Annie F. Downs
About the Author

Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author and nationally known speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most recent books include 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely and Letโ€™s All Be Brave. Read more at and follow her at @anniefdowns.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. I love this Annie! There are so many things that single gals can take for granted, but you’ve highlighted them in a beautiful way…. I love being married but I must say there are times I DO miss my single days….

    Bless you


  2. I love it, Annie!

    What am I going to do? Quit griping and start living! I have so many opportunities for ministry and for fun in my area, but I tend to not want to do them…alone. So I think I’m gonna grab a friend and go. To the art museum. To the new coffee shop I’ve been wanting to try. To that cool restaurant. To the retirement center to share my love of music with the people who live there.

    And? I’m going to pray. I have been living single off and on for the past 4 years, but rather than leaving the burden at God’s feet I carry it around and act like I can make it change on my own. And yes, there are things I can try to do to meet guys, but ultimately (and I really believe this – it’s no pipe dream), it is up to God to provide right guys to meet.

    Here’s to 2012! Cheers!

  3. Love this.
    Two comments.
    1. I got married when I was 38, and I can say that it is so very worth it to wait for the right one.
    2. The only real regret I have from my single years is spending so much time fretting about finding the right one. I didn’t live fully where God had me, and as a result I wasted a lot of time. So, I love hearing that you are going to do these things in 2012! Beautiful decision.

      • Me too!

        Also, note to Annie and others: there are some great “Cooking for One” books now on the market. (Easy to use as “cooking for two,” also). Simple, welcoming for all skill levels, and focused on the importance of nourishing the self and treating yourself as a valued guest at your own table.

        • I need to find one of these cookbooks…and I love the phrase you used, “treating yourself as a valued guest at your own table.” What a great way to look at it. Thank you.

      • Me too! I married much later than I wanted to, but my man was (is!) worth the wait. How I wish I would have rested in my Father’s loving care for me even when marriage seemed to be an impossibility. I would love to be able to have lived my single years with confidence in God, instead of the fear that dominated my life. May He give those of you still in the single season much grace to trust Him more.

  4. I got married at 31 and like what Tricia said, it is so very worth it to wait. I never dated either. I just knew that I will meet the guy that God have chosen for me at His chosen time.

    You are doing the right thing Anne, enjoy your life with Him. …

    • Thank you, Charina. Such an encouragement for those of us that are believing God for this season of life and the dreams we have for our futures.

  5. I just linked up a post that I thought could help single women. I am an “older” woman loving teaching younger women!

  6. Annie, these are great things to do in 2012! My favorite is cook! So many ladies love to do these type things, but don’t because there’s not a family to feed. Live your life now!! God gave it for a season such as this!

    Thank you!!

  7. Annie,
    Thanks so much for this post! This is the first time I’ve ever commented here ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m turning 31 this year and still single, but after a really hard couple of years, I can honestly say I love my life! I still want to be married, but I’ve finally learned that there really are so many good gifts in this season of life, and I don’t want to waste these years.

    • That’s right! This season is full of gifts. Such a great reminder. Thank you, Emily.

      (Also, way to comment! Booyah! Hope we hear from you again really soon!)

  8. First, I’m going to be brave too this year! I’m pretty fond of my comfort zone, but God has seriously been challenging me to let go of comfort to take hold of what He has for me.

    Second, I’m going to use my time for things that matter.

    Third, I’m going find my identity in Christ, because I realized I’m a little of kilter with this one.

    • Jennifer, sounds like 2012 is going to be an amazing year for you. Keep me updated on these goals. Pursuing these three things will absolutely draw you closer to God and make you more like Him!

  9. Annie, seriously I love this post friend.

    I also want to be brave this year, saying yes to social events even when staying in sounds more comfortable.

    Two I want to be thankful for and be generous with my time, knowing that it won’t always be this way.

  10. Love this, Annie. You know, every other year before this one I probably would have had a lot of things to add to a list of my own, but God did such a work in me in 2011 that I can honestly say that, as relates this subject at least, I don’t have any changes to make. For the first time since I was maybe 10 years old I’ve started a new year feeling completely whole in God, even though I’m single. I actually am kind of hoping I don’t meet anyone this year because I want to fully know what it’s like to live a year thankful for today and not frustrated because things don’t look how I’d prefer them to ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I love it!!! This is my theme. my mantra, my prayer for 2012- to have a DIFFERENT one!!! And when you said you’re gonna do things that scare you a little….oh my that is me. The word I chose for this year is “fearless”, and believe me, it’s been tested already. And even today, I have a fun and potentially career-changing conversation to have, but it scares me. A lot. So much so that this morning I thought, “oh, well, I can talk to that person tomorrow….today will be WAY too busy….”

    oh my gosh I’m just going to DO IT and make 2012 a year of living fearlessly and differently! Thanks for this post- love your thoughts and persepective!

