I have to say, at 33, being a single female is a gift from God. I have realized this, it may have taken some time, but I know it now more than ever. Yes there is always the thought that it would be nice if – fill in the blank. The truth is there are some things I am doing right now that would not be possible if I was not just me. Just me. I love being just me. Here I am, no issues to sort through with someone else, I get to sort through them with myself and with God. It hasn’t always felt like this, it hasn’t always felt like a gift. But I am living proof, that being single can feel like a gift, not only a gift that you can cherish, but one that you wake up to and are excited about!
I remember being 13 and wanting desperately to have a boyfriend. I think I was in love with every boy I met. I am serious. It’s embarrassing. My dad joked that I wouldn’t be able to date till I was 30, and I am pretty sure he didn’t know that I thought I would die if I had to wait till 18 to date, much less 30!? I got through high school without kissing a boy. Shocking I know. (I made it through college even, without kissing a single boy.) In college I remember thinking I was ready, I was ready for marriage. I didn’t meet anyone in college. I started praying for a husband when I was 22. I made those lists, even though I thought they were silly to make.
At some point, I thought this is dumb, why should I have to pray for a husband? Why can’t I just let God bring me one in his timing? There was also an idea I had that I would be single for awhile. I don’t know where that came from. That loneliness though, of being with no one for Christmas, of staying home on the weekends with no dates. I’ve been blessed to fill loneliness with traveling and hobbies. But I don’t think that God’s plan in me being single was ever for me to be lonely or for me to have to fill it with something other than him.
In fact, I can’t imagine not going through some of what I’ve gone through, because I don’t think I would trust and rely on God like I do. God is real. The relationship he has with you, and you have with him is real. You either are fighting with him, you don’t want him in your life, or you are indifferent to him, or you are clinging to him, whispering how much you need him, telling him how much you love him. When you communicate with him, maybe you won’t feel it at first, but when he whispers back to you, loneliness and bitterness have no place in your heart. And freedom comes like a bird, and joy like the air, is in and all around you.
I’ve watched countless other single females, older and younger than me, be swept away into the land of engagement rings and wedding gowns. I’ve watched those same females start having babies. I’ve seen those babies grow up into lovely children. I’ve also watched children I once babysat grow up and start dating and having boyfriends. All the while being overwhelming single. And the thought may have crossed my mind once or twice…”Will I be alone… forever?”
Let me just say I’ve been hurt too. I’ve been hurt in past relationships. I remember one time staying up too late on Facebook and finding out someone I was in love with got engaged. In fact, similar scenarios have happened to me more than a few times.
Facebook is a killer (don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook, just not when it comes to past relationships). Relationships I should not have watched develop were there for me to watch, just by scrolling through my home feed.
I want it to be clear, if at any point I had given into bitterness, I would not be the same person I am right now. I would not have been able to sing at my younger sisters wedding. I would not have been happy for a single woman, younger than myself to get engaged. I would not be happy. I would not love who I am. I would definitely think there is something wrong with me. I would wonder if maybe I have commitment issues, or maybe I am too proud? I would possibly think that I haven’t learned something vital yet, or that maybe I am too short, or too boring.
But really, if you stop and think about what is going on in the world, the problems you think you have are not really problems at all, when put in perspective. People are losing loved ones, people are sick, children are dying of starvation, men, women, and children are enslaved. There is violence against women for being women and violence against people for their faith or race. But even so, it’s ok to be a little sad over something you are lacking in your life, and bring that to God.
Maybe there is a greater purpose in your life than being married or having a boyfriend at this stage. I am not saying that it won’t happen, what I am saying is, you aren’t getting to watch the entire movie, you are only seeing a part of it. If you concentrate on what is lacking in the picture of your life right now, you will see yourself as lacking. If you concentrate on what you have, then what you are lacking will not affect your thinking, your behavior, and your self image.
If you let what you are lacking affect your self image you are inviting jealousy and bitterness into your life. Every person that has what you do not have will be affected in the way you see or treat them. Basically you will see yourself and other people in a different way than you should.
How can you even tell if bitterness is affecting your relationship with others? Are you prone to gossiping? Are you talking to others about people in your life in a negative way? Or are you just thinking it, to make yourself feel better? Are you saying others must not be happy because of xyz, or that so and so is not doing a good job therefore does not deserve the promotion or praise? What is keeping you from loving others? Is it bitterness? Is it jealousy?
The truth is we all have something we want that we do not have. If we learn early on to love what we have and cherish it, bitterness will not be able to establish in our hearts. But what if bitterness is already alive and well inside us? What can we do? That person really hurt our spirit. That break up was too much, it was crushing. Those things do lead us to watch everyone else around us and think they have something better than when we have.
We think this way when something has been taken from us. We had no idea it would be stolen. Like that day, when he got engaged, the wind was knocked out of me. I had to remind myself to breath. I felt like the room was spinning away from me and that no one would be able to make it stand still. Give it to God, talk to him about it, cry out to him, ask him to take it. When you feel the same way the next day…do it all over again and again and again. Pray against things that may try to take root in your heart. Pray against the bitterness, the sadness, the loneliness. Those things do have to flee from you, if you pray for them to leave. Don’t stop there, praise him, be at peace, and listen. He is close to us when we are hurting.
I am talking about a relationship being stolen, but it could be something else that was snatched from you. You may not even realize that you are bitter. It could be that you aren’t getting the promotion you want at work and someone else got it, so bitterness has set up in your heart against them. It could be that you can’t have children and someone else just had another baby, and you want to be happy for them, but you can’t.
It sounds easy to just concentrate on what we have and not what we lack. The reason it isn’t easy is because we need love. (And if you are single, you may have great friendships and a great supportive family even…but you still need an intimate relationship to feel loved!) Single or in a relationship, neither being on your own or with someone else will supply enough love to meet the great need you have for it in your life. We need love that would die for us. We need love that cherishes and encourages, believes and sustains. We need love that says “I think about you all the time”. Love that says “I’ve been here, waiting for you your whole life”. Unconditional love that says “I’ve orchestrated events and situations in your life, to draw you to me, so that you would know exactly how deep my love is for you”. We need a love that is personal, unending, and exciting. And when we realize that these things, situations, events, came to us because of how much God loves us personally, and that he allowed or planned it all for us to know him, everything we think and feel changes inside and out.
The love you seek is not within any one person on this earth. The love you seek is with God. His love is enough to not only fight off the bitterness and the jealousy, but to cheer and motivate your heart and soul to overwhelming amounts of love and joy.
His love sustains you. You can walk through life and know that no matter what happens, what situations arise, what is taken from you, you will not be broken, you will not be forgotten, you will not become bitter. You can know you will be filled with joy at all times, good or bad.
He is calling you. He is whispering to you. He knows specific things about you. Most importantly, he knows how much you need him, and how much you need to know he loves you. He is working to communicate that to you. It’s hard sometimes, but find the time to be quiet and listen. Find the time to talk to him. There isn’t anything you can say that he won’t understand. He is moving things around in your life right now, not so that you have everything you think you need, but so that you have the love you need to sustain you through every part of your life. I am praying for you!
Song of Solomon 2:10
“My beloved speaks and says to me,
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
And come away.”