Scary, Beautiful, Necessary Change.

MyselfSome things are going to be changing around here.

I’ve been feeling a stirring, a restlessness, in my spirit, for some time now. Like I was ready for a change. A shift. A new direction. Not just in my writing but in my LIFE. I’ve been writing about singleness for six years now. I’ve explored it from just about every angle possible. I’ve written one self-published and three published books about it. I’ve loved sharing my heart with single woman (and men) about my journey as a single woman. I’ve learned to appreciate and even love my solo status…and I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to appreciate and love yours, too. I’ve written countless blogs and posted literally hundreds of thousands of tweets about single life. I’ve branded myself “The Single Woman” so emphatically that up until a couple of months ago, my own name (Mandy Hale) didn’t even appear on the homepage of my website.

And somewhere along the way, in the midst of all the writing and tweeting and blogging about single life, I lost something. My spark. My groove. My excitement about writing. I stopped writing from the heart and for the sake of art and started writing for likes. For shares. For approval. It’s only been in this past year or so that I’ve really felt pressure to write things that are pleasing to people instead of writing the things I feel inspired to write. It can be a challenge sometimes when you have hundreds of thousands of eyes on your daily posts to NOT feel like you have to please the masses…but that’s not how I started this platform and it’s not how I want to continue it.

Another thing I feel like I need to address is my focus on self-love. This past couple of weeks has turned everything I thought I knew about life on its head.  Going through a major crisis with my family has been hugely eye-opening for me. As it turns out, life isn’t about “loving yourself first.” It’s about loving other people fiercely and tangibly and unconditionally. Certainly you should love yourself, but a self-focused life is a very empty life. A happy life is about loving God first and other people second. Putting the people you love and their needs ahead of your own. Showing up for people. Being there for people. Praying for people, yes…but also being a living, breathing answer to their prayer by SHOWING UP. Not sitting around wasting endless amounts of time focusing on yourself. Because I’ve found that when you step outside yourself and just show up for other people, loving yourself suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. Self-love is a by-product of loving people well…it’s not and shouldn’t be the focus of your life. All of this, I know, is a bit of a departure from the platitudes I’ve posted and the stance I’ve taken and the outlook I’ve endorsed over the past six years. But I will readily admit that before last Monday, I was selfish. I was too self-focused. Up to that point, my life and my stuff and my needs and my evolution as a person had been my #1 focus…all in the name of “loving myself.” But no more. Showing up for my sister and taking care of my nieces round the clock and wiping noses and wiping bottoms and packing lunches and helping with homework and folding laundry…those simple, everyday tasks, done in the name of loving my sister and her family well…they changed me. They even empowered me by setting me free from the trappings of a self-centered life. I don’t want to live an easy, comfortable, self-indulgent life for even one more day. I don’t want to sit around and pat myself on the back and list off all the reasons why I should love myself. I want to be out there, on the front lines, in the trenches of life, showing up for people and listing off all the ways I can love them better.

So here’s where I’m at. I’m sure I’ll still write about single life some, but that’s not going to be my focus anymore. I’m going to write about life as not just a single woman…but life as a Christian woman. An aunt. A daughter. A sister. A lover of movies and art and TV and books and nature and Jesus. The happy moments, the sad moments, the mundane moments, and the magical moments. I’m going to write about whatever is on my heart, whether or not I think it will get a lot of likes or not. Because when I try and please all of you, I only succeed in pleasing none of you. There is definitely no joy to be had in trying to be pleasing. I’m going to stop posting meaningless platitudes that really don’t ring true for me simply because I know they might go viral on one of my feeds. And I’m stripping my platforms completely of the obsession with self-love. I want to project outward, to shift the focus to serving other people instead of ourselves.

Change is good, and necessary, and scary, and beautiful. And as I go through reworking this blog and my writing and social media platforms…I hope you’ll stick with me. I feel like some really good stuff is ahead. Honest stuff. Hard stuff. Healing stuff.

You already know The Single Woman…now I’m excited for you to get to know me, Mandy Hale, the single woman. The sometimes sad woman. The often silly woman. The saved woman. The sassy woman. The searching woman.

And maybe…God willing…in the process, you just might get to know yourself a little better, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

59 Responses to “ Scary, Beautiful, Necessary Change. ”

  1. Tiffany
    March 17, 2016

    Amazing….I am so proud as a long time follower of the woman you’ve become!

    • Sherry
      March 18, 2016

      Well said Mandy!!! Just the transparency of this blog…ahhhhhhh!!! I love it! May God bless you as you continue to grow and discover Mandy again in this new season!!

