Walking Our Faith: Your spinster aunt’s guide to love and friendship | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: Your spinster aunt’s guide to love and friendship

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

I’m turning 58 next month and have never been married, which by Jane Austen‘s terms means I have exceeded the age limit for spinsterhood buy more than twofold.

That label used to bother me. But it doesn’t anymore because like all the other labels in our lives, it’s just a word, and it only defines us if we allow it to.  

So allow me to be your spinster aunt and share what wisdom I’ve gathered along the way about love and friendship.

Don’t try to change who you are to please someone else. This includes losing weight, changing the way you look, the way you dress or the people you hang out with. Especially that last one.

I’ve done all of these things to try to please a boyfriend I hoped would love me just a little more if I did. My weight has yo-yoed more than Oprah’s, I’ve straightened my naturally curly hair, and hung around with people who I had nothing in common with. All in hopes of being noticed by someone who I hoped would love me if I did. They didn’t. And in retrospect, I thank God I was left behind.

Instead, I want you to remember this Bible verse: Let your light shine as a beacon to the world. In other words, work hard to be your best self. 

Instead of worrying about how much you weigh, make it your goal to be healthy. We’re so blessed to live in a community that loves sports and exercise, which means there’s something for everyone. And don’t be afraid to fail and find something new. I tried skiing and discovered I have a fear of heights. I tried cross-country skiing and broke my wrist on my first day out. So now I snowshoe with a wonderful group of new friends, and I love our leisurely walks through the woods.

The person who will claim your heart will love your confidence in being exactly who God created you to be. Because that’s when you will be your happiest and nothing is more irresistible than a person who loves who they are and who they are becoming.

“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” — Ephesians 2:10 NLT

In other words, discover your passion and pursue it. Every person has a talent that is uniquely theirs. Spend time finding yours and then commit to it to the best of your ability.

When I was in middle school, I joined the swim team because that’s where the popular kids were. I never became one of the popular kids, but by my junior year in high school, I was a state champion in the 50-yard freestyle and won an athletic scholarship to college.

Instead of waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to sweep you off your feet, develop strong friendships. I once watched a TED talk by a research scientist in longevity. She had studied all the factors that predicted a long life: genetics, exercise, eating healthy. In the end, she discovered the people who lived the longest were people who were surrounded by a community of close friends.

I’ve seen this in my mother’s life. She’s 92 and still living independently thanks to a community of neighbors and friends who look out for each other and each play an important role in the lives of the others.

For instance, my mother famously does not cook, however her dining room table has become the location of Sunday dinners because she has a big round table that perfectly fits her five friends. Her neighbor Dan, who loves to cook, provides the dinner.

“Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” — 1 Peter 2:17 The Message

Understand that we are all doing the best we can, which means we are all terribly imperfect. Some days we are kind and some days we are horrible. Work hard to make the kind days outnumber the horrible. And always, yes even when you’re having a horrible day, treat everyone with respect. Your patience and kindness might be the only they experience that day.

Invest time in building friendships with people you admire and who admire you. Yes, I want you to find friends who think you’re great just the way you are, who cheer you on as you work on your dreams, and who lift you up when you face the inevitable disappointments and setbacks.

As I begin my fifth year here in Breckenridge, I have discovered a community of friends that I haven’t had anywhere else, and I am extraordinarily grateful for this community. I want the same for you.

Near the end of his life, Jesus told his disciples, “I no longer call you servants; I now call you friends.” Know that the son of God wants to call you “friend,” as well. God loves you so very much. Find your dream, find your tribe, work hard, give back and be the good you want to find in this life. You are loved and lovely.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

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