“God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of married life to others.” – 1 Corinthians 7:7 NLT
I don’t know about you, but marriage has always had a place in my heart. My childhood was wrapped in pink ruffles and rose buds as I awaited my prince to come and rescue me from my parents’ expectations. As I got older, puberty jumped me like an gang initiation! things were moving and shaking everywhere and that’s when I’d get complementary marriage approval ratings from the church mothers. “Come here girl!” I was sharply directed. ” You gon’ get a nice husband with those big, pretty legs. Cathy, you’d betta watch her!” they’d warned my mother. 8 years later, I found that my legs never helped me catch a husband, but they’d help me catch feelings as I ran to the delusion of what I thought dating was. During my early years of college, I hate to admit, but I believed I’d met my husband and father of my future children while there and we’d go into a blissful marriage full of prosperity and new opportunities. Well, now at 28 years old, I’m still single…with no kids.
Now to some this is unheard of, especially the “no kids” part, which I thank God for. Almost everyone I knew growing up has either a spouse, kids, or both. I went through the same spill most young women go through once they pass the threshold of 25. ” What’s wrong with me?” ” It has to be….” “My * insert body part* aren’t/isn’t big enough!” I started preaching at 24, so then I just knew that I was definitely a catch that a man would think was worth abstinence! ( Jesus slapped me, so I’m done with that mindset lol!) Even before that, I believed that being wife material was having the ability and the skills my mother and grandmother had: cooking, cleaning and laundry with a hint of sewing ability (patching up small holes.) *rolls eyes at former, primitive mindset* I was so focused on why I wasn’t a catch to most men, that I totally bypassed the blessing in being single, and that journey has lasted from age 24 until today. During these last 4 years, I’ve had plenty of conversations with people of varying beliefs, all identifying as Christian, yep, you read that right. Those who believe Jesus is The Christ and those who actually live like it. Those who believe celibacy is more circumstantial and cannot become a choice. Those who believe that you can’t be happy and single or those who believe sex before marriage is a must, to know what you’re buying. Here’s some of the misconceptions I’ve ran into while living single and saved:
- Singleness = loneliness.
Many people believe that being single, especially for years, equates to being lonely. All of this is a lie, however it can be possible. I get it, not having a boo can seem lonely, but being alone versus being lonely are two different things. I see it this way, my relationship with God and His word, tells me I’m never alone anyway but in addition, my relationship with God has in turn, taught me more about myself. I see myself as a person, yes, that sounds crazy to say. However, you don’t realize how much you can discount your own presence to the point where you don’t know how to be alone with your own thoughts and feelings without feeling down. The difference in being alone and loneliness is that being lonely is having the feeling sadness because of being alone versus embracing your singularity. I’ve lived alone for some years now and noticing the difference in how I’ve become satisfied with the presence of God and self versus my broken days is a complete 180! Most of the time, we crave the presence of others because we’re too afraid to be alone with ourselves. We don’t want to become victim to our memories of disappointments, needed improvements and failures. We have to allow God to come in to heal us of those things, because a person simply can’t. You can feel completely alone in a house full of people, so it’s not the number of people around us, it’s the relation to us they have and the distraction from ourselves they can bring.
2. Abstinence absurdity
Yep, that’s right. I’ve spoken with people who genuinely believe that the choice of abstinence extreme and is a convenient excuse to hide that no one wants you. In conversation, when I testify about how abstinence is doable, (with firsthand experience for 4 going on 5 years), I get flashing eyes, side eyes, peeling eyelids and dropped jaws, and the occasional head shaking gestures to indicate I’m some sort of a saint. Not at all, I’m a 28 year old with just as many hormones as the next late-20 something. Let’s just say over the years of trading my body as reward for a title, things got tiring, so I shifted my focus. My body shouldn’t be the indication that “I like you.” My time is. My body isn’t the only valuable thing about me, my mind, energy and again, my time is. Yes, I’m stuck on time, it’s one of the few things we can’t get back, it isn’t renewable, so my spending time with you, should indicate well enough how much “I like you.” If a man doesn’t see that as valuable and leaves because I won’t submit my body to his access, then he’s not what God ordained for me. I went on a date with a guy who apparently knew my relationship to God since he “saw” it on my IG and brought it up right before he talked about how sex was important to him in a relationship, not marriage, but while dating. I was so happy he said that, because of his honesty I didn’t have to waste any further time with him after the night ended because we weren’t going to give what the other wanted. Sex is great! because it’s meant to be, but within the right context.
Let me tell ya, at first I saw the horror of a life with deleted phone numbers of those I could be “entertained” by, both friends and ex boyfriends. I felt like I was out swimming without a life vest, float or a piece of wood to hold on to. I knew those lonely nights would hit me in the back and tempt me to shoot a text real quick; but my soul was tired from fighting off my own demons, the demons I accepted from past partners, the demons I watched or read into my space and the ones from generational curses….I was TIRED! something had to give. When I was ready to give them up, God came and took them. He taught me so much about who I genuinely am versus what I picked up from others that I believed to be mine. Paul talks about the joy he sees in singleness in 1 Corinthians 7: 25-39. In short he sees it as a gift, to be able to focus on pleasing God solely by completing assignments and purpose. As opposed to the married, who have the additional responsibility of caring for the needs of their spouse, family and Kingdom assignments. Not to say that one is better or worse than the other. He gives advice for both. The joy I get out of a single, sexless life is knowing that I have learned how to face my demons, I’ve learned I can truly rely on God for EVERYTHING I need. I’ve learned the value of my own presence and what I can truly bring to the table if my husband shows up and I won’t be fooled by an intruder pretending to be my husband. I have a peace I’ve never experienced before. I can focus on the healthy aspects of dating without the clouding thoughts of how his sex is and with that, I won’t settle for bad character in exchange for great sex in or outside of covenant. I experience God in the way I was meant to now that all of the flesh is moved out of the way and this is better than any romantic or sexual relationship I’ve ever been in.
Where’s the joy in a single, sexless life?