Between Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day, my social feeds explode with news of recent engagements. This year was no different. Two days after Christmas, my college best friend called to tell me that she is engaged! We squealed and talked and stared at the new sparkling diamond on her left hand. I couldn’t be happier for her and her fiancé. And I’m beyond thrilled to help her plan her wedding.
But, as I reflected on her exciting news that evening, a small twinge of sadness settled over me. A tiny voice in my head whispered the same question asked a thousand times before, “When will it be my turn?” with still no answer. I didn’t want to feel this way. After all, I should be elated, right? My friend is getting married! But still…that feeling of something akin to hopelessness lingers. This time of year is one of the hardest for singles. Family gatherings, happy couples, and the question, “so…any guy in your life?” that serves as the ever-present reminder of my single state.
I have been on a handful of dates, but I’ve never had a boyfriend. The Lord has been gracious to teach me through the failed dates and “almost relationships.” He’s opened my eyes to why it wouldn’t have worked without having to go through the heartache of a breakup. As I get older, I sometimes wonder if I will ever get married. Will I ever experience that overwhelming love for someone? Will a guy ever want to hold my hand? Call me his? Plan his life with me?
Growing up, I heard these cliché phrases 1001 times. Maybe you have heard them too.
- “You’ll find love when you least expect it.”
- “If God hasn’t brought him along yet, it’s because He is still working on you.”
- “It’s not you, honey, it’s him. God is still working on him.”
While good intentioned, this “advice” is far from helpful. Even if there are pieces of truth, it’s not the whole truth. My singleness is not contingent on my level of spiritual maturity. I have known girls further along in their faith who are still riding the single train. There is no stage or station where we “arrive” spiritually and are then ready for a relationship. We continue to learn and grow until the day we die and are united with Christ in Heaven.
I have read articles upon articles on this subject, seeking fresh encouragement and validation that I’m not alone. That I’m not crazy for feeling the way I do. With the heightened number of engagements this time of year, it’s easy to begin to feel left out, unwanted, and alone.
SINGLE IS NOT A PRISON SENTENCE
For whatever reason, singleness has picked up a negative stigma along the way. When someone learns that I am single, they usually try to fix the situation by setting me up on a blind date.*
I am single. I am not broken.
“Single” is a relationship status; it doesn’t define me or serve as a commentary on my worthiness. The Lord alone establishes my worth and purpose in this life. And He has been very clear in His Word on both counts.
- I am worth dying for. (Rom. 5:8)
- My mission is to glorify my Father in Heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16)
It has only been within the last year that my perspective on singleness has shifted from my wants to God’s glory.
Like most girls, I dream of when I’ll have a guy to talk to, to take as my plus one to events, to dream and plan life together. My longing for a husband and family is hardwired in me by the Lord himself. There is nothing wrong or shameful about that, as long as why I want it aligns with Scripture.
The same friend who just got engaged is the same friend who said this a few months ago:
“Maddie, the reason you don’t have a boyfriend right now isn’t because there is something wrong with you, but because you are glorifying God more being single now than if you were in a relationship.”
If we were playing baseball, she’d have hit a home run. The Lord’s design for marriage isn’t to have a lifetime cuddle buddy or forever wedding date or baby making partner. No, the true design of marriage is to glorify God together.
The prophet Isaiah outlines the purpose of all creation in Isaiah 43:6-7:
“I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Re-read that: “Who is called by MY name, whom I created for MY glory.”
It comforts me to know that I am not single because of anything I did or didn’t do. It’s not because I didn’t go on that date or attend that event or make myself more ‘available’ by hanging out in places guys frequent. It’s because I can most glorify God right now single.
Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about how or when I will meet my future husband. God’s got that covered. It’s His design for women to be pursued. I won’t have to chase what God sends.
WAIT FOR GOD’S BEST
Dear friend, wait for the guy who is praying for you, too. Wait for God’s best.
Singleness is a season of life to be enjoyed, not endured. The lifespan of singleness is different for every girl. It’s not a one-size-fits-all formula. There is no “if you do this, then this will happen.” We have a choice. We can either fully embrace our singleness and find joy in every moment or we can waste it away sitting at home pining for a guy.
In either case, if we are meant to marry someday, we will. The Lord always comes through on His promises. I, for one, don’t want to look back and regret not taking full advantage of every day I’m given.
My encouragement to you would be this: Find a ministry. Get involved. Pursue a dream. Set a goal. Learn something new. Take a risk. Enjoy your life.
When you do one or more of these things, you spend less time dwelling and more time doing. Dwelling is the devil’s playground. He capitalizes on moments when we are alone to start our thoughts down a path of no return. But when we are wrapped up in pursuing the Lord and serving others, the desires of our hearts will be granted. (Psalm 37:4) Not because the Lord is a magic genie that grants all of our wishes. But because His desires start to become our desires. And what He has for us is ALWAYS better. Always.
Keep stepping. Keep surrendering. Keep praying. Keep waiting. The struggle is real, but so is our God. You are not unwanted. You are not alone. You are immensely loved. Find comfort in His promises. He will never disappoint. And someday, we will look back and marvel at the incredible tapestry the Lord is weaving right now and when He pulls back the curtain and all is revealed, we will cry out, “God, I’m overwhelmed.”
“I am sure that God keeps no one waiting
unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.”
– C.S. Lewis
*Please don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate the effort of those in my life who care enough to help and I do enjoy meeting new people. That’s not my point.