  12. as a married woman, iยดd say a choice singlets should do is serve more.

    your free, indispensable, unattached time is so valuable. use it to serve in the areas that God has placed you, apply the talents that Heยดs given you. take time to spend with Him, with yourself, with those that make your heart soften.

    also, love yourself and the One who made you. really get to know yourself, and to appreciate who He has made you to be. all those nasty thoughts about WHY AM I STILL SINGLE, WHATS WRONG WITH ME…turn the volume down on those. hard. seemingly impossible. but totally worth it.

    donยดt shut yourself off. donยดt try to control it. JUST TRUST HIM. He loves to surprise us, and itยดs way better if we let Him do it ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Here’s the big thing I’m going to do in 2012 to set it apart from the last four years: HOPE!!! I loved, loved, loved being single in my 20’s. I had one of the best lives that I knew and intentionally enjoyed it. Then I moved into my 30’s and doubt and fear started to set up camp in my head and heart. It was a difficult and painful season doing some wrestling with how I really felt about things when they were not materializing on my timeline. And somewhere in the process, I lost hope.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know the Scriptures, and I know what I *should* think, but making yourself say something does not necessarily change what your heart believes. Not for a long time. So this year, I choose to hope. To be intentional about remembering that my God parted the Red Sea and changed water to wine, and that He can do this thing in my life that feels like such a mountain. And actually, sometimes the mountain is just believing that He wants to. And that His plan is good in the meantime.

    • Oh, I hear you on this one! The flip from 20-something-single to 30-something-single was a hard one for me, too. I also need to do some work on wrestling with the fear & doubt, and choosing HOPE.

  14. this post is wonderful! this year, i choose to treasure the small things about being single: watching reruns of one tree hill, reading a book, growing in my relationship with the Lord, enjoying the little things that i wouldn’t otherwise have in a relationship. i will enjoy this season of singleness. i choose to be thankful that God is working in me to prepare me for what’s to come. i will also be truly happy for my engaged/newly wed friends instead of wallowing in the self-pity that the enemy tries to throw at me.

    i choose the Lord’s will for my life and earnestly seek Him in all that i do, knowing that my self-worth is not found in finding a husband but in my Maker who is my Husband. (isaiah 54:5)

  15. Love this post Annie!! Your points are great, especially learning how to be more grateful. And, I love #4. I am also learning how to be more brave! If you can’t meet a guy in church, where can you meet him! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Great post Annie, you’re doing a great job and I promise not to make you the Single-Gal’s-Mascot for this year!!
    -I’m right in the middle of Anne’s book and it has so reinforced something God has been trying to work in me this past year. I have so much to be thankful for, even in the “ugly” there is something to be grateful for. In 2012 I will continue to look for the gifts.
    -I have to admit, I have been pretty stubborn in my resolve to NOT be a complaining, depressed single. So much so, that I have built a tidy little wall around myself to protect me from disappointment. If someone actually wanted to get to know me it would be pretty difficult to scale the Great Wall of Carey. In the past I have not been open to singles groups, making new friends or being adventurous. Last week I went to my first ever singles meeting at my new church and it was scary and I nearly had a nervous breakdown on the way there, but it turned out to be such a great night. I met some really fun, open people and I look forward to getting to know this group in 2012. 2012- the year of doing brave things.

  17. Love this post! Definitely something that I am working on for the new year, being happy being single. My motto’s for this year are ‘God’s timing’ and ‘love affair’. Instead of focusing so much on wanting to be dating, or on the road to getting married, I’m focusing on my love affair with God. There’s a great journal jots entry from Julie Lessman (one of my favourite romantic Christian fiction writers) here (the December 30, 2011 post) about having a love affair with God. It’s not going to be easy to focus more on that, but I think it is worth learning. Looking forward to more talks about singlehood here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Arden. My heart is that single gals will open their hearts (and their voices) to this. May 2012 be a year that changes us from the inside out.

