It is my hope that you leave this blog feeling inspired. Whether you spend 2 minutes reading the blog every month or check the blog on a daily basis, it is my hope that when you click away from my site you leave inspired. Inspired to try something new. Inspired to step out of your comfort zone. Inspired to embrace a new challenge. Inspired to make a difference. Inspired to dream big and chase those dreams. Inspired to live life a little bit different. Inspired to be the best you possible. This series introduces you to people and stories that inspire me and it is my hope that they will inspire you as well.
I am sooo excited to be back for our next installment of the Be Inspired series! I first met Allison last March on a trip to Nashville. I was there for a Thirty-One retreat, but went a day early to celebrate my 31st birthday. My Director, and amazing friend, Stephanie, had been telling me she wanted to introduce me to her cousin and we were able to get together for breakfast while I was in Nashville. I loved getting to hear her story over breakfast and walked away inspired. When she contacted me this spring and asked if I wanted to review an advance copy of her book I quickly said yes. And I was not disappointed! Allison does an excellent job not only dispelling 10 common myths single women believe, but offering truths to hold on to instead.
Allison K. Flexer is an author, speaker, and blogger who is passionate about communicating the love of God to others. Her first book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press), tells the story of her single journey and gives practical steps for letting go of the lies that destroy the joy and confidence of unmarried women. Allison was also a contributing writer for Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman. You can connect with Allison on her website at www.allisonflexer.com or on Twitter.
I am currently in a season of life where many long-held dreams of mine are coming true. I was single until the age of 38, and I prayed for a husband for many, many years. It was hard for me to wait on God and fight the temptation to settle, especially during my thirties. God answered my prayers in 2012, when I reconnected with a childhood friend from my hometown. Michael and I grew up on the same street a few houses apart, but we hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years. Our first date was the day after my 37th birthday. We fell in love and got married in November 2013. Three months before our wedding, a book publisher contacted me about a book proposal I had submitted to their publishing house years before. Beacon Hill Books agreed to publish my book for single women! It releases in October and is now available to order: Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman. So, I am pursuing the dream of being married to the love of my life while sharing my book and its message of hope with single women. I’m currently working on a second book for single women as well.
What is your biggest dream?
My dreams change in different seasons of life as time passes. Having a book published was a huge dream of mine. It wasn’t about seeing my name in print. My dream was to share God’s love and truth with single women. My ongoing dream is for each woman to know the extent of God’s affection for her. He delights in us!
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your life?
I started my own financial consulting business over six years ago. I had worked in the corporate world for over 10 years. I thought climbing the ladder in the business world would make me feel successful and valuable. I felt like God was calling me to do more with my life than work 60 hours per week. I quit my job and took six months off to determine the next steps in my life. That’s when I started my blog and the beginnings of my book for single women. Also, God blessed me with income from consulting projects with former colleagues and other contacts in the business community. I have been blessed to be self-employed since 2008 and now have the ability to set my own schedule and priorities. I never would have been able to write a book with the type of corporate jobs I had before. And it’s taught me to completely rely on God for the next project. So, I’m proud of taking that leap of faith, quitting my job, and becoming an entrepreneur.
Because I meet so many of them in my ministry (and because I’m passionate about this topic), I have to say I’m inspired by single women. Some of the strongest and most courageous women I know are single. It’s not easy being alone in a couples’ world. Our society glamorizes marriage—and especially weddings. I am inspired when I meet single women who are living for God and putting him first in their lives. Instead of shaking our heads and wondering why a woman is not married, we should be encouraging her and telling her she is valuable and beautiful and cherished.
How do you handle obstacles that arise as you pursue your dreams?
I encountered many obstacles while writing my book and trying to get it published. Many times, I had to set it down and walk away. I didn’t walk away forever, but sometimes I needed a break from chasing the dream. I think it’s important to hold things loosely and admit we’re ultimately not in control. God’s plan will prevail. Sometimes, we have to line up our dreams with his priorities and his timetable.
Can you share five interesting facts about yourself?
1. I love to cook! I’ve been mostly gluten free for about four years and feel so much better. It’s fun for me to take a recipe that is not gluten free and make it healthier without sacrificing taste. One of my favorite websites for healthy recipes is Spinach for Breakfast
2. What I’m reading right now: Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett. I can’t wait to finish this blog post, so I can go read more of it!
3. Three things I need to get me through the week: breakfast smoothies, my iPad, and hot yoga class.
4. I use a Spoonk acupressure mat to fall asleep at night. It’s crazy but it works!
5. I traveled to Italy by myself when I was 32 years old. I spent a week in the Cinque Terre region and hiked all of the trails during the day and stuffed myself with seafood and pasta at night. I highly recommend it!
And two bonus questions to celebrate the release of Allison’s book…
1. When you were single, what/who encouraged you not to settle?
The temptation to settle is something I frequently struggled with when I was single. I believe I did settle a lot when choosing dating partners in my twenties. I didn’t respect myself enough to wait for the right kind of guy. I realized this pattern as time passed and got help from an amazing Christian counselor. I believe she is the one who kept me on track, helped me realize my value, and challenged me not to settle. Marriage is not something you want to do with the wrong person or a choice to make because you feel like time is running out. I’ve always heard the advice, “Don’t marry the guy you can live with. Marry the guy you cannot live without.”
2. What is your #1 piece of advice for Christian singles?
The #1 piece of advice I would offer is this: Don’t allow your marital status to define your value. God is the only one who can meet our deepest longings to be fully known and loved. Try to identify the blessings that come with being single right now This journey will teach you so much about yourself, build your character, and give you tools you will use the rest of your life. It’s okay to be impatient and angry at times. But remember there is a reason for this period in your life, even if it’s not obvious right now.
I’d highly recommend checking out Allison’s book and blog!
What books have you read lately? What/who has inspired you this week?