Growing up, many things change in our lives; we move to new places, study new things, make or leave friendships and gain new life experiences. Some of us will experience all that dating and relationships have to offer whilst growing up.
For the main part of my life, I have been single. I have only had one boyfriend; an on-off relationship in secondary school that had more heartbreak and cheating than an episode of Made in Chelsea. It left me a very broken young woman but with God’s love, I did heal over time. I went on two dates with a great friend and work colleague in my first year of university, but that fizzled out.
Since then, there hasn’t been much going on in my dating life. I have liked guys, but they haven’t felt the same and vice versa. I honestly don’t know what God has in store for me around relationships; I just trust that whatever is in His plans for my life, that it’s the best plan for me.
That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, there are days I wonder (especially if I’m feeling emotional) if I’ll be that cat-obsessed, ice-cream eating lady we all picture as the long-term single lady!
I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences on being single…whether you have been single for a while, are yet to have your first relationship, coming out of one, or feel that God is calling you to a life of singleness, this is for you.
You Are Enough
Sometimes people think they are single because they aren’t smart/beautiful/attractive enough. This isn’t the case; God created us to be beautiful beings, full of gifts and talents. If someone who we like doesn’t have those same feelings, that doesn’t mean our beauty, intelligence or strengths are void.
Just Because You’re Single, It Doesn’t Mean You’re Broken
People may also think they need to be “all-together” before God brings someone along. It’s true that we might need to heal or work on some parts of our lives before we are ready for a relationship, but those in a couple can be just as human or broken as someone who is not in a relationship. We’re all on a journey of restoration with God. It’s all about God’s will and timing for our lives. If and when the time is right, He will make a way.
The Why Behind The What
We have to ask ourselves this real question: are we desiring or getting into a relationship for the right reasons? What are we seeking? Is it for someone to give us attention, affection, because our friends around us are in relationships? If we base our relationships on these needs, we might find they don’t work out.
We need to work on these things with God before going near relationships. For example, I sometimes think it would be nice to be in a relationship to have someone to cuddle, but I have to really look at why I want this and it can be just that I’m feeling emotional or lonely, so I need to take that to God or go have a hug with my Mum instead!
Relationships Aren’t Confined To Romance
God made us for relationship. He created it in our inner most being. We see this being played out at the beginning of the world and humankind in Genesis. But sometimes we confuse this “relationship” desire in our heart for being just about having a partner. There are other relationships which God created for us to find meaning, belonging and love. Your friends, church mentors, family, neighbours, work colleagues. I think it also helps to have people around you who are single, to be able to support and encourage each other.
The Dreaded Phrase Might Actually Be True
I’ve heard the phrase “see singleness as a blessing” lots and I would get really annoyed about it! It felt like people tried to brush off the struggles & loneliness of being single. Recently, I’ve changed my mind about this: I’ve read articles and watched YouTube videos about being in a relationship and realised that it has its challenges! You have to think about your priorities and time because you are in partnership with someone. You have to negotiate on things that maybe you never thought about when you were single. I’m not trying to say that being single is better than being in a relationship but there are perks and challenges on each side, which I’m choosing to embrace.
Recently, I’ve come to find that keeping your purity isn’t just about not having sex, it’s about what we watch, think, say or do as single ladies to keep us pure. This isn’t always talked about in church, but we’re getting better at addressing it. If you are struggling with anything about purity, confide in a trusted friend or mentor. It is a relief to share your inner challenges with someone, who can pray and keep you accountable.
You’re Never Alone
The last thing I want to say is, if you are single, you are not alone. We live in a culture and media world that celebrates relationships a lot, but there are many people out there who are like you. And God is by your side in all of this; He’s there for us when the lonely “why” thoughts come, he’s there when we are at a wedding or surrounded by couples. None of us are alone, because He is always there.