My life has always looked a bit different. I didn't necessarily take the same approach to life that most people did at my age. Disclaimer here: I in no way think I'm better than everyone else or am passing judgment on anyone who may have made different decisions than I did. I realize that we live in a world where everyone has their own ideas and opinions and makes their own choices. I'm simply saying that I'm oh so thankful for some of the decisions I made in college and beyond, and even though they may seem "uncool" or go against the grain, I've never regretted any of them for a single second. So, on this lovely Friday, I'm here to share, to encourage others that they too can see the positive impact of these decisions, and to help those who may feel alone in their stance. You aren't, and standing firm in your faith and in your convictions will only make you stronger, will shine as an example to others, and will oh so greatly pay off in the end. Here are five things I don't regret:
1. Being Single in College
Alright, let's be real: I most definitely would have enjoyed having a boyfriend in college. Finding a date for sorority dances would have been a whole lot easier, and I wouldn't have had boy drama. I also know some really great couples who started dating in college, and are now happily married and have been together for years and years. But at the same time, I am so thankful that I was single in college. It was what was right for me, and God knew it. Even in my times of loneliness and frustration, he was looking out for my future. First of all, the timing wasn't right for Aaron and I to date when I was in college, so the Ks never would have come to be (which would be pretty upsetting because he's a really awesome guy who I love a whole lot). Secondly, I didn't have to worry about where my boyfriend was going after college or how I was going to end up in the same city as him. Another plus was that I got to spend lots and lots of intentional time with some really amazing friends that became family. So single college ladies out there, stay strong and enjoy this time to really get to know yourself, get right with the Lord, and figure out where and what you're being called to (and then the right guy will show up there at the perfect time! Promise.)
2. Moving Home my Last Semester of College (to Student Teach)
Lots of people try to hang on to their college days for as long as they can. And yes, they are some pretty amazing, care-free years. But I did something a little different my last semester of college: I moved back to Kansas City to live at home and student teach. I knew I wanted to be back in the KC area, so it just made sense to me to student teach in that area- for job exposure and the ease of interviews. Not to mention, living at home meant no rent, that my laundry would actually get done, and that I would be fed meals while student teaching (all good things). After a semester of student teaching while coaching basketball, I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't have eaten or had clean clothes if I didn't live at home (thanks, Mom). Not only that though, I also got to be around for my little brothers' freshman and senior years of high school, so I got to experience tennis matches, prom, and other things I would have missed out on for them. Oh, and I totally landed an awesome job in KC right out of college, so there's that! Sure, it was hard closing the door on college a little early, but I just knew it was the right thing for me, my future career, my bank account, and my family.
|The day I got my job.|
This is something that I was always really convicted about. I didn't ever drink in high school, as I was a big rule-follower and didn't have any desire to even give myself a chance at getting in trouble and not being able to play sports. I knew that I could totally drink in college and no one would ever know or really think I was wrong in doing so, but I still felt like drinking wasn't something I needed to be involved in. I knew that I wouldn't be the norm, and that people might judge me for it, but it just didn't feel like something I would be okay with doing. I also lead YoungLife starting my first semester of college, and I signed a contract that I wouldn't underage drink, which I took very seriously. What kind of an example would I be setting for the kids that I was leading, and how could I feel right enough with the Lord to be doing ministry if I was sneaking around in this way? I will say, I knew lots and lots of people who drank during those years, and they never pressured me. They respected me and my decisions. Additionally, I was oh so thankful to be surrounded by lots of amazing friends who stayed (and danced) sober right alongside me. It's more common than you may think! I'm so thankful that I learned how to have just as much fun (or more) without alcohol, and that it's still not a priority for me.
|The Women of Blair Oaks YoungLife|
4. Not Living Together before Marriage
This is something that Aaron and I both committed to from the start. We knew that temptations would be stronger if we were living in the same place, and no matter our financial situation, we just didn't see it as being honoring to God. Honestly, we didn't even sleep together in the same bed until our wedding night. Some people say that they need to live together before marriage just to "see how it goes". To us, this wasn't a concern because we knew that we were committed to each other no matter what, through the incorrectly-squeezed toothpaste tube and laundry left laying on the floor. Sure, we found out a heck of a lot more about each other once we were both living and sleeping under the same roof. But you know what? It was FUN. Because we were figuring it out together as husband and wife, setting our own new routines, and experiencing something we had previously denied ourselves. And it made marriage new and exciting in a wonderful way, where we didn't have to say goodbye to each other at night for the first time ever. I would highly recommend it.
5. Saving Sex for Marriage
I know this is totally not the norm these days, but I am beyond thankful that both Aaron and I saved ourselves for marriage. Although it's not the popular view in today's society, it is something that I've never regretted for a single second. Even when we were engaged, we waited. We wanted our physical attraction to be a part of our marriage, but not the only part of it. Because our compatibility in other ways was so much more important to us, and because we wanted to honor the Lord in our union, we experienced the beauty of sex (something God created to be used in marriage) for the first time on our wedding night. I honestly can't imagine being a part of something so vulnerable with someone else, nor can I imagine thinking about my husband being that way with anyone else. And thus, I strongly encourage those out there saving their virginity to stay strong. You CAN make it, even when the world says you can't. You are not alone, even when you feel that way. And I promise, the Lord will honor and bless you in that with the perfect person at the perfect time. If you've given yourself away in this way, but are hoping to start anew, don't give up heart. God can redeem all things, and He loves you deeply.
Again, my hope in sharing is not to elevate myself and my decisions, but rather to help other women see that, yes, you can do it, and that you aren't alone in your convictions or commitments. I know that in all of these situations, I have seen the grace and goodness of God, and His plan for my life. I am so thankful that I took a chance with some seemingly "unpopular" decisions years ago, and I have never ever regretted them. If you'd like to talk more about any of these, or get some advice if you're struggling in one of these areas, please feel free to contact me or comment below. It is my desire to be honest and vulnerable, and to share my stories and suggestions in hopes of helping others. Hugs to you.
I'm linking up with Simple Moments Stick, Missional Women, Busy Being Blessed, What Joy is Mine, Ember Grey, The Quintessential Mommy, Purposeful Faith, Intentionally Pursuing, A Field of Wildflowers, The Beauty in His Grip, Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, Teaching What is Good, I Have a Future and a Hope, F. Dean Hackett, Me, Coffee, and Jesus, Rich Faith Adventures, A. Liz Adventures, A Life in Balance, Coffee with Us 3, Uniquely Unfolded, Faith Along the Way, Grace and Love Blog, Running for Cupcakes, Momfessionals, Life in Leggings, DIY Vintage Chic, Spiritual Sundays, and Fitting it All In.