SHE IS …. Bailey Jean
I’m a small-town Texas girl with a heart that dreams in six different directions at once. I’m currently in graduate school, studying theatre, learning to say that I am an actor and director with pride! I love being part of the crazy adventure that is the creative arts, and it is my goal to do the creative best I can with my life (Galatians 6:4-5, The Message) with grace and gusto for God’s glory! When I’m not in rehearsal or class, some of my favorite pastimes include traveling alone, wandering art museums listening to movie scores, perusing the Anthro sales room, decorating my home, and painting in my journaling Bible.
The last time I had a boyfriend, I was fifteen and a sophomore in high school. Remember that Taylor Swift song about being fifteen and being all-consumed by loving the football player? Yeah, that was me. I had only really dated once before him, my freshman year, and those two boys remained my best friends through the start of college, even though I had been the one to end the romantic part of the relationships both times. I even introduced one of them to his now wife and caught the bouquet at his wedding. Talk about coming full circle. I have only been on one or two dates since then, each of which have their own funny story attached, and when I went off to grad school I pretty much resigned myself to not dating until after graduating. After all, especially with theatre, who has the time?
It’s been hard in this season, feeling pretty isolated, especially as so many of my friends are getting married and even beginning families, but I remain hopeful that God has the right man out there to bring into my life at the right time. I used to joke that when it comes time to meet him it would have to be an act of God to bring him into the whirlwind that is my schedule, and you know, I actually still believe that. Waiting for His timing isn’t always easy, but I believe it will be worth it.
SHE IS ADVENTUROUS:
What has been the most exciting thing you have done throughout your single years?
One of my greatest adventures was picking up after graduating from Baylor University and moving to Seattle, Washington. Remember now, I’m from a small town in Texas and never imagined leaving the state, let alone moving to perhaps the farthest corner of the country. The entire experience was such a gift from the Lord, and He opened all of the doors at the right time. I knew only one or two people and plugged into an incredible church, directing children’s theatre shows and working at Anthropologie along the way. I actually call it my adventure year, and it was only by the grace of God and His prompting that I was able to go.
SHE CELEBRATES WITH OTHERS:
How many weddings have you celebrated with friends?
I have probably been to six weddings over the past couple of years, missing at least another six thanks to each move that I have made. I was one of 16 bridesmaids once (there were 14 groomsmen, too!) and that was one of the most beautiful, worshipful weddings I have ever been part of! Last year I attended the wedding of my first boyfriend, the one who I introduced to his now wife our first week at college, and that did wonders for my heart. It was both overwhelmingly joyful and really hard in other ways. I was thrilled to celebrate with them, but hyper aware of my desire to marry and the lack of even anyone with potential in my life in this season. I caught the bouquet, which couldn’t have been more perfect or poignant, and laughed the night away with good friends. I never knew that ring by spring was a real thing until I went to a Christian college in the south, and boy was it a wild experience.
SHE IS CONTENT:
How do you pursue contentment and joy?
Contentment has been this lofty, elusive idea for far too long, but it is something I have tried to study and implement more and more over the past few years. Once I moved to grad school, living on my own and diving back into the busy world of theatre, I started a hashtag #savoryourseason to remind myself to fully live in the now, soaking up all that the Lord has for me today while still dreaming big with hope and faith for the future. It isn’t always easy, but it has been so worth it. Choosing to celebrate what I have, who I am, and where I am NOW is a game changer! Documenting little joys and everyday moments on Instagram is definitely a tactic that keeps it at the front of my mind.
SHE SHARES ADVICE:
What have you learned through singleness that you wish you could tell your younger self?
Oh goodness, great question! I think one of the biggest things I have been learning is how exciting and life-changing it can be to learn to love who you are and who you are becoming, without thinking of your worth based on whether or not a man is pursuing you. While I didn’t date a lot, I did have guys that paid attention to me or wanted to date me, even though I didn’t return the feelings. I have to admit I wasn’t always gracious in the way I talked about them, but it was still an ego boost that someone wanted to. It wasn’t until I stepped away from that and decided to put time into cultivating my passions and talents, taking care of my body and my heart, and pursuing my dreams that contentment was found in being single. That doesn’t mean I have stopped wanting to date or wanting to get married, but I would advise younger me to stop worrying about being pursued, especially if you have no intention of returning the attention, and dive into your passions and gifts.
