Faith, God, Identity, Relationships, Spiritual Life

Just Friends

March 19, 2013

For several years now I have been showered with well-intentioned advice from dear friends. All saying that if I am ever going to want to settle down and have a family I would need to change my life style. I would need to stop having kids around me all the time (I’m a nanny), because that scares guys away, and I need to stop traveling the majority of my time. I was also told to start limiting the amount of Women’s and Mom’s conferences I was attending and working for because obviously, you don’t find boys there. It was as if society was telling me that a young girl in her 20’s should have her focus on hunting for the perfect man. It was frustrating and broke my heart all at the same time. I had always seen having a relationship as having someone who was running the race beside me. Not as someone who completed me or was my “other half” because I already felt complete. I knew who I was in Christ and I knew that what I was doing was exactly where God had called me for this season in life. I knew that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my independence and identity simply to go on a search for a boy because that is what everyone was telling me. So, I came to terms with the fact that I may never get married and I was ok with that. Don’t get me wrong…it was a desire; at times it was stronger than others, but not strong enough for me to lose myself and think of myself as incomplete without it.

 

So, fast-forward to this past October. I met a boy. At a Women’s Conference. He was the keyboardist. No it wasn’t “love at first sight”, just a guy who chatted with me for a few minutes. A week later we had another encounter, which is when I gave him the cold shoulder and ignored him because everyone was trying to match-make us. Don’t ask why, I really don’t know why I do these things sometimes. He invited me to coffee just to have a chance to prove that his intentions were not to be in a relationship, and I agreed to go to make up for the cold shoulder act I had pulled.

That first coffee resulted in us discussing our love for the single life, our frustration with people treating singles like they have a disease and our passion to live life fully and continue to treasure our independence. He told me how he was never going to get married and I told him I figured I never would either if it meant sacrificing who I am. Imagine our surprise walking away from that conversation…or maybe intrigue is a better word. The next couple months led us into a deep and precious friendship as God crossed our paths in every way possible. We were sent to the same states at the same time, road trips to the same places, and put on the same tours. We couldn’t avoid each other if we wanted to. We were in constant conversation about where we were and what we were as everyone around us still had it in their minds that we were destined to be married. We continued coming to the conclusion that friends was where we were at for the time being and that I personally would not make any steps further unless he did first. We didn’t want our relationship to be molded and influenced by the pressures surrounding us.

There were so many important events that occurred in a short period of time. We both ended up in Minnesota together the first week we really hung out. He got to spend that weekend getting to know my best friend, and I was amazed at his genuine love for people. We ended up on a road trip to Texas together after that because we were both scheduled to be there at the same time…so obviously why not save money on gas and make the trip together? On that trip he spent half the week with my family, pouring into my nephews and nieces and twenty hours of car time grew our friendship immensely. We talked a lot and there was never any confusion or questions as to where either of us was emotionally in the friendship. We promised to be honest and have open communication at all times, and I believe that is why we were able to grow and move forward with a healthy, strong foundation.

Through the twists and turns of God weaving our lives together, we did hit a point where there was a shift in our friendship. We realized that there was a bigger plan in the works. Did we fall madly in love right then and there? No. Not at all. In fact, we continued to have conversations and see where we each were at, making sure we were on the same page. We admitted to falling little by little…but neither of us was fully there. It was a slow process.

Fast forward a little more…

At this point we have taken the step forward. We still don’t label it, because we feel societal labels are unnecessary and bring with them pressures that cause unhealthy expectations. This does not mean we are afraid of commitment or we want our “freedom”, but rather it’s something that God has really convicted us with. We felt it’s the healthiest way to move forward. A dear friend decided to call us “friends with a future” and we’ve claimed that as our label. I’ve learned so much through this journey, but over-all I have had confirmation that we don’t need to give up our identity or who we are for something that we desire or that people tell us we need. We don’t have to lower our list of standards, because we think it will never be fulfilled. I don’t have to change who I am to win over a boy. It’s not a game to win.

I have loved what Kelly and Heather have written about how first and foremost our desire should be for Christ. Our most important wedding is not the one with all the flowers, bridesmaids and the princess dress. We are treasured and we deserve to have our standards fulfilled. I regret ever doubting that God would have someone out there for me that filled what I believed to be important however, I am grateful that I was able to get to a point of being ok remaining single. God has honored every desire of my heart and more. He has brought me someone who saw the importance of a strong friendship foundation, someone who has such a deep passion for the Lord that it challenges me to run faster and dive deeper into my own spiritual walk, and someone who walks in faith and loves recklessly despite what society tells him. God even honored a somewhat joking prayer years ago that if he was a musician, that he wouldn’t be established yet because I wanted to walk that path with him and support him. He honored my desire to have someone who loves me for all the things people told me needed to change. This boy loves my independence, my lack of need for him, my strong identity, my free spirit and spitfire personality and my love for traveling and not settling down. All of the things that I was told to change, all the things that make me who I am, all the things that were supposedly going to keep me from having a relationship. These are the things he loves about me.

