Being single doesn’t mean your life is incomplete
There is often great care and consideration around the topic of someone’s single status. Is it self imposed or a reality of life’s circumstances? Is there heartbreak, loneliness, loss, or pain associated with an individual being on their own? Or is it a badge of freedom and independence?
I’ve been single all my adult life. Well, all my life. I’ve gone on dates but never dated seriously. I actually had a plan for my life. I would go to college, complete my degree, play my sports, and then get married and have kids. It wasn’t necessarily a serious plan but rather one influenced by societal and familial norms. I believed it was the natural, next step as an emerging adult. Needless to say, the plan didn’t quite go as I thought it would.
Life, as it does, just happened. Almost 20 years have passed since I thought I would have checked the marriage box. I have travelled, lived south of the border, made really good, lifelong friends, became an aunt four times over, lost people I loved and celebrated major milestones with others. By God’s grace, I live a very full, blessed life. Do I still hope and pray for more? Yes, sometimes. Like anyone, I have highs and lows but I have learned to embrace the life I have been given and to make the most of the opportunity it affords me.
So if I may, here are some of my current musings of being single:
I am Not Solely Defined by My Marital Status
Singlehood is not the sole defining quality of a person; neither is being someone’s wife or husband. While the marriage bonds are sacred and to be honoured, we are defined by so much more than the status of the relationships we hold. My singleness does not make me or my life incomplete.
I am Christian, an adopted daughter of the God of Creation. This is the one defining element of my life that influences all others. I am also a daughter, sister (in-law), friend, boss, coworker, Bible study leader, mentor…you get the picture. There are other things that shape my understanding of who I am as well. I am a developer, problem solver, organizer, recreational athlete, learner and administrator, to name a few. When you have a more complete, balanced perspective of how God has and is continuing to shape you, you begin to understand how you fit in the world. And, believe me when I say this – there is more than one way to belong.
I am Aware of the Threat of Comparison
It is said that comparison is the thief of joy. I have tested this and found it to be so true! From physical traits, to lifestyle, office spaces, clothes, the list goes on. Comparison tempts us with the idea that, “if only this one thing changes, then we will be happy”. But how many times do we give in to temptation, make the change, and only find another thing to be dissatisfied with? We need to stop the cycle of perpetual discontentment. Real life is not what we see on social media or in Hallmark movies. We need to set limits to what we are feeding our minds and hearts. How am I caring for myself if I keep up the disillusion that the grass is greener on the other side?
I am not saying that marriage isn’t good and something to be enjoyed. I believe it is! But it doesn’t take away the hardships of life, it’s just different. It does little good to look at my friends and be jealous of their marriages or lives. I don’t want to be married to their husbands, so why should I even entertain the idea? And if those thoughts do pop into my head, I deal with them swiftly. I don’t allow the thoughts to take root – nothing good comes out of that.
I Choose Contentment (Most of the Time)
Contentment is a choice. Sometimes this choice can come easily; other times not so much. We were created for intimate relationships. It is part of our design and thus, the desire is good and right. But for many, there are times of loneliness and a deep desire for an intimate relationship with a spouse which goes unmet. Choosing contentment daily is not always easy, but too much time can be wasted on “what ifs” and “could haves/should haves”. Every day is a gift to make better choices. For all of us.
Pause. If you are currently single due to loss, separation, abandonment, or for other reasons outside of your control, I am not for a moment suggesting that you don’t need to grieve. We all need to feel the feelings and time is your gracious friend in this journey.
I Will be Happy for Others
Misery can suck the air out of the room. I am determined not to be an air-sucker during moments of celebration. If I keep comparison in check and choose contentment, it is so much more life-giving to be genuinely happy for those who are getting married and having babies. They aren’t marrying the man that God has for me so why wouldn’t I be happy for them? Nothing is being taken away from me. In fact, I am giving away my joy and choosing misery if I sit in my self pity and jealousy. Friend, don’t let your feelings of your unmet expectations hurt those you love and care about. We each have our own paths with their seasons of laughter and tears.
Looking back, I am very thankful that my plan didn’t work out. I would have had a rough time being married with kids in my 20s and 30s and now I am a fully engaged aunt to nieces and nephews I love. God knew what he was doing when he didn’t let me have my way and I trust him for my future. I only need to be faithful to the opportunities he gives me each day and there are plenty!