I don’t really know how to categorize this post. Is it about singleness? Is it about being a single woman? Is it about being a single woman who lives in another country? Is it really just about me?
Something that I have been realizing more and more is that I am being catapulted into adulthood on my own, and I like it. Pretty much everyone in my family was married by 20 before my brother Austin plowed ahead without a ring on his finger. (Thank you for that, by the way. So glad I was not the first to break that particular trend.) While I feel a sort of disconnect as a result of this, I also feel a great sense of joy and wonder, like I am exploring uncharted waters. Anyway, here are a few things I have been reflecting on recently regarding the single life.
(Just for context’s sake: this list is compiled from my experiences alone, and I realized about halfway through that I was writing to a younger version of myself. Do not misinterpret this for anti-marriage propaganda or anything weird. Just read, or don’t. Either way, I hope you have a wonderful day.)
One) You will miss out. This continues to be a struggle for me. Two summers ago I missed a family reunion because I was living in Kenya. In March I received texts and photos of all the women in my family who had gathered to celebrate my beautiful grandmother’s birthday – I was in Italy. I’m trying to decide right now whether I will be able to attend a different reunion this coming summer or if I should come back to Chicago to have enough to time to settle in comfortably. So that’s it. To make this lifestyle choice is to continually choose it. I missed those moments. I may get photos and videos after the fact, but will I someday regret choosing this life over those milestones? I don’t know yet. For now, I do know that I wouldn’t trade my experiences in these countries for anything – they have grown me. Grown me as a Christian, as a woman, as an adult human being. I am who I am today because of the world that has been made known to me – and because of how the God of that world has revealed himself to me in my travels.
Two) You will have to choose to act in spite of fear. Being a single woman doesn’t really act in my favour most of the time. I have a gung ho attitude towards travelling. If there is a plane and I have the means to be on it, I will hurtle through the air in those weird metal tubes any chance I get. I think my mum freaks out… Terrorism. Sex trafficking. The reality that our world is fallen and sinful and messy. It’s not unreasonable or unwarranted, but if I let myself down that path I will never recover. So I choose courage. I choose to live fully and completely. Let the Lord take me as he will and how he will. Moving on.
Three) You may feel awkward. Everyone else feels awkward. I’m like, really comfortable doing things by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. I adore my family. I love spending time with the people I cherish. But also, I like me too.
Unfortunately, this goes against some cultural norms. Maybe those will change, but in the mean time, I still get the “just one??” from the guy who sold me my ticket to the ballet the other night. I receive pitying glances from the older women sitting across from me in the restaurant. People don’t know how to engage me in social settings, and the Church certainly has no clue what to do with me (quick! Let’s put all those awkward single people in a group! They probably have no interest in platonic relationships, discipleship, or in participating in fellowship with families! Sorry. Rant over.)
Here’s the thing. I like to do things by myself. I like to remove the distraction of others and completely engage in what I am doing and the environment around me. I like that it allows me (and forces me) to meet new people because I have no safety net – no friends to turn to when things get awkward. I like how it makes me feel brave. I like that I get to live a life that is my own, that I am not stuck waiting for some guy to make it happen for me, that I am not waiting for my life to start. It has started: God is good. I am here. Let’s go.
Four) Singleness is not a disease you need to be cured of. Seriously y’all. Stop processing every man through the “could-he-be-my-future-husband” filter. Singleness is a gift!
It is such a blessing to me. As aforementioned, I love the freedom. I am grateful that if I want to get on a plane tomorrow, I could. When I have been in relationships in the past they have felt all consuming or at least extremely distracting. The sweetest and most precious part of this freedom is in the fortune I have at this point in my life to focus pretty singularly on God. Fair warning though: just as singleness is not a disease, its also not a cure for your walk with God… but it can certainly help.
Five) Yes, I desire companionship. I’m not some unfeeling robot: I’m a human, I’m a woman, I’m an image bearer. Of course I long to be known and to be loved, and if that happens through a husband someday, well. Hats off to you, Lord. Something I continually learn though – and I don’t know why I’m still surprised when I realize this – is that I don’t need a husband for this desire to be filled. I am known. I am loved. I have a God that created me, knows me, and loves me. And he knows this desire and has filled it himself, and has placed people in my life to fill it too, just for kicks.
So yes, I desire companionship. But I also don’t want to just be waiting for that to happen. Here is what I want:
I want to chase Christ recklessly. I want everything I do to bring glory to my Father, I want to serve and further the kingdom and be faithful. I want to learn about and pursue and love him forever.
I want to see the world. I want to participate in the global Church anywhere and everywhere. I want to read all the books that I can get my hands on. I want to laugh uncontrollably a minimum of twice a day. I want more tattoos. I want to sing loudly to songs that I like, I want to go to ballets and concerts and whatever strikes my fancy. I want to dance poorly but freely. I want to love fiercely; I want to give of myself until I have nothing left to give. I want only two fears: the fear of mediocrity and the fear of the Lord.
I want, I want, I want. I want to live.