It happened again. That look. That concern. That question which usually brings a lump in my throat and sadness to my heart. I muster up fake enthusiasm and answer “yes” as though I am proud of my plight. PLIGHT. I feel judged for it. It would seem that perhaps I haven’t been doing enough. Perhaps I don’t flirt enough or maybe I should consider changing churches…
I’m surrounded by amateur matchmakers and problem solvers. Evidently singleness is a problem, or so I’ve been made to think. I hear it in the tone of the voice, “are you married?” It is laced on every syllable “maybe if you could get out more.” But the worst representation came on Christmas Day sitting at a table with my grandparents and parents while my brothers were off with their wives, children and in-laws. Prayer ended with the usual “amen” and then I get that look of pity. My mother has noticed my awkward, lonely silence. And then, “maybe next year….”
I think I’ve spent most of my days for the last few years trying to convince myself that it was okay to be single. Even in my argumentative protestation when confronted, my heart is pulsing loneliness. Is it me or is it the world, though? Have all these romantic comedies, married friends, hopeful mothers, and online matchmaking organizations created the inadequacy I feel? I’ve probably over-thought it. Honestly. I’ve analyzed my life enough for everyone. So then at the end of the day I am left with “why?”
It has taken me a while, but I’m starting to appreciate this time that God has given me to be “alone.” It’s become strongly apparent that I’m not alone, though. Even though I drive home at night alone to an empty bed and I may be attending my friends’ weddings dateless, I am anything but alone. Last night in our young adult Bible study, we discussed Daniel (Lion’s Den) and courage. Joshua 1:9 says,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We were challenged to consider what our present day Lion’s Den could be, and it hit me that Singleness has become my Lion’s Den. I have feared it, yet accepted it. I have acknowledged that God will provide, but I haven’t been appreciative enough of how He has provided even as I wait for a mate. I have been discouraged…so much. Too much.
The truth is I have been able to share so much of myself because of my singleness. I have been able to travel a bit, spend most of my free time working on music and church volunteering, and even developed some pretty amazing relationships with teens and young adults. Not to say that having a husband would prevent me from doing those previous things, but truly my time would have been much more divided. Something else has become apparent to me as I wait for my mate: God is enough. More than enough. I know we sing that song sometimes in worship, but the meaning of it has made its way into my heart. All of God is more than enough for ALL of me. Not just part. All. Not just in my financial and guidance needs, but also in my relational, heartache needs.
I think it takes courage to be single. It takes courage to be willing to wait for someone who you can truly journey through life with. I haven’t been all that courageous. Most times I’ve been secretly ashamed. Yet, this is not something to be ashamed at all about! You know what it means for me to be single? It means that God wants more of my time for other kinds of relationships and projects. It means that He’s not ready to give up some of our time together. It means that God knows somethings that I don’t know, and whatever those are, I can trust His leading.
I also know that because of Joshua 1:9, I can also be courageous about marriage when the man God leads to me asks for my hand. Hopefully I will be so close to the heart of God that I will know what answer to give.