I share our story in much more detail on my blog and if you would like to read the more detailed version of how we met and where we are now, feel free to hop over to www.thehandynanny.com and catch up. My encouragement to you is to not lose who you are or pour your identity into whether or not you have a boy in your life. Don’t alter how you live to make you more “available” according to what the world around you says. Dive deep into your relationship with Christ and figure out your identity there…no one…no man can complete you or give you your identity. And until you know who you are, you won’t have a full person to offer to your future spouse. Don’t lose hope, we are created to have a desire for relationship, but again, it cannot become your distraction from the rest of life God has called you to live. God honors our desires in His own time and often He doesn’t allow that time to come until we have laid it all at His feet and let go. Remember that God’s plan for us is bigger than we can even imagine.

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  • Eliza March 19, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Thank you. I needed to hear this. I’m in that place of early-20s, and hearing the well-intentioned advice of friends. (Like, “You need to make yourself dateable!”) And I’ve been struggling with that. So, thanks for the reminder and encouragement that where I am is okay, and I don’t need to listen to all the advice. God’s got a plan, and I need to trust it.

  • Weekster March 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Hello Kelsey,

    Thank you so much for this. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I am the same way where I put Christ first and I see no reason to change that. I keep myself busy with different Bible studies and volunteer activities and everyone tells me I need to slow down because that will scare away any potential guys. I have also decided then that I will be single for life because I am not changing just to add a guy to my life. To me, God’s purpose for my life is much more important. This is a very comforting story to know that I am not the only one being told I need to change so that I will be able to settle down.

    Thank you,
    Kelsey

  • How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? March 19, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for this, Kelsey. So many women at so many different ages and stages need to hear this and know this.

  • Sly March 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    It’s amazing how the answers to everything you’ve been battling with God about can be in one little blog post!! Thank you for this!

  • Hannah H. March 19, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for writing this. I feel similar to you in some ways- I don’t want have to change my plans just to hook a guy and get married. At the same time, like your friends used to tell you, I tend to hang around girls and I’m not as open to a relationship as much as other women might be. You are very encouraging that women don’t have to sacrifice their lives in order to find a great guy. Thanks.

  • Emily March 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

    This post is so encouraging. I am single, in my 20s, and perfectly content to have Jesus be the only man in my life. I decided a while ago that God may call me to be single for the rest of my life. I am okay with that because God still has plans and purposes for my life. But oh man, the criticism I have gotten (even in the church) has been crazy. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who isn’t to change to get a man. This is not a message people hear every day, and it is encouraging. So thanks for writing, Kelsey!

    • Kelsey March 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Keep your head up…and keep running the race for the only one who can complete you. :)

  • Coby March 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Wow! This is amazing! I am married with 3 kids, and this really touched me! I’m so thankful to have a husband who walks alongside me and loves me right where I’m at. I remember in my 20s when I hit a point where I completely surrendered this area of my life to the Lord and told Him that if He never wanted me married, then I would trust and embrace the life He had for me. One of my dear friends is my age (mid-30s) and unmarried, and it really bothers me when people ask me, “Why isn’t your friend married? What’s wrong?” NOTHING is wrong! She is complete, worthy, beautiful, gifted, a blessing to the kingdom of God as a single woman (and SO much more!)…and she’s an amazing example of one who trusts and rests in the Lord, and gets her identity from Him. As are you, Kelsey! Blessings!

  • Jennifer March 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, you sound exactly like me! I am very independent and although I would like to get married someday, I really don’t feel the “need” for a man. I love to travel and I don’t want to settle down and live the American dream with a white picket fence. I’m so happy for you that you found someone who appreciates your values. I pray that God will bring someone into my life who will not try to make me change the things that I value most.

  • Diane Blog March 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Diane's Blog.

  • dece March 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Kelly! Thanks for the post. I can really relate to what you are saying ’cause in one point of my life, I feel I am OK with being single the rest of my life. I hate when people say that I “should” have a boyfriend ’cause I am already 25. Honestly, I feel pressured sometimes. But, I have to rebuke my self every time I feel such because I know I don’t have to worry and that God has a perfect timing. I said to God that if it is His plan for me to never marry, then there is nothing I can do. I believe His plan is the best plan because He said so—besides He is my best lover forever.

    God bless! :)

  • dece March 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    sorry, wrong name.. sorry Kelsy L.. apologies…

  • Jessica March 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

    This is fantastic – thankyou! I really loved and need to soak up this message to be myself, and stand on who I am in Christ. I am complete (though not yet completed) in Christ, and no one else can fulfill that.

