“So are you married? Do you have kids?”
“Nope. I’m single. It’s just me.”
Insert awkward pause here.
Then… “Don’t worry. I’m sure God will bring someone at exactly the right time.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll bet you meet someone soon. Just be patient.”
“Really? You’re not even dating anyone? But you’re such a great person!”
I have had these conversations more times than I can count. The admission that I’m single and childless is always, always met with silence, then mumbled sympathies like the ones above, and then the questioner quickly moves on to talk to someone else.
Being a “career single” separates me from many women my age-that’s just the hard truth of life. Most thirty-eight year old women have husbands and children so it stands to reason that their interests, hobbies, and priorities are going to flow out from that. Since the single life is radically different, there is going to be little common ground.
Married women, particularly older married women, often seem to view me as an aberration- something outside the norm, unusual. Unwelcome even.
In other words, I’m nothing like them.
I understand that, and I don’t usually mind. Usually. Understanding something doesn’t mean it’s always easy, though. Let’s face it- being single in a paired-up world can be tough.
Because it’s difficult and because single women are treated like outsiders, this naturally leads to wanting and hoping for something different. The popular language of our day encourages us to view being single as “waiting.”
We are waiting for God to bring us spouses.
We are waiting for “our moment.”
We are waiting for grown-up life to start.
We are waiting for our happily ever after.
In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the narrator talks about The Waiting Place. Everyone in there is waiting for… something. They’re all just waiting. But then the narrator goes on to say, “No, that’s not for you!”
Friends, that’s not for you. Do not fall into the trap of “waiting” for your real life to begin while you endure the seemingly temporary calling of singleness.
I wasted most of my twenties with this very real mindset- that I was waiting for marriage so my real life could begin. I cringe now to think about how many opportunities I missed.
Get out of the waiting place!
I want to completely flip the tables and encourage you to look at singleness from a very different perspective: God’s perspective.
As a Christian woman, my thinking should not be shaped by the world, my circumstances, or the people around me. Instead, I need to consistently turn to the Bible and let God do the shaping through His Word. There is so much hope and encouragement to be found there.
What does God have to say about the single life?
Hint: The word waiting doesn’t come up!
While the Bible does have a few verses that specifically address the unique roles of singles, I want to turn your focus to a passage that provides directives for everyone’s lives:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.– Thessalonians 5:16-18
I love these verses! They are both an encouragement and a rebuke. They also give us a completely different lens through which to view our single lives. According to these verses we can…
- Rejoice– We should celebrate the fact that we’re single. If we are rejoicing, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for comparison. Choosing to rejoice turns our thoughts toward God and all of the blessings He has given us.
- Pray– God cares about bad day or when someone unintentionally says something cruel about being single. He wants us to take our fears, cares, and worries to Him. We can look to the Lord to direct our lives.
- Be thankful for everything– Even singleness is included in that mandate. There are so many great aspects to being single- freedom, independence, flexibility- we need to focus on those and find ways to be thankful.
- Rest in the promise that this is God’s will– That is one of the greatest promises for us to cling to, so I’m going to say it again: Being single is God’s will for me. It’s God’s will for you. If we can grab hold of that truth and believe it with all our hearts then it will completely change the way we view our lives.
Stop waiting and start celebrating!
Women frequently view singleness as something to be endured, to be “gotten through” until the true joy of marriage is finally attained. This message is pounded in girls’ heads from youth. But this thinking is toxic and should not have a place in Christian circles. Rather, we ought to be teaching the truth of these verses in I Thessalonians: God’s will is different for each person, but it’s always good and we can all rejoice.
Friends, I encourage you to cast off the mindset that we are “waiting” until something better comes along- namely that God will finally send us a man. Instead, rest in the truth that you are living exactly where God wants you to be. Don’t put your life on hold hoping for something better to come along. Instead, celebrate life right where you are.
This week I’m thankful that being single is God’s plan for me. I don’t have to fret, worry, or feel like a failure. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!