The holiday season is upon us. That means time with family and friends that we haven't seen in a while and lots of food. I love the holidays and all that comes with it, but there's one thing over the last several years I've become increasingly aware of... going home alone. Being single during the holidays has a weird way of making you question where you are in life. I've been learning how to overcome the insecurities that come with answering the dreaded question of "Are you dating anyone?" or "What's new?" that we inevitably get asked. I've also learned how to find joy in every season no matter my relationship status.
With a constant air of romance around the holidays and all the hallmark movies portraying a perfect lifestyle, it's no wonder that the holidays can bring up feelings of inadequacy. It seems like life isn't complete if you don't have a significant other or a pinterest perfect holiday season. I know the pressure because I often put it on myself. I want my apartment to look like Joanna Gaines decorated it and to seem like I have my act together at 26, but the truth is my apartment is often messy and I've been single for almost 3 years now with no prospects in sight. I don't say this for pity because I'm content where I am, but I say this because I think life on the internet can seem fake and distant. I want to be raw and honest so you know you aren't alone. I know just how hard this season can be and I'm here to walk with you through it.
Something I've learned over the last year is being content in the season I'm in and facing my fears head on. If we can learn to be content and find joy in the season we're in then it's not as daunting to face the holidays alone. Here are a few tips for overcoming loneliness and singleness over this holiday season:
1. Monitor your time on social media and watching TV.
We have to guard our hearts and minds (Proverbs 4:23). So often during the holiday season we end up binging on hallmark movies and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. Before we know it suddenly we're feeling insignificant and alone in our season of life. We see all the engagements and the ridiculously romantic movies with strategically placed online dating commercials and suddenly we find ourselves desperate for a change. I want to encourage you not to fall into this trap of infiltrating your mind. Use your down time during the holidays to make a difference in someone else's life, hang out with friends and family, be present, start a new hobby, grow closer in your relationship with God.
2. Be thankful for what you have instead of what you don't have.
It's easy to look around at everyone else's life and start to become ungrateful for our own. It's a fact that depression and anxiety statistics raise during the holiday season and I think part of it is because we become hyper aware of everything missing in our lives. However, I believe the key to overcoming all of this is by being thankful for the things we do have. I guarantee there is something you can be thankful for whether it's family, friends, your job, how far you've come in life and much more! Before you know it, when you focus on what you do have, you'll feel better about what you don't yet have. Gratitude has a way of healing our heart and it's what the holidays are supposed to be about...giving instead of getting.
3. Trust God and his timing.
It's easy to get ahead of yourself when you don't see God moving in the present. It can seem like maybe you should take action into your own hands. It can be frustrating continuing to wait and trust God's plan, but I promise you it's far better than any plan you can imagine. While I think online dating is right for some people, I think it can be dangerous depending on your mind set. If you're trying it with a mind set of desperation, I personally don't think you'll find a fruitful, meaningful relationship. I think it's easy around the holidays to want to jump on bumble or some other site in hopes of filling that void, but I believe our hearts aren't in the best place when seeking it out of loneliness. This is why we have to trust God and seek his timing. When we are seeking God, we'll know the right timing and it will be a beautiful story.
4. Be confident in your identity and purpose.
When we know who we are in Christ and understand our purpose through God, life gets a little easier. It may not be perfect and the loneliness may not completely go away nor the desire for a relationship, but it's easier. When we know our purpose and identity, then we will better trust God's timing and be less focused on what we are waiting on. We will have confidence in where we are in life and what we are doing in the here and now. Lean into God this season and seek your purpose and identity in him. For me, writing and creating brings me joy because I know it's part of my purpose through God. When I'm focused on who I am in Christ and operating in my purpose, everything else melts away.
So take heart this holiday season. Please know that you aren't alone in what you're feeling and all of us singles are struggling right along with you. I hope this article encourages you through this holiday season and that you can run in your lane with purpose. When that family member asks why you are single, answer confidently with your purpose and contentment.
Father, thank you for this season where I can lean into you and remember the purpose of this season. Help me when I feel inadequate or lonely to be thankful and look to you. Help me to find my purpose and push through the pain and fear that life throws at me this season. Help me to be content in waiting for who you have for me. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.