    • Mandy
      March 20, 2016

      Great great great message!! I have read all your books in the past year and followed your facebook posts and I can honestly say that your posts about self love and kindness have helped balance and equip me to get back out there into the arena of life and love better, more focused and more Christ like. I understand what you mean about not being the number one focus or star of your own life. A life time of navel gazing will only give you a bad back!:) But I think it is about striking a balance and loving others as you love yourself. Like a scale, both have to be of equal weight for it to balance. It is in serving others, loving them without conditions, showing up, being a light and sharing life that we becoming more loving. And it is in loving ourself the rightway (covering basic needs, getting fed spiritually, taking rest, speaking positively to ourselves) that we can love others with more power, strength and authenticity.

      I completely get your message, but also be encouraged that that God has been working through your posts and reaching people’s lives who may have been out of balance and needed the encouragement to love themselves well. I think they have also pointed people to look inward and find not just themselves but most importantly, the Lord!

      Keep writing with that courage, authenticity and honestly! I pray that God continues to guide you.

      From one Mandy to Another 🙂

  2. Diane
    March 17, 2016

    I LOVE this!!! You are so inspiring!!

  3. Griselda
    March 17, 2016

    Thank you for this!! Exactly what I been waiting for !! God bless you!

  4. Dana Price
    March 17, 2016

    Mandy, I pray that you will always write freely, honestly and guided by God. I’ll be right here supporting you as a reader, friend, and a saved Christian woman.

  5. Emily
    March 17, 2016

    Always eager to read you, and will continue to, God bless you and your family thru this phase and everyone to come!

  6. Suzanne~Shoregirl333
    March 17, 2016

    I really LOVED reading that Mandy! The loss of someone special to me recently has had me doing a lot of thinking and reevaluating and reprioritizing too… As has happened more often than not over the past 6 years, I find myself in the same, or very similar, “season” and thought pattern as you… Which is why I continue to be grateful everyday for your words – wherever they may be written – because it helps me feel like I have a companion, a “soul sister”if you will, in all of this… ❤️ So thank you for continuing to be so open and honest and vulnerable when you write! I appreciate you! ☺️
    Also, thought I’d share with you my aunt’s life motto, which she tried to instill in her 8th grade students every year for over 35 years of teaching at a Catholic school… She taught them: “JOY… Read is horizontally, but live it vertically… Jesus, Others, Yourself… JOY…” ❤️❤️❤️❤️ She was such a beautiful woman, inside & out!

  7. Lacey
    March 17, 2016

    Mandy, whatever you put out there, I plan to read. What you have to say goes way beyond your marital status and I consider you one of the leading voices of Christian women. This is just the beginning of the platform God’s built for you. I can’t wait to see how this change changes you and the many lives who take what you say to heart.

  8. Trenice Durio
    March 17, 2016

    Thank you for this. I went through a life changing event about a year ago and realized the same thing! Life is more about showing up for peop-consistently, openly, and lovingly.

  9. March 17, 2016

    This is so interesting because I have been experiencing a similar nudge to follow Jesus more closely and to allow that to impact my work in whatever way it might. He is good…and I’m excited to see what’s in store for you, my friend. XO!

  10. Mayra
    March 17, 2016

    Mandy I congratulate you on your decision. I couldn’t agree more change is good, is needed and it is empowering. However having lived as the sister, the daughter the aunt, the friend the Christian woman. I have never felt more fulfilled then when I leaned to love me first. There is nothing wrong with being selfish and loving to yourself. After all in survival know to always put the mask on yourself first. I hope that you don’t forget YOU as you are there for everyone else. Your writing is amazing regardless of the topic this is simply a different chapter.

    • Mandy Hale
      March 18, 2016

      Thank you for this. As I mentioned in the article, it is important to love yourself. But it can’t be your #1 focus or your only focus, or you’ll wake up one day with only yourself there to love. That’s why I’m shifting my priorities now. I’ve covered the whole “love yourself” thing many times over. It’s time to make other people my priority now.

  11. March 17, 2016

    I so appreciate your transparency and you representing many women like me. Thank you!

  12. Ashley
    March 17, 2016

    Love this…really, truly and honestly. I’ve always been a fan but you’ve truly spoken from your heart and I respect that more than you will ever know.

    • March 9, 2017

      I’m not quite sure how to say this; you made it extlemery easy for me!

  13. March 17, 2016

    Amen!! The only one we need to be getting “likes” from is the Lord, and I’m sure there is a very big “like” on this page from Him!

  14. Jeanne bilbo
    March 17, 2016

    Single is one adjective about your circumstances in life…it’s not who you are!

