(Insert bomb noise here.)
That dreaded “s” word which seems to be the reality for many young women and is an especially hot topic for Christian women. I’ve always avoided writing on this one because so many times it feels like a curse, or a subject no one wants to admit they know anything about. As if being single made me “unworthy” or “unwanted.”
I’ve often been plagued with the thought that no one would want to listen to what I have to say about God, life, and relationships because I’m single…which must make me a lesser human being. Let’s face it, not many young girls want to be “just like the single girl.” They want to be like the girl who appears to have had all her dreams come true and is living this beautifully romantic story. I have to admit…I’ve been one of those bright eyes young girls and now I’m living the other end of that reality.
I’ve also read some posts on singleness that, to be quite honest, weren’t that helpful and didn’t make me feel any better. Sometimes i would walk away feeling more discouraged than when I started! So nope, not writing about that topic!
Recently, however, I’ve had a nagging feeling in my heart saying…write about what you know. Because being single for all but about 15 months of my whole life….I do know a thing or two about it. I have experienced it. And I want to write on what’s real, and what makes me relatable to sooooo many others. May those of you who are single be allowed to relate and ponder, and would those of you who aren’t be challenged to get inside the skin and understand the heart and mind of a single woman. And might I add become more sensitive to and thankful for them.
Let’s face it…in our world today being single can be tough. I can tell you what it feels like to go to wedding after wedding (I went to 7 last summer!) and watch friend after friend get married, feeling blissfully happy for them, but also feeling a twinge in my heart for the state that I’m in. I know the feeling if going out with the girlfriends…again…watching a sappy romantic love story, only to leave once again thinking….will it ever happen to me?? I know what it’s like to be at an outing or party and you suddenly look around and see that you’re one of the only ones not holding hands or cuddling with their man. I know what it’s like to hang out with women who who talk constantly about husbands, houses, and babies. And when they get to you the only thing they know to ask you about is….”so….how is your job going?” And while it’s sweet that they are trying, but you feel that gut feeling of being left out. It’s not their fault…it’s just the stage of life that they’re in and you’re not in that same stage. But sometimes it still hurts. (I tell myself over and over again to remember moments like that if I’m ever on the other side. I think that will
Be a blessing to others in the future.)
I have things like this quick story happen fairly often: we were at a game of ultimate frisbee when a new couple showed up and everyone introduced themselves and their spouses and when the couple got to me they asked “and who are you with?” To which everyone who “knows” looks at me with pity as I say “Oh…it’s just me!” And smile. Because that’s what you have to do. People just don’t know…and it’s ok. 🙂 So you just smile.
Then there are the things every single girl has heard that make her want to punch someone in the face.
“You just haven’t found the right guy yet!” (How does that help how I feel right now?)
“You’re such an amazing girl, there will be a perfect guy out there for you.” (And what if there isn’t? There is no promise from God of a perfect man for every girl…no matter how good she is. And if being an amazing girl is what equals a husband, then why has it not happened to me yet? That’s just asking for a performance track mindset!)
“Jesus was single.” (Ha! And I’m not Jesus.)
“Paul says in the Bible it is better to be single than married.” (Then what do I do with this longing, this ache in my heart?? Does God just want me to be miserable? Is that what He’s called me to?)
“God’s just not ready to let you go yet.” (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. As if God “let’s us go” when we get married. I totally don’t agree with that one.)
“God has a plan. His timing is perfect.” (But what if I hate that plan? What if I am currently in a place where I’m not happy with the timing of my life? What if I can’t get there yet? It’s hard choosing to trust….every day of my life.)
Yes, so many women seem to struggle inwardly. So often we are told to just “be content” in our circumstances. But being told that never seems to really help, does it?
So what then? Do we sit around moping and feeling sorry for ourselves? Do we decide that God loves us less and we will either have to “settle” for something lesser or just try and make ourselves be ok with singleness the rest of our lives? Or do we go the opposite direction and try so desperately to find a guy…any guy…that finding a man and getting married becomes the focus of our life? Either option seems exhausting and not fun in the least.
Here are a string of random thoughts that are in no way organized, but speak to where I’m at in my journey where my season currently is singleness.
The reason it can be hard to be content where I’m at is because I don’t know the future. I will never know the future and for people like me, it drives us crazy! For me, knowing I will never know the rest of my story until it happens…pondering “what if” questions help my perspective. Questions like…
What if God has a bigger plan? A larger purpose for my life than I have for myself? How is God making me relatable to certain kinds of people?
What if I do have a truly romantic earthly story coming my way?
What if I don’t? Does that change how I live my life right now? In each moment? What if I spend my whole 20’s and 30’s wishing I wasn’t single and moping around, then I get married and it’s great…but I’ve wasted so many of those years??
Singleness takes away excuses. I have no excuse not to have adventures. I have no excuse not to go visit my sister in Holland (which is where I am currently writing this post!!) I have no excuse not to try new things, be adventurous, check some entries off the bucket list!!
There is freedom in being single. I’m not going to lie…I’ve often reminded myself these days to embrace the moments when I hang out with my beautiful young mom friends and see how their entire world is turned upside down as they constantly have to lay down their life for another human being. What a beautiful thing that is…and yet, in being single, I can eat what I want, exercise when I want, arrive at a party when I want, leave when I want, host a get together when I want. Sleep when I want, wake up when I want. The possibilities are endless! And if marriage and family are in my future, this freedom will not last forever! There is a season for everything and I’m going to enjoy this one I am in.
Singleness provides opportunity to bless. Because I am free I am able to go and do what I want when I plan it. I am able to say a resounding “yes!” when asked to teach for my friend’s neighborhood Bible club. I can bake cookies or muffins and bring it to a family or friend just because. I can rearrange my night fairly easily when a friend really needs me. I can go to my mom friends’ houses and hang with them while we wash dishes and change diapers. I can fold some clean laundry a mom hasn’t had time to think about. I can learn a new hobby or sport. I can pick up a bouquet of flowers for a friend who is having a hard day. I can go on a mission trip every summer if God calls me! I can plan a wedding or baby shower and bless other women…and it can be fun! No little ones to drag around with me as I scour the stores looking for the perfect decorations. 🙂
I’ve recently been challenged by God to spend my life. I have been given the gift of singleness right now…there are some specific ways I can spend my life for others that I would not be able to in any other season. Life-giving. It’s always one of my life goals.
And what if someone young and single does that for me if I do become a mom of rambunctious young ones some day?? 😉
The goal in life is not to be married. The goal is to love Jesus with everything I’ve got, and to love others. This gives me purpose apart from being married and having children.
My identity is not based on whether I am single, dating, engaged, married, divorced, widowed. It does not make me less or more of a woman. As I find more and more of who I am in Christ, I am more and more confident. I no longer have to spend my life proving to others that I’m worthy. Because I already know what I’m worth. And it’s all because of what He says about me. Because of the gospel, I’m free to live. 🙂
So….do I have it all figured out? Do I have a magical prayer to pray or verse to read that will make those of us who are single feel better? Oh how I wish I did dear friends. But then again…maybe I don’t wish that. Because I’m learning that everything in life…everything….is a process. These are just some thoughts and challenges I’ve encountered through my process.
Do I want to be single? Am I excited about the fact that I have no idea when I get to transition into that next stage of life? No…not necessarily. But I’m learning to embrace it. To live it to the fullest. And live with my eyes wide open to what God might be doing.
What might He have for me during this season? What might He still want to teach me? What might He have in store for me? I will leave you with this verse…
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
~1 Corinthians 2:9