So Put Your Hands Up and Cue Beyonce
I had been with different groups of friends or students almost every day for two weeks straight. Different dinners, events, coffee meetings, lunch after church, a trip with a friend, and some movie nights. A lot of life-giving community. And I was having the time of my life. It was honestly a lot of people time for my mostly introverted self. And yet, there I was, at the end of the week driving home from a high school play sad. It was a great play; fun students went with me, and we laughed as we watched our friends. It was a great night. But something about that drive home reminded me of how single I was. For some reason I cried the whole way home.
It doesn’t happen often. I’ve been single all of my life, so I honestly know nothing different. I have a great life! I truly love what I do, and how I spend my time. I love the freedom and ability to say yes to most invitations that comes with not having to think about balancing married life. The Lord is so faithful to provide wonderful friends and family that are close. We have a cool community made up of people at all stages of life – some grandparents, some newlyweds, young families, teenage families, college students. It doesn’t really matter because we have just committed to doing life together. I’m also pretty busy with student ministry things. My life is fun and fulfilling. And in no way am I alone most of the time. So this is no pity party.
But sometimes, no matter how logical I want to be, the feelings of singleness come in and hit hard. I start listening to the lies that are in the back of my head. The ones that I am usually able to push back with reality, logic, and ultimately Biblical truth. These lies tell me that my life is not enough because I am not married. They tell me that things would be so much better if I had a husband. Sometimes they tell me that I’m not enough or my life is less significant because I’m still single. They tell me the hard decisions would be easier if I had a man in my life to take care of things. They tell me that others look at me as less than. And it's not often, but sometimes I can convince myself that it's true. Which usually leads to moments like the other night when I’m crying in the car.
However, I know these are lies. I’ve learned over and over that listening to these lies is a way that I distrust God, and I know Him to be a God I can trust. I know that He is faithful. I’ve also learned that other people don’t fulfill me. I am significant because Jesus tells me I am, not because of some status in my life. I know that a man doesn’t always do the stereotypical things like bills and renting U-Hauls, and so hard decisions are still hard when you’re married. I know that I am able to depend on God completely because He is my Provider. I know that God has a plan for my life and that my life is ultimately His. His timing is far better than my own plans.
And so I live with hope. Hope in my Savior. Hope that He is glorified in my life and my day to day thoughts. I can cling to Psalm 62.5-6: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
This time of being single is a weird time of life. There are a lot of assumptions or clichés about being single. There’s some stereotypes that single people are just waiting, stuck, or as one guy put it “stalled in singleness.” Cool. I don’t want to just make light of what feels unique, especially in the church where so many families are found. But when you learn to laugh about the ridiculous blind dates, or to kindly respond when someone asks why you’re still single (as if it’s 100% only your fault), it feels a lot lighter.
Singleness is hard. Marriage (I hear) is hard. Dating is hard. Being a parent is (probably) really hard. Seasons of life all have their different hardships. One isn’t better or easier than the other. They’re just different. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in longing for what’s next and longing for more so much that you miss out on what God has for you right now.
So, whatever the season of life you’re in, I want to encourage you in this: don’t stop hoping. We all have longings for something more in life. It’s part of living in a broken world – we long for Heaven. Sometimes that longing gets misplaced and we put that hope in a status or in material things. However, Colossians 3.1-2 tells us to “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” We must consciously place our hope on Jesus. Not on a different stage of life or a job change or a different friend group. Those may be good things, but it’s not where our hope comes from.
There are a few things I trust to be true while I’m not yet married, and hopefully I’ll continue trusting when I do get married: God is teaching you things in this season that He can’t teach you in other seasons. In the days of preschool parenting, in seasons of engagements, in high school, in parenting college students, and even in blind dates. There are lessons God wants to teach you in every season.
And you can be used in this season in specific ways that you might not can be used in the next season. If you’re open to it, you will for sure still be used and taught by God. It’ll just look different.
So, let’s not miss it. Lean in to this season you’re in. and when the season shifts, as most seasons do, look for those new ways that God will be glorified in your life.
I hope that whatever stage of life you’re in, that you find some hope and encouragement from our conversation on the podcast or this blog. It was recorded a couple of days before the cry in my car. A day when I was joking about how single I was, immediately followed two days later with throwing myself a pity party. Welcome to my rollercoaster life!
If you’re not married yet, I want you to know that it’s ok to feel things about that. I think it’s fine and hopefully healthy to be able to joke about it while still being sad, yet hoping that God brings you a spouse. If you’re really struggling with being single, reach out. We can share blind date or set up war stories. And if you know a guy who loves Jesus with all that he is and is very tall…help a sister out. (just kidding…but only sorta)