I am a non-romantically affiliated 29 year old female.
To put in our 2016 colloquial terms: I am single.
And that knowledge–no, that piece of information– tends to elicit a certain response from people I meet and people I already know. I will spare you the direct quotes because most of us have heard them before, for one, and I don’t want to discredit the intention behind those people who say them, for another.
Because it tends to be a point of conversation that does bring an unusually passionate response from some, I have thought a lot about why this is the case.
I do think that our culture puts a very high priority on being matched with another person, and I can see why … because there is a somewhat magical component, sort of a synergistic, supernatural feeling, and I think that those who’ve experienced it have a strong desire to want that for others.
I have been committing my life to things that I’m really passionate about for several years now, and I have learned several things about what it’s like to be single and serving God, which I would like to talk about just for a moment.
I have no doubt that I am more committed to my calling right now as a single person than I would be if I was married. And I don’t think this is the case for everyone.
I once heard a quote “only speak if you can improve on silence,” which is kind of how I feel now about being in relationship.
You know, I’ve seen a lot of relationships — especially in my career as a social worker, but also in my personal life — and there are some that are truly inspiring. Some people really do bring out the best in each other and lead each other closer to their own individual calling, and I see that and think it’s beautiful. That is the kind of relationship that improves on singleness.
On the flipside, I’ve also seen relationships that are destructive, in which one or both of the parties end up settling for less than what they deserve. I think that being a single female in my late twenties has given me a lot of perspective on this, as I’ve seen my friends who are romantically involved fall into one of those two categories and everywhere in between.
I’ve seen relationships that are incredible, inspiring, beautiful … clearly containing that supernatural piece that people long for.
I’ve also seen couples in which I look at them and I feel a great deal of sadness or disappointment, or I can tell that they’ve resigned themselves to being in that relationship, because even a relationship that is not fulfilling is better than being alone. And it does not improve on singleness.
I’ve been lonely as a single person, absolutely. And I’ve seen people in marriages that are also lonely, while living in the same house as the person they’re married to.
THAT loneliness, to me, is far more tragic.
When I consider the amount of time and effort that I’m able to dedicate to my calling — specifically, at this point, to find homes for foster children and to work with crisis patients at a local hospital — I know for a fact that if I was in a place where I had to surrender that calling in order to be in a relationship, I could not do it.
Because I know for a fact that this was why I was made.
I was made with great love and for a great purpose.
I am sure that at some day I will be asked to have a different purpose, and I don’t know what that would look like.
But, for now, it’s like running a race. In scripture it says that I am to run as if I were running to gain a prize. So I run as if I have the baton and there’s someone that I am running to catch up with, so I can pass the baton and win the race.
If I am to run a race — and I AM — I am to be looking ahead to what really matters, which is eternity.
I am willing to run alongside someone who is also running towards eternity, but my biggest regret of my life would be to slow down or stop altogether, or to run AWAY from the finish line. I run towards Christ, I run towards heaven, I run towards eternity.
And I consider that to be an uncommon race in this society that I live in. I feel it. I do feel that I am running a different race in a different direction than the majority of people around me. So, there aren’t many options of a partner to run alongside me, but I KNOW that I am supposed to be running this race, there is not a doubt in my mind.
Could I be strengthened and encouraged by somebody who was also running the race? Absolutely. What if, in one moment, I looked over and suddenly saw that I was running next to another in the same direction, towards eternity. That could change my life.
That could spur me to run an even better race, make me stronger, build my courage, and create companionship.
I would like to do that, yes.
But if that does not present itself, it will not hinder my step. And I’ll run alone.
And I do not see that as a flaw. I don’t.
I don’t see how anyone could. Because regardless of all of that, when the race is run, and when I’ve reached eternity, I am going to see the One that I have run towards and longed for, and I want to hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That is what matters to me. That is my goal, that is my life. And the One who has called me is faithful, and He will continue to be faithful if I run alone or if I run in tandem with another person.
Regardless, He is strong and I believe.
So, I pray for courage and strength for women who are “single.” I pray for strength of character, determination, and an unwillingness to allow THAT to define any part of who we are.
I pray against discontentment, bitterness, resentment, or comparison.
All of those things would serve to rob us of the joy that has been placed within us, and the joy that has been placed before us.
The joy that is continually renewed by living the purpose that we have been given.
I would pray against misunderstandings or assumptions from those around us, that our lives should look like anyone else’s. God writes a unique story for each person, and mine looks different than yours.
I really, really love my life.
I don’t think I’m missing out on anything because of my relationship status.
I am grateful for this life and I will run the race marked out for me.
Happy Valentines Day!