Everyone’s Going to Prom but Me

Have you ever complained or even silently whispered, “Everyone’s going to prom but me”?

“Uh, Kristen,” you say. “Prom season is over.”

To that, I reply, “You’re right. I’m not really talking about prom.”

Last week, I had the chance to catch up with one of my close friends for the first time in a while. She asked how marriage is treating me, and I told her we’re doing great. Life is just overwhelmingly busy, and I don’t have time to do all the things I want or think I should. Plus, I confessed that I need to get off social media. It just makes me feel “less than” when I see so many of my friends being absolute rock star writers, and I can barely scratch out a weekly blog post right now with all my college assignments piled on top of my teaching load.

“Oh, girl, I get it,” she said. “It’s like, Everyone’s going to prom but me.”

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you feel that way right now. I’ve got good news and better news, so grab your coffee and join me for a few minutes.

The good news: Prom is wonderful, but so is Netflix in your pajamas.

We focus too often on the glittering spotlight, the shimmering dresses, and the most sought-after dates. Okay, maybe we did or maybe we didn’t care that much about prom, but stay with me. Maybe you could care less about the limelight or best-dressed award, but do you crave that travel adventure, that real-life “forever” romance, that dream home, or that other seemingly unreachable goal? Ah, now we’re on the same page, right?

Maybe you spent prom night on the couch in your pajamas, because you didn’t have a date. Or maybe you were like me, a home-schooled tomboy who didn’t have the option to go to prom (and frankly, didn’t care).

However, I’ll confess I’ve felt “left out” in other ways, and if you’re being honest, so have you. Maybe what we’ve wanted have been really good things, too, but for whatever reason, God hasn’t seen fit to give them to us.

Maybe a rejection is God’s mercy in disguise. Maybe a “no” is just a “not yet.” Or maybe a “no” is an opportunity to see if we will trust God regardless of what eventually happens.

The bottom line is that we can still find contentment of the purest kind when we don’t get to go to prom. We don’t find it in our circumstances. We find it in our Savior who supplies all our needs as He sees best (Philippians 4:19). The Apostle Paul shared his own personal example:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV)

Ah, we quote verse 13 for a spiritual pep talk on a regular basis, but how often do we notice the preceding verses? Do we ask God to let us be content when we’re full and when we’re hungry? When we’re on the mountaintop and when we’re feeling oh so low?

Our God who is with us in our prom-like moments is also with us on the couch when we’re alone and nursing our broken dreams with ice cream and Gilmore Girls. His presence can sweeten our less-than-photo-worthy moments and remind us that He alone satisfies.

The better news: Prom will come around again.

The Bible’s wisdom literature is among my favorites. Why? It points out the common-sense truth that we forget in the heat of the moment when we’re tempted to cry, Everyone’s going to prom but me!

Truth is, everyone isn’t. Social media creates a FOMO (fear of missing out) culture, thanks to all our beautifully filtered photos and featured life highlights. I mean, hello. I don’t post updates about all the student papers I grade or now the papers I write, because no one’s interested in my daily workload.

What I do share (and c’mon now, so do you) are those “prom” moments. Most recently, that special moment was my wedding, one of the happiest days of my life. So much joy and answered prayer rode on that day that I couldn’t wait to share about it!

However, let me jump to the other side of the fence (because I’ve been there too). For the many years I was single, scrolling through wedding pictures on Facebook was more like an exercise in self-mortification. Please don’t misunderstand. I was happy for my married friends, but I felt left out. Everyone was going to prom but me.

Here’s what I had to learn: God’s timing and plan are better than mine, and everyone’s stories are different.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Special thanks to Solomon for putting that so eloquently. Read the next seven verses for his full summary, and then, journal a few lines of personal application to where you are right now. All our dreams might not be realized, but God has seasons of blessing in store regardless.

Next year, prom season will come around again. There will be new opportunities, new possibilities. However, don’t forget to soak in and enjoy the ones before you this day, even if they aren’t as glamorous as a prom date. They are here for only a season as well, so savor the moment.

The best news: Prom doesn’t actually matter.

Whaaatt? After all that, you’re going to tell me my prom-like dreams are a waste of time?

Well, yes and no. Cultivating the gifts God’s given us and chasing the dreams He’s placed on our hearts are not wastes of time. The Bible makes clear that we are God’s workmanship, created to do the good works He’s called us to do (Ephesians 2:14 paraphrase). That calling is a good thing and looks different for each of us.

However, God doesn’t need our achievements, even though in His grace, He sometimes sees fit to use them for His bigger purpose. He doesn’t call us to be successful, and he doesn’t guarantee life will be happy or easy. We too often lose sight of our real mission in our side-tracked frenzy to grasp what we’ve told ourselves matters or what the world places its money on.

