many great colors that are perfect for spring. And if this style isn't quite your pace, you have to check out the keyhole tunic. It's just as flowy and comes in the same pretty colors! Plus it fits sizes 0-18! For reference I'm wearing an XL but I could have easily gone with a L because it's just so roomy. Now the fun details: You can get these tunics for $19.95 this weekend using the code TOPSTORY.


Subscribe to my mailing list for exclusive content, recap of recent posts, plus other fun and exciting things!

* indicates required