Beyond Waiting – The Official Launch

Two years into the Beyond Waiting journey, we’re finally reaching the point of publication. That’s right. The official launch date for Beyond Waiting is May 3, 2012. Which means that in a mere three weeks, you’ll be able to order the book that inspired the blog. (I’m pretty sure that usually happens the other way around, but I’ve never been accused of doing things the normal way.)

Since my “once upon a time” journey has taken such an interesting turn and this blog hardly looks the way I once imagined it would, I thought you all could use a little refresher course in the actual subject of the book. So I’m giving you the front cover photo and the back cover blurb:

You are a complete person with thoughts and dreams and your own, unique personality, but it can be hard to hold onto yourself in a world that tells you to just keep waiting until the right guy comes along. Is this really the purpose of your single years?

In Beyond Waiting, you’ll discover the true meaning of the word wait and learn why life can be so discouraging if all you’re doing is pursuing that ever-elusive Prince Charming. A fresh spin on the fairytales you grew up with will have you yearning for more than happily ever after as you dare to step into the journey that lies within your once upon a time.

You were meant for so much more than merely waiting. So brace yourself for the most beautiful fairytale ever written – yours.

“Beyond Waiting is exactly the book that single Christian girls and women need to read. Rebekah Snyder powerfully weaves truth together in a way that is inspiring and motivating. The purpose of life is not to sit around and wait for Mr. Right. Instead, every woman should realize the thrilling adventure of following God into the unknown paths He has for her whether or not a man is involved. In this book Rebekah teaches us how to do just that. This book is a must read. It will change your life!” – (Shannon Primicerio, author of ten books including The Divine Dance)

Is it a Sin to be Single?

Got your attention, didn’t I? I would know. See, I didn’t make the title up. It was an honest-to-goodness question I read on someone else’s blog – a question that nearly knocked me out of my chair.

Of course not! That’s preposterous! But this was the question that inspired a whole blog post (two posts, if you want to count mine). Is it a sin to be single? Our culture would like to think so. I got on yahoo this morning and saw a headline that read: “Top cities for single women to live”. Even yahoo is playing matchmaker these days.

But there I was, browsing this blog about singleness when I read the question: “Does the single fact that I am not married mean I am not following in the footsteps of God?”

In case that’s something you’re honestly pondering, let me put your mind at ease… No, no, and more no. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.  I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 7:34-35

According to Paul, it’s the single women who seem to have it together. Singleness is not a curse; it’s a calling. Just as marriage is a calling.

No, it’s not a sin to be single. So release your fears, release your frustrations, release your concerns with the affairs of this world and let yourself live in undivided devotion to the Lord.

It’s Really Okay to be Single

One of my coworkers recently told me about seeing the new X-men movie. “So, uh, what movies have you seen lately?” he asked upon finishing his summary of the movie.

I shrugged. “I haven’t seen anything since Tangled came out.”

“So, no dates then?”

I love how subtle my coworkers are/aren’t about digging into my personal life.

Apparently most people find it shocking to find that a young woman actually enjoys being single. I especially love the slack-jawed stare from middle schoolers (who seem to think that twenty is ridiculously old). “You’ve never had a boyfriend?”

“Nope. Never.”

“You’re weird.” (Usually it’s only the boys who say that. The girls tend to be a little more subtle, though in the end, it’s the same message.)

Okay, I’m not weird (am I?), I’m just stubborn to a fault. Personally, I blame the genetics. When my dad was in high school, he was the self-declared king of the He-man Woman Haters Club. Though that was a joke (I think), he honestly did believe that God had called him to remain single… Then he met my mom. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I have a one-up on my dad. I have every intention of getting married someday. I just don’t feel like that day has to be in the very near future (although time seems to pass quickly these days). I don’t understand what the rush is. I don’t understand why people are all too eager to “help” set me up.

Though my coworkers don’t seem too convinced, I’m honestly not looking. I don’t feel like it’s my job to search for Prince Charming (and it’s most assuredly not their job either). God has called me to live the journey and embrace the moments. I can’t do that when I’m constantly on the lookout for “the one”.

