A Self Reliant LDS Single Woman

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This is one of my religious Mormon-centric posts so feel free to skip if not interested in that topic.

I’ve been mulling over in my brain a gospel topic the last few days .  Mothers Day (or what I call Female Guilt Day) always makes me feel a little sad.  People can give me all kinds of reasons why that shouldn’t be but all that does is make me keep my sadness to myself.  It doesn’t make it go away.

I know all the easy answers, the promises of a family for the righteous.  I get all of that but it doesn’t mean a day celebrating the big part of being a woman I don’t have doesn’t sting a little bit.

I was particularly thinking about my new job and how grateful I am for the chance to do something I really love.  There are no words for how much that means to me. A smile worthy of smilingldsgirl covers my face whenever I think about it.  I am so excited!

It also occurred to me this week that taking such a position would probably be difficult if I had a family or was married.  The position pays less than I was making and is at least for now part-time. However, it is an opening to start a new life, a new career! That’s the exciting part!

Plus, I still get to work from home and my finances are such that I can afford to take a pay cut.  I also might not get insurance through my employer.  We are still researching that. I feel so fortunate that I am at a spot in my life to take such a job.  🙂

Here’s the thing I could use some guidance on-

I try to be positive and not be a negative Nelly when it comes to my single status in a family church.  It comes and goes but in general I think I am happier than most other singles I know.  Nevertheless, for some reason it feels more justified in talking about the downsides of being single rather than the upsides.  I can’t completely put it into words but I feel like I am not supposed to be ‘so’ happy in the single life, only moderately happy.

Let me try to explain-

It’s quotes like these that confuse me.

“And I would also caution you single sisters not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own…”

President Benson

So, we are supposed to be independent and self-reliant but not ‘so’ independent and self reliant.  We have to live a good life but not to the point where we feel we can ‘do just as well on your own’.  What does that mean?  Should I feel continually like I am not quite doing ‘just as well’ on my own? Just as well as who? Married people?  Just as well at what? Living?

He goes on:

“Certainly we want our single sisters to maximize their individual potential, to be well educated, and to do well at their present employment. You have much to contribute to society, to your community, and to your neighborhood.”

“But…”

“We earnestly pray that our single sisters will desire honorable marriage in the temple to a worthy man and rear a righteous family, even though this may mean the sacrificing of degrees and careers. Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother”

So if I read him right we can do many great things and that is encouraged, but at the same time we must  be always hoping and waiting to give all those things up for marriage and family. It seems to me that somebody isn’t going to ‘maximize their full potential’ if they are constantly keeping an escape hatch available for their ‘true and higher calling’?

I know so many single Mormon women who feel unfulfilled because of that escape hatch.   It’s like you end up doing a lot of mediocre things because the big thing you really want or feel a need to do you can’t.  The thing that will make you the happiest you can’t do so you settle for medium-level happiness.

That doesn’t seem right.  God wants us to be happy no strings attached. It doesn’t say ‘the plan of happiness except for single people who are merely content’

What is so wrong with devoting yourself completely to the role that God has given you to play at the moment you are playing it?  In my experience it is only in such obedient moments that  I am open to the promptings to change and grow, maybe even meet someone.  Is that too independent, or too self reliant?  I don’t think so.

It seems to me I am always happiest in life when I dive right into an experience with no back up plan or escape hatch.  In fact, enjoying my single lifestyle can feel unfeminine and the opposite of the ooey goey woman I hear about on Mothers Day.

It can also seem like I am saying the single life is better than being married but I’m not.  It’s just different. (And I do not think the single life is inherently selfish either.  I hate when people say things like that)

I know such feelings are ridiculous.  I should be happy when happy things happen but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at times conflicted with how happy I should feel.

What worries me is I don’t want to live a life in second place.  The silver medalist, to my married friends who get the gold, and that’s kind of what the quote says.  After all, we as singles can contribute to our employment, community, society and neighborhoods but… the higher calling is motherhood. That’s what we believe. And I think that is why Mother’s Day can be a little sad for me. It’s the day of the year where that Gold medal is thrown in our faces and we realize we have the silver.

