The following is a guest post by my behind-the-scenes helper at truelovedates.com, Molly Jasinski. This is a post she shared with me about the important lessons she’s learned during this time in her life. I thought it was worth sharing. Please give it a read, and leave her some feedback!
I’ve never turned down a date. Because I’ve never been asked out on one.
This is something very few people know about me. It’s a fact I have kept hidden up to this point, be it out of embarrassment or shame or just in an attempt to avoid awkward questions.
But it’s true. No boyfriend, ever. And I’m almost 26. (You can insert an “ouch” here if you so desire.)
There have definitely been times where it hurts. It hurts to go to those holiday parties where everyone brings a significant other except you. It hurts when people basically pat you on the head and say unhelpful things, such as “It’ll happen when you’re not looking.” It hurts when you see yet ANOTHER engagement photo on Facebook.
For a good number of years I had a “woe is me” attitude. Heaps and heaps of self-pity and loathing, wondering what was wrong with me and what should I fix. But it hurts most in those moments where you have too much alone time, too much time to think. In those moments, the loneliness can just ache, and you start to wonder if that ache will ever go away. I had a PLAN of what my life was supposed to look like when I was 24, and nothing has happened the way I had imagined.
I’d be completely lying if I tried to say, “Oh, it’s never been that much of an issue” or “Oh, I’m just interested in dating Jesus.” One of those answers is false, and one is just weird.
But when I think about my time as a single person, I realize there are three particular lessons God has taught me through this period of waiting:
1. God’s plans are better than mine. One verse I’ve often clung to is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Notice how it does not say “plans for your future which has to include a husband or you’ll never meet your life’s purpose.” Yet for years (and still occasionally on a day-to-day basis), I would unconsciously contort or add that part in my mind.
But lately I’’ve been given so much clarity and peace from God about my years of singleness. I can now see that a dating relationship earlier in my life wouldn’t have been right timing. I had a lot of growing up to do as I figured out who I was as an individual. I am so much more comfortable with myself now at 25 than I was at 16, 18, or even 24. I moved around a lot in my early 20s, first for college and then for different internships and jobs. Those experiences forced me to branch out, meet new people, and try different things. I became a more confident, fun-loving, adventurous person because I forced myself to live life beyond my initial dreams, and none of that would have happened if I would have just followed my plan for my life.
2. There is a joy in being single. I know, it sure doesn’t feel like it at times. Let me explain: I observe my married friends all the time. Yes, they get to enjoy an awesome relationship, romantic dates, life dreams, and all that jazz, but they also have to rely on each other, make decisions together, and occasionally disagree passionately with each other. When you’re single, you and you alone call the shots. If I want to go on a vacation, I go. If I want to go buy something, I can buy it. You get the idea. There’s also a lot more time for my personal relationship with God–I don’t have to consider someone else’s schedule when it comes to my quiet time with God, going to my Bible study, or even my commitment to my church’s children’s ministry. There’s a significant freedom in being single that is often overlooked and under-enjoyed.
3. God cares, really. It’s easy to take our eyes off God when the sadness creeps in and threatens to steal the joy in life. Whether it’s because of a lack of a love life or something else, those times can cause you to become discouraged and wonder where God is. But Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I’ve experienced this more times than I can count, but I definitely experienced this when I moved 1,500 miles away from home (and my family) for a new job. I didn’t know anyone and had never been to my new city before I moved. I was terrified of leaving my family and being all alone, even though God had shown me this was what He wanted for me. But He didn’t leave me on my own–He provided me a great roommate through my new church, and she in turn introduced me to her Bible study, which provided me a family away from family for two years. He is always near, always constant, always loving, even when we don’t see it initially.
I’ve learned a lot from being single. Through all these lessons, I can confidently say that I am looking forward to 2014. Whether this new year brings me a boyfriend at long last or not, I know He holds the future in His hands, and that knowledge gives me hope and peace. If you’re in a similar situation, hang in there, trust in Him, and know that you’re not alone! Let’s make 2014 our year for big things and wholeheartedly following Him.
Molly Jasinski is passionate about a lot of things, including serving Jesus, helping with behind-the-scenes work on TrueLoveDates.com, spending time with family and friends, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers. You can follow her stream-of-consciousness thoughts on her personal blog or Twitter.