Have you ever been asked questions like this by well-intentioned family and friends, or by concerned neighbors and coworkers? The questions take on all kinds of forms: “Are you dating someone?” or “When are you going to find a husband?” The questions sometimes become even more intrusive: “What do you want to do with your life?” and “Don’t you want to get married?”
Most of these questions come from sympathetic people, but sometimes they come from those who expect you to measure up to their idea of what your life should be – this kind of sentiment can make you want to slap someone! If you are like me though, you simply smile and give an uncomfortable answer to their condescending inquiries.
Who knew that being a single woman over 25 automatically gave everyone the right to cross-examine you like a suspect on the witness stand?
Social media hasn’t helped the cause either by implementing the ever-intrusive relationship status. Who thought that was a good idea? Not only do we have to post pictures of our happy, well-adjusted single life, but we also have to let all of our “friends” know when exactly we are in a relationship with one click of a button. Not to mention seeing all of our friends’ perfectly-posed couple photos crowding our news feed. Being single is alienating enough, without a constant reminder of how happy everyone else is with their significant other!
And with that one click or scroll, your whole life can be defined by the outside world. Your relationship, your happiness or how successful you are determined and rated by the number of “likes” you receive.
If being single wasn’t already hard enough, now dating apps have been added into the mix. Essentially, someone is deciding your relationship fate based on a two-second judgment of your best profile picture. Oh, and then there’s the completely irrational fear that you may have “swiped left” on your soul mate.
When coming face to face with my intruders as a single woman, I could literally see the concern wash over their face when they found out I was…wait for it…single! How awful it made me feel. I found myself thinking, “What am I doing wrong?” I had always been a confident person, but people began to make me feel as if I wasn’t meeting their expectations for my life.
Yet, without answer, another birthday would pass without a ring on my finger or even a prospect. Over time I started buying in to their way of thinking – that something was wrong with me. I began to believe that I could not be who I wanted to be. My goals and dreams or, for that matter, my life would never take off until I got married. Everything would just have to be put on hold until that defining moment when I would get the honor of saying, “I do.”
It was an awful and lonely place to live within my own thoughts of insecurity until one faithful night, God did answer my prayer. But it wasn’t with a man or a ring but rather with a new way of living life now, while I was single.
The hard truth came by God showing me that I had not only accepted the lie that my life began only after marriage, but that I was also missing out on all the plans He had for me right now. By doing so, I unintentionally was living in disobedience to the call and purpose He had on my life. Whoa….I had to take that one in….
I began to understand the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Now where does it say only after marriage?
Wow! What a revelation. With that truth now deeply rooted inside of me, I needed to find a way out of my holding pattern that had defined my life for so long.
So with my feet finally finding some steady ground, God began to take me on a journey and I pray helps release you from your holding pattern, too. Here are the steps I took to embrace my singleness:
– Where had my heart been broken and need restoring?
Our hearts are tender and I was guilty, too, of handing it over to the wrong people. I had to allow God to show me where I had been hurt and allow His love bring me to a place of restoration. Warning! There may be a lot of tears!
– Discover Gods truth and what He says about me.
I had to learn how to renew my mind daily. Who does God say I am? Is there any truth to what people are saying to me? Who can I trust as my inner circle?
– Break through the myth that life begins after marriage.
Folklore! Show me the scripture that says that!
– Embrace the dreams that God had put in my heart were for right now.
This can be scary, but as you may have heard, if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.
Along the way, you’ll begin to see so many defining moments of discovering just who exactly God created you to be even for today that have absolutely nothing to do with your relationship status or how many right swipes you’ve gotten on Tinder…ugh! (Just put the phone down please!)
You may even find that by being connected to so many people through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or checking out who has given you a swipe right or left that you’ve actually lost your true connection to The One who designed you. Or, by taking the time to make sure the beautiful flowers are placed ever so perfectly next to the cup of coffee proclaiming that all you need is “Coffee & Jesus” you’ve been missing out on the real life-defining moments of actually spend time with Jesus. (Ouch that one hurt me too! Guilty!)
So who or what is defining you? It is your relationship status, the pictures you are posting, crazy people who think it’s not godly to be single after the age of 25 or a Creator that uniquely designed you for such a time as this?
God has plan for you in every season of life whether single or married so don’t allow the title of Living Single define you in a way that is negative or stops the call of God on your life. Oh, and just a little secret, once you get married, your calling doesn’t change because of who you marry. The two simply just compliment the other.
So go ahead and take the plunge, break the myth of being single and face your naysayers with confidence proudly proclaiming, “Yes, I’m single and happy while I wait on God’s perfect timing. And by they way, I’m walking out my purpose now, while I am single.”