It irks me when a girl friend gets into a relationship and all of a sudden, it’s all about the beau. I understand he’s an important part of her life now, but it started to feel like her life purpose was to find someone and then check out. And then to hear glib comments like “Don’t be so picky” or “How about him, he seems nice” or “Just smile and flirt more” as her cure for singleness. Then there’s watching one after another get married and live happily ever after in their new two story home, 2.2 kids and a dog. Yeah, this is coming from a married person but I still remember how it feels and I want to encourage those flying solo but wishing they weren’t.
My first relationship was when I turned 18…I was heading to a different province for university, I was determined to rebel against my parents’ dating restrictions (“I’m an adult and can do what I want!”), he was really into me and I enjoyed the attention, but account the wrath of my parents, I tried to maintain a “secret” status to the relationship. It made for a very confusing relationship that I ended after two years of long distance dating. I broke his heart. Then I had a major case of unrequited love which left me a little heart sick as well. Wanting to get myself figured out as well as to find out how to become more the woman God intended me to be, I vowed to devote myself to one full year of singleness. I wasn’t even going to look at guys.
Apparently God felt I needed a lot longer to be more the woman He intends me to be…or maybe He felt He could do more with me as a single woman than a married one. Whatever His GOOD reasons were, TEN YEARS passed before I would meet, date and marry Skywalker. And yes, in that time period, my girl friends all one by one met guys, dated (I was a fifteenth wheel once!) and married. They bought houses, started having children…and I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with me. A few relationship false starts left me more and more discouraged. What was I doing wrong? Should I be more this and less that? What opportunities was I not taking?
I learned this:
- Be and love yourself. Sure, get to know and address your weaknesses…but don’t hide who you are. If you try to attract someone by being what you think the other person likes, then you cheat yourself and would’ve attracted the wrong guy. The right person will be attracted to who you are. (My Dad used to tell me to play a little clueless so that guys won’t be so intimidated. I started liking Skywalker because he wasn’t intimidated by me.)
- This period of singleness IS an opportunity! Don’t miss out on it by pining or trying to find someone. You have so much freedom to do whatever you want and go wherever you want, wherever God calls. It’s when you’re living YOUR life and running YOUR race that you get to see who’s running alongside you. Hanging back waiting for something to happen is a sure way for nothing to happen.
- Singleness is NOT a mistake. It’s a very purposeful time to learn, grow and experience God in. Skywalker and I have both shared that had we met each other sooner, we might not have been the people who would be attracted to each other. So embrace this time and squeeze every drop that you can from it…because it’s true, there’s a whole different set of struggles to work through once married.
- It is far better to be single, enjoying deep friendships and a full life than to be married to someone who does not honor or cherish you. I read in this blog post (also on singleness) that statistically, you’re more likely to get a divorce than to stay single. SO…decide wisely, don’t jump into a relationship just to be in one.
- Marriage isn’t what brings fulfillment or completeness. Being single doesn’t mean you’re “lesser/subpar/missing out” on Life. Learning to love God more and better is what will bring purpose. And, as you do so His spirit will change you from the inside as well…giving you strength and confidence to live out your identity as God’s beloved. Fulfillment comes through that.
In about the 5th year of singleness I had a discussion with God…while I wasn’t resolving to stay single, I told God if He wanted to keep me that way, then He must surround me with great friendships and meaningful ministry. And He did. There were still struggles and questions but the next five years were filled with some of the richest and deepest friendships as well as some major areas of ministry that I continue to have a heart for. I wouldn’t have traded those years for a relationship. (It was also through that journey that God led Skywalker and I together!)
So, if you’re single, seize the opportunity and make this time count!