I’ve had many years to get used to the ups and downs of singleness. Take, for instance, being a third or fifth wheel. I’ve filled that extra seat so often it’s become, for the most part, a comfortable place for me.
So why did it bother me when I learned last week that a Friday dinner out with friends would probably be just me and two couples? I don’t know … but it did. I was in a mood, I guess, and wasn’t exactly relishing the prospect. Oh, that wouldn’t stop me. I only get to see these friends one or two times a year, and I love spending time with them. So I swallowed my insecurities, ready to enjoy the evening.
Once we were settled at our table, the waitress came by and, in typical waitress fashion, asked if we were all on one ticket.
Of course, we weren’t. Each couple said they were together, and I added I was on my own. No big deal until, bless her heart, the waitress began to sing: All by myself … don’t wanna be. . . .
If it had been an American Idol audition, it wouldn’t have been half bad. But it took all I had not to shrink or cringe or say something snarky. Instead, I laughed with my friends and ordered the barbecue ribs. Soon after, another friend showed up and we were an even number. Though I was still on my own, bill-wise.
The rest of the evening was quite delightful. Some problems with our orders led to two free, large hot fudge and caramel sundaes. We ate. We laughed. It was good. The spontaneous song didn’t cut me. I didn’t bleed.
It was just a scratch. Because that’s all I let it be.
Over the last few months, I’ve become even more aware of the times when I need to quiet that loud, nagging voice that seems so determined to keep me down. And I mean that figuratively … except for the time I jumped off a four-story platform to zipline the length of a football field. I knew if I let myself think about how awful it would be to fall screaming to the ground, I wouldn’t do it.
So I didn’t think. I just jumped. And it was amazing.
That night at the restaurant, it would have been easy to let the words of the song and all it meant ruin my night. But why? Would that have made me feel better? Would it have changed anything? No and no.
I did a little research on what the Bible says about our thoughts and, try as I might, I couldn’t find any verse that said we should dwell on negative things. I read verses about peace and thinking about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. God also seems to feel strongly about forgetting the past.
Let’s not forget that God has given us power to conquer that nagging little voice. Do you want your war cry? How about this:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV).
Demolish seems like a pretty strong word.
Strong enough to heal a flesh wound.
***This post first appeared at girlsnightin40.com***
In 2014, award-winning author Sharyn Kopf decided to take charge of her own writing destiny by independently publishing her first novel, Spinstered, which received a 2014 Bookstore Without Borders LYRA award for its category (women’s fiction). A few months later, she published a novella and, this past April, released a nonfiction book titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40. Now she’s working on the sequel to Spinstered, titled Inconceived.
Besides writing and editing, Sharyn’s career history includes journalism, public relations and seven years as a radio writer/producer at Focus on the Family. She also has almost two decades of experience as an editor and proofreader. In addition, she has taught English and speech at the high school and college levels and is developing a speaking ministry geared toward encouraging older single women.
During her spare time, Sharyn plays the piano, makes the best fudge ever, enjoys long walks and short vacations (or is that short walks and long vacations?), and watches too much HGTV. She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from some of her favorite people in the world—her family.