I want to get back to your thoughts on being single, but first I want to ask you about a period in your life when you were inactive. What brought you back to the church?
I had a testimony before I went inactive—it was a strange testimony before I went inactive. It was, “I know the church is true and I’m mad that it is because that means what I’m doing is wrong.” Then I went to work for Anasazi, which is probably the biggest push I’ve had to do something—I guess because it changed my life. It’s like something happened between the border of Texas (where I'm from) and then New Mexico and Arizona and I could leave it behind me and start over. I didn’t even know I was Mormon yet and then I met the people I worked with and started going to church. It was too hard to get away from being inactive in Texas—too much stagnation. It was cool at Anasazi to see lives change and my life was changing at the same time. My heart was transformed. I always wanted to be that person I became while I was there. So I don’t think Anasazi alone changed me, but it gave me the space for my life to progress and be what I always wanted it to be.
I learned a lot during the time I was inactive too. The choices I made then help me to understand where people are coming from and the place they’re in—not that my experience is the same, but it gives me some basis for getting it.
Camping in the desert.
And while at Anasazi you decided to serve a mission?
Yeah, it was great. When I was still inactive, I was about 20, and I knew I was suppose to go on a mission. I told my mom and she got really mad at me. It was like she didn’t want to hear it because she didn’t want to get her hopes up. When I went to Anasazi I was telling people I was going to go on a mission. When the time was right everything fell into place and I went. An overall them for my life is just that. When the time is right, things happen and they happen fast and it’s what I need. Any time I’ve tried to force anything that wasn’t right it’s just one huge obstacle until I let go of trying to control my own life.
Considering the interesting experiences you’ve had, is there anything else in particular you want to say about any of them?
In reference to being single, I think it’s been a gift. It’s really, really been a gift to do those things. All of them came in the same way…they just came on my path and I did them. I had highs and lows and sometimes I was like, “Wow, this is my life and I can’t believe it.” Others times I was like, “This is terrible.” You always have your ups and downs. But I’ve come to terms with just everyday life. I’ve been really lucky—God has given me a gift. I’ve learned so much from my experiences. I think that’s why I haven’t gotten married because there was so much I needed to learn. The family and relationships I will have at an older age will look totally different from the family I would have had if I had gotten married when I was 22. Not to say that people who get married young aren’t happy—those people grow together and learn with their partner. I had a lot of stuff to overcome and relearn.
What advice do you have for single women?
I think it’s okay to not always be loving your life. It’s okay to experience everything for what it is. There’s a reason we’re single. Some always will be. But you’re not going to learn the things you need to if you just lock yourself in your house. Learn what you need to learn and be okay with the lessons because I think everything is more organized than we think it is. There’s a reason for everything.
Petting a turtle in Costa Rica.
Finally, I want to ask about a post I read on your blog that I really loved. In it you talk about being at a concert and having these thoughts about God. You said, “ I thought about everything I know and everything I love...or the things that I think matter...and my thoughts...I love God more.What have I given up because I love God? What more can I give? Could and would I give everything? Last night...in that moment I knew I could and that I would,because..."the love of God...is the most desirable above all things...and the most joyous to the soul."
Do you mind telling us about that experience?
Sure--I was thinking about being single and Mormon and old, which also means that sometimes I have to choose loneliness. I was seeing a guy at the time and when I said I love God more, it meant--I love God more than a relationship I could have with a man if I were willing to compromise my standards. I choose God over this person who I care about, someone who is into me.I am willing to give up my prideful pursuits in order live God's law. Also, before that concert I ate dinner with the musician and a director and another famous musician and they got to talking about famous people that they knew. Previous to that I had had a lot of conversations about fame and how as Americans, that’s what it is to be God. That’s who our gods are—people that are famous. I was also thinking about some of the dumb choices I was making in the moment. Anyway, the performer was singing the songs and I could really hear a message of atonement. I had this overwhelming sense how my God is God and because God is my God I don’t worship anyone that’s famous. Like I could sit and have dinner with them and not care that they’re not my idols. No human would be my idol. I’d be stoked to eat dinner with Pres. Monson, but still we’re all just human. Just knowing that puts me on the same playing field as everyone else around me. It’s really just the opinion of a few people that’s elevated others to a certain status. I felt a lot of importance I guess—like my everyday life matters. I know that I’m a daughter of God. Nothing else matters. Unless it has to do with honoring God—everything else can fall by the wayside.
Well said, friend. For more from Tanya check out her blog here. Thanks again for your thoughts! Love you!