Probably the longest thing I was ever committed to was being single.
However, I’ve found that having a boyfriend for some reason diminishes my credibility in speaking about being single. Y’all, I have a resume that spans twenty years of being single, and I have some things to say.
Being single is not the best.
Being single is not the best, and it’s certainly not the worst. Honestly, I don’t think it’s something that needs to be talked about a whole lot (it’s simply done), but it’s trendy to write a bunch of “how-to” type single posts, and so I’m speaking some things and then getting off my soap box.
You’ve probably heard all the lines, about how He’s preparing you for more, how He wants to love you here. You’ve probably heard all about how your desire won’t be completely fulfilled even when Prince Charming does show up. Be here now, be present, be happy. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re beautiful, and just because you don’t have a significant other does not mean that your life right now is insignificant. And so on.
Okay, well, first of all– all of those things are true.
And, really– that’s all the best advice I can give you. That’s seriously it.
But advice doesn’t lessen the pain of longing, or bring clarity to what feels like endless desire.
I remember this one night, I came back from an event that was going on and I was just like WHY. There was nothing that could make me feel better in that moment: there was just this reality that I wanted someone to be here, and he wasn’t. And I didn’t even know who he was.
Missing someone who isn’t there, who you don’t even know. It’s real.
Communication with Jesus isn’t about suppression of emotions. It’s the safety to feel emotions, and process them within His heart. So, when I talked to Him about what I was feeling, I expected that He’d just take it all away and remind me the goodness of life, the goodness of Him, the goodness of me, the goodness of His plan for me. But all that really happened was that I kept feeling.
I kept feeling, while still believing in His goodness.
There is going to be a longing sometimes, and it is going to be hard sometimes. There’s no amount of blog posts or podcasts or Pinterest boards or advice from friends that is ultimately going to do what only you can do:
Dive into your season.
Dive into this season. Take it on. Not as your identity, and not as a horrible thing that you just have to get through. So often, I fell into the trap of trying to numb the hard parts of being single with endlessly searching for anything that would make it easy. Trying to use advice and words as a pillow between myself and reality, just having all of the answers and knowing all of the things instead of messily living.
But being single isn’t easy. Being in a relationship isn’t easy. Marriage isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy.
And really, the only cure to it all is just to live. You weren’t created to know all the answers, you were created to trust that your Father has a plan. He’s doing the heavy lifting, so you get to just be a kid running through the fields and chasing butterflies.
For real. It can be simple.
So we can say: “This is my season, my Father is here, and it is good.”
Sometimes we believe that there’s still work to be done in us, that we’re not okay, if we’re not dating someone yet. “The moment that you’re content is the moment that he comes!” I’ve heard it a thousand times.
Well I will be the first person to testify to the reality that I was content for a long time before I started dating. I was doing my thing, and I’m still doing my thing. At the same time, there’s still so much messiness in my heart that needs to be worked through. It hasn’t magically gone away now that I’m in a relationship.
His timeline is different, friends. It’s so different, and what He’s doing in your heart right now– it’s big and beautiful and wonderful, but you probably won’t realize the extent of it until years later. So you just have to trust. That you’re good, that He’s good.
I’m not going to romanticize singlehood and I need you to not romanticize dating. Both are hard, both bring out greatness, and both are full of grace. If we’re going to look at each other with envy and wish away what we have, all that we’ll have left is a Church filled with discontented women who are not living in the fullness of their season. We cannot afford to not live in the fullness of whatever season He’s leading us through.
If we’re not fully here, we cannot fully experience the power that He has for us. This world needs us to live in the power of what He’s offering us right now.
He’s not punishing you and He’s not withholding from you.
The reality is: we’re at a stream. You’re at a stream. And the water isn’t stagnant, it’s flowing. But you’re called to stay right where you’re at in your part of the stream, right where He’s placed you, and don’t worry that the water at the top of the stream hasn’t reached you yet. It’s not that He’s withholding, it’s that it’s not time for that water yet. Not only that, but there’s other water that’s already here.
It’s like this: Niagara Falls. So much water. It can’t all cascade down at the same time; there’s a process of it all reaching the bottom.
So He’s not leaving you without, even as you long. There will always be longing, so the season of singlehood is a great time to make friends with it. Not find your identity within it, but not let it destroy you.
At the end of the day, you can have all the conversations that you want and receive all of the advice in the world, but you have to make the decision to merely be in this space that He is calling you to be in. No safety nets. Just diving in headfirst.
It hurts and it sometimes it’s messy and then, sometimes, it’s perfect, and you’re completely fine if this moment was all that there was. Either way: your story is unique. Your story is unique and it’s good and the Lord has more for you.
So don’t be afraid to long, to desire. But don’t be longing and desiring so much that you forget the gift that He’s giving right now. He’s building something bigger.
And I get it– those are nice words, but it doesn’t change the reality that this guy or whatever isn’t here yet. And does he ever come?
Your waiting is oriented towards an end. But also, you’re not made for the waiting room.
This isn’t forever, so keep moving. Keep dreaming. Keep discovering. The times that I have been the most confused or unsettled have given birth to the biggest dreams of my heart. Seriously, if you’re having trouble being where you’re at, go talk to Jesus and write down what you desire. Maybe that encompasses relationship, but let it be more than that. What are you passionate about? What do you want for this world?
Cut anything out that you’re settling in. Be honest, be bold in your friendships now, because if you learn to use your voice and communicate well, it will seriously enable you to build an incredible foundation of a relationship. But beyond that, it will enable you to build an incredible foundation for life.
And please, dear heart, don’t be bitter. The goodness happening in other people’s lives does not have to be a threat to your own.
I’m not cautious about sharing the joys of being in a relationship, because, honestly, it’s such a testament to the Father’s faithfulness.
For years, I got to see so many friends be pursued and pursue and dive into incredible, beautiful, hard relationships. And early on, I made a choice, that I was going to get excited about love. Regardless of what was going on in my life, I chose to see good, holy men as proof of the Father’s promise that He wasn’t going to let me down. I chose to see healthy relationships as a promise of what was to come for me, as well as an opportunity to get excited that people I know and love are pursuing holiness together and going to change the world.
I got to see His faithfulness in the lives of my friends, and rejoice. And celebrate. Because we worship a good God, who is the same in all of our lives. He has goodness for all of us.
Not all the good men are gone. Just because I’m dating one, or whomever is dating one, doesn’t mean that there’s one less for you. The goodness that is happening in the lives of those around you does not jeopardize your chances of happiness, of the fulfillment of desire.
You know why?
Because God isn’t on an economy plan, and He has a plan for your life. There’s not a certain amount of goodness for people that needs to be distributed. No. He’s the God of ABUNDANCE, and He has endless, infinite goodness and blessing for you.
You don’t need a whole group of men to pick from anyway, because if you’re called to marriage, then there’s one man who He is fashioning after His own heart. And you get to start believing in him now, even before you’re dating him. You get to pray for him, and you get to become the fullness of who you are created to be as one deliberately fashioned in the image of Love Himself.
So right now: maybe don’t read any more things about being single. Maybe even give up talking about it with your girlfriends for a little while.
Experience beauty. Trust in His goodness. Rejoice in His faithfulness. There is more, and it’s here now.