Today I’m happy to introduce you to Janaye Sandberg! Janaye says:
My comfort then, if I’m ever in a pile on the floor, is Jesus. He knows. He’s been there, He’s dealt with the same things. I know it could sound cliché but He has been more of a comfort to me than a roomful of people ever could be. When the loneliness hurts I often pray something of the following, “Lord, please help, please hold my heart. Help me to worship well.”
Janaye is 27 and lives in Apex, NC. She works as a nurse in the ICU burn unit. Janaye also serves as a youth group leader at her church.
Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.
Janaye: I am Janaye Sandberg, just turned 27 and now live in Apex, NC. I grew up in Indiana and went to college in Ohio. Growing up in the mid-west yet living in the South for four years has given me a collage of both Northern and Southern characteristics. I love a bowl of grits as much as I love a good casserole!
Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?
Janaye: I currently work as a nurse in a burn ICU. Since graduating I’ve had a couple different jobs but all nursing related.
Brenda: Do you feel like your job is God’s calling on your life or do you hope it leads to something else one day?
Janaye: I don’t really think in terms of “God’s calling” or what that may mean for me. I enjoy what I do and I realize He has enabled me to do my job at some level of well. But more importantly my job puts me in contact with people; types of people who not everyone comes in contact with. People are important to the Lord and I believe that is why I do what I do. In reality though, I believe that could/should be the reason we all do our “job” whatever it is and whether we love it or not, you know?
Brenda: When you envisioned your life as a young girl, did you hope to have a career when you grew up or was your desire more for marriage and children or did you want both for your life?
Janaye: When I was little I think I made the assumption that I would get married and have a family, but as I got older even in high school I began to not assume that any longer. I pursued education that I thought I could excel in and that would allow me to share the Gospel in specific areas of the world.
Brenda: What fires you up? What are you most passionate about in your life and in the world?
Janaye: I get excited when I see the Lord working in and through others. I love to hear of discipleship going on, strategizing how to expand the knowledge of Jesus throughout the world. That sounds super churchy, I guess. And yet its true. Praying for the unreached people groups of the world and watching and waiting for God to work/move is ever challenging to me and my own relationship with Christ.
Brenda: Are you involved in serving in your community or church? What, if any, ministries or organizations are you a part of?
Janaye: I seek to be intentional with those I am surrounded by at my job. I seek to live out the Gospel in front of my patients and coworkers. I work to win a hearing for Truth. I pray for opportunities to speak the Gospel if the Lord presents them, and He does. In my church I am a leader in the youth group. One of my favorite things to do is take a girl of any age out for ice cream or coffee and just talk. Ask what’s going on in their life and share what the Lord is doing in mine, etc. I guess it is an informal discipleship time, but that seems so formal. Although the aim is to be intentional with any and every relationship I have, to be honest I often find myself in weakness. There are so many opportunities to invest in people’s lives, but even if I had the time and was using sober judgement, I am not smart enough, strong enough, capable enough to do it. Well, without the Lord I mean. Puts a very clear picture in my mind of what dependency on Him looks like.
Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.
Janaye: I like the flexibility I have to travel about the world. The biggest thing I have to work out is my work schedule and money. Ha!
Brenda: I imagine there are times when you feel content in your singleness and other times when you want to throw something across the room because of it, but overall, how do you feel about being a single woman? Is there more contentment and peace or more of the opposite?
Janaye: Well, I guess it’s just something that’s true about my life right now, perhaps forever. To believe in a sovereign God dictates that I trust that He’s given me the life He wants for me. Yes, being single definitely has its challenges just as any other relationship status. My being okay with being single has more to do with my security in Jesus than it does loving being single.
Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?
Janaye: There have been times that my attitude is one of accusing God of withholding something good from me. Perhaps on the surface I am bitter or discontent or confused or jealous, but my heart issue is God hasn’t given me something I consider in the “good” category. I will forever have to learn to deal with this; if it is not my relationship status it will be something else. The Lord in His patient and gracious way has been teaching me to simply remember the Gospel. God doesn’t withhold good. It doesn’t make sense. He gave us Christ Jesus. A better question is whether my definition of good is the same as His. It has been my experience that when I’m questioning the Lord about something, I’m usually not operating under the same definitions and assumptions He is, those shown in Scripture. For accountability, I don’t have just one person I go to. There are several I’ve talked to about this and often it helps to just say the big picture out loud. I take comfort in not only having a right relationship with Jesus now, but I get to party with Him for eternity! THAT is in the “good” category! Where is bitterness, discontentment, confusion or jealousy when He is in my view?
Brenda: How do you deal with loneliness?
Janaye: Loneliness is definitely a struggle; sometimes I don’t think about it while other times it feels my heart is imploding. However, I can’t let myself stay there for more than a second. In any circumstance that I have felt lonely I can think of Scripture where Jesus must have also felt the same. One difference between He and I is He felt it to the “n-th” degree. He experienced the depth of loneliness, on the cross separated from the Father, that I never will. My comfort then, if I’m ever in a pile on the floor, is Jesus. He knows. He’s been there, He’s dealt with the same things. I know it could sound cliché but He has been more of a comfort to me than a roomful of people ever could be. When the loneliness hurts I often pray something of the following, “Lord, please help, please hold my heart. Help me to worship well.” Then I make myself sing the doxology to refocus.
