Along my singleness journey, I’ve encountered a few things that I didn’t know I’d have to experience, mainly because these were things I already knew. What I mean is that, I didn’t know I’d still have to learn, in a more intimate way, how to maneuver through certain lessons on singlehood. If you’ve been reading my blog thus far, you’d know that I’d never guess that I’d remain single this long and through the years I’ve learned a lot. I wanted to share the major things I’ve learned to help you on your own journey through your single season. I do want to say, these are from my experiences, I’m not a therapist or relationship coach, if you need either, I encourage you to get what you need in healthy doses.
Relationships aren’t the cure for loneliness
I didn’t think I’d need to learn this one. It’s been obvious to me since college. I had a friend who was a serial dater. As soon as she broke up with one person, there was another in the chamber waiting to be pulled off the bench. I found this absolutely fascinating! I’d never seen anything like it before, she wasn’t a cheater which made this even more of a spectacle. I asked her why did she do this and she seemed surprised that was a pattern of hers. She wasn’t aware of her cyclic behavior and the closer she came to it, her eyes widened and a high pitched, “I don’t know.” crept from her throat. I asked her, if she was afraid of being alone and after a short moment with her eyes kissing her forehead, she confessed that she indeed was.
After our conversation, I realized this didn’t just apply to her, but this was more of a common thing than I had realized. I had seen this before, staying in unhealthy relationships with the same person or various people to avoid being alone. The root of all of this is how we view being single, it’s something to fear. Why? Because it confirms our worst fear: being unlovable and ostracized from love for the rest of our lives. The thing here is that being single doesn’t mean you’re lonely and relationships doesn’t mean you’re not. Throughout my years of single living, I can’t remember a time where I felt lonely. I’ve been bored, desiring intimacy, sex, someone to help with things around the house, but not lonely. I can remember being in relationships with people who weren’t great matches. We’d spend days together, spending nights sharing a bed and a entertainment in the day and yet there was so much distance between our individual purpose, our souls, our definitions and needs.
If you are feeling a heavy sense of loneliness, I suggest a therapist and wise counsel as well as building your relationship with Christ. He’s the only reason I’ve managed to survive this far in every aspect, espcially emotionally and spiritually. Loneliness isn’t a measure of how many people are in proximity to you, it’s how close you are to understanding yourself, your purpose here with Christ. We find our identity in him, which leads into our purpose and all of that is a result of drawing closer to him.
Work on yourself, not your dating profile
I’ve hinted to this in the last few sentences above. Singlehood isn’t about sitting on the couch waiting for the infamous DM sliding to commence, it’s about learning about yourself. Who are you? What do you like and dislike? Not just in a romantic partner, but about your self, your life and your goals? What are you discovering about your family? What’s in your blood line? What are your weaknesses? How does your preferences honor God or are they from a carnal mindset? There’s plenty to learn about ourselves. The more you figure out, the clearer your mind is about who’d fit you better. Marriage is a ministry as well, meant to glorify God and if you avoid doing that alone then how can you add to it in a courtship, let alone marriage.
Some of us tend to believe that we’ll only grow while in relationships, we will, however, that’s not the only way. Besides, we tend to pervert these relationships by placing unattainable expectations on someone to make us feel good to soothe mommy and daddy issues. Which is why our relationships tend to fail. We bring luggage from unfulfilled, abusive and mislabeled previous relationships with family and friends expecting this new person to save us from our nightmares. That’s not what romantic relationships are for, yet we’ve used them as distractions from confronting our lack of love and respect for ourselves by demanding it from another person. Then when their love and respect doesn’t look how we expect it or want it, we bruise them and try coaxing them into learning a dysfunctional course of how we believe we should be loved. The even more insane thing here is that, we may not have been exposed to genuine, God-driven and centered love and what that looks like.
Ok, I snapped a little. In short, while you are single, before a romantic interest comes along and you start building a family, focus on self and go to therapy, grow closer to Christ and examine everything that could influence your decisions. You don’t want you future family suffering from your dysfunction like some of us did from our parents. Learning yourself in Christ is important beyond your singleness, it impacts every other part of life as well.
Singleness may be your calling
This isn’t a popular thought to consider, but some of us may be single for the remainder of our lives. I’ve come to this realization and it’s difficult for me to accept, honestly. I’m not thrilled of living the rest of days, husband free and childless but God may get more glory from my life than he would in my marriage. We tend to think of things that we should do as a reward system. Being abstinent or single for X amount of years should result in a beautiful marriage with tons of great sex, a big house and no problem. We try to cash in years of service like Chuck E. Cheese tickets. That’s not how it was promised by any means. Which is why the first two are important, because we need these things not necessarily to prepare for a marriage and family, but for the wholeness and healing of ourselves. We’re called to be whole, regardless of who joins us for the rest of our lives.
This isn’t a curse or a bad thing, it does mean, that in order to live a God-honoring life while single means to remain abstinent. If a life of singleness is our calling that means never having sex again, or we shouldn’t and that can be hard for some of us to compute but not impossible to live out. Yes, that’s a scary, possible truth, but God’s purpose is bigger than any appetite we have. (Go pray about it!) There are people in the bible who lived single lives until their death, including two of the biggest influences of Christianity and the world, Jesus and Paul! Paul writes about singleness(1 Corinth 7), giving us some encouragement about focusing on the work of our father than our love affairs.
These were the hardest concepts I’ve had to live through. I’ve had moments of wondering if this is a life I’m prepared to live for the remainder of my days, I’ve confused being bored with being loneliness and I’ve avoided myself so I wouldn’t have to confront those things that have made me who I am, or who I’ve created to protect who I really am. I pray that you find this entry helpful while on your journey. For however long you’re single, remember, you’re not alone, Christ is with you in every painstaking moment of rejection, missing self appointed life deadlines and fantasizing about past relationships or future ones. You’re healed self is worth more to God single or married, let’s start there. You deserve to experience life from a healed and whole place and that’s my prayer for the both of us. Take care love!