Q: I’m in my mid-thirties and have lost all hope in ever finding love. I’ve never had much luck in the dating department, and with each passing year, I get more and more discouraged. How can I keep believing for something that I- and everyone else around me- thinks will never happen? -Brittany
A: It seems easier to trust God when you’re single and still in your 20s. You are hopeful, patient (well…sometimes), and even excited to see what lies ahead when it comes to relationships and finding love.
But doesn’t it seem like something happens when you turn 30 that sabotages your hope?
There was a funny video going around YouTube where two girls sing about their singleness. One is 29 and the other is 31, and in just a couple short years, their attitudes about their singleness drastically change…
Because….Thirty!! All of a sudden the reality hits that life hasn’t turned out like you planned. You thought you’d be married by now, with a couple kids in tow. It may even seem like all your friends are reaching those desired milestones: getting married, having children, starting their families. Everywhere you look, from church pews to your Facebook news-feed, you seem to be faced with the nagging reminder of what you don’t yet have.
Being single in your 30s is hard, because for most of you, it isn’t what you had planned. For some, “love” has come and gone and your heart has been severely broken. For others, love has yet to come along. It can be hard to keep hoping and believing like you did in the decade that passed. Here are some things to remember when you’re single in your 30s.
1. Keep Trusting- Even When You Don’t Believe: Trusting God can be really hard when things don’t make sense, but to be honest, that is the very definition of trust. It’s believing what we can’t see, not what we can. If you’re struggling with this stage of life, it’s okay. But more than anything, don’t allow your struggle to pull you away from God, instead use it to push you closer to Him. Oftentimes in my life, I’ve had to come to God in the middle of my darkness and cry out “Lord, I don’t believe…help my unbelief.” God honors your heart, and understands your humanity. He will give you what you need for today.
2. Don’t Buy Into the Lies: It’s easy to start thinking crazy when we are trying to “figure out” why life didn’t turn out as we planned. We can start to over-analyze everything and end up frustrated and discouraged. There are so many lies that we might be tempted to start believing about singleness (such as “Something must be wrong with me….[read more here]) but these degrading lies are straight from the pit of hell, because they are meant for our destruction. Avoid the mental traps of blaming yourself, blaming God, and blaming others- and instead fill your mind with the truth of God’s promises. If you are walking with Jesus than you are right where you’re supposed to be. Trust His words, because they are the only things in life that are guaranteed to stand the test of time.
3. Become “Un-Independent”: We live in a culture that totally OVER-values independence. We want to do everything on our own, without having a need for others. We spend so much of our 30s managing our own money, building our own careers, and taking control of our own lives. But the attitude of total independence goes against the very core of who we are made to be, because we are made in the image of a God who wants to be in relationship. We, likewise, are made to connect with others. There’s a huge difference between being dependent (needing others to complete us) and interdependent (inviting others into our lives).
We need community, not because people complete us, but because God gave us people to edify us, help us, encourage us, and sharpen us. Rather than allowing your time of singleness to lead to isolation, be deliberate about entering into the lives of others and inviting them into yours. Plan coffee dates and movie nights; attend bible studies and small groups; take art classes and ballroom dance….and surround yourself with people who hope and believe for the same things you are hoping and believing for. It’s more than okay to long for a significant other…but don’t forget to surround yourself with “significant OTHERS” (mentors and friends) while you wait.
4. Remember, God’s Plan is always Good: My favorite quote reminds me that “If you knew what God knows, you would have chosen what He’s planned”. God’s plan is always good. Not only that, it’s always best. I’m not sure how long it will take us as human beings to get that straight, but from what I’ve experienced in my life, God has been willing to prove himself over and over again to me. His plan has always been so much better than mine, even when I didn’t believe it would be. From the blessings of my career and family, and all the way to through my pit of depression and family crisis…God has always been there, and everything has been working together for my good. For those who love God, we can always count on the truth that God has our best interest in mind. He hasn’t forgotten you, not for a moment, and greater yet, He’s never left your side. He cares about you and He cares about your love life. Trust Him on this journey, and open your heart to what He has in store for you today. It’s always, always, always going to be good.
My prayer for you is that God would give you the strength you need to trust Him, that He would fill you with hope, and that your life would be rich with the relationships He’s given you right here and right now.
For some major encouragement, check out my friend Alison’s incredible story: I Didn’t Get Married in My 20s, and Here’s What I Learned or check out A Guide to Singleness: For Your 20s or A Guide to Singleness: For Your 40s+
*This post is a modified version from an earlier post that appeared in 2014. Thanks for tuning into the Q&A series!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!