Maybe it’s because it’s wedding season. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in a few weeks, and I’m one year closer to thirty. Maybe it’s because lots of guys like to look lately but none of them want to ask. But singleness has been on my mind (as if I need one more reminder of how my life never seems to go forward).
In college and my early twenties, I liked to talk about it, diagnose it, hear people’s opinion of why it’s silly I’m still single, or hear their conclusion of why it makes sense. In the (we’ll say) twelve date-able years I’ve lived, I’ve heard many diagnosis of why I’m still single:
Too ugly. Too tall. Too fat. Too smart. Too naive. Not open to relationships. Too picky. Too desperate. Crazy-stalker-woman. Stuck up. Too shy. Too much of a prude. Too Christian.
A lot of things disqualify me, it seems. I’m not exactly everyone’s (or anyone’s) cup of tea. But when you get close to thirty, unmarried, and with no prospects, a lot of people like to give you advice about how to STOP disqualifying yourself. People mention Christian Mingle– eHarmony. TINDER. Co-workers drop the names of relatives, friends. People say things like: “Just be more open. If someone asks you out, just say YES.”
Most people mean well with their advice, but just as a girl who’s been single for (almost) twenty-eight years of her life can’t really understand the problems posed to someone in a relationship; someone who’s never stared down (or surpassed) thirty while still single can’t really understand the problems posed to someone automatically contemplating the word: NEVER.
You get to the point where you start asking yourself and God: Why DID I turn down those people I turned down? You look at old possibilities and realize they’re MARRIED WITH KIDS, and you think– huh, that could have been me if only I wasn’t stupid. You start asking yourself: am I okay with a younger guy? How DO I feel about tattoos? What about someone who made a mistake when he was younger and he already has a kid? (Because, face it, this is an imperfect world, and thirty’s an age where any kind of baggage is a real possiblity.) How do I feel about NEVER, no one– just me and Jesus and no kids of my own for the rest of eternity?
Honestly the answer to that final question is this: Not good at all. I don’t feel good about that at all, and then I feel guilty for feeling that because we ARE talking about Jesus here. And I have to remind myself not to be bitter. If that’s what God asks of me, I know He’ll give me the strength to live it, own it, enjoy it, rejoice over it. And maybe all this He’s taking me through is just to get me to the point where I am okay with that, to root out the bitterness.
My answer to the previous questions is this realization: the life God gives us is never going to look like what we expect or anticipate it to look like. I know I’ve said that over and over lately about other circumstances, but it applies here, as well– in the patient place, waiting for the man God might ask me to love. He’s used the last few weeks to open my eyes to a new disqualification I add to the list myself: Too judgemental.
How can I ever expect someone to want me with all my sin-inflicted and self-inflicted scars if I’m not willing to accept someone with scars of their own?
I can’t predict the future. It’s no secret to any of you who read my blog that lately I can’t make heads or tails of what God is doing, but I do know He is doing something. Especially in my heart lately. Especially about this. And in ways I never expected.
To those of you who, like me, fight the long wait, fight the bitterness and disappointment, who still long to love God passionately even though this very big-seeming prayer hasn’t been answered: Hold on. God knows what you want. He knows what you need. And most likely He’s working to bring you to where you see Him in a surprising, surpassing mixture of both.
To those of you with friends who may not have chosen to be single but still are: just love them. Don’t try to fix them or force them. You never know what God may be doing in their heart. Please, pray for them, because prayer is the best cure for bitterness, a balm for disappointment. And remember, if they are a Christian, always point them back to their first LOVE. Circumstances may desert them, disappoint them, or let them down, but God never will.
“As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”