I absolutely love being single. I’m newly 30 and have been single more than not. Being single has afforded me so many things. My cute home, awesome roommate, large vibrant community, growing freelance career and hobbies, time to read and spend quality time with family friends and plenty of capacity to serve at church.
For me, it is a real gift. But if you’re anything like me, or your journey has been anything like mine, it has taken me ages to get to this place of joy.
Ages of being sad and ashamed of being single. Ages to unlearn the subtle lies the church and culture taught me. Ages to allow God to use the process of singleness to teach me, refine me, mature me, and teach me so many lessons along the way. Here are some of the greatest lessons “singleness” has taught me, that I WISH church would have mentioned along the way…
- Life is not about getting married.
Conservative Christian culture has taught me some great things. They’ve taught me to seek a godly spouse, to set boundaries for dating even before I was old enough to date, and to guard my heart for that special someone.
But with the laser focus they’ve set on marriage and dating along with the vast programs and ministries focused on “families” – there’s a subtle message of “We’re glad you’re here, but you’re really more valuable if you’re married with kids”. And this sinks in deep. It’s in every “Are you dating yet?” question asked and every lonely church service without a ministry for our stage of life.
What I wished church would’ve taught instead of all of those messages on dating and marriage is: Your life is valuable now. You are created to love God and love yourself, and from that love, love others. That’s it. Love.
Right now your life has infinite meaning and value when you live aware of this. You can love God in every breath and moment. Get to know Him: who He is, how He loves you, that He’s with you, and that He has your best interest in mind!
Then get to know the amazing person He’s made you to be. What are your passions? What do you love to do? What is yours to make and do in this world?
And then, go love people. Love those you pass along the way, and seek out people who need to feel valuable. Be the Love that you yourself need deeply. The amazing thing about living from Love is there is always meaning. You will never feel depleted because Love does not run out and is constantly your purpose.
- Dating is not a pursuit to find the “perfect one”.
I think there’s a TON of pressure on us to “find the one”. As Debra Fileta posted recently “you don’t find the one — you choose the one”. Even though you might know this, I’m going to guess you also feel a ton of pressure to just know if someone is right for you even before you have coffee.
Here’s what I think the truth is: Dating isn’t a game that you need to figure out in advance.
Same with life. It’s a process of being and learning. If someone asks you out and your semi curious: go! Show them dignity. Learn about yourself and what lifts you up and makes you more of yourself and what detracts. Each date does not need to be “the one”. It’s a learning journey. Every date and relationship makes you you. Just like every friendship. And if done well with respect and lightheartedness can be a fun process of building people up and finding what qualities of a person you can love and serve God better with than without.
- We are not meant to live happily ever after. We are meant to live NOW.
This moment right now is rich with the presence of God. Yahweh. The I AM.
He is present HERE as much as He is present in your future. You are not created to wait for some future day with some future someone until your life begins. HERE, this present, is truly all you have and it is saturated with worth. Once you discover this moment has as much meaning as the next and the next, the more you will be able to find beauty, joy, and worth in yourself and even the Divine in it. Breathe a sigh of relief and smile knowing God is in this and this moment is awesome. Not easy perhaps, but certainly life-changing.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it’s a start to this important conversation. Single, if your reading this and in your spirit you feel a deep sadness for “still being single” or you keep questioning “if it will ever happen”, may this post awaken in you a new way of seeing those phrases in your mind.
Life is not about marriage. You’re not lacking anything. You just are. And who and where you are is full of meaning! The end of a single season is going to be no more valuable then this time. You aren’t waiting for love because Love is right here. It is waiting for you to see.
Because I’ve been there too, I know that sometimes this stuff is hard to believe. It is. These cultural messages are deep. So be patient with your heart. Remind yourself every time one of your old mental tapes plays questioning the value of your moment or the character of God. God is good. You are loved. May you live free of the burden of waiting for your life to start and instead, live life now.
Rachel is a graphic designer and loves living in Lancaster, PA. She thoroughly enjoys using this single season to spend time with family and friends, inspire people through teaching fitness classes, have fun growing her design skills, blogging on her own website, being involved at church, and making her home inviting. Her downtime is filled with discovering excellent new music, being active, cooking, reading, gardening, going to concerts, her cute cat Ellie, day-tripping, doing life with her roommate, and the exploring the art, music, and dining scene in her little city.