Friday, January 10, 2014

Being Single Really Isn't Bad

Me and my nephew, Noah, in Germany in January 2010

You may be asking what I know about being single since I am married and even have a child. But I well remember those single years. You see, I got married 2 years ago, when I was 30. And if that made you think any thoughts along the line of "wow so old", or "almost an old maid", or "can she still have kids" thoughts then this post is definitely for you.

Just so you know there are many things I loved about being single and many things I hated.

First on the list of things I hated were people thinking I was on the prowl.  This encompasses many variations. There were always the well meaning people asking if I was dating anyone. And the people who made the comments about going here or there with other single people- "maybe a good opportunity to meet someone" with a twinkle in their eye.

For the record, just because someone is single does not mean they are constantly looking at every person of the opposite sex around their age and measuring them on the future-spouse-o-meter.  There are those that do, which is quite sad.  But there are many who don't. 

There are quite a lot of single people who are content living the life that God has placed them in at this moment.  They may be using this time to grow stronger in their relationship with Jesus.  Or perhaps focusing on school work, or technical certifications they can use to build their resume and further their career.  Or they may be enjoying freedom from school and parents that they never had- traveling the world and seeking adventure.  They only have themselves to answer to and no concern for planning around a significant other's schedule. And those are the things I loved about being single.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE my husband immensely and can't imagine life without him or my son.  I'm not sitting here harboring negative thoughts wishing for a life I don't have.  I'm simply explaining a life I did have for many years, because I can.  You see, if I had written this post as a single person it would be viewed as complaints from someone "who's just saying that so they don't seem like the pathetic lonely person I'm sure they must be"- which is another think I hated.  People who give the impression that there must be something wrong with you if you are single.

Not everyone has aspirations of being just a wife and mother.  There is nothing wrong with getting married or staying at home and raising your kids, if God has called you to that then that is what you are to do for His glory. But I haven't (yet) felt that calling on my life. My parents raised me to be independent and to get an education so that I could support myself and not have to depend on a man- because Jesus is the only one you can depend on always.  And I tell you, they did a good job of raising me independent.  So much so, that I really had to pray hard when I felt God leading me to marry TJ, because I wasn't sure I was ready to give up my single life.  And when he asked my dad for his blessing, my dad warned him that I was very independent because he had raised me that way, maybe too much- true story, thanks Dad!

Being single isn't a placeholder where your life stands still while you wait for your future spouse to come along and sweep you off your feet.  Being single is an opportunity to focus completely on God and his direction for your life.  It is an opportunity to go on Mission Trips around the world and be used in a mighty way for His glory as you further the gospel. Yes, those things can be done by those who are married, but that's another chapter that perhaps God hasn't placed that person in yet.

So those who are single- embrace your singleness, singlehood, independence and seek God.  Don't wait to have someone by your side before you feel that you can serve- do it now! Go now! Live content where God has placed you. Don't wait for your life to start- your life started when you were saved. Jesus didn't extend grace to you and say here is salvation but you have to wait to serve me until you are married. He saved you. Your salvation is yours.  You have a spiritual gift that God has given you. You have a purpose that he has created you for.  And yes calling on your life may change, but that may be when God is transitioning your life for your next chapter to begin.  And one more thing, single friends, there will be lonely days.  I remember them.  They don't mean that you are discontent, unless you revel in them.  Just face those days by running to Jesus, by reading your Bible, by going on a date with him- maybe hiking or to a park.  Just reading the word and singing his praises.  Something married people with kids dream of doing! ;-)

To those who are not single, we need to encourage our single friends to serve in our churches and to use the gifts that God has blessed them with in ministry. Before my husband and I met, I lead the youth group at my church, taught Sunday School and led the Praise and Worship Choir. All ministries that I felt God leading me to at those particular times and luckily, I had a Pastor and church who encouraged and valued my gifts and role within the church.

And if you met your spouse in high school or college, were married in your early 20s and had 3 kids before you were 30 you may not be able to relate to the single life, because you didn't live it.  But you can still be considerate of your single friend's feelings.  Please don't constantly try to push your happily married life on your friend.  I get it, I really do, because I am SO happy now with my little family, living life, having a partner- BUT that doesn't mean I was unhappy when I was single.  And I certainly didn't need to settle for less than God had planned for me by going on dates every weekend just because.  So us unsingle people don't need to assume that our single friends will be happier dating, because honestly they may be exactly where God has placed them. And isn't that where we all want to be?

Love in Christ,


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