Lace. Floral arrangements. Caterers. Taffeta. Diamonds. Venues. Showers. Registries.

I’m not engaged, nor am I a wedding planner. I’m just a twenty-something gal with lots of soon-to-be-wed friends. Seriously, all (ALL) of my best friends are married, engaged or in serious relationships. But it’s all good because I’m in a relationship, too.

With my dog.

katie and george 2

It can be difficult to be the only single girl in the group. I know I sound dramatic by saying “the only single girl,” but I’m not kidding you. At a recent birthday party, I was THE ONLY SINGLE GIRL out of a group of 21.

When it was time to pay, the poor server was wandering around trying to figure out who to give my check to. “Now, which guy were you with?” she asked.

I laughed and said, “Naw, girl, hashtag single right here.” (Yes, I am a ridiculous human being.)

Don’t Miss Out

It’s hard when everyone around you has stars and hearts in their eyes, and you don’t. Harder yet is deciphering your actual feelings about all of your besties being in relationships. Of course, I get nothing but excited for each friend as they enter new relationships, engagements and marriages. I cry with them. I squeal with them. I high five them. But sometimes there’s a layer of sadness: Why can’t that be me? When will it be my turn? Yo, where’s he at?

But I am reminded that it is okay to feel excitement and sadness in the same moment. What is not okay is to let sadness rule.

It definitely takes a conscious effort to be joyful in this season of life. Often it’s hard to remind myself that where I am now is where I am supposed to be. Everyone’s journey is different, but it’s easy to get caught up in comparisons and envy, completely missing out on the blessings and only taking note of what is missing. But I can’t let sadness rule.

An Emotional Connection

Relationships are not just limited to boyfriends and girlfriends or husbands and wives. The definition of relationship is “an emotional connection between people.” It does not say, “a connection only between boyfriends and girlfriends or spouses” or “a connection with someone who buys you flowers and watches cheesy chick flicks with you even when they don’t want to and moves your furniture for you because they are strong.” No, it’s simply an emotional connection. I might be the only single girl in a fifty mile radius (now I AM being dramatic), but I am certainly not lacking in relationships.

Living in the land of twenty-somethings can often lead to a tunnel-vision focus on marriage. But, hey, what about our other relationships? Aren’t those important? What about the relationships we have with our parents, our friends and our co-workers? Are we (Read: Am I) so focused on finding the one that our other relationships are falling to the wayside?

God created us to be in relationship with others and with Him as well. Cultivating these relationships is not always an easy task, but it is certainly a fruitful one.

Every relationship deserves to be celebrated! I’m not saying we should go out and take engagementesque pictures with all of our besties. (However, that IS a brilliant idea!) But I am saying we should take the time, energy and care to honor the emotional connections in our lives. Be intentional in conversations and thoughtful in gift-giving. Be courteous and careful with time together, and do not take anything for granted. These are all things I need to work on.

Maybe you do, too.

Eleven Dresses and Counting

Soon I’ll be wearing bridesmaid dresses numbers ten and eleven. I have thought about making all of my fabulous friends wear their own bridesmaid’s dresses when I finally tie the knot. Weddings can be expensive and lonely for us single gals, but I am always honored and flattered to stand beside a friend as a living testimony of genuine friendship as they leap into matrimony. I am indeed grateful for the relationships I get to celebrate and rejoice in.

So, no matter which season of life the Lord has you in at this time — single, dating, engaged, married for one year or fifty — don’t forget to revel in the relationships you have with your friends, family, co-workers and whomever else He has placed in your life.

Don’t ignore opportunities to be joyful with others because you’re too focused on what — or who — is missing.

[Image via Sharon Drummond/Flickr]