    • Mandy Hale
      March 18, 2016

      Exactly! 🙂

  15. Alicia
    March 17, 2016

    Love it!! Stay true to yourself- and this message rang true to me as well:)

  16. Turkesshia Moore
    March 17, 2016

    Good stuff! I’ve been feeling restless too. Change is upon us!

  17. Lori
    March 17, 2016

    I love this so much!!! Good for you! I look forward to seeing the changes God has for you!!

  18. Megan
    March 17, 2016

    I love this! We all change and evolve and we can’t expect anything different from you. Write from the heart Mandy…I know I’ll still be reading.

    Oh, and thanks for the surprise package! Perfect little God wink to remind me He is all I need.

  19. De
    March 17, 2016

    Isn’t God so awesome to use this horrible, difficult circumstance to show you exactly what He wants for you! ! You’re an amazing writer and I’m sure that any, and all, subjects you write on will continue to inspire those who follow you!

  20. March 17, 2016

    Very cool Mandy. What moxy, guts, risk-taking, doing what you believe in, taking chances and more! I too write. No, I don’t have published books; although I have two that may never be completed, we’ll see. When I read your post, it reminded me of my quotes and the passion that’s driven me to write them all. They cover such a vast array of personal experiences – gratitude, faith, love, grief, love, loss, hope, death, pain, cancer… Wanted to share with you, in case any speak to you personally, as you journey though this time of change, your new great adventure https://quotesbyslfc.wordpress.com/

  21. Brandi
    March 17, 2016

    That’s amazing Mandy. Isn’t it amazing when you discover what God wants for you? Have no worries, He’ll continue to take care of you and even open a whole new world of readers to you. In the process you’ll discover parts of you, you didn’t know existed. May God continue to bless you!

  22. Jeannette Richemond
    March 17, 2016

    Someone once said “We are made to change and adapt the only time we are ever free from change is when we die”. Thank you for showing so many that singleness is not something to dread but something to cherish and learn from while we live in the season. But I am excited to see you’re evolution and learn from that as well!

  23. Debbi
    March 17, 2016

    Mandy Hale!- I am excited to see what God has in store for you AND how that is reflected in your writing!
    The truth: I am a single woman, and I was originally drawn to your writing for that reason. I like that you are not afraid to share your faith in God and remind us that He wants to use us, even in our singleness. I know too many women (myself included sometimes) who dwell on their “loneliness,” positive that God is punishing them. They want to be loved, and society tells us it must be by a spouse/partner. So we wait!… And wait!… And WAIT! In fear of missing “the one” we don’t put ourselves out there- in church, in volunteer community groups, in helping change or make better someone else’s life. We save all that “energy” for The One, and we become bitter about our singleness!
    I am pleased that you have decided to change up your focus as you have grown, BUT do not beat yourself up about your previous direction. I believe God used those “thousands of eyes” that YOU were focused on, to still change the lives of many. Your focus may have been on self-love, but I have read your writing: far more attention is given to using the singleness “for good,” than you are currently giving yourself credit for.
    ** Three years ago this summer, we lost my Dad, and my world was thrown into a tailspin. I went from being a “Single Woman” to having the responsibility of caring for my Mom and her household. Not even 6 months later, my sister walked out on her 4 kids, leaving them for my Mom and me to raise, and again, my “world” turned on its axis! I went from having all the freedoms of a single life to being “mom” to 4 (amazing, loving, adorable, feisty, challenging…) kids and “co-manager” of our home, taking care of my Mom.
    I don’t tell you this for pity or even sympathy. I am not looking for acalades, and I don’t need (or even deserve) high 5’s and pats on the back. I am saying this to you because I KNOW life throws you curve balls! I know what it is like to feel like you have to have a “One” to love in order for your life to feel complete and then COMPLETELY change your view because life requires you to step out of your own way and love another (or in my case- FIVE others ) FIRST. I know what it is like to feel like you have it all together- that you have this Single Woman thing down, that you ARE living life to the fullest. Then (in MY case), a little hand hooks itself in your’s and you hear a little voice tell you that “she” loves you, and you wonder for a minute how you ever felt whole before, before you were called outside the Comfort Zone and required to love others first!
    I don’t know what happened with your sister, but I hope that she is well. And I mean it when I say: I am very proud of you for being there for your family AND for deciding to make a change in what your writing focuses on!
    I believe God will use you to continue to minister to your faithful followers, but I also believe that you are going to realize you have a whole bunch of new fans! People (like Me) may be drawn to you because of your Single Woman status, but they stay with you because they have gotten to know Mandy! So let us see you grow, and change, and make mistakes, and accept new challenges…
    WE want to know we are not alone!!!

