Okay, today I'm writing a post about singleness. And I've been reluctant to write this post because there are already so many other blogs that have already written about this topic and are much more eloquent than I will be. But I also know that I am not the only single gal out here on the net so I'm going to share a little of what is on my heart today.
I'm single. Some days that really doesn't bother me. At all. And then some days it really bothers me.
On the days it bothers me to be single, seemingly anything will trigger the pains of loneliness and sadness. Things like remembering my old friends and how most are married or live far away, teaching kids music lessons and wishing I had one of my own to teach, wanting to go see a new movie but not wanting to go alone, seeing a gorgeous sunset but not having anyone to watch it with, wanting to go hiking, or to the beach, or on a road trip but having no traveling buddy, etc., etc.
Some days being single hits me hard. Days like when I see my parents getting older and how their relationship is only growing stronger. How I have wished to have that myself. Days like when I meet a college student I really like but I can't have a relationship with him because I'm a professor. Days like when fellow colleagues bring their babies to faculty meetings and ask if I want to hold them. And then there are days when I learn that some people with a husband and children are exactly my age. Yeah. Those are the days it hurts. Reeeeeeally bad.
I think I have only been in love once my entire life. Obviously, it didn't work out. I use to believe that there was only one person out there in the big world just for me. I don't believe that anymore. I use to believe that men pursued women. I definitely don't believe that anymore. I use to believe that if I was good enough, prayed hard enough, and took care of myself then I would catch the eye of a wonderful guy. Yup, you guessed it. I don't believe any of that anymore either.
Have you noticed that I'm being brutally honest here? I promise this post will get better. Really. But before that happens I wanted to share a few things that married people have done to me, although well-intentioned, that really just didn't help. My hope is that the following things don't happen to other singles.
In the past I have been told many times that being single is just for a season. Meaning that I will eventually get married like they did. People have literally told me that.
Please, don't say that to singles. I'm serious. Don't say that. Why? Because there is no way anyone can know whether a person who is single will ever get married. Instead, encourage singles to stay close to the Lord and to find their strength in Him. Even better, pray with them about their single status and ask God to bless them so that no matter what happens they might endure in a manner that honors Him.
I have been the target of match-makers. If you want to try match-making that's fine. Personally, I'm always open to meeting new people. But please don't try to set up your single friends with people who you yourself would never consider. People who are divorced, or have nothing in common with your single friend(s) is generally not a great idea.
And its better not to set singles up with other singles who are twenty years their senior. I have had people try to set me up with men who were both divorced and old enough to be my father. But, I was told, they have a great personality!
And then there is the issue of setting up your single friends with handsome, eligible men who are not US citizens yet. Yeah. Don't do that. Ever.
Okay. I'm off my soap box now. Time for some positive thoughts.
I said earlier I don't believe that there is only one person for anyone. This is because I now believe God gives us choices. I think there could be many guys that would be right for a gal. Of course there are some things that are a solid must, such as having the same faith. The Bible is very clear about not being unequally yoked. But beyond that there is great freedom to choose.
Now the issue of men not pursuing women is sadly very common today. Perhaps there are still places in the world where this still happens. I would like to believe that. But even in Christian colleges I have witnessed that it is the women who pursue the guys. What is up with that?! I, personally, will not consider a guy who doesn't have the courage to pursue me. Because how can I know he will have the strength to be the leader of our home? I certainly don't want to "wear the pants" in our marriage.
Now I'm not saying that its a bad idea to flirt or let a guy know you are interested in him. Flirt away! Let him know! But don't go overboard. I have a lot to say about many of the tactics women use today. But I think I'll save that for another post. :)
I use to think if I were good enough, prayed hard enough, and took care of myself that I would catch the eye of a nice guy and get married. Well, God had to help me grasp a more mature understanding about relationships and about myself. Trying to be "good enough" is a dangerous mentality. It means that I'm comparing myself to others or to an ideal of myself that is impossible to reach. Its bad. So I've stopped doing it, by God's grace!
I still pray for a husband but my prayers are more along the lines of if it is God's will. Although I would love to have kids of my own I realize I'm getting older (in my 30s) and that it may not happen. But God has been showing me that marriage isn't just for procreation. Marriage is to help another person serve God better with your help than if they were by themselves. Marriage is hard work. It means compromising, dying to self, and suffering.
And getting married just to avoid feeling lonely or misunderstood is a bad idea because you will still experience those things. Getting married because you believe your spouse will be the source of your happiness or self-worth is also a very bad idea. No human being can be those things for you. Only God can fill those deep aches in your soul.
Now taking care of myself is a good idea regardless of my marriage status. How can I serve others if I don't care for my body, or my finances, or my reputation? I think it honors God when we take care of ourselves and become responsible for our own futures. Get an education in something. Be able to support yourself. If you have emotional, psychological, or physical issues that need attention then please get the help you need! That isn't being selfish or self-absorbed and you should never feel embarrassed to get help if you need it. Doing so is healthy and responsible.
But ultimately I am learning as a single that, yes life is difficult. But God is willing and perfectly capable of being my strength. And yes, as a single woman I have to be more careful than a single man. But God will be my shield, my rock, and my defender. And yes I get very lonely and sad. But God knew me before I was born and has called me by name. He will be my best friend, my counselor, my husband, and my savior.
If you are single I feel your pain. I truly understand the difficult days and tortuous emotions. There really isn't anything I or anyone can say to ease the loneliness. I know. But spending time in the Bible, particularly in Psalms and Isaiah, has encouraged me many times. Reading and studying the lives of women in the Bible and seeing their struggles... it encourages me.
Listen, I know there are times when it seems God is far away or that He doesn't hear our prayers. But those are just feelings. He is so close to the broken-hearted!
" The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18
He promises to be with us through everything in life!
"... And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20
Please remember that as a Christian there is always hope! God is able to do over and beyond anything we could ever hope or imagine!
" ... No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." I Corinthians 2:9