Brenda: Do you struggle with obsessing about guys and dating? Like, if you’re interested in a guy or if you just start dating someone new, do you think about him constantly, analyze every conversation, and get overly attached quickly? Is so (or if not) how do you deal with your emotions?
Janaye: I guess I’m not trying to stay single and also not trying to get married. But if I were to start dating my tendency is to over process everything. I would definitely need some accountability to not think a relationship into the ground.
Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?
Janaye: Probably the perception that we can’t relate to wives and mothers. Perhaps it comes from a subconscious thought that marriage is a sign or stage of maturity. Thus, a single person would be “not quite there yet.” First, that thinking is not any where in Scripture. Second, marriage reserved for the mature does not really match what I observe in the world – sometimes, but truly not always. I can remind a wife and mother of truth just as she could remind me of truth regardless of our relationship status. We could listen to each other.
Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?
Janaye: At times, yes. Finding community at church is hard work. It entails being vulnerable, being the odd number in a group, choosing to learn from others who are different from me. Single people don’t have the monopoly here, of course. Being invested in the Body of Christ is hard work for most people. Perhaps being single allows me to have more of those awkward standing alone moments. But then I just have to choose not to feel awkward and get moving, branch out. If I am feeling emotionally weak that day then I might go home, regroup and try again later. It’s okay to do that, I think.
Brenda: Are more of your girlfriends married or single? How do you find authentic friendships as a single woman?
Janaye: More and more of my friends are married, getting married, starting families. It is always a struggle to see how I can be a friend and take friendship from a married friend. It will continue to be a learning issue. However, part of figuring it out is just like figuring out any kind of relationship. What works and what doesn’t. As the single friend, time with others may end up being placed around when their husband is doing something else or between nap times of the kids or something like that. Its ok. Its different, but ok. I definitely enjoy time with my single friends as well.
Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?
Janaye: This is a key question and I believe the answer to this will also answer some of the previous questions. Or at least give the foundation for the answers. My identity becomes deeper and deeper in Christ as Jesus is constantly sanctifying me, showing me where I have sin in my life, showing me how to be more like Him, learning everyday how to love people as He does, and just plain increasing in my knowledge of who He is and what His Gospel means. So being single, being a woman, being a nurse, being a youth group leader, being a mentor, being a____ – whatever – is just a role. I can seek to do those roles well, yes of course, but first and foremost I am of follower of Jesus.
It’s easy to say these things while I sit in the comfort of my house on my day off when nothing today has rocked my world. Yet, it is when those roles are challenged, when I fail in them, when I wish I had a different role, when I wish others had my role, etc. that the rubber meets the road. If I am finding my complete identity in Christ as a sure foundation, as my hope and purpose give.r then I will find a challenge to one of my roles as only a bump in the road on my way to Jesus. Right? My world should not fall apart when a role is challenged.
What is often very discouraging to me is when the Church or church sees being single as something completely different from being married. It’s not really. Differences are there absolutely. However, I respond to life (at least I should respond to life) the same way any other person would if we are both seeking to honor and glorify our God. I may not have the roles of wife or mother, but if my identity is a Christ follower, then I can immediately identify with other Christ followers whether they are wives, mothers or anything. We each have stressful days, discouraging days, lonely periods, cries by ourselves, times when we think no one else understands, times when the message we hear on Sunday is hard to apply to our own lives, but our commonality is Jesus. So we work through the differences in humility with the expectation the Lord is making us all more like Him and realizing He reserves the right to do that however He sees fit. For me it may be never getting married; for another it may be marriage; a childless marriage; a house full of children; a short marriage; single parenthood; a disabled family member; joblessness and the list is endless. We are not defined by our lives when our lives are in Christ. Following Jesus is not a one size fits all life. It is just simply following Him in whatever life He’s given. I often don’t at all feel like I’m thriving in life.
I long for the day I get to be done with this world and with this body and spend eternity with Jesus. But that day is not today. So I wake up and get busy. Living for the same reasons Jesus did is hard work, no doubt about that. But He is worth it all and so much more. Christ gives me my purpose in life, it is just that simple. This life here on earth my not be fulfilling every moment of each day; however, a Christ and Gospel-centered purpose does not have to waver even if satisfaction wains.
Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?
Janaye: Yes! Just do it! I do not believe its wrong to desire marriage or motherhood. Marriage is a great thing. What is not a great idea is waiting for the sake of waiting. God puts waiting into all our lives. Holy moly, so many people in the Bible waited. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Boaz, all the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus and kind of everyone. However, we can wait with purpose, not in fear. In truth, what one is not doing now they will not automatically start doing after marriage. Purpose starts with the One Who gives us purpose. I find it helpful to start with Him when I’m lacking intentionality. In those times perhaps I’ve lost sight of Jesus, what He did and is doing. To be honest, sometimes I have to sit myself down and read Romans until I remember. Or some other epistle.
Brenda: And some fun stuff!
Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?
Janaye: I only do Facebook, but I’m a bit technologically challenged.
Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?
Janaye: I drink a lot of water however, I do very much enjoy a good, strong cup of coffee.
Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?
Janaye: Ooo, I like both. Wherever there’s people.
Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Janaye: More nonfiction.
Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Janaye: Very much an introvert. I can act like an extrovert if that’s needed, but I’m naturally an introvert.
Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?
Janaye: Oh boy, probably many things. I do eat peanut butter like its my job. I’m talking a lot of peanut butter.
Janaye: I feel pretty inadequate to be participating in this interview really. I’m just an average joe, nothing outstanding.