Sis Don't Settle_2023 is off to an interesting but good start!
Disclaimer - For men that read this blog, “Sis” is a gender-neutral term in my opinion, so don’t disqualify yourself from this blog post.
OK back to it; Happy new year!
It's been 22 days into the new year and honestly, my world has been shifted yet again. I prayed ALOT during the last couple weeks of 2022 that it shall not be the same as 2023 and that I will not carry the baggage of 2022 in 2023 and honestly I feel like that. I have such a renewed HOPE for the year, my mindset is different, my faith is different, and the opportunities are endless.
Before we go into all the changes, let’s talk about the last couple of weeks of 2022. I went home to Nigeria after one of the heaviest years. I was happy to be home, happy to be safe, and happy to be around family. I was also getting over a breakup and feeling like I had sooooo much to learn about relationships. So much so that I did a “report” on all my past “significant” relationships and asked myself 9 questions per man trying to deconstruct what went wrong and how I could have fixed it, 7 pages later and I was exhausted. I was also feeling very anxious about my mind and feeling safe after grief and finally, I was feeling like my career was stalling. So what does a millennial woman do when she is dealing with HEAVY topics, she turns to books and conversations. Since my therapy benefits had run out for the year(thanks 2022), all I had were books and friends. I started by reading Boundaries in Dating and Winning the war in your mind. I think I was attempting to “therapize” myself and trying to process the year and how to move forward. My conclusion is that I internalized waaaay too much of everything that went on last year. Somehow it was my fault, or like it was in my control and all I needed was to “do better” but then one conversation started to change my whole perspective.
One night, I was at a party celebrating my friend's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary in Lagos. I just kept thinking WOW 60 years of marriage that’s as old as Nigeria. Anyways, my friends and I were chatting and this idea of “settling” came up. My friend, let’s call her Lola(not her real name) said you know what, “there are two areas in my life where I can’t settle and they are my career and my love life”. She was so passionate about this idea and immediately something inside me got scared. In my head, I started to think of all the things that could go wrong and how those areas are somewhat out of your control so to have that conviction to “not settle” I just thought that it was really brave. I went home that night with so many questions in my heart. A few days later I messaged Lola and asked her why she said she wasn’t going to settle. She explained to me that throughout her life, she had always gone along with what her parents wanted for her and because she was the first child and first grandchild there was a lot of pressure on her to succeed based on their definition of success and it so far it hadn’t worked out. She just felt like if she was going to TRULY try at something, she wanted to do it her way and not settle for what others would or would not do. Nevertheless, I went on a journey to learn about this idea of “not settling”.
I stumbled across this podcast episode and the subsequent book “Sis Don’t Settle”- How to stay smart in matters of the heart. If I hadn’t watched the podcast, I wouldn’t have gotten the book because, at that time, I was up to my eyeballs in “relationship” books. I recommend listening to the podcast first where the author is interviewed and then if you feel led, get the book. (sidenote- if you have a Kobo or Kindle, you can get FREE books from the library using OverDrive. It works even when the book is BRAND NEW). Anyways, the book was written by Faith Jenkins a public figure best known for her TV show Divorce Court. She is a trained attorney and now Judge who has spent many years watching relationships fall apart in her court and in her personal life. She got married at 42 after a STRINNNG of failed relationships and a level of pressure from friends, family, social media, and society that can crush anyone. What was different about this particular book on relationships is that she spoke from a perspective that has been missing for a long time. A lot of people/Christians who write relationship books have been happily married for years so although their advice on singleness is GREAT, it's not really a lived experience. I was very reluctant at first because I thought it was going to be some nonsense on “how to attract a high-value man” blah blah blah and not settling for anything less than a man with 6 figures etc. You know normal social media relationship content that can border on toxic… BUT I was pleasantly surprised. Although she did talk about being a “high value” woman it was really more about your character, who God has called you to be, how you carry yourself in your family and how you uphold your standards and boundaries. It was also a lesson on how to deal with rejection and disappointment in dating and how to not “internalize” heartbreak in an unhealthy way. Half the time, it didn’t work out because God was protecting you, or it had nothing to do with you and everything thing to do with them. The other half of the time it was you, and you can take what you learn and apply it to your next relationship. No need to beat yourself up about what you should have known or what you should have done, and why it's always your fault or that you are not “good” at relationships. It’s simply NOT true. You are a beautiful successful person who has been growing and maturing year over year; trust that you have done the work, you are doing the work, and that you are sitting in God’s hands and love will find you.
Honestly, this book, that comment from my friend, and my quiet time with God have changed my whole perspective on dating, love, marriage, and finding “the One”. I don’t need to “STRIVE” to be seen, I don’t need to “COWER” away to protect myself from heartbreak, I don’t need to “SETTLE” for crumbs because time is going, and I don’t need to “INTERNALIZE” failed relationships. However, I do need to “PARTNER” with God through this process to hear his promptings and I do need to “SUBMIT” to the process of dating and try to enjoy it. There is no need to rush through dating to get to the relationship part. Ultimately my biggest lesson is “I would rather pick late, than pick wrong”.
At the beginning of every year, I usually join in my church's 21 days of prayer and fasting event. In this season of prayer and fasting, I am simply building intimacy with God. I am seeking his face, his voice, and his thoughts. I am also doing a study on waiting, and waiting well and so far it's sooo fascinating. Looking at all the people in the bible that waited and how they waited and how they felt etc. I am using a combination of the book When God says wait - navigating life’s detours and delays without losing your faith, your friends, or your mind and the Bible to do this study. The book is great; each chapter starts by telling a story about someone in the bible that waited. It then has a lesson we can learn from that person and then a journal prompt. But the author is hilarious and has changed the language in these biblical stories to a 21st-century context so it is easier to resonate with. So far the biggest lesson I’ve taken from the book is that it's not about whether or not you will get what you are waiting for but it’s about whether or not you wait well and become the person you are supposed to be while you wait.
Anyways, that’s where I’m at! As always I will keep you posted about this journey :)
If anyone is interested in doing a book study with me, or just wants to chat about waiting. (waiting for a relationship, job, car, house, baby, etc.) feel free to hit me up.
Till next time,