(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
3 Ways to Navigate the Pressure to Have a Date for the Holidays
By Emory Colvin
‘Tis the season of Hallmark movies, hot chocolate by the fire, and more Christmas parties than we could possibly squeeze into our schedule. Oh, and each of those invitations list a plus one invite for that special someone in your life. Except you don’t have a special someone. Again.
The holidays can be a challenge for us singles as we navigate well-meaning couples, our families, and our own emotions. It seems Christmas is only Christmas if you have someone to share it with, but we know deep down that’s not true. So how do we enjoy this season while keeping our hearts and minds healthy?
Acknowledge the pain
As someone who has read articles like this time and again, searching for permission to feel, please allow me to say it’s ok to hurt during this time. We are being bombarded with messages of romance that can give our hearts pangs for the things we don’t have yet. Rather than trying to ignore or stuff our feelings down, bring the pain to the Lord. He loves to sit and process with us as we share these tender parts of our hearts with Him. I recently processed some pain I was experiencing with Him and was struck by the depth of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:3 – 5:
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.”
I can only experience God as my Comforter when I am willing to bring Him my hurts and receive His comfort. Sitting with Him in my moments of pain, I knew my Father was hurting with me. I tangibly experienced in my heart the truth my mind knows—He never leaves or forsakes us.
Once we’ve processed the pain, it’s important to leave it in God’s hands and move forward in His comfort. If we remain focused on pain, we risk slipping into self-pity rather than trusting God is working out our circumstances for our good and His glory.
Answer Their Questions With an Invitation
It’s easy to dread the questions that come over family dinners…
“Are you seeing anyone?”
“Have you tried really putting yourself out there?”
“When are we going have an extra place setting at the table for your special someone?”
While family and friends mean well with these questions, most don’t realize they can be hurtful. Use those questions as a way to invite your family and friends into the fullness of your life. Try responding by sharing how you’re finding a way to use your creative gifting in your church or community, or about a new project you’re spearheading at work. Ask family members about their most memorable vacations and plan a dream trip together as if you had a million dollars at your disposal. Gently redirecting romance questions can let family members know you have an enjoyable life, and while open to a relationship you’re living each day as fully as possible.
Be Intentional With Your Calendar
Whether we like it or not, the holiday hustle is real, but we can choose to guard our calendars and minds from busyness. Block off times to do something that refreshes you (I enjoy a mani pedi!). Perhaps schedule a Christmas gift exchange with your closest circle of friends. Only accept invitations to the parties you really want to go to… and keep a night or two just to yourself for hot chocolate and Christmas movies.
It is possible to enjoy the fullness of the holiday season as a single person! You are free to begin creating your own traditions and experiencing the holidays in a way that keeps your heart and mind focused on the true meaning of the season—celebrating Jesus, the greatest gift of all.
“I can only experience God as my Comforter when I am willing to bring Him my hurts and receive His comfort.”
“Gently redirecting romance questions can let family members know you have an enjoyable life, and while open to a relationship you’re living each day as fully as possible.”
“Whether we like it or not, the holiday hustle is real—but we can choose to guard our calendars and minds from busyness.”