When it comes to single women living at home with their parents, I generally see two types: the young women who do very little, and the young women who do everything. Unfortunately, both of these groups injure themselves with their imbalanced lifestyle.
In this post, I will discuss the women of the first group: the ladies who do very little. I speak frankly and openly, but please do not confuse my honesty with snootiness. I have genuine love and compassion for women in both groups, and I don't wish to degrade anyone, but rather to point out the (very real) dangers and to offer solutions.
Ladies who do little often start a job or a college program, only to drop out or quit a short time later. They struggle to follow through on projects, they seem chronically bored, they lack a lot of important home-making skills, and they are dependent on others for basic needs (food preparation, transportation, etc.).
Here are some ways in which a young woman with little to do becomes very vulnerable:
· She is uniquely susceptible to discontentment. Because her future lacks a concrete goal, she feels purposeless, and this leads to an overwhelming sense of insecurity and discontentment.
· To make herself feel more “involved in life,” she tends to have higher social needs. This can make her dependent on friends, who, unfortunately for her, may not have as much time as she does to socialize. This can leave her feeling even more desperate for social contact, and discouraged when she feels that her outreach to others is not reciprocated.
· She accepts an unhealthy romantic relationship. Because she has no goal in which to pour her passion, she transfers all that passion into her boyfriend. This is a recipe for huge disaster. First, her relationship with the young man may become more important than her relationship with God. Second, her clinginess may drive away the very man she seeks to keep. Third, her identity and security is wrapped up in the man; if he doesn’t deliver as she expects or hopes, she becomes very discouraged.
· She fills her time with useless activities. There is nothing inherently wrong with watching television shows, reading adventure stories, participating in social media, and other such activities, but in the absence of worthier activities, they can become a way of life—a drain on time that can never be retrieved.
· She needs goals, both short-term and long-term. What does she like to do? What hobbies might be worth developing? How could she make an income? Where would she like to be in ten years? She should write these goals down, plan how she is going to get there, and give herself solid deadlines for completing the work. An accountability partner is helpful in the early stages of establishing goal-oriented habits.
· She needs work. A young woman in this category likely does not contribute to family chores. She should. How will she learn to care for her own home if she does not contribute to the home in which she lives now? Creating a home business is also a great start. If she has a skill, she could teach it to others or try freelance work for friends and family. Small beginnings often lead to great things!
· She needs to learn skills. Cooking, balancing one’s own accounts, light house repair, sewing… What is she waiting for? Marriage does not automatically teach these skills, and a new bride may find herself quite overwhelmed if she has neglected to learn while she had the time available as a single woman.
· She needs to develop hobbies. The discipline of mastering a hobby—rather than simply dabbling in it—will help her learn the structure and habits that she can then translate into pursuing her goals and learning new skills.
· She needs to serve others. The process of meeting someone else’s needs is the quickest cure I know for discontentment and social dependence. She can make a meal for a sick friend, drive an elderly friend to a doctor appointment, help a family to move out of (or into) their home, babysit children, visit a nursing home regularly, and so much more. The role of a servant is fulfilling like no other.
If you are in this category, please know that I am not judging you. I simply wish to see you succeed. You have skills and gifts that no one else has. You are unique. Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to make the most of what God has so richly given you.
Wow. YES! I know so many young women in this category and have often wondered, "What's the difference? Why is their life full of nothingness? How?" And I've longed to have suggestions to help some, if the opportunity arises. Thank you for the suggestions of "some solutions." I agree wholeheartedly that the biggest solution is to live a life of servanthood - the life that Christ Himself commands us to live. When our hearts are focused externally instead of internally, suddenly, we find ourselves with more than enough to fill our time.
10/15/2014 02:37:23 am
You're welcome! As you said it so well, the external focus vs. the internal focus is the real key to overcoming the tendency to waste time. It's like the acrostic for joy:
Wow! Thanks so much, Yaasha!!! Unfortunately, I fall more into this category than I like. I appreciate the practical advice you offer. I would just add one thing that I have seen in myself and other young women I know in this category: sometimes we do "nothing", yes. But sometimes we think ourselves busy. However, most of us are busy with nothing besides our own projects. Sometimes we are discontent, insecure, etc. in our 'nothingness' and so, to escape, we hide in our hobbies. We channel all of the time and energy into developing our own personal interests to the extent we neglect our family and chores. There MUST be a balance. And those of us who do so will be the last to admit that that is what we are doing and the first to defend our little fantasy world.
10/18/2014 07:19:08 am
Thanks for your thoughts, Elizabeth. I appreciate what you said, and it's true. I used to fall into this category (now I'm at the other extreme and slowly working toward balance). I retreated into my own hobbies as a way of proving that I was "doing something," which, while not necessarily bad, can lead toward self-centeredness.
10/22/2014 09:31:23 am
You know, I really don't have an answer for that. I know for the receiving end, we have to be both humble and willing to change, otherwise we will believe ourselves attacked and accused (even though we know the confronter is probably right). We like to believe ourselves happy and busy... but truth is, we generally are pretty miserable because of our selfishness, and it is our selfishness that responds. So its hard to reach us while we're still in our own little world. I don't know any 'keys'; any of the ones I've tried or have been tried on me haven't really worked all that well, aside from God's conviction. Again, this is just my experience. Perhaps there are other ways, but I just haven't found them.
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None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.