So, no, I’ve never had a boyfriend. And, no, I’m not ashamed of that fact. Although you might think it sounds totally cliché, I’m perfectly happy with having Jesus be the only man in my life right now. Contrary to popular belief, it’s really okay to be single.

Five Years and Forever

Sometimes I think I’m the strangest young woman on the planet, or at least the most unusual. But here I am, nearly twenty years old, running from romantic relationships. Sometimes that fact makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Even those women who have accepted their single status seem to yearn for that special someone. Don’t get me wrong. I do yearn for that special someone.  Someday. But for now I have embraced the fact that it isn’t time for him yet, and I refuse to let him be the focus of my thoughts. (Except for certain occasions, like as I write this now.)

My coworkers don’t believe me when I insist that, should Prince Charming walk through the doors of my office today, I’d send him right back out. Perhaps if they knew my reasons, they’d be the first to shut the door in his face. What my coworkers don’t realize is that I made a covenant with God several years ago. And a covenant with God is not something to be taken lightly.

It all started with my parents’ decision not to let me date until I was sixteen. Of course, by the time I actually turned sixteen, I had witnessed too many bad high school relationships. That wasn’t going to be my fate. I decided that my high school years must be meant for so much more than a dating relationship. With the encouragement of my mentor, I dedicated five years straight to seeking God alone. Five precious years to cultivate my relationship with Him without the distraction of any other.

Which is where I am today. I can’t believe how much time has passed, how much I’ve fallen in love with Jesus, and how much deeper I’m continuing to press into Him. It’s not like my time with Him is over. My five years are not yet up. But even when they end, though I will hopefully marry and raise a new generation of Jesus-lovers, I know that my covenant remains. I gave Jesus five years to prepare me to love Him forever.

It’s not because I’m unusual (though that’s up for debate); it’s because I’m called. Jesus has drawn me to Himself for such a time as this. For now He is my greatest love, and my greatest love He shall remain… Five years and forever.

Courting, Dating, or Single?

I’ve avoided reading the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye for years now. I finally broke down and picked it up, thinking I would suffer through it “for research purposes.” Why the negative attitude? I had previously been misinformed by several people who read it that the book was about courting.

Ugh. Courting is a serious turn-off word for me. I think I dislike courting for the same reason many people dislike Christianity. “Well, Christians say they are one thing, and then they turn around and live just like the rest of the world.” The few people who have described courting to me talked like dating was a huge sin, but when they actually told me what courting was, it sounded a whole lot like dating to me. When I pointed that out, I received responses like, “But with courting, you don’t go to any compromising places together,” or “No, because when you court someone, you are actually planning on marrying them.” Okay then, so you just explained to me the difference between dating and stupid dating. It’s the same thing. The only difference is the name you call it. At least, that’s how I see it. But if you have a better definition that can clear things up for me, please let me know, and I will gladly stand corrected.

I haven’t completely finished the book yet, but after reading eleven chapters and not finding anything but a brief reference to the dreaded “C” word, I think it’s safe to assume that the book is not about courting. And according to author Joshua Harris, it’s not even about dating; it’s about living a pure and purposeful singleness. Even if it’s just for a season.

Ironically, the book I’ve been avoiding for most of my teen years is the same book I’ve been searching for most of my teen years. It was like a breath of fresh air to read the writings of someone who actually feels the same way I do about relationships. It was refreshing to realize that the thoughts that caused me to write a book and start this blog are spinning in the hearts of others like me. So now that I’ve discovered that the book already exists, why am I still writing? Well, I guess it’s because there’s still so much to be learned about passionately pursuing God with your singleness. So I’ll keep embracing the moment, living the journey, and sharing my experiences along the way. Who knows? Perhaps my own dance with singleness will encourage you as much as Joshua Harris has encouraged me.

Part of that World

Maybe it’s because I’ve been at the ocean for the past week, but lately, I’ve been having these Little Mermaid flashbacks. There’s something super mysterious about the sea. When I try to imagine what lies beneath the cresting waves, I get a headache. It’s that mind-boggling. That must be how the Little Mermaid felt about dry land. There was so much world waiting to be explored – so many things that needed to be discovered… And she discovered it, all right. According to Disney, she left everything, sacrificed her voice, and landed the prince. Life is good for the Little Mermaid, right? Not the way Hans Christian Andersen tells it. But since you can’t tell a little kid that the fairytale heroine sacrificed greatly, felt tremendous pain, and eventually died without ever achieving her intended goal, Disney decided to give “Ariel” a happy ending. And while I have a few things to say about Hans Christian Andersen’s version, I’ll save that for a later date. Today, we are talking about Ariel and the way she took the wrong approach to love.

