Holiday Survival Guide for People Without Answers
You know something?
Yes you. The cute one. I need to tell you something that has been thrumming through my heart for the past few weeks like a tuning fork struck in a quiet room. Here it is.
You're just fine.
Good, we can all go home now.
No really, this is a soul-strain that has been playing for days and days and days. Why now? Maybe I'm learning it for myself. Maybe we all could use a reminder, especially this time of year. 'Cause, aren't the holidays just the most ridiculous, fantastic, expectation-ridden things? And you know what's hard? Small talk with people you see once a year. My Myers Briggs personality profile is an INFJ which is a rare (less than 1% of the population) breed of humanoids who just do not do small talk. We loathe it on a cellular level, and yet...holiday parties.
Now, I am blessed that my extended family doesn’t ask silly questions at the holidays; they are brilliant rockstars. I do get dumb-butt questions from folks at events, sometimes from people at church, from strangers, my banker…
Now, define 'dumb-butt' for us, Samantha: Of course. A dumb-butt question is a nice Christian-ese version of another colloquial phrase referring to something that is silly. A dumb butt question is an interrogative not thought through by the asker. It is often impossible to answer unless the person answering it has a wave of future forecasting, divine wisdom, or some supernatural solution the rest of us don't have. It can be insensitive, and used to fill awkward pauses in conversation. There IS such a thing as a dumb question, and you may be asked multiple versions. Note: Is our generation of precious snowflakes too sensitive? Probably. Are these questions still dumb? Yes again.
So, you are OK, hun. You are.
It’s OK to be 100%, blissfully happy and content where you are right now. It’s OK to be sad and not have the perfect answers rehearsed. Its OK to be scared and unsure about the future. It’s OK to have your holiday cheer without a chaser of imposed discontent served up with a cinnamon stick from a fellow party-goer with no manners. And no, you can’t beat them with that cinnamon stick (we HAVE to be gracious and filled with love, believers), but neither do you have to allow others to bum you out. So let's break down some kind and honest replies to butt backwards questions, probes, comments that may come your way this holiday season. Because you're OK.
Question 1. What’s next for you? Considering that each day is a gift from God, and we’re not promised the next one…it could be death, or a promotion, or grad school, or a move to Greenland, or I may just finish this here gingerbread cookie…
While this question isn’t rude (its sweet and loving that they’re interested), there isn’t a good answer because who the flip really knows. Here’s a couple of things I DO know:
- If you’re working a job that doesn’t pay a bunch, but you’re happy, purposeful, and fulfilling your financial obligations, That's OK.
- If you don’t know which college you’re going to, or what you want to be when you grow, that’s OK.
- If you’re a college senior with no idea what you want to do after college, that’s OK.
- If your career/school/life plans look different than your someone else's that’s OK. God made you limited edition. Do what you were made to do.
2. When are you guys getting pregnant/starting a family? This is not a question I get asked, but if someone ever does...I'm ready ;) And there are soooo many ways you can answer this abysmal question with great wit. I’m sitting her with a wicked smile as I run through them all, but in the interest of being on our best behavior, here are some things you should remember.
- Just because Grandma Francis tells you ‘she’s old and gonna die soon’ is no reason for you to get pregnant with another human. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, and yet, I've heard it. Don't let anyone guilt you into a baby. Babies are lifers.
- It’s OK if you want to have kids, and its just not happening.
- It’s OK if you don’t want to have kids. Ever. And no, you don't need to explain 'why' to anyone.
- It's OK if you had one, and now done.
- And to all the folks who ask unsolicited, probing questions of childless people (single or otherwise) like “what if you get too old to have kids?” or reference some evil biological clock ticking its way into our lives like the metronomic crocodile from Peter Pan...hear me.
Don’t ever ask a woman if she's worried her reproductive organs will shrivel up. Yo....seriously.
Don't follow that up with asking if she should be worried enough to start online dating before her ovaries turn into raisins.
The God who gave healthy babies to a 90-year-old barren Sarah, and a 14-year-old Virgin Mary is not perplexed by our bodies, nor does He see your tick-tocking time bomb.
And that’s OK.
3. So no one special in your life?
Oh this one...Ok, let's just dive in. My favorite reply is:
*smile sweetly* “No, I'm not dating, but I am just so grateful for where God has placed me, what He has given me today, and I cannot wait to see what He’s up to tomorrow.”
If they express pity, or concern, here’s your next line:
“Well you know, if you’d like to keep me in prayer, I’d always appreciate that. Cause I’m dating in a tough world of hook-ups and heartbreaks, so your prayers would be appreciated, but please don’t worry on my behalf. God is so good to me, and I’m trusting the details of my life to the one who loves me most. So what's new in your life?”
Here's what else...just for you <3
- It’s OK to take your time after heartbreak. Cause I’ve been hit head on by a drunk driver, and also had my heart broken, and I can tell you the impact from both collisions felt the same, but the heart took longer to heal.
- Its OK that you're not dating online. If it works for you, awesome. If not, bump that junk.
- Its OK to say 'no' to dates you legit don't want to go on.
- And if you’re accused of being immature, ask God, yourself and the people that love you if you are showing signs of immaturity. BUT your relationship status is not the barometer for your maturity. I have met 40-year-old married people who acted like idiots, and 18-year-old singles who could run circles around them. Seek out the honest truth, and adjust as necessary.
You're OK, babe.
You feeling better? Me too. And here are a few other things that I (me Samantha) have been feeling lately that have been a source of confirmation. This place/time/circumstance is exactly where God intended for me to be, and I'm grateful, even if I don't always understand.
Feel free to steal these for yourself. I'm all about copy/paste living:
- A good morning text of ‘hey beautiful ;)’ doesn’t mean as much to me right now as looking out on the sea at sunset and saying “YOU are so freaking beautiful.” That may change tomorrow. Today, it didn't, and all is well with my soul.
- A night of worship and jamming with my friends in a living room, or fireside conversations with my people means so much more then being in a dark sticky club being used as a scratching post for someone’s itchy ego.
- The fact that I can go anywhere, whenever I want, is priceless. PRICELESS.
- The things I’ve worked hard for, and dreamed about, are finally happening, and I have NEW dreams that give me all the flutterbys.
- No job, accomplishment, object or person can define our 'completeness'. We are so complete in Christ
- I’m working really hard on my faith, my health, my body, my friends, my career, and my dreams, and I’m so buzzed about God’s promises right now. There isn't anything missing, even if something is physically 'missing.'
- This journey has been hard, heartbreaking, ferocious, and filled with failures....but GOD. God has redeemed every square inch of it, and not one squandered opportunity, or midnight tear was wasted. Remember that. It's for you too.
You're going to be OK, boo boo <3 Enjoy your holidays, and remember, the King is now among us and He has you where He wants you.