You’re very open and willing to talk about God on Instagram. Have you always had faith in a God?
I was raised in a Christian home and grew up in Baptist churches, but it wasn’t until I was 20 that my relationship with God became real.
Over the past 20 years of being a believer, I’ve certainly had my ups and downs with my faith. These days, I don’t so much consider myself a “Christian” as I do a “follower of Christ.”
It might seem an inconsequential distinction, but there are so many negative connotations with Christianity today and so many public figures proclaiming to be “Christians” but acting like anything but… I’m not super comfortable with the label anymore.
What it comes down to is pretty simple: I love Jesus, and, in my life, I try my best to follow His lead and His greatest commandment, which is “Love one another.”
Can you talk about your spiritual practice or practices?
I try to do daily devotionals and spend quiet time in prayer and communion with God. I don’t always succeed at doing this daily, but I try. I think quiet time is really important because we’re always taught to talk at God through prayer and not so much to just sit and listen for what He might have to say to us.
I don’t currently have a church but I’m looking for one. I also enjoy meditation and try and make it a weekly practice. At this point in my life, I feel closer to God in nature than anywhere else. I try to spend time outdoors, just soaking in His creations, whenever I can.
How does writing fit into your practices?
For me, writing has always been a very holy thing. I find myself in my writing. I reclaim parts of myself in my writing. I come to understand why things happened the way they did through my writing.
I’ve always said that every time I go in search of the right words to say, the words always end up finding me before I find them, if that makes sense. Writing is my sanctuary, my safe place, where I go to unravel everything that happens in my life and see how it fits into the bigger picture.
Your book is titled “You Are Enough.” Have you always felt enough? If not, how did you get there?
I’m still getting there! In the book, I talk about how the journey to “enough-ness” is never complete. It’s a process.
I have definitely learned not to subscribe my worth and my value to anything outside of myself. My worth comes from within and from above. But I definitely have days where I still feel lacking or incomplete.
I think, ultimately, what it comes down to is learning to love EVERY version of yourself… the sad one, the happy one, the whole one, the hurting one, the healing one, the heartbroken one, and so on and so forth. THAT is wholeness to me.
Can you talk about your instagram handle @thesinglewoman?
Sure! I started my Twitter page over eight years ago now, almost as a fluke, to promote my blog. I had no idea when I created The Single Woman Twitter handle, that I was creating a brand.
I wanted to be The Single Lady, after the Beyonce song! But that handle was already taken. So The Single Woman it was. I started off sharing my journey as a single woman and the lessons I was learning along the way, and over the years it’s evolved into something much bigger and all-encompassing. Now I just talk about LIFE.
The give and take and push and pull and highs and lows of life. I like to think anyone can relate to my message, single or otherwise. It’s been really cool to see how over the years as I’ve grown and evolved, my readers have grown and evolved with me. Some of them have gotten married, had kids, etc., and they’re still faithful followers of my message. It’s a very special thing, and I’m honored to have been given such a platform.
The journey of The Single Woman will always carry a special place in my heart, regardless of where my life takes me.
Where do you find connection?
My family. My friends. The occasional venture into online dating! In all seriousness, I think as we get older, we have to go in search of connection and community. It doesn’t just find us like it did when we were younger.
I try to put myself out there and meet new people as often as I can, whether it’s through volunteering or taking a dance class or whatever.
Writing is my sanctuary, my safe place, where I go to unravel everything that happens in my life and see how it fits into the bigger picture. – Mandy Hale
What are your unshakable values and when did you become clear on them?
We’re here to love everyone. To be love in action to everyone. We are here to be all-inclusive of everyone. Absolutely EVERYONE, always.
In my chosen faith, all too often, people cherry pick scriptures to fit their own narrow-minded viewpoints and what it all boils down to is this: Jesus said His greatest commandment is to love Him first, love our neighbor second. ALL of our neighbors, regardless of sex, race, religion, background, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. LOVE EVERYONE.
I’ve been clear on this for some time now. I’ve been vocal about affirming my values and beliefs for some time now. It’s not always a popular opinion here in the Bible belt, unfortunately, but it’s what I believe at the very core of my being and I won’t waver or apologize for it.
When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?
In my new book, “You Are Enough,” I take readers on this journey with me, through the season in my life when I was at my very lowest. Due to being thrown a series of great curve balls and enduring a string of heartbreaking losses, I became very depressed and had to address my depression and anxiety with intensive outpatient therapy. ‘
It was the hardest and also the most beautiful experience of my life. I’m excited to share this journey with my readers and, hopefully, help shine a light in some dark places, places that carry great stigma and shame.
In our culture, and especially within the Christian culture, we are taught that mental health struggles equals weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. P
eople who struggle with mental health issues and still keep putting one foot in front of the other are some of the strongest people on earth. It’s time we start celebrating them instead of shaming them.
What’s something you’re working to unlearn?
I’m 40 and I’m working to unlearn the idea that I’m “not where I’m supposed to be at age 40.”
I thought I’d be married with three kids by now! Most of my friends from high school have teenagers and I haven’t even gotten started. But I’m slowly learning that life can look however you want it to look at any age. I’m still getting there… but I’m working on it.
There’s nowhere you’re “supposed to be” except exactly where you are. There’s no set way to do this life thing. You can have pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner and kids at age 40 and beyond if you want to.
It’s all up to YOU.
What’s the last thing you did for self-care and why is self-care important for you?
I have days, usually Sundays, where I don’t work or do anything that requires a ton of mental energy. I rest and wear PJs all day and read and nap and watch movies. It’s so necessary to allow yourself downtime in this crazy world we live in.
It’s okay to shut out the world for a day or a weekend and just soak in the blissful quiet. Allow your body and mind to rest and heal. If you never put your cell phone down and allow it to recharge, eventually it will die. Same goes for us.
We need to carve out time for ourselves to recharge, in whatever way we need to. It looks different for everyone, and that’s okay.
It’s years in the future. You’re on stage to accept an award for your life’s work. What’s your five word acceptance speech?
Answer: Wow, that’s a great question! Hmmmm. “I’m grateful for the journey.”
Blogger turned New York Times best-selling author and speaker Mandy Hale is the creator of “The Single Woman,” a social media movement designed to inspire single women – and everyone! – to live their best lives and to never settle. Mandy’s message reaches literally millions of people across the world every day through her blog, books, and social media platforms. Learn more about Mandy and connect: Instagram + Twitter + Web.
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