  24. Kathleen
    March 17, 2016

    You Go Girl…love the self reflection, growth and courage.

  25. Tammy
    March 18, 2016

    Maybe you are being a little too hard on yourself? I don’t see anything wrong with living an easy and comfortable life, given that we are always ready to help when someone needs us. I read your book “I have never been to Vegas but my luggage has” and I saw you as an exceptional friend when you lied down with your best friend on the floor and was there for him whenever he needed you. I doubt that you can ever be selfish. I feel like sometimes being Christian, we are being too hard on ourselves.

    • Mandy Hale
      March 18, 2016

      Prior to last Monday, I definitely had been stuck in a place in my life where my needs, my comfort, my happiness, came first. Honestly, I’m not being hard on myself. I’m just telling the truth.

    • March 18, 2016

      I agree about…” sometimes we are too hard on ourselves as Christian women”. Though, I see a shifting taking place in Mandy’s life and it’s good!

  26. Andrea
    March 18, 2016

    Thanks for sharing. I’m at a different crossroad in my life and this rings true.

  27. Audrey Lee
    March 18, 2016

    The Lord is really using you sister and reading your blog today encouraged me and inspired my faith. Thank you. You are being your true authentic self. I can’t wait to read from your heart and brilliant mind.

  28. Ann
    March 18, 2016

    Beautifully stated. . . seasons change and we learn and grow.

  29. March 18, 2016

    I love this write up, been reading about love too. Jesusfirst, others second, yourself last, that’s true joy.

  30. Jasmine Q.
    March 18, 2016

    I love your transparency! Keep being you! Your true supports will always be here!

  31. Adriana
    March 18, 2016

    I love this post Mandy. I’ve read your words for a few years now and God always uses you to encourage me at the right moments. Lately, I’ve been battling the feeling of unstability because I’m transitioning into new things I believe God is orchestrating for my life, but as you said: change can be scary, beautiful, yet it is definitely necessary. Your epiphany of wanting to write from a more selfless heart and one that pleases God rather than gaining the likes of the masses is such inspiration and encouragement. I’m sure the more you allow God to speak through you about different topics, the more people He’ll lead to you. Those people will be uplifted, strengthened, and motivated to live out the purpose Christ has for them, and I’m sure because of you, they’ll find their joy single or married! Please keep letting God use you!
    Blessings<3

  32. janin gesta
    March 18, 2016

    YOLO,Be awesome, Be beautifully you. Kuddos to you Miss Mandy Hale.

  33. Tammy
    March 18, 2016

    I am sO proud of you sister!! You walk in HIS TRUTH. Grateful your obedient to HIM, HE loves you!! 🙂 HE is faithfUl.
    Have a beaUtifUl day Mandy!!:)

  34. March 18, 2016

    I have been following you for a while and just started a blog. I admire you and love this change….embrace it…go with it…
    Sunshine Soulsister

  35. Dianna
    March 18, 2016

    This is so refreshing and wonderful to read! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you! Kudos to you for taking the high road despite what anyone else thinks!!! I look so forward to being a part of your new journey with God and in life!!!

  36. March 18, 2016

    As I read your comments, I realized that I have had similar feelings for the past few weeks too. Thank you for sharing! I’ll continue following a single sister in Christ…because we are all in this together! 🙂

  37. CT
    March 18, 2016

    I swear I saw this coming when I read Beautiful Uncertainty…your tone was just “different” than it had been in your other books. I think I will love the new direction. I think I speak for most single gals when I say sometimes we all get tired of being known as the Single Friend, Cousin, Woman, Co-Worker or whatever.

  38. gypsy
    March 18, 2016

    wonderful! this is how life should be lived. true to YOU and authentic in your search. everyday is new and sometimes we need to change a thought pattern that no longer serves us and our highest good.
    blessings!

  39. March 18, 2016

    Proud Of You!! God always realigns us with our true purpose and His perfect calling on our lives; though you’ve helped and touched many women as the “Single Woman” too! Mandy you are respected,, admired , and loved for your authentic heart! Keep blog posts coming on your new adventure in greater service to HIM and others!!
    Love, Giselle Gras

  40. Liz
    March 18, 2016

    Refreshing to read such a genuine post while still sharing a personal story.

    – will continue to follow your blog ! ☺️

  41. Liz
    March 18, 2016

    Such a genuine post! Will continue to read your blog!

  42. Liz
    March 18, 2016

    Such a genuine post! Will continue to read your blog!

