Singleness is a gift. Marriage is a gift. We are all a part of the same church. We may be in different seasons, but it doesn’t take away from the value of either.
As a single young adult, without any prospects on the line, I have learned how to brush aside a plethora of questions from family members and friends.
“You are so pretty, I am surprised that there isn’t a ring on your finger.” “Are you dating anyone, sweetheart?” “You got asked to be a bridesmaid? How many weddings is that for you?” “You should come out with us tomorrow, and guess what, his best friend is single.”
With a smile spread across my face, accompanied by nonchalant laughter, I remind them that I pursued a Bachelor’s degree and not a bachelor.
Putting all humor aside, I am not here with a bitter chip on my shoulder. Quite the contrary, in fact. I am more than content with my relationship status, and I have found that this season of singleness is a wonderful gift that I have(and will continue) to cherish until I meet someone who catches my heart enough to give up such a treasure.
I am here to say ,to both the single men and women, that it is okay to be single. Our culture, the American culture, the Christian culture, etc. places so much pressure on finding the “One”, your prince or princess, your happily ever after, that I think we’ve missed something. For certain, the mass media’s agenda is sending a message to society that has left many of us searching in all of the wrong places.
And, I am also here to say, to the married men and women, that it is okay to hang out with your single friends. We learn, grow, love and value the time that we get to spend with you, although we do understand the need to spend time with other married couples and navigate this new(or ongoing celebratory) chapter in your life.
Now, for all of us, we must understand that life doesn’t begin when you get married. Another person won’t complete you. And, joy will not be found in holding your spouse’s hand as you walk down the aisle to forever.
My life has definitely already begun. I am already complete. And, I’ve found the greatest joy of all. And, before you skip through the next paragraphs because you already see where this blog post is going, I want you to understand that life hasn’t been easy(that’s a given for us all, if you’ve lived for more than a decade). In fact, lately, it’s been one of the most difficult seasons. Instead of handing us fake diplomas at graduation, they should have handed us a list of the top ten things to expect during the post-grad frantic, loans piling over our heads, unemployed life.
Instead, this is a raw, vulnerable post about what it means to feel out of place and find that you are in fact, without a doubt, right where you belong. This is about what it means to truly discover the simple pursuit of Jesus. In this season of the unknown, in this time of being independent and on my own, I have had to really dig and search my heart. I have spent days in the trenches, walking and seeking and searching for answers. I have watched as friends are getting engaged, married and starting their lives with their new families. And, I, single, with a Bachelor’s degree to my name, living in a city far from home and thousands of miles from my family, am learning that it’s okay.
It’s okay not to desire a relationship right now. It’s okay to want to travel the world by yourself as a single young adult. Single person, it’s okay to be fully involved in ministry right where you are at, it’s okay to follow the dreams that God has placed in your heart, it’s okay to have a burden for a city and feel led to do things out of your comfort zone, it’s okay to pursue a career and support yourself on your own. Because, the person you need, the one who is going to share, carry, and support your vision all the way has been with you since before you took your first breath in this crazy little world. And, He’s the one who breathed that very vision into your bones. He created you uniquely and has a divine purpose for this time and place that you are in.
Jesus has beckoned me into a deeper intimacy with Him. He is beckoning each of us to spend more time being concerned about becoming His disciple than worrying about how to please our social networks.
Over the past several months, God has shown me that it can be easy to get comfortable wherever we are at, and that sometimes, He takes us out of the familiar places so that we can learn how to trust Him more. He takes us out of our comfort zone to stretch us and equip us for the journey ahead. And, additionally, He has made me understand that it can be easy to fulfill His love with so many other pursuits(because in our culture today, there are so many pursuits that go beyond the list of just a relationship)…career, sports, fitness achievement, education, fill in the blank. Ultimately, our identity is found in none of these things.
To my single(and even non-single friend) who is reading this today, I pray that you and I both find the bread of life: the eternal joy that never runs dry. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are thirsty, and you shall never thirst again.” Are you thirsty today?
Do I desire to be in a relationship and one day enjoy God’s wonderful gift of matrimony? A million times, yes. 6 months or 6 years from now, time is not the concern. Rather, I pray that my heart and your heart is in the right place. I pray that we have every good intention to do the work of the One who created us. If God is to call me to live far from my family, if I am to be a home or foreign missionary, if I am to live overseas, if I am to be single for the rest of my life, so be it. I desire marriage just as much as the person to my right and left, but above all else, I desire to be known and to know God. In the Bible, the connotation for “know” is “to be intimate.” And, in this state of being known by God, I desire to be in His plan, even if it means feeling out of place, out of the conversations happening around me, or out of the physical places that were once familiar to me.
Seek first the Kingdom of God. The kingdom is the poor, the oppressed, the lost, the broken, and the sick.
Single(and non-single friend), I add myself to this address, may we never lose sight of what we were created for. We were created to be in a relationship with God,first and foremost above all else. Once the ring is on your finger, that absolute truth doesn’t change. And, the second part of the equation is that secondly, we were then created to be in relationship with one another and seek the kingdom, pursue the kingdom and love and serve the people that have been placed in our lives, right where we are at.
So, am I thankful for this season of singleness? That is the understatement of the year. I am beyond grateful. Single friend, pursue God with every fiber of your being, and when you aren’t looking, the right guy or gal will come along and pursue you with a love that resembles the love of Jesus. Because when that day comes… when I’m dressed in a white dress, walking towards my eager groom, I pray that I may love him and be loved in a way that resembles the relationship between the church and Christ, and more than anything, I pray that our love for Jesus bursts beyond the seams and beyond our human capacity of even our love for one another.
So, I end this letter with where we started. Singleness is a gift. Marriage is a gift. We are all a part of the same church. We may be in different seasons, but it doesn’t take away from the value of either. Let’s love one another well and seek first the kingdom of God.