  18. This was what I needed. I am gonna join you. O am gonna make a journal (or maybe a huge poster to hang in my room so I am always reminded of my pledge to be different this year) and write the things I ‘do differently’ everyday down. You have some grest ideas and the whole book thing is one of them…. I was in the process of getting dressed to go to the book store until my laptop yelled at me to open him up and look at this website. So glad I did and thanks for this post as well as the rest. Every SINGLE one of them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Annie,

    Thanks so much for the encourgement! I am too single and waiting for a godly man to come my way and I will be 31 in just a few short weeks!!! I going to post things so see them everyday and enjoy this time in my life.

  20. Annie – great advice for single gals. I didn’t get married until I was 38. I went through some horrible choices all before I let go and accepted singlehood. I found my place in my church and started to really live. Then I met my hubby – and 9 months later we were married, and 9 months later we were pregnant, and 9 months later my daughter was born.

    My advice is to enjoy your signlehood! Embrace any lonliness and give that to God he alone will fill you up. When single it seems it would be great to be married. When married you sometimes want to go back to being single! The grass is always greener on the other side.

    Good luck ladies!

  21. On New Years Eve I heard the song ‘season of love’ from Rent and decided to ask God to make my year about love. Not the slightly depressed ‘when am I ever going to find someone’ type of love. But real love, pure love- God’s love, Love for the world around me, for forever friends and for challengin people, for family. The kind of love that doesn’t mind the babies I look after wiping wet noses on my clean jumper. The kind of love that does flatmates washing up or will miss a bus to give a stranger directions.
    Learning how to love in everyday life whilst I have the time and space to enjoy it.
    So far I can certainly say 2012 has been way more exciting and adventurous than an other year to date :o)

  22. As a 26 year old single lady, I LOVE this post! I actually came up with some similar goals and changes I want to make in the new year. I couldn’t agree with you more about Ms. Voskamp’s book & blog; I too added be more grateful along with joyful to my list. And yes, be brave, I coupled this with be disciplined and do things I hate, like running and waking up early. Bleh. Haha. But I like the idea of telling your pastor! I think sometimes we singles think that by saying we want to be married or meet someone, we somehow think that makes us discontent and sub-par in comparison to others, such as Paul or Amy Carmichael. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for calling it a season! We single people like that. Praying 2012 is a year full of giving God glory and radically and gloriously living for Jesus!
    And most o

  23. I am glad for what you wrote, Annie, because itโ€™s a needed push to not wallow and to not put life on hold. Even if we get tired of talking about being single, it is helpful too to remind each other that yes, we are okay, we can do this, this season is good too : ).

    I donโ€™t feel like a brave or adventurous person, nor do I have a love for independence, so for the past few years, when someone said, โ€œyouโ€™re young. Enjoy life and itโ€™s adventures as a single personโ€ and all that good stuff, it mostly just annoyed me : ).

    But this year I told God I give up, he had to do something in me, and I believe he is changing my heart to be able to say, I do want to live fully in this season. I want to step out, experience Body life and contribute to it, since Iโ€™m made for it and He can handle it. Thanks for the perspective of choosing thanks, over and over, and of being generous in ways I only can when itโ€™s just me.

    I want to be intentional about thanks and community in 2012 : ).

    Thanks Annie!

  24. First of all, you rock, Annie! 2012 is going to be a great year as you implement these choices. I know you don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a singles blogger (neither do I!) but it’s so important that we continue to have these conversations and cheer one another on.

    I turned 32 last week and I’ve never felt so positive and hopeful about what this year will hold. I honestly have no idea where it’s coming from or what’s in store for me but I’m determined to enjoy the ride. And yes, make the most of this time as a single. I want to live without any regrets.

  25. Love your list Annie! I want to do all of those things as well as:
    -Travel – I am taking advantage of the fact that I can budget and save and use my vacation days to go to new places and on missions trips.
    -Write – My story is important, and I have learned things and seen things that can teach, help and inspire others.

  26. Thanks for sharing again! These comments and links have been so encouraging, but also challenging. My focus is to be more of a giver in 2012. I’ve seen how easy it has become to be way too into me and my needs as a single. When I live on my own, most of my decisions revolve around me and what is convenient, but I don’t want that to be my default. I want to be intentional and generous in my friendships, resources, and service and use this season for His glory, not my own.

    • Jaimee, I TOTALLY hear what you are saying. I’m the same- where I can focus on my life and forget to serve even though I have tons of free time (comparatively).

