From about the time I was in 5th grade, I was a planner. I had everything figured out perfectly. I was going to fall in love with a guy in college (not sure which college), he’d propose, then we’d get married have twins and name them either Synamon and Spyce or Teighlor and Tyla. I have no idea why those names or spellings but they were written down on a legal pad, so it was a serious matter. I would get a job making a lot of money (like $40k). Not really sure what I’d be doing but I’d wear a suit, a navy blue suit to be exact, and I’d need a briefcase.
As I grew up, the plan got clearer, I went to Alabama State University to generically study Business Administration. I did have a high school sweetheart but we weren’t destined for marriage. My college boyfriends sucked @$$ and were quite literally a waste of life in general—so I had to figure this career thing out. It was the only thing that had any real potential, because I was definitely single.
Single is a marital status, primarily used for tax-purposes but it’s so much more than that. Single is synonymous with spinster, unwed, ALONE but somehow also synonymous with unique, individual and FREE. It carries with it, the weight of an incomplete plan, the burden of an unmet goal and simultaneously the gift of time to enjoy life, explore risk-taking possibilities, and workout a lot (lmbo).
I’m not going to be all Carrie Bradshaw about it, but in short--it’s rough out there in the dating world. Instead I’d rather look at my experience through the lens of hindsight—where I get it—where Rom 8:28-29 is all over it. No matter how hurtful, disappointing, disheartening, and earth shattering my relationships were, God was working. Not on them (Sick ‘em God! Get’em!) but on me. IKR! I needed work.
I wrestle with those two truths, that it seems the same God who gave me the desire to be married and established the gift of planning in me to plan for my marriage (Hab 2:2) is the same God who allows me to date unsuccessfully for 12 years with little hope for marriage left. There’s no book and no plan for this. Well in real-life, I mean, there are tons of books (lol) but who wants to read about it! It hurts! So for folks like me, He gave us what we would use. He had the foresight to give us friends to eat cupcakes with, co-workers (who would become friends) to drink with, family members to vacation with, and jobs that we could throw ourselves into…all while we were in ‘The Waiting Place’ (I <3 Dr. Seuss).
All of this thinking about dating, recovering from break-ups and trying not to think about dating, clouded my thoughts. My 5th grade goal to get married and start a family muted my other goals—to own a restaurant (which I did-Daza’s New Orleans Soul Food 2005-06) to get my MBA (which I did - University of Dallas in 2009) and most importantly my 3rd grade goal, which was to become a teacher. I didn’t completely forget about it but they just didn’t make enough money (no shade). Somehow I felt like a failure in life because I was ‘single’ and I let lies from the enemy cloud my thinking about what I actually was able to accomplish.
Finally during an Accounting class in April 2009, when I was exhausted by the idea of dating for just long enough, and bored by the lesson for just long enough that my mind was clear to hear from God. During that class, He led me to design a plan to save children, by teaching them—I called it Bridges (now Comprehensive Solutions Inc.) and of all the things I’d need on this journey from corporate America to the NPO life, who would’ve thought the gift of single-ness would be one of them?! The flexibility of my single-life allowed me to make major life changes and take risks that a “married with kids” life might not have easily allowed. How is it that this whole time what I thought was a curse, a sign of God’s disdain towards my life was His preparation for my purpose? How was it that He is able to use this for my good?
So would I like to be married? Uhh abso-freaking-lutely, but thankfully now I am able to have that desire while content in my current single situation. Since I am here I might as well enjoy the moment--to work hard on my organization, learn as much as I can, help my friends, and practice gratefulness. I’m in a place where my marital status isn’t a scarlet letter indicating to the world that God has foiled my plan. It’s proof that His plan is working and I have time to make sure that I am ‘fully Alice’, well, fully Zahn, in my case--that I am whole.
Now I get to tell my 5th grade self, “thank you for your plan”, and my 3rd grade self, “thank you for your idea” and to God “thank you, that in spite of my plans, your purpose triumphs.” To all my other planners out there, if you can help it--Carpe Diem! (Pro. 19:21) His plan is better, and it’s already working. I know that with prayer, it will lead you to your purpose (Jer 29:11).
My prayer for my fellow Warrior Princesses
Dear God, You made us in your image, to make plans and to take dominion. Yet your plans are greater and exceed our expectations. You have great plans for our lives, if we only yield to You. Help us to surrender our plans to yours. Uncloud our thoughts so that we can see You at work. In Jesus’ Name I pray. AMEN.