A few weeks ago, a friend and I went out to dinner. It was our first time going out since before quarantine started, so to be in a restaurant surrounded by actual people was extremely exciting. Now, I talk to this friend almost every day, we are thoroughly caught up on each other’s lives, in fact we probably know too much about each other, but nonetheless she asked me a question I never had to answer before even though it’s something I deal with every day.
“What’s the one thing you wished married people would know about single people?”
Wow, I mean you would think I would be prepared for that, but I was not. After stuttering through a few stall tactics, I tried to combine my thoughts into something understandable. I wanted to be honest, but trying to summarize what is wrong with a whole stigma isn’t easy. Plus this friend is newly single after a very long term relationship. Out of the two of us, I’m supposed to be the expert in the “being single” field. Right?!
The answer I came up with was something along the lines of this: Not every single person is longing to get married, but some are. Not every single person is constantly looking for a relationship, but some are. Not every single person feels defined by their singleness, but some do. We are all on distinctive journeys and look at being single differently.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized we can’t possibly summarize an entire group of people into one thought. It would be the same as asking me what all tall people want short people to know or what every extrovert wants introverts to know.
Being single is only one part of what make me unique, it doesn’t even come close to defining who I am.
I think if you were to have asked me ten years ago where I saw my life, I never in a million years would have said where I am today. In my perfect plan right out of high school I thought I would go off to college, get a degree, find a husband, get a cute condo in the city, find a job and start climbing that corporate ladder. Instead, I am now the proud owner of a small business, I live at home with my parents in the same house I grew up in, and I’m still living the life of a solo traveler– “The best laid plans” and all that.
I grew up in a church and school that supported the “perfect plan” mentioned above. It was generally accepted that you would find your future spouse at college, get married and have 2.5 kids. Nothing was ever mentioned about what happens when that doesn’t happen, when that “perfect plan” doesn’t work, and that’s a shame. We were taught to start building our identity around a relationship, get our confidence from others, and make future plans all around a person who may not ever come into our lives.
Singleness is a label, but it’s not a definition.
Too often we look at this time of life as something to “get through.” We think that our life won’t start until we get married, and we need to stop this. Because of God’s role in our lives we are complete in Him and only Him.
No additional ingredients needed!
So instead of wishing this part of life away, I’ve started to embrace the blessings that come with it. Like how I get to travel the world with friends, or even *gasp* BY MYSELF (whoa, I know strange concept!) without having to worry about a spouses schedule, or how I get to be a bigger part of my niece and nephew’s lives than I would be if I had my own spouse or kids at home, or the friendships I’ve made and sustained through this time of life that have only been made sweeter because I’m single.
If we look to a relationship to give us joy or confidence or if we root our identity in our relationship status, we will ultimately be disappointed. Only God can provide us with those qualities, and you’ll find that the deeper you dive into God, the more He will fulfill and sustain you. He will be with you in every season of life – how awesome is that?!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
God doesn’t define us by our singleness, but he does prepare us for it. Let’s try to be more like the tree Jeremiah was writing about. Ground your life in God and be confident in Him. When we look to Him to find our identity, our confidence, and our joy we will be fulfilled no matter what season of life we’re going through.