Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be single and almost 30.
What does it look like to live in the tension between desiring marriage and living out the calling of being single for as long as God has me here.
It’s been a weird season, these last few months. I dated a guy that lived in his van, had a relationship non-start with a really sweet high school teacher and watched a crush get married.
There were a lot of rules that I had about what it meant to be single, or more accurately, what it meant to be single and ready for marriage.
- I believed that I needed to fully healed before I could be in a relationship with someone. While the greatest gift you can give your spouse is a healed heart, I have learned two things: it is a lifelong process to being fully healed and being in a relationship with someone means walking into their mess.
- I believed I had to not have a desire to be married in order to get married. Being content doesn’t mean not having desires. Desires can come from God. When I first had a desire for marriage, I looked at what God was doing in me during that time. He was healing my heart from a lifetime of misconceptions about marriage and while that doesn’t guarantee that the desire for marriage I developed comes from God, I strongly suspect it does.
- I can only speak to this part as a woman. I felt this strong burden to be “in the right position” for a man to pursue me. This led to a lot of control on my part. If I liked a guy, I made sure I was near him as often as possible. I would stand off alone so it would be easier for the guy I liked to approach me. What often happened was the guy I liked would approach me and talk to me but he wasn’t interested in me romantically. There’s a very real part of me that feels the sting of this. I often feel that there is no point to trying anymore. Why go to the church service he goes to or approach him during an event if the result would be the same?
It is excoriating when things don’t work out. A guy pursues, he engages, you spend late nights talking about life and faith, you get coffee together and swap stories. There’s a closeness and a sense that you are heading towards something.
And then it just ends. It falls apart. And you are left wondering if you did something wrong.
There’s this tendency in us to reject even friendships with the opposite gender after that happens because you question your ability to discern the relationship. You question whether or not you can tell if there is potential with someone else.
About this time a year ago, I was getting used and mistreated by a guy from my church. Everyone spoke so highly of him that I used that as my catalyst for deciding he was a good guy.
He wasn’t a good guy.
I didn’t realize how traumatic the experience had been until recently. I have wanted to bury myself in busyness so that I don’t have to think about being attracted to anyone else.
I’m at a new church, in part because of that guy but also because no one in my community walked alongside me in that experience. I can’t speak to everyone I knew at that church but in the circle I spent the most amount of time in, they didn’t love me enough to carry that burden. The people who truly loved me recognized this wasn’t a good situation and pulled me out. But leaving that environment didn’t change the fact that I needed to forgive him in order to move on.
It’s like God is asking me to let go so that I can truly trust Him with my future. As I’ve been praying through these things, I hear the Lord telling me to just try one more time. Try to put myself out there. Be vulnerable. I’m learning that I can’t lose anything that wasn’t ultimately for me.
I think that’s the hardest part about being single: learning to find joy and contentment in every closed door. To recognize that God’s best is our very best and He blesses us through every rejection and heartbreak.
It sounds great but it’s a hard pill to swallow.