Here’s another of my “prom” examples: It doesn’t matter if I’m ever a world-class writer or picked up by a major publisher or sell a boat-load of books. None of those things matter.

What matters is if I’m faithful with the gifts and responsibilities God’s given me. What matters is sharing His Word with others. What matters is living a life that pleases Him. What matters is hearing Him say, “Well done” one day.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (I Timothy 6:6-7)

You see, prom doesn’t matter. If we get to go one day, good for us! If someone else gets to go today, good for her! And the next time we’re tempted to whine, Everyone’s going to prom but me, remember this: Prom is nice, but it’s not the point.

Live in abundance, friends!

Kristen

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3 Attitudes to Embrace Change

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “The only constant in change.” Sometimes, life feels that way, doesn’t it? Even when the change is positive, it can still cause our stomachs to somersault.

In less than a month, I went from single to married and enrolled as a student for a summer class while juggling a full-time job. Exciting? For sure! Nerve-wracking? Maybe a little.

Along the way, I realized my attitudes determine whether I enjoy the change or let it cause undo stress in my life. Maybe these takeaways are simplistic, but I hope they’ll help you if you’re facing changes.

#1: Welcome the Newness

Usually, a few moments after my head hits my pillow, I’m out cold. I tell my now-husband not to worry about waking me when he leaves for work, because I can basically sleep through anything.

However, the night before my wedding, I couldn’t sleep. I may have managed 3-4 hours, and that’s a generous estimate.

There’s something about newness, uncertainty, and the unknown that unnerves us. At two in the morning on my wedding day, I realized I had two choices: embrace the newness, even if it’s awkward, or over-think it and make it even more awkward. I chose to laugh at my clumsy moments in the first few weeks of marriage and reminded myself that I will only be newly-married once. Why not relish the newness instead of cringe at it?

That’s what I decided to do, and as a result, I absolutely enjoyed those moments. Looking back on those first few weeks brings a smile to my lips and no regrets.

#2: Savor the Season

Here’s the other thing about change. It doesn’t last forever. The wedding day comes and goes. The honeymoon ends. The first day of class becomes a daily routine.

What if instead of dreading the unknown, we focus on the anticipation? What if instead of worrying about failure or making mistakes, we look forward to learning and an opportunity to grow?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (NKJV).

There are times for change, and each season brings its own challenges and blessings. Let’s re-train our thinking to forecast joy instead of pain and abundance instead of scarcity.

#3: Remember Tomorrow’s Change Becomes Today’s Comfort Zone

Stop and think about that statement. The event or situation today that has us on pins and needles might very well be our new comfort zone in a few months or even a few weeks. That new job won’t be new forever, and we’ll be the seasoned employee and not the new hire before too long.

Through all of life’s changes, we can fix our eyes on the One constant that never changes: Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). Whether change makes us want to laugh or cry, if we’re God’s children, we have the assurance that He will always be with us (Hebrews 13:5).

What change are you facing that has you on edge? How might a change of perspective help you embrace it instead of lose sleep?

~ Kristen

I’m grateful that this post first appeared on DailyPS.com.

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My Parting Thank-You to Singleness

In a few short weeks, I’m donning the white dress in my closet and crossing the threshold from singleness into a life-long marriage commitment. Entering this covenant will be the most important decision I’ve made apart from my salvation, and I’m praying for courage and wisdom to honor it well.

I realize if you’re currently single, you might be snickering right now. Why do you need courage? I’d sprint down that aisle if I had the chance! Hear me out, friends. Although I’m beyond excited for this new adventure in my life, I’m also convinced marriage is going to require as much, and probably more, sacrifice than singleness. That brings me to my first “thank-you” to my time as a single:

I thank my single years for teaching me to practice sacrifice.

As my single friends know, singleness has its fair share of sacrifice. Christian singles may have to die daily to their desires and submit them to the obedience of Christ. They often choose to give of themselves when they so much desire for someone to invest in them. And while life isn’t always lonely, it sometimes is. Even well-meaning friends don’t seem to understand the struggles they face.

Just because I’m saying ‘I do’ doesn’t mean these sacrifices and struggles are going away. They’re just going to change. For example, I will have to submit to my husband’s headship. Even though I’m so happy right now I can’t imagine this responsibility being a challenge, I’ve observed enough marriages to know that conflicts will come. I’ll have to sacrifice what I want for our marriage’s good. On a daily basis, I’ll need to die to my selfish desires to love James, my future husband, well.

Whether single or married, we are to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1 NKJV) and model our lives after Christ who “gave Himself” for the church, His bride (Ephesians 5:25). Our relationship status doesn’t change the command to live sacrificially. It just provides different circumstances in which we are to exercise it.

