Where to start? Starting things can be so difficult sometimes. You know what you want to accomplish or have all these ideas but don’t know quite were to start because the possibilities seem to be overwhelming. Well, I am starting this blog. I’ve always enjoyed writing and find it rather therapeutic so here I am. I must confess, though, that I don’t really know what I’m doing so I’m going to just write; write about life, thoughts, feelings, and anything else that might jump onto the page.
The thing that has been on my heart and mind lately, like most twenty-somethings, is singleness. It has been six years this fall since I was last in a relationship, of which was also my first. In that time, I’ve only gone on maybe two or three real dates. So, needless to say I’ve got a lot of experience with this whole being single thing. However, it wasn’t until recently that I’ve really started to sort it out.
You see, like so many other twenty-something women, I think quite often about my relationship status. We live in a world today where people are defined by their sexuality, their careers, their money, and their relationship status. Being in a relationship is said to be the ultimate. Think about it. As little girls, we play house and dream about what our wedding day will one day be like. We fight with our parents as teenagers when they tell us we can not date until a certain age. When we get to college, the secular world tells us to fool around and just “have fun” while the Christian world tells us to get that “ring-by-spring”. I went to a Christian University and got a religion degree specializing in Women’s Ministry. The running joke amongst many other degree programs was that the a Women’s Ministry degree was really just a “MRS degree” to become a pastor’s wife. As a young adult, people’s first questions after inquiring about what I do for a living is often followed with if I’m married or seeing anyone. Or when I’m catching up with someone, I get asked if anything has changed in the man department.
Now I would be completely lying if I said that I wasn’t hoping to find my future husband in college or that I don’t ask my girlfriends about their lovelives. I’m a girl. We like to talk about boys. It is part of life. But I’ve come to realize the weight and stereotypes that are put on women to be in a relationship. It’s thought there is something wrong if you’re not dating someone. There’s a contradicting line of thinking in the Church when people ask me “what’s wrong with guys these days?” when they hear I’m still single or tell me “we need to get you a man” all the while preaching that I need to be content in my singleness. And if I have to hear one more person talk about how they told God that they were giving up on relationships so it could be just them and God and then days/weeks later God brought them their future spouse… well…
But backing up…”be content in my singleness.” I have come to almost loathe that term over the years. I’ve prayed and prayed that God would take away the desire to be in a relationship until the right time. Prayed that my heart’s greatest desire would be for the love of God over the love of a man. The idea that the greatest gift in this world, the best thing would be finally meeting the man of my dreams and getting married is one that I’ve wrestled with for quite some time now. I wanted to be content but it just wasn’t happening. I’d get attached to a guy here or there and think maybe he was the one. Maybe God is finally going to give me what my heart desires. Maybe my life will finally start and I’ll get the thing that will make going through this life a little less rough. And then a couple of weeks ago, it hit me….
I work with high school students in my church and have for the last four or five years and it brings my heart such joy! It’s what I’m truly passionate about. Getting to know these young girls, having them really open up to me and ask me for advice and wisdom is so beyond rewarding. And at 25 years old I finally realized something last week…I am THANKFUL for being single! I’m one of only two youth leaders under the age of 30 in our youth group so I have a relationship with these girls that the others don’t because of the stage of life I’m in. I’m able to relate to them differently and I adore it. That being said, this season of my ministry will not last forever and I’ve come to realize how much I enjoy where I’m at. A HUGE reason for that…is because I’m single.
“And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.” -1 Corinthians 7:34
I have read this verse so many times, but for the first time in my life…I can honestly say that I am truly embracing the concept that Paul is talking about here. This life is not about us, and it’s not about happiness. It is about seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:33) and when we truly abandon ourselves to God, everything comes into focus. I was able to surrender every other area of my life with the understanding that it was to be in God’s time for God’s purpose. I used to think that God was keeping me single because I had all this healing and learning to do before I could be in a relationship. That if I would only learn this lesson or that lesson then he would FINALLY give me what I so longed for. But then a couple months ago, sitting in the parking lot at my church on a warm summer evening, God spoke to me. He wasn’t dangling a relationship in front of me to motivate me to be better. He wasn’t punishing me or trying to make me miserable. He wanted me to want him more than a relationship, yes, but the reason he gave me that night for my singleness …to accomplish HIS purposes. Period. And I finally found peace.
Now, this revelation hasn’t stopped me from wanting to settle down. In fact, I recently joined a bible study with 35-45 year old couples as the only person both single and without kids. But what I’ve come to realize is the sacrifice of one desire in this season has allowed me the privilege to make an even bigger impact for the Kingdom. Now that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t minister to teenagers if I was in a relationship. But it does mean that for me, individually this is what God would have me do. And he is working and teaching me through this. I’m falling more in love with God as I learn about his love and character, and I realized that one day I will get married and have a family. And I look forward to the day that as God places a man in my life to love and be courted by. And that I can use that too for ministry and the girls that I am ministering to can be a part of that journey.
Life doesn’t start when you get married. Life isn’t incomplete if you are single. This IS life! God has blessed me with friends and family and a church to keep me plenty busy. When I get lonely, I can talk to God or I call a friend to see if they want to hang out. I invite my girls over to my apartment that God provided for me so we can do life together. Do I still watch chick flicks and get all sappy? Well of course I do! Do I pray for my future husband anxiously awaiting our union? Of course I do. But I do it out of a thankful heart now instead of a desperate one.
Am I content with my singleness? I suppose so. But even more, I am thankful for my singleness. And for me, that’s even better!