What is your craziest, funniest, most awkward dating experience?
Hahaha… well… one guy broke a chair on our first date. We went to a local coffee shop and sat out front, and he leaned back in his chair and it just… fell to pieces. Also a guy had locked his bike to the railing next to our table and he couldn’t get it unlocked for a good five minutes, staring awkwardly at us as we tried to keep talking/ignoring him. It’s much funnier now than it was then, and while we only went on a few dates, I loved getting to know him better and becoming his friend. I was mentoring his sister at the time and we weren’t going to tell her incase things didn’t work out, and then she started sneakily dropping hints that she knew, so it was pretty funny altogether.
SHE CLINGS TO TRUTH:
What is your favorite truth/bible verse to combat the lies of the world?
One of the lies I believe far too often is that God has good things for other people and not for me. That for some reason, if I desire something he is going to withhold it to teach me something, and let everyone have their happy ending but me. However that is a LIE and I have to refute it with truth! Some of the most encouraging verses are: “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, on those who take refuge in you” Psalm 31:19 and “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.
SHE SEEKS WISDOM:
What is your favorite resource for singles?
When I was younger, one of the most encouraging things I read was Authentic Beauty by Eric and Lesley Ludy, which I highly recommend to middle school and high school gals. Then my freshman year of college I worked my way through Pure, the devotional by Rebecca St. James and that’s what really recharged both my relationship with the Lord and my commitment to wait for my future husband, not to date simply to date. The Wholeheartedly Devo is actually one of the first resources for singles that has really spoken to me in quite a while, and I cannot recommend it enough!
SHE MAKES PLANS:
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s one thing you’d like to do?
Oh man. I love to travel, so going back to Paris and London, then finally to Italy and Greece are definitely up there! I also love to write fiction, which I don’t think a lot of people know about me, so I dream about publishing the books and full series that have been on my heart for years.
SHE IS BEAUTIFUL:
When do you feel the most confident & beautiful?
In the fall ;) Chunky scarves, fuzzy sweaters, boots, jeans, and striped tees are my jam! But really, I feel most beautiful when I take the time to treat my body well and dance to the beat of my own drum (whether it is literally dancing or simply choosing to spend my time on self care, a rarity far too often). I also feel most beautiful, and learn the most about myself, when I am on stage playing someone else. It blows my mind EVERY TIME how diving into someone else’s story can remind me of how much I am loved by Jesus and how He is who calls me both beautiful and loved.
SHE BUYS THE FINE CHINA:
What is something you like to splurge on?
I first heard the phrase “buy the fine china” a few years ago, and it was then that I resolved to do just that. Literally, I purchased a set of gorgeous dishes from Anthropologie when I moved out on my own, and they are some of my favorite things. I remember being sad and envious when my friends were engaged, having wedding showers, and registering for all kinds of gorgeous things to beautify their homes. I then thought, well huh… I don’t have to wait to have a man to make my home beautiful and inviting. It is one of my greatest joys to nest and have a retreat that I can come home to and invite people into, so my fine china is home décor and, literally, the beautiful dishes. I’m saving up for a bright blue Kitchen Aide mixer, too. Who says you need to wait for a ring to have one of those beauties? ;)
SHE EQUIPS THOSE COMING BEHIND HER:
What encouragement do you have for those girls who are struggling and not yet thriving in their singleness?
Oh friend! Continue to trust the Lord! He always answers in His time! One of the best encouragements I have is on my fridge in the form of a notecard from Lara Casey which says “God’s three answers to prayer: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind.” It is so true! If there is not someone in your life to date right now, it is because the Lord has something better in mind for you right now! There are things to learn in this season, and reasons to celebrate, that will not be available once you are with someone. Your life is not on pause until you meet “the one” because you have The One who is rooting for you RIGHT NOW and who has goodness for you Today. Yes, dream and hope and pray through the desires on your heart. He has given those to you for a reason. But He has also given you those to draw you closer to Him. Rest in that. He has it all under control.