So here’s the deal. This blog has been in process for months. There is so much I want to say (and have been wanting to say) but the words have not come easily. Writing is like that – sometimes you have to untangle the thoughts and wrestle with the words. But here it is – the one to put questions to rest and clear the confusion. What kind of questions? The polite ones: “So…are you dating anyone?” The awkward ones: “Who are you bringing with you to the wedding?” The funny ones: “You’re not unattractive so why aren’t you dating anyone?” And the ones that are left unsaid: “What’s wrong with you?” Yes, it is time to talk about my single status.
It is odd to me that I am such an anamoly and it is especially strange to me that even many churches don’t know what to do with someone who is single. After all, Jesus was single! (So all you singles out there – remember that Jesus knows and can relate to what you are experiencing!) Paul was single and recommended it as the preferred marital status. It appears that many of the prophets were single. And yet…
But I digress…back to the questions. Let’s get right at it: Why am I still single?
Is there something wrong with me? No. I mean, yes, there are lots of things “wrong” with me – but no more or less than any other person who walks the earth. I’m not damaged goods. I’m not inept at relationships – in fact, I think I’ve learned to be pretty good at them!
Am I just disinterested? NO. I am very interested in finding “Mr. Right”. In fact, wanna know a secret? I’m a SERIOUS romantic. I’m as sappy and gushy and Hallmark greeting card as it comes! (If you are interested in assisting in the search, you may send all prospects to MNDGMZMin@gmail.com.)
Am I just too picky? NO! (For one thing, is that even possible? This is a spouse, not a pair of shoes or my coffee order!) However, I do know what I am looking for and I am willing to wait until I find him (or he finds me).
So what’s the deal? The deal is that in college I prayed a very dangerous prayer that God has continued to answer every day since. I looked around at the married couples that I admired, including my parents, and noticed one commonality: they all complimented one another in ministry and service to God. I noticed that without the other, they would be much less effective in their work advancing God’s Kingdom. And so my prayer was this: “God, may I only marry if and when I am able to do exponentially more for your Kingdom with him than I can do by myself.” I’m telling you, if you pray, God will answer – so be careful!
May I suggest that being single is not a “less than” way to live? I am not incomplete because I do not have a husband. And being single does not necessarily mean that the person is broken or weird or clueless or anything else. Single people do not need pity, a sympathetic head tilt or looked at as if they are aliens. They need the same thing married people need – relationship, community, love, grace, affection, and understanding. Yes, I get lonely. So do married people. Yes I feel misunderstood. So do married people. Yes, sometimes I feel life would be easier with someone to share it with and yet my married friends tell me they think life would be easier if they were single!
Marital status does not define me and it ought not define you! Single or married is not your identity – your identity and my identity are found in Christ alone and in carrying out the unique calling he has placed on each one of our lives. Yes, my heart’s desire is to be married someday, and I believe that in time God will grant or change that desire. Until that day, I have so many blessings and am doing my best to live life in a manner that honors God and fulfills the calling He has given me. I have a career I love and can devote a lot of time to because I am single. I have friends I love and who love me. I have the ability to bless others with time and resources that I likely would not have if I were married. And the things I fear I am missing out on because I am not married? Such as kids, what leads to kids (we’ll talk about this more in a future blog!), and the unique companionship of a spouse? Well, I trust that God’s current plan is better than those things and I choose to trust that I am not “missing out” but carrying out the unique life God has blessed me with.
So, to my married friends, be kind and gentle to the singles in your life! Include them in your community and family life. Invite them over for dinner and to your children’s activities. They will gladly be “aunt” and “uncle” and will likely treasure being included! And take an interest in what is going on in their lives! Even confident singles are hurt by exclusion or assumptions so offer grace and seek to understand.
To my fellow singles, please live life to the fullest! Do not alienate yourself from friends that have gotten married. They still need you! Do not sit around pining for that perfect someone or expect the pizza delivery person to be that someone! (I’ve tried it – they were always awkward high school students and that much pizza created a bad health situation.) Remember, you are not less than because you are not married! You have a special place in God’s kingdom. You have a special calling to carry out! Don’t wait to start life until you have someone to share it with. Instead, start living life and expect God to provide someone to join you in the process!