Last December, I was sharing with my counselor some of the fears I have with being single as well as inevitably losing my longtime roommate to marriage. For months, when I thought about it, anxiety and grief were the underlying emotions.
There’s so many questions that swirl around my head when I think about the future.
How am I going to afford to live alone? Or how in the world do I find someone to live with as awesome as my current roommate? Will I have any friends if everyone is married and having kids? If I’ve always longed to be a mom, can that even happen the way I thought? Am I not good enough?
But if I’m really honest, most of my frustration and grief was tied up in feeling like God hadn’t given me something I deserved.
For as long as I can remember my life had somehow been focused on finding this person who would somehow complete me. Being an overly romantic person, I had long imagined getting married young, having kids, and serving Christ with an awesome spouse. But here I am, almost 25 year olds, with no serious relationship, and rarely making it past date number two. Oddly enough–I’m actually okay with that.
When I shared all of my fears with my counselor, she told me that she had never met anyone who desired to get married that didn’t get married. I’ve been mulling over that thought ever since. It doesn’t quite sound right to me because I can think of numerous amazing women I know who desired to get married and never did. So while the sentiment is well-meaning, I just don’t think it’s true.
Just because I desire to be married, does not mean that I will be married. You see, marriage is meant to be a picture of our relationship with Christ. Which would mean that my desire to be married is a good, holy desire–which is encouraging, BUT it is a desire that ultimately will be fulfilled by Christ when Creation is restored.
Knowing that I can trust God to fulfill the desires he has put in me brings peace—and I find even more peace in recognizing that He might not fulfill that desire in the way I want him to (a cute, God-loving husband). This desire not happening in the way I always imagined is certainly something to grieve–and I think I should. We just can’t stay in a grieving place, because we’re not meant to live in perpetual grief. I believe God wants us to be open with Him in what we’re feeling-that’s what being in relationship with Him looks like.
In December last year, when I was really thinking a lot about the future, I went on a much-needed long walk, and balled my eyes out telling God how sad it made me that I might never be married, and telling him that I really really super needed him to help me love being single and to see the purpose and goodness in it, because I didn’t see it. I felt like somehow I had messed up. I recognized that I felt dissatisfied, and knew that giving it to God was all I could do. The purpose of my life is to serve Christ—and I needed God to help me to see how I could do that as a single person.
Now a year later, I think I understand.
I processed what I felt with God, I gave it to Him, and then I asked God what He wanted me to do with the next year of my life and I did it.
In doing that, here’s some things He has shown me:
- I have so much more flexibility to be in deeper relationships with more people because I’m single.
- I am able to understand what it’s like to be in the church as a single person—so I can help other single people feel welcomed and seen.
- I don’t have a hole in my heart–Christ fills that in my relationship with Him, and he continues to give me so many life-giving relationships with people who have become sisters, brothers, moms, and dads. That’s the body of Christ!
- I don’t have to be married to engage with foster care. I can do this as a single person with good supportive community. I have also met SO many other awesome single women the past year that desire to do foster care, so my prayer is that God would help me build a good relationship with one of them, so I can foster in the next season of life.
- If I had gotten married in college or after like I had planned, I would have missed out on so much growth and understanding of singleness–and would have been super insensitive to others who are single, saying things like “you’ll get your person someday, everyone does” (not true!!).
- You can be friends with anybody–single, married, young, old—none of that stuff really matters.
- Don’t date because you’re afraid of being alone. That’s a horrible reason to date–because you can still be alone in a relationship.
- If you can’t be content as a single person, marriage isn’t going to fix that. You will still be dissatisfied. You will still have the same problems–now they are just amplified by being in a more intimate relationship with someone. God REALLY has to be your number one, and you have to surrender to Him and ask him to change and heal the broken parts of you.
Singleness is not:
- Lesser than marriage–they are different, but moving from singleness to marriage is a lateral move not an upward move.
- A punishment–being single does NOT mean you did something wrong. It doesn’t really mean anything. It is just what you are.
- A time waster–Let’s not use our flexibility to pack our schedules doing meaningless things. It can be a time to build great, healthy relationships and serve Christ in a different way than someone who is married with kids.
If my timeline had worked out for getting married younger, I would have thought that I had gotten what I deserved, when in reality, I don’t deserve marriage—it is a gift. If God decides to bless me with it, then awesome. If he doesn’t, then I will still praise Him today and for all the days of my life. Oh, and guess what, singleness is a gift, too. Surprise!