Single with No End in Sight
Part of me can’t believe I am actually writing this blog series because I’m still very much in the middle of my story. Telling the story from the middle feels a little risky. But I’m also glad to be able to share from a real place. Not from a place of looking back, having forgotten what being single is really like, but from in the middle of it.
This week I want to address head on a few of the lies we can fall for as singles. Sometimes the people around us perpetuate these lies, but often we are secretly the worst perpetrators. Let’s stop letting these sneaky deceptions hang around and kick them out once and for all!
Lie #1: Romantic relationships are a reward for good behavior.
Sometimes people treat singleness like a curse, as if those of a certain age who are still single must have something wrong with them.
In the church especially, I have noticed an unspoken stigma towards singles. We are either selfish for not wanting to get married as much as we should, or we’re flawed for not being able to find anyone to marry.
Sure, some people have issues, but singleness is also a valid way of life! (Just look at the apostle Paul!) It is very dangerous to judge a person based on outward circumstances––even if that person is yourself. God looks at the heart.
So allow me to poke a hole in those theories:
Romantic relationships are not a reward for people who live right, they are a connection that develops between two people. Any relationship benefits from maturity on the part of its participants, but all relationships are dynamic, complicated, and individual. God can be in a relationship or even a part of orchestrating it, but He is not a vending machine that spits out marriages to those who push the right buttons.
From my experience, plenty of awesome people––who desire marriage––stay single much longer than you would expect, while other people who seem to have it much less together end up getting married first. It’s not about how much you want it, how much you pray about it, or how much you are worth. It’s just not.
Lie #2: Being single sucks.
It’s so easy to focus on what is not being given to us rather than what is. If you are single, you have been given (at least one) gift in this season. It’s called singleness.
It might be difficult at times, but it is also wonderful. As a single, you get to adventure and take risks in a way that you simply can’t when you’re married. Being on your own can be incredibly fun and exhilarating. And, as I mentioned last week, there are certain treasures that can only be found in the place of uncertainty and loneliness. Even when God withholds, He does it for our good. He is not punishing you; He is loving you. Let’s press in and enjoy the fulness of this gift while we still can!
Also, waiting builds anticipation. :)
Lie #3: God has forgotten me.
There have been times I have felt––very strongly––that God was holding out on me in the romance department. There have been times I have felt overlooked when close friends suddenly met a special someone, and I still hadn’t. “Don’t you see how I’m living all out for you? Don’t you care?” I have cried out to God (exposing that I’d fallen for Lie #1).
Of course He sees. And of course He cares.
The truth is, God cares very deeply about every aspect of your life, including your love life––if you care about it, you can be certain that He does, because He cares about what is important to you. As much as human parents desire for their children to marry well and rejoice when they do, God cares even more and rejoices even more.
The thing is, it’s complicated. First of all, marriage is a relationship with another person, so it involves, you, another person, and the timing of so many different factors that it’s mind boggling to even attempt to map out. The problem might not be you. Or God. It might be.. your future spouse. (Whenever I catch myself thinking that, however, God humbles me. Just to warn you.)
Second of all, your marriage isn’t God’s greatest priority for you. His greatest priorities are your relationship with Him and your character. There could potentially be some conflict of interest there.
Third of all, God might just have a different destiny planned for you.
I actually haven’t cried out to Him that many times about this, because I know it’s stupid. I mean, sometimes I just have to be real with Him, but other times my logical brain won’t let me accuse Him of being anything less than good.
But I remember rather starkly one afternoon during a powerful time of worship when God said to me, “I see your patience. I see how long you’ve been waiting. I see how you’ve been unwilling to compromise.” That was all He said, and that was all I needed to hear.
He saw; He noticed.
Lie #4: I need to hone my game.
Okay, maybe you do. Maybe you should start showering more or talking less. I don’t know. Ask some trusted friends.
But at the end of the day, romance is not a science.
Honestly, I can’t predict what guys will find attractive about me. Okay, there are some things I can reliably predict, but there are also many wild card factors. I’ve even had guys think me burping loudly was cute. (Did not expect that one..)
I used to overthink every move I made. Should I give him more space or take more initiative? Should I be down-to-earth or mysterious? Should I let myself laugh loudly or hold it in? Should I argue with him when I disagree or just nod along? Seriously, thinking like that is exhausting.
Simply being myself usually turns out to be most effective anyway. (Although by “being myself” I don’t mean necessarily sharing every single thought flitting through my mind. I just mean being genuine. So yes, I usually laugh loudly and express my disagreements, depending on the subject matter.)
The magic of romance is the unexpected connection you have with someone, which happens and develops in a way you can’t really predict. So just relax a little and stop overthinking it.
Lie #5: It’s too late for me.
It’s not. If you want to give up on romance, I guess you can, but God might still surprise you with an unexpected love story. No matter how old you are or how many hurts you’ve experienced, it’s not impossible. Not with God. (More thoughts on this next week..)
Are there any other lies or stigmas you’ve wrestled with as a single? What advice/perspectives have you found helpful? Not helpful? If you’re married, what things do you wish people had told you while you were still single? Comment below! I love hearing your stories!
***This is segment 2 in the 3-part series Still Single. If you missed segment 1, you can check it out here: Still Single: The Struggle and the Journey. Click here to go on to part 3: Still Single: The Messiness of Dating (and Holding onto Hope).***