  • Happy in Nature March 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I’m in the a situation in my life (that has nothing to do with a guy) that I really don’t like and I’d even go as far as to say that it isn’t healthy. I’m desperate for change and I’ve been praying for a miracle. It is my belief (not hope, I really don’t have much hope) that God is using this time to change some things in my personal life. At 28 I’ve lost a lot of hope of ever finding that special someone. Just don’t see myself as much of a catch. People tell me I need to get out more and meet new people, but when you suffer from anxiety like I do, it’s a big achievement to even go to church. On one hand people tell that they really appreciate me and how great I am, while on the other I hear how I have to be certain type of person to attract a guy…someone fun, exciting, has it together. Everything I’m not. At the end of the day, I just give me desires and hurts to Him and pray that He can make a beautiful story out of my life.

    Catherine

  • Sarah March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Love it! This is full of awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tara March 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

    This is awesome. I’ve always hoped stories like this exist. There aren’t many out there! I was a hopeless romantic until I realized after the story ends…the infatuation fades quickly. My dream shifted several years ago to a relationship bloomed under friendship. I think it is the best way. Because when you think about it- marriage consists of more times when you need a friend than a lover.

    Glad I came across this article!

    • Happy in Nature March 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      “marriage consists of more times when you need a friend than a lover.”

      Very well put. Great reminder.

  • Lisa March 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    poor guy

    • Kelsey March 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      ?

      • Lisa March 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        seems to me like you’re stringing him along. making him vulnerable and making him invest so much into a relationship without any commitment. he’s putting so much on the line so many months of his life on the line for you. seems a little unfair to not commit to a relationship. and i get the whole friends before lovers idea but it also seems wrong to toy around with his emotions, time, and money. a relationship is harder to break than a soley friend relationship if done right. idkkk just my two cents :)

    • agirlikemee March 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Lisa, I suggest you go back and reread what Kelsey has written. If you really read it, you will see that BOTH Kelsey and Matt were on board with the idea of pursuing friendship above a relationship. If anything, they should be commended and not condemned for choosing a path rarely chosen, one that takes more self control and more reliance on Christ than flippantly walking into a relationship because that’s what society says you are supposed to do. I would also suggest you visit her website and read the full story for yourself so that you can have a better foundation for your arguement. I think once you read the whole story, you will have to admit the beauty of God crafting together two people in such a way that it can only be by His hand and therefore something we should take notice of.

  • Erin March 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Thank you for writing this. I am 38 years old, and very happily married, but i Wish someone had communicated these confident words to me at 21 when I was graduating from college and desperately seeking a husband ;). I know many precious young girls who need these words of encouragement. I know God will use your words in so many way. May He bless you on your journey!

  • lauriedaughteroftheking March 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    “This boy loves my independence, my lack of need for him, my strong identity, my free spirit and spitfire personality and my love for traveling and not settling down. All of the things that I was told to change, all the things that make me who I am, all the things that were supposedly going to keep me from having a relationship. These are the things he loves about me.”

    That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’m looking for in a guy, someone who will walk out what God has called me to with me. So I don’t have to give up where and who God has me. Like you I’ve been told by my friends that I need to change, that me liking my alone time, is going to have to change. Thank you, this gave me hope.

    • Jenny March 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      that’s so selfish. relationships arent just about finding someone to serve yourself. it’s about serving the other person.

      • agirlikemee March 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Jenny,
        I would ask you to reconsider sending out such harsh judgement on Kelsey and Laurie without full knowing either of their stories. I would recommend going to Kelsey’s blog and reading the whole story of her journey and then also going back and reading our post on judging others (http://agirlikeme.com/2012/07/31/470/) The goal of this site is to edify and encourage. I fear that by saying such harsh words without really knowing someone or something, you are only going to wound yourself along with those you throw judgement towards. Thanks.

  • Truly Blessed Young Lady March 25, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Even at 17 i feel the pressures of not having a boyfriend…I know you’re all probably thinking “You’re so young, you have plenty of time..”. Well you see i know this, but for some girls it just seems so easy to find boyfriends. I’ll be honest with you, I have only had one boyfriend, ever. It lasted about 11 months, which is pretty good for highschool i suppose. But with boyfriends comes pressure. Now I didn’t sink down into the pressures, but for the whole relationship I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Two of my close friends have already lost their virginity and I was thinking, “Why would they give away something so special to a highschool relationship?”. I didn’t do anything sexual with this boy and he was totally understanding that i wanted to save myself. Although their were temptations, I pulled through and didn’t give in. We would go to church together, which I realize now, was quite the distraction, and we would hangout as often as possible.
    I think breaking up with him was the best decision I could’ve made because I know that I needed to get to know myself and God better, before I could really get to know a boy in such a serious way. I mean sure it was nice to have such a great connection with someone of the opposite gender, someone who i could lean on and someone who could comfort me and hold my hand when its cold. But you know what? I realized that although its different in a sense, I have some of the best friends a girl like me could ever ask for who i know will be there for me no matter what. Let alone i know that God is also capable of so many things that make me so happy. He’s a miracle worker and I’m one of his miracles. :)
    I understand that I am young, but this blog really put things in perspective for me and I know that I do not need to go searching for a boy. I need to wait, according to God’s plan, and let my life find its own path. So thank you for this reminder, it means a lot.