      Thanks for your comment! Watching for beautiful things for your life in 2012!

  27. Annie, I’m loving everything you write about singleness (here and on your personal blog). This year I want to focus on contentment — most specifically giving up on fantasy or building plans in my head. God is teaching me (or reminding me) that reality can’t live up to fantasy — so don’t test it!

  28. Hi, while I appreciate your desire for single women to be encouraged to live differentlyand sharing principles we all should live by….why doesn’t anyone ever validate that being single in your 30s can seriously break your heart everyday. All of your friends are married, many for a decade or more, have several children (and most are done having kids at this point), have a home and are moving into the future making a life for their husbands, children and ministering to those they come into contact with. And to top it off, they tell you all the things that you should be grateful for in not having the thing that your heart longs for most because they are not being grateful for having what their hearts longed for that they HAVE. I don’ t know if there are others out there like me who dreamed of and planned for nothing more than serving beside a husband serving in ministry, raising a godly family and serving those around us, who are just left heartbroken and disappointed and stuck in a life they never wanted, but if there are I wish that someone would write about how to trust God and hope again in the midst of your heart being shattered by unfulfilled dreams and lifeplans that doesn’t start with being grateful for things we don’t have.

  29. Hi Annie! I’m a single mom of four and I absolutely loved this post! It is so true about being grateful and appreciating the little things. 2012 is actually going to be my first full calendar year of being single.

    I want to open my home in 2012 and invite people in regardless of the state of the floors.
    I want to hike and read and work on some goals.

  30. Wow. I’m right there with ya.
    Still single, and tumbling head-long into the new year. Can’t really go back, now, can I?
    So here I go.
    Thanks for your goals, and I must say that they are admirable.
    I *might* have to steal one or two of those from you…
    Thank you for bringing it up, and not letting me ignore it any longer.
    (virtual) Hugs,

  31. I love your list of things to do in 2012, Annie.

    I’m going to continue to embrace quite a few of those as well.

    I’m also going to pour myself into the newest degree program that I was finally accepted into after a first degree, 5 years of work, and 3 application attempts. Nursing here I come! In any case, I’m going to pour myself into investing in this time of learning and training in a way that I couldn’t if I was married, dating seriously, or had children like many of my fellow students.

    And, well, if somewhere along the way I meet a guy (and I will be looking actively for that too), then that’s pretty awesome too!

    Looking forward to hearing a bit more about being single both here and on your blog!

  32. Okay. I never add blog comments but I think I am supposed to after reading all of the comments. There is no day that I don’t need the Lord. There is no day that my fulfillment doesn’t need to come from Him. There is no day that my satisfaction doesn’t need to come from Him. Christian wives and mothers want to be encouraging and edifying so of course they talk about “their awesome husbands and wonderful children”. And my husband is awesome and my children are wonderful and I can say that because the Lord is the lover of my soul and the meeter of my needs. Likewise, my husband can say I’m wonderful only because he knows the Lord and is called to believe that. We wives and mothers could go toe to toe with every one of the comments made by the single women in terms of suffering or lonliness or struggles. I know some think it’s easy for me to say that b/c I’m not single. But I hope someone believes me. Christian married life is just as challenging as Chritian single life. Yes, there are different struggles but the pain and the challenge is the same. God wants to make us like Him and to show us His love and He will use married life or singleness to do that. Don’t believe the lie that you are missing something crucial by not being married or having kids. We are all missing something. There is no perfect life except the one in Christ. There is no perfect knight except for HIm. Mothering can bring more heartache, disappointment and exhaustion than one would ever imagine. Being married can bring isolation and suffering. Singleness can bring all those things too. Being married can bring some really exhilerating and fulfilling seasons. Being single can too. I pray the single women fight the lie that says that “When God brings me a godly man, then my life will start.” Don’t believe the lie. You have a godly man. His name is Jesus. God is faithful. Yay God!

    • I believe you too Cata! I guess I’ve been single long enough to watch all my friends get married, have kids, and then watch most of them got divorced…even the Christian ones. It’s heart wrenching to see your friends go through that.

      Being single is difficult but so is marriage. Hopefully we single gals can keep you married gals in prayer, and you married gals can pray for us too.