I thank my single years for showing me that my identity is found in Jesus Christ, not circumstances or a relationship.

When I was single, I often felt as though I had to prove myself in my career, writing, and service. While I certainly believe my single years gave me the opportunity to cultivate my God-given abilities, I had to learn that my identity isn’t found in anything I do or anything I have.

Regardless of my relationship status, my identity is in Christ alone. I’m God’s daughter first and always will be. Once married, I’ll still be God’s daughter and then James’s wife. And even if there are days I feel like a failure, I can take comfort knowing God is still my Father, Savior, and Sustainer. He’s faithful and will remind me that even when I fail or make mistakes, I am still His. I’m so glad to serve a God who gives second chances! Single or married, we all need them.

I thank my single years for teaching me to depend on God and establish a deepening relationship with Him.

My single years often drove me to my knees and to search the Scriptures for God’s promises. Many years, God seemed strangely silent, but I had to learn His timing is better than mine. His plans far surpass my stubborn expectations.

My walk with God has had its share of bumps and detours, but along the way, I’ve learned I can trust Him. I need time with Him each day just as I need air to breathe. My relationship with God has plenty of room for growth, and I’m excited about that. As I begin my marriage, I know I can depend on Him, even when hard times come, because He is always faithful.

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV)

Whether God has called us to be single or married right now, His faithfulness remains the same.

I could add more to this gratitude list, and perhaps you could too. If you’re still single, waiting, or searching, please know this bride-to-be is cheering for you. My prayer is that you would not only find a godly spouse, if that is your desire, but also make the most of your single years. One day, you just might thank them.

~ Kristen

I’m grateful to DailyPS.com for hosting this post on their site. For more encouraging and inspirational posts, visit DailyPS.com.

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The Season of Change

The fact Florida doesn’t experience foliage proves to be a sore spot for many residents. Personally, I’m happy to live with the trade-off of year-round sunshine since driving north a state or two lets me visit fall in all its glory.

However, I may be the exception. The other day, a friend shared a graphic of the current fall foliage, which met with nearly unanimous groans. The focus was my home state, Florida, and the key read something like this:

With some, I’ll never win the sunshine over foliage argument. However, there’s one season that proximity to the equator doesn’t determine. The season of change doesn’t discriminate like fall colors or winter flurries do.

In any given year, we may face changes in jobs, professions, schools, churches, or relationships. Maybe we made or didn’t make the team this year. Maybe our new commitments require cutting out other good things from our calendars.

How do we deal with change? As I thought about this question, I remembered high school science projects (of all things), because the scientific method takes a positive, proactive approach to problem solving. In many ways, change is a “problem,” but not in the negative sense of the word. It’s a challenge, something through which we can grow and learn.

That said, here is a semi-scientific approach that may help us deal with the unavoidable changes in life.

#1: Identify the constants.

Regardless if our world seems to be spinning, God and His Word remain solid.

  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV).
  • “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8 NKJV).

Though change can be uncomfortable, it can also drive us closer to God as we seek to understand His plan for our lives.

#2: Consider the variables.

“Ten years from now, will ______ make a difference?” My mom asked my brothers and me this question all the time when I was growing up, and I grudgingly came to realize she was right. Often, some perspective can help us realize that change isn’t the end of the world.

However, some decisions will have long-lasting consequences. Where we go to college, what career we choose, and who we marry will impact the course of our lives. We would be foolish not to bring these decisions before the Lord in prayer, seek godly advice from family and mentors, and consider how the options align with the calling God’s placed on our lives.

#3: Form your best solution.

Recently, I was talking with a friend and mentor whom God has called to a new opportunity and place. He told me he’d given God every chance to close the door, and yet, God hadn’t. Instead, after hours of prayer with family and friends, he believed God was calling him to move forward in faith.

The conversation reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths (NKJV).

Change can be conflicting and even frightening, but when we’ve done our part, the times comes when we must move forward and trust God to do His.

#4: Accept the outcome, and let God work.

Sometimes, the results exceed our wildest dreams, and other times, we wonder if we made a misstep. I remember a period in my life when I felt God had opened a door, only to find Him closing it months later. Had I misheard His voice?

Looking back, I don’t think I had. Though that season proved difficult for me, I can see how I grew through it and how God used it to bring me where I am today. Without that experience, I would have missed out on greater blessings and opportunities.

Challenges and problems aren’t always the result of sin or misguidance. They can be God’s tools to bring us where He wants us to be.

Are you facing a change and feeling unprepared? Are you stuck on any of these steps? If so, what truths from God’s Word can help you grow through the circumstances?

~ Kristen

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