But, I just can’t live my life that way.  I believe that God has a plan for all of us and while we may not be fated to be with a particular person, I believe He does know when that event will happen.  He needs me right now to work in his single vineyard and that is not a second place position.

Does that mean I am not open to a different vineyard?  Of course not.  Nothing would thrill me more than to find that Great Love but I am not going to settle for sloppy seconds waiting for it.

So, instead I will be happy for the good things in my life and not worry whether I am ‘too independent’ or ‘too self-reliant’ any more.  God knows my heart and He has told me many times before when I need to straighten up and refocus my priorities.

I was a good missionary because I gave it all to that calling.  I was able to get on that plane and have no regrets, and I don’t see why this phase of my life with my new job is any different?  I’m going to give it my all and have a blast along the way.  I am so excited!

I’m going to allow myself to feel 100% happiness while doing it.   The truth is I am self-reliant and independent but I am also obedient and have a missionary heart.  The Lord knows me, and He is guiding my path. He certainly helped me get this job so I might as well have a ball while doing it.

Anyway, forgive these ramblings.  It was just something I needed to work out and I think I did as I typed.  Hopefully my musings are helpful to someone out there.

Happy Mothers Day to all you amazing moms and to my own Mother.

15 thoughts on “A Self Reliant LDS Single Woman

    1. And it’s just my experience and ramblings. Other people could have a completely different view and perspective but I do know a lot of women who struggle with the whole silver medal idea. And I was in a RS presidency and we all agreed that most women we knew feel badly on Mother’s Day. I’ve seen it in my family, friends, and ward members and that is outside Utah too. I’m certainly glad not everyone experiences this

      1. I’ve spent my whole LDS-life out in the mission field, and I never met any downtrodden Mormon women, although I’ll grant you that I’m not a mind reader. But I do know that the YSA branch-thing didn’t work here. The stake was too big, everybody was too independent, and I happen to have personal knowledge of times when the meat-marketing by the leadership got heavy-handed. The stake dragged it out, limping along, for years, until they finally gave up and told the YSA, “It served its purpose, so go ahead back to your home wards.”

        1. I’m glad but I didn’t really mean downtrodden. I don’t think of myself in that way. It doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with my role and what my contribution is. My Grandma who lives in California hasn’t been to church on Mothers Day for years.
          Anyway, don’t mean to be a complainer or sad. Just thinking out loud I suppose. It may be that only a few women have wondered about the self-reliant questions and I’m just one of them. Oh well.

        2. It could very well be that I don’t see some messages unless they’re written in red letters a foot high and shoved under my nose. And I’m well aware that there are plenty of men who are too insecure to approach an intelligent, accomplished woman, so the “advice” for women not to be too self-reliant might have been given with those men in mind. If it were me, however, I wouldn’t want that kind of a man. Call me “Scarlett” if you like, but I’d rather have Rhett.

        3. Well said. I agree. Rhett any day 🙂 Btw, thanks for always reading my ramblings. My own family doesn’t read them but you do.

        4. I think I know where you’re coming from. I’m the only known person in my small-and-shrinking extended family who blogs (even my kids are Luddites about it), and nobody I personally know will touch my postings at any of my facebook pages, with a bargepole.

        5. Thank goodness we have outlets to work such things out and connect with others. It has been such a blessing for me to connect with people like you. So fortunate.

        6. And perhaps I make it seem like this huge faith crisis when it really isn’t. It’s more just wondering about my life and what is the best way to live. When I was in college I had 0 interest in becoming a wife and mother so I’ve come a long way but still ponder questions from time to time.

        7. Well, you have my permission – as if you needed it 😉 – to smile sweetly at the next person who asks you where you were on Mother’s day, and say, “I was mothering myself!” and leave them to figure it out. And you can feel free to smile sweetly at the next person who tries to be your … pimp … and say, “All in the Lord’s good time.” The only times I ever made poor decisions was when I pondered too much.

        8. Thanks. I just may do that. Pondering can be tricky. Ha. Oh well. It seems to be the way I am. Sigh. :). Luckily I have this blog to bounce things off of.

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