Ariel pops up to the surface, takes a look around, and sees something she likes: Prince Eric. That, in itself, is not bad. The bad stuff happens when she starts obsessing over it. As Sebastian would say, “Ariel thinks the seaweed is greener in somebody else’s lake.” Her entire mind becomes wrapped around the fantasy of what it would be like to become a “part of that world.” Then she does the unthinkable. She contacts the sea witch, sacrifices her voice and risks everything for one chance at becoming “part of that world.” Luckily for her, it worked out in the end. Not only did she land the prince (pardon the pun), but she frees the merpeople from the influence of the evil sea witch by vanquishing her forever. But what if she hadn’t fared so well? What if her story had kept the ending of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid? What would she have gained for all her sacrifice? Would the sacrifice have been worth it?

I can hear you now: “Heck no!” Why? Because the Little Mermaid had an entire ocean to explore. Surely she hadn’t ventured to every single corner of it, just as you and I have never covered every single square inch of the earth (and the ocean is twice as large as the land, just saying). The chances of her making a prince fall in love with her when she couldn’t even communicate the depths of her heart with him are slim to none. Had she failed, she probably would have spent the rest of her life thinking about how wrong she had been.

I feel like we are doing the same thing the Little Mermaid did. Here we are, swimming in the sea of singleness and not seeing how vast and beautiful it is. We are prematurely thrusting ourselves onto the shore of marriage and relationships. And we are more closely resembling the Hans Christian Andersen story than the Disney version we all long for. We deeply desire to become a “part of that world” when we were meant for the world we are swimming in here and now. Whether you were meant for the ocean or the shore is not for me to decide, but I want to leave you with this final question:

Is your final destination worth the sacrifice you are making? And would the pain be worth it if you didn’t get what you are seeking in the end?

The Beginning of Beyond

“Hi, my name is Rebekah” (everybody say, “Hi, Rebekah!”) “and I am done with waiting.” Oh, the liberating feeling that comes with truly believing those words.  If you feel on the verge of giving up waiting yourself, I encourage you to go ahead and let go. This may seem to go against everything you’ve ever heard about the years leading up to marriage, but I honestly don’t believe we were meant to sit around and wait for Prince Charming. Find me a Bible verse that combats that belief, and I’ll consider changing my tune.

Wait. It’s such a negative word. I personally don’t find any joy when someone tells me, “It’s coming. Just wait.” Or how about those words that strike fear into the heart of any young child: “You just wait until your father gets home!” Do you really want to wait for Prince Charming? I came to realize that most young women who are still waiting for their prince to come tend to be pretty miserable. I determined to find out why. I figured that in order to find out why waiting makes a woman miserable, I had to figure out what waiting truly means. Turns out, I was right.

The word “wait” has several meanings actually. Observe: “Do nothing expecting something to happen, stop so somebody can catch up, to be hoping for something or on the lookout for something, to be delayed or ignored for now…” Need I go on? This didn’t paint a very pretty picture for me, and I’m willing to bet it didn’t exactly thrill you either. I want to do something with my life. I want to run toward the dreams I am dreaming. I want more in life than to stare out the window of some God-forsaken tower, praying my prince will come soon. I don’t like to be delayed and ignored. I want to live now.

You may think I sound like a spoiled little brat, but I think I’m onto something here. Allow me to share something that will shake your fairytale-founded foundations: your dreams were not meant for someone else to fulfill. There is a reason you were not born married. There is a purpose for your singleness here and now. And while many of us struggle with this idea (I know because I was there once), my prayer is that you will learn to truly embrace your singleness.

The way I understand it, my knight in shining armor is slaying dragons right now (at least, I certainly hope he is). When the day comes that I can finally call myself “his”, I want to have a better story to tell him than, “Oh, I’ve been waiting…”