One day I woke up and I was a single woman. Yes, my relationship status changed overnight, from too-young-to-even-think-about-a-relationship to SINGLE.
My fingers burn just typing that: S I N G L E. <<shudder>>
What happened? I mean, really, what happened to me?
My co-workers noticed the change immediately; actually, they clued me in. Between matchmaking of the worst variety, – Seriously, I could find better looking and more interesting dates at Churchill Downs…in the stables, eating oats…I’m saying I would rather date horses, but I digress – and heart-to-heart conversations about love and life it hit me with embarrassing accuracy: my singleness was showing!
Not only was I alone and unaware of said fact, but I had a glaring loneliness that sent friend, Wal-Mart associate, and church deacons scrambling to give unsolicited comfort. At least, while I wandered through the echoing, solitary valleys of life, I could find refuge in the fact that I would be an excellent catch…whenever God decided to throw me at some unsuspecting, ready-for-love man.
Determination doesn’t come close to the endless drive and hunger that filled my soul. I mean, the twenties are what, four blinks and then you’re done? I refused to be lonely, depressed, lonely, weepy, lonely, domestically-inclined-with-nobody-to-enjoy-my-talents, lonely…lonely, lonely, lonely! I tell you, it’s like hitting senior year and finding out you’re short eighteen credit hours. Time is running out and you end up running around tying up loose end after loose end. You could say I was slightly frantic to find, and fall in, love (if you live in understatements).
So again, I ask you: WHAT HAPPENED TO ME???
I’ll tell you what happened. Society happened to me! Actually that’s only partly true.
I had cultivated an unhealthy appetite for all things pertaining to romance. NEWSFLASH: Romance does not equal love, nor does love equal romance. Neither defines the other. Both can, and often do, exist separately. My hunger for all things romantic skewed the way I viewed love, and the way I approached my purpose.
When others approached me with cultural expectations of love and life, I was more than ready! My pump had been primed; I was just waiting for someone to name the “need” that had been resonating within me. It was easy to conform to the cultural obligations of love, romance, and relationships because I had immersed myself within them for years. Note, I said cultural expectations and obligations. There are no such responsibilities within the Word. I had (have) no promise of marriage within the scriptures to guide me.
God created me to love. Not just a man in marriage, but my noisy next-door neighbor, the homeless man standing by the exit ramp on the highway, the “other woman,” politicians, terrorists; the list goes on and on. In fact, there in not one person specified (in the Bible) who I am not supposed to love.
Because God made me for more than love in marriage, I am out of order when I shape my thoughts and my life around that single desire. Just as God thundered at Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen. 3:11) I heard him ask me: Who told you that you were single?
His question wasn’t to prove otherwise. Just as Adam and Eve truly were naked, I truly was (and am) single. Rather, God’s questioning revealed the ridiculousness of shaping a life around that which He never meant to define. Instead of hiding in bushes and covering myself with leaves, I was obsessing over all things “relationship” and building my life around finding a man. Either way we all worked to change the state we were in, a state that God ordained and looked upon with approval.
I couldn’t see the beauty of being single. Just as the nakedness of Adam and Eve was for their pleasure, so was (is) my situation for my enjoyment. Not just working for my good, as in something to endure, but there is genuine joy that abounds within my singleness.
The sweetest words flow from the One who sees all, knows all, and loves all of me. He doesn’t just bring me roses; no, He writes His love upon the bluest of skies. He sings to me from the throats of waxwings and doves. His dance is the swift breeze that surrounds and cools me. My soul, my heart, my life is satisfied with the love of Christ. I have leaned upon Him, in what was loneliness, and found myself overwhelmed with His richness.
The more time I spend with Christ, the more He reveals my eternal purpose. Instead of dreaming about the perfect wedding, I look for ways to show His love through me. And I still pray for relationships. I pray that I can remain genuine and accountable with my female friends. I pray that I hold tight to the family that God gave to me. I pray that I remain godly, and disciplined if (some say when, I’m not sold on that) I am in a romantic relationship with a man. I pray that I keep my discernment and my standards with all people. I want to actually love everyone, and not just say it.
The Bottom Line: Don’t build a life around that which is fleeting. Leave those cultural expectations in the trash! Whatever state you may be in, rely upon Christ for your satisfaction and purpose.
Song of Songs 2:7//Philippians 4:11-13