    • Amen, Cata! The lie is pervasive and has different versions – when I have kids, (or fill in the blank) then my life will start (or have real meaning, or I will be truly living God’s purpose for me, be a real woman, be the Prov 31 woman, be like any particular female role model in the Bible etc).
      My husband left me and two young children over a year ago, and I can honestly say I have never felt lonelier, even lonelier than when I lived in the dorm at Bible College (age 22) and all the other girls had serious boyfriends except me. While still married, I could still pretend, and push the increasing loneliness away, but now I see that God is calling me to be complete, truly complete in Him, and that having/ seeking/desiring a husband, or even children, can become an idol in one’s life, and I strongly suspect (ahem) in my life. So…….now I have to learn how to be single again, but with children this time (different challenges for sure), and I realize the chances of ever having another (human) relationship are pretty slim. I can honestly say I am now truly learning to put *everything* in the Lord’s hands. Still learning, far from getting it right ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. Thank you for your words!

    Generous is on my list as well, both with time and money. This is the year to get serious about my money especially! God has revealed to me so many ways I’m just selfish with my money because I can be– no one sees my bank account but me! But, this year I’m committed to giving, saving, and getting out of debt!

    Becoming more courageous is on my list, and I so resonate with your comments. I’m working to be more courageous with my commitments. I think there are times I hold back because I’m afraid of both the time and relational commitment, and as silly as it sounds, afraid somehow overcommitment will make me less available to meet my husband when he comes in to sweep me off my feet. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, I want to live more fully, and in all my freedom of singleness, live boldly! I’ve recently become a CASA volunteer to work with abused and neglected kids, sponsored a Compassion child, started volunteering in different ways at my church, and agreed to lead a mission trip through the Christian university where I work. I’m afraid of all them! But, courageous is on the list, so more courageous I will be!

  34. ANNIE THANKS! I am going to continue to do some of the things I started in 2011! The first being that I am going to continue to meet with the group of 20 something single women in the Bible study I started this fall, and continue to build strong relationships with them and encourage them! I am also going to continue to Give Thanks daily, which, thanks to Ann I started last spring!
    And as I rapidly approach my 31 birthday I am going to ask God to help me forgive others more frequently and quickly, not something that comes easy to me.

  35. Thank you for this! Especially the encouragement for those of us in our 20s, who may at times grow impatient or feel our heart growing in sadness.

    I have been toying with the idea of writing a post on singleness, but it is not my usual topic. I prefer to keep that area of my life to myself most of the time. I feel alone in it. Now, though, you have given me encouragement. I think I can confidently share those thoughts, and thank you for opening up a safe place to share them.

    Blessings in 2012!

  36. Hi Ladies. I’ve read all of the posts here and I really appreciate the words from Cata, and from JJ. I’m 52 and truely single (never married no kids). Most of my friends through the church were married, because I was drawn to the fact that they were content (mostly) and focused on something other than “finding a man”. I never had that focus…that desperation. Yes, it would be wonderful to come home to someone, but I also shied away from it because of the bad examples I saw in my family. And it would be really nice to have someone help with the chores and the yard and the pool and the car and the money, and when those things become a burden I do tend to find myself becoming depressed. But the one thing that comes to me about my single life is that we singles are “forgotten” by most of the family and friends we have (unless our friends are also single). I want to be invited to family dinners, even if it’s just me. I want to be asked to go to coffee, or come over and enjoy a playdate, or go to the park with the kids. It’s not that I want “a man”. I want to be thought about. Doesn’t everyone?

    I do know that one thing I want to (am going to try to) do this year is get out more and see my state. I live in Arizona and I’m sure there is so much out there to see! I’ve just been skiddish about going by myself (what if something happens! I’ll be alone!). But, I’m going to try!

    I’m so glad inCourage is posting more for us single girls. Let’s talk more about ALL subjects, and not just men! Love it!

    • Amen, Margo. You have voiced the only issues I have with being an almost 50 year old single woman i.e. wanting to be invited out more to social things, and the practical issues around having someone to help with chores.
      Aside from these things, I am completely happy in my singledom. I have not been afraid to be alone since God took away my loneliness over 20 years ago. Now I like my own company just as much as I like to be around other people.

      Sadly I have grown apart from the majority of my friends over the years as they have embraced marriage and seem to think we have nothing in common any more.

      For all those couples out there – we may not have a man in our life, but we do still crave friendship. Don’t assume that because we have not gone down the path of marriage that we do not fully support and treasure yours, or that we are aliens for having chosen our path.