Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NAS: Back in the Swing!

Linking up with the NAS girls this week! They are growing like crazy-- in grace, vibrancy, and numbers! I'm not the most loyal participant, but I'm a loyal stalker! These young women are absolutely beautiful and I love learning about them and their lives as we all live this season of unique joys and challenges together.

And now. Onto this week's topic...

We are back! As we get into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually and emotionally?

This is such a great topic. One that makes my fingers pause on the keyboard as my mind runs ahead with thoughts...maybe a sip of the tasty lemonade next to me will help sort my thoughts into sentences...

One of the perks of being a single young woman is the ability to be in charge of your schedule (including any and all free time!). For me, sometimes it's easy to want to use that free time for myself. You know, bake cookies, paint my nails, go out with girlfriends, work on a DIY project...I'm pretty much never bored, guys. Yet even though all of that is great and I'm thankful for the little joys, I also want to live this season in a way that glorifies God and brings not only me closer to Him, but also all those I encounter. I don't want my purpose to be simply enjoying these years while I wait for the vocation of marriage. Rather I want to be an encourager, teacher, nurturer, and evangelist--actively waiting for the vocation of marriage while I live out now this beautiful lifelong vocation of being a woman!

The next question is how do we do that?? Honestly, I don't think there's a specific right answer for everyone. Even though we may all fall into the category of "single young women," we also come with unique gifts and talents, personalities, emotional states, and so on. In my post-college years of being single, I've had years of being involved in multiple (probably too many) service/volunteer commitments and I've also had years of quitting every single one of them to pause and allow much-need spiritual renewal after experiencing burnout (or a breakup!). These days, I'm volunteering as an ultrasound nurse at the crisis pregnancy center, a member on our pastoral council, and part of a women's monthly share group. I love that one is counseling and mentoring those in need outside the church, one is a vision team for building up the church, and one is for my own personal support and encouragement. Each one is such a blessing and the time commitment feels just right...but who knows what opportunities God might be getting ready to present!

Here are a few last thoughts on single young women and our involvement in church and community:

-Don't over-commit! I'm pretty sure some people think that since singles have no family, they have no need for free time. Some parishioners will want you to be part of every committee or class or group possible. It's okay to say no.

-Don't sacrifice your own time with the Lord. There's a subtle danger of serving God and His people yet finding no time to actually pray, read spiritual books, and tend to your own soul. If you feel like you're talking about God (in CCD class, small group, whatever) more than you're talking TO God, find some time for some soul-searching and ask God to help you prioritize and to show you how to be both Martha and Mary!

-Do follow your heart. Do you find joy working with youth? Have a passion for women's ministry? Want to start a small group? Like being behind the scenes serving? Sometimes God does ask us to step out of our comfort zones and fill a need, yet most often I think He wants us to use the gifts He's given us. Pray and reflect on what brings you joy and fulfillment and then try to find a service area that calls out your particular gifts and passions.

Looking forward to reading more of how the other ladies use their time, treasure, and talents! You can read their stories here!

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