Final Reflections from a Dateless Year of Learning to Live Loved

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Three years ago I wrote an important email. 

Bits of it ended up in a sermon at my church. The entirety of it was read and discussed around our conference room table. If one's heart could be spelled out on a page, this email was mine.

A diatribe of my feelings on the church, this email spelled out my hopes, dreams and vision for the future. It described my passion for authentic, vulnerable community and expressed my desire to encourage others, serve those in need and partner with someone who was passionately in pursuit of doing the same.

So on this day, December 31, 2016, as I review this past daring dateless year and begin to grapple with what is (potentially) next, I return to this email.

At the time of sending it, I was in a serious, long-distance dating relationship and was contemplating what was next. This week, as I've had countless people ask what this year has taught me and what I'm looking for, I cannot help but re-read that email and see that not much has changed. Deep down, my heart longs for the same things. It longs to live life with someone who is passionately compassionate about changing the world and has an affinity to say yes to the adventure that is life in obedience to God's call.

Back then, the only response my essay-length email with all my poured out heart-stuff typed into Times New Roman was one word:


Noble was all he said. 

My passion, my dreams, my vision, my ponderings and questions received a single word. 

If it is one thing I've learned this year (and if it's one thing I can encourage you to do) it is to surround yourself with people who have the capacity and willingness to speak into your life with truth and faith and love. 

With three words, not one.

I see you.
I hear you.
I got you.
I respect you.
I believe (in) you. 
I love you. 

I can't imagine living a life stifled with anything less. What's disheartening is that I thought I could. We were created for so much more...and we need one another in order to accomplish it. 

Which brings me to some further reflections...


Okay I just had to get that out there.

One time I was on a date at my favorite pizza place and at the end, the guy literally reached across the table, picked up my remaining ONE piece of PIZZA, and put it in HIS to-go box.

I was dumbfounded.



#1..if you ask a girl on a PAY. #2...if you hope to date this girl or make any sort of favorable impression upon is NOT okay to put her leftovers in your box and say it's okay because you paid for it. Didn't the momma you likely still live with tell you that's rude and weird and sends flares into the stratosphere that you're cheap!?!?

Another lesson?

So glad you asked.


Anyone who was remotely interested in getting to know me this year was told the same thing. "I'm taking this year to intentionally step away from dating or being anyone's girlfriend but I'm open to building a foundation of friendship and not hiding away in a deep, dark cave."

Some stuck around and some didn't. Some that didn't I heard from this week, all seeking time to "catch up".


If someone isn't interested in getting to know you or your story without getting something in return, they are not worth your time. They are not the right person for you. Boundaries are important and there is of course a fine line between dragging somebody along and/or knowing what you're looking for and timing and blah blah blah but if that special girl or guy isn't willing to take things slow, get to know you as a person or pushes you to do things for which you're, run far away.


Whether it's because they're sarcastic and you're not, or because they're "as bland as quinoa without seasoning", it's the worst. Period. Life is hard. Can you imagine doing life with someone who you can never laugh at or with or because of!? Not me. Believe me, I've tried that too.

And last but not least...


I've spent way to much time throwing myself into relationships hoping things would get better if I only tried more. What I've always found, however, is that I've lost myself in the process and relationships are a two-way street and a two-person responsibility. 

People are changeable to a point, but it has to be self motivated and Holy Spirit initiated. You can't change someone. If you aren't okay with accepting who that person is, don't date them until you see the change you're looking for...and realize some of that changing likely has to do within you, too.

2016 and Daring Dateless has been an incredible gift to me for this very reason. All joking aside, all the above "lessons" are very real hurdles I've had to overcome...most specifically as it relates to honoring God through honoring myself. 

I've learned to accept who I am, what I like and who I want to be...and not changing to appease someone else so they like me more.
I'm learning how to let go of the need to make everyone else happy.
I've forgiven. 
I've stepped into and received healing.
I've become more self aware.
I've named what I value and have come to accept what I need and am no longer ashamed!

But most important?

I've been impacted by all of you.

This journey of writing has been cathartic for me. And hilarious at times. The most rewarding aspect, however, has been hearing from readers all around the world who say that my simple posts have impacted, inspired or challenged them in some way. That by some coincidence they stumbled upon my words and those words touched their hearts and made them feel they were no longer alone. 

Last night I received the following message and it warmed my heart to such a state of content and empathy I don't think I could begin to continue to describe in words.
"I’m about to leave for my family’s Christmas gathering and it dawned on me a little bit ago that this will be the first family gathering where all of my siblings and all of their significant others will be in attendance… I don’t know the right word to describe what I’m feeling right now. Scared/frustrated/nervous/anxious—none of those seem right because I’m going to be with my family, all of whom love me and I love very much. Maybe it’s just “Why?” If “why?” could be a feeling, I think that is what I’m feeling right now. I just needed someone to know that…I’m not in a place to be vulnerable in the way you have been with your blog, but I just needed at least one person to know, and as I racked my brain trying to think of who that could be, you came to mind"

This is why I shared. This is why I put myself on the line. This is why God (and others) nudged me to write.

I'm awestruck by the power of community and authenticity. Our willingness to be vulnerable with one another changes peoples' lives.

May your 2017 be that kind of year. 

Thank you for following, engaging, encouraging and laughing along the way with me!


p.s. You can continue to follow my journey and my writing right here... or until I come up with another witty blog title or write a GOOD book. Taking proposal ideas and leads starting at 12am CST... :)

1 comment :

  1. Steph, you are an Amazing Woman of God!!! We know that all things work together for the good of those that loves the Lord, and there's no doubt about your love for God. Keep being the Very Beautiful and God fearing gal you are. You are and will be an immense blessing to the world.