  43. March 19, 2016

    This . So beautiful. I will say one thing about self love. All my life I hated who I was. I understand now that grew out of sexual abuse before I was 5. I had a huge AHA moment about 7 or 8 years ago, reading the greatest commandment, love others as you love yourself. I knew I struggled with loving others wholeheartedly, but that moment helped me see that I literally could not love others if I didn’t love myself. A good friend helped me to see that loving myself, was more about my response to seeing & believing that I am fully loved & accepting exactly as I am by my Heavenly Father … And now that I believe whose I am, and believe I am fully loved, I am freed to love myself AND others wholeheartedly & unabashedly!!! I am so grateful for where I have been on this journey, because all the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life has brought me to exactly where I am … I am excited to stay connected to where your journey takes you next, as I follow Him to the start of my own Second Journey… Much love to you Mandy❤️

  44. Marilyn
    March 19, 2016

    This is my first time landing on your blog via a pin. The irony is that you have gained another fan…another “like”. I found your honesty, courage and transparency hugely inspiring.
    I, too hope that whatever trials and troubles your sister and your family are facing will pass, leaving behind newfound inner strengths and reinforced bonds.
    I look forward to getting to know you–the renewed, reclaimed you.

    Marilyn

  45. Harriet
    March 20, 2016

    Miss Mandy Hale…it doesn’t matter what you write…we will all love it. Don’t worry about that. Congratulations on your new found journey and sorry to hear about the hard times. I heard the other day something that resonated. The only guarantee in life is change. Inevitable. Change can be good.

  46. Kim
    March 20, 2016

    Last night I was in Barnes and Noble and saw your book on display, Beautiful Uncertainty. I picked it up and noticed you had a website and blog and just now tonight, I learned about who you are Mandy. I am a single 45 yr old follower of Jesus that has never been married but has had the desire to be my entire adult life. This blog entry has been the first one of yours I have read and I will say, I can so relate to your new scary yet exciting identity that you have shared about yourself in this post. I am excited to read more of what God puts on your heart to share as not just a single woman, but a serving one. I encourage you to be raw and honest, and strive to serve Christ first and only desire His approval. I believe by doing this, you will capture the hearts of the ones God puts in your path. And I believe with all my heart, God turned my eye to your book last night and directed me to your website tonight to read this first of many post that will encourage me in my journey with Christ as a single woman. God bless and direct you always! -Kim

  47. Jenny
    March 21, 2016

    Awesome news, Mandy! Our pastor has been teaching us that God’s purpose is to conform us to become like Christ. Jesus is still working on my rough edges too. Can’t wait to continue to grow with you! God bless you as you continue to minister to many, many.

  48. Kristen
    March 21, 2016

    I just finished your first last night and I truly loved it! Though you said this was a change, it really seems like a natural evolution! I’ve recently learned that you can’t fill others if your tank is empty. You have to love yourself and figure yourself out before you can truly be there for anyone else. Life as a single woman is definitely about self-love, but its also about loving your whole life and people in it, not just that one part! I am exciting to read along as you travel this journey!

  49. March 21, 2016

    After reading this, I wanted to write a comment to you encouraging you in these new steps of faith, until I realized just had to scroll through 50 other comments saying THE EXACT SAME THING! God is using you in beautiful ways and I am so proud to follow you because of the honesty you provide. You’re real and you know when you’ve gone too far and you’re willing to admit that. It’s so beautiful and vulnerable and we all could use a little more of that in our lives. Thank you for what you do!

  50. Karen
    March 24, 2016

    Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything (George Bernard Shaw)

  51. Angela
    March 24, 2016

    Mandy, as I am in transition at this time too, this post really speaks to me! I love that you aren’t afraid to move your blog and message along with your life journey. Changing and growing is what it’s all about – just sometimes it’s slow drips, and sometimes it’s a deluge! Ill stay tuned – I’m interested to see where your journey goes from here!!

  52. Logic
    March 27, 2016

    I had an idiot give me advice recently about wanting a relationship: “You have to be there for yourself!” And what, exactly, does that nonsense phrase even mean? I’ve seen people in miserable marriages who were not “there” for themselves: they let themselves fall apart, most obviously physically, so “being there for yourself” is an empty platitude. It’s selfish and self-serving.

    No, we have to be “there” FOR EACH OTHER. We have to be out there engaging the world, using our talents to help others and make life fairer and easier for each other. The best advice to give singles is to be there for the world, for other people. And this is something you have learned.

    I have seen people retreat from bad relationships and themselves. I have seen people retreat from the world out of bitterness. Death to these selfish pseudo-motivational phrases! People need to be encouraged to go out and associate with each other, relate to each other, and learn something in the process.

    Be there for others. Do not brand yourself as “single.” Brand yourself as a citizen of society, as a helper of others. When society begins to open up again, marriages will increase in both occurrence and longevity.

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