“Relationship status” can be tricky. Even the phrase seems to imply a hierarchy, as if one relationship status is somehow better than another. Messages in our culture constantly tell us that a romantic relationship signifies our worth: someone chose us.
And the church sometimes supports the idea of heterosexual marriage so enthusiastically it can eclipse all other meaningful relationships.
But, ‘…your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3 NIV).
As Christians, our lives are oriented around Jesus. This is our defining relationship: the one that gives life to all the other parts of who we are.
And we are complex.
Maybe you’re loving life without any romantic attachments. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re somewhere in between, or it simply depends on the day. Maybe there’s someone you can’t stop thinking about. Or perhaps you have questions that you hold close to your chest: questions about feminism, about gender norms and sexual orientation, about climate change and having children, about how your body looks and finding an authentic sense of style, and whether Jesus cares about any of this…
In the complexity, we can be confident – knowing we are invited to share all our emotions and desires with God.
All of them.
‘Trust Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge’ (Psalm 62:8 NIV).
When we open up to other people, we take a risk. But when we open up to God, we’re completely safe. We find refuge. Always. We can dare to believe that our Creator ‘perceives our thoughts from afar’, is ‘familiar with all our ways’ (Psalm 139:2-3) and embraces us, and ‘will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.’ (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT).
Yes, we are sometimes stretched and challenged by the things God shows us about ourselves – but we are always loved.
Beyond our relationship status, God values our very existence.
All of us – just by existing – offer the world something no one else can.
The unfolding adventure for each of us is to discover the different ways this truth might play out in our lives – through friendship, through family-ties (biological and non-traditional), through employment, through creativity… the list goes on, full of potential, as endlessly diverse as we are.
Let’s not limit ourselves to a one-dimensional perspective.
For me, at eighteen I left school having never been on a date, kissed anyone, or experienced anything that could be categorised as “a relationship”. At nineteen, I met the person I’m now married to…
But that’s only part of the story. I also left school with the grades that got me into the university of my dreams; a few lasting friendships that still enrich my life to this day; and an intimate understanding of who I am, what I need to flourish and how to let Jesus anchor me.
At the time, I didn’t recognise all those gains. Honestly, I mainly felt lonely.
Now, I value those experiences. My single-self reminds me of my core interests, beliefs and abilities. Her insights show me how to navigate my life – especially now, when the needs of the people who are most connected to me sometimes crowd out my own.
So, rather than prioritising the narrow lens of “relationship status”, let’s encompass it within the full depths of who God says we are.
Let’s be honest with God about our feelings and fears – the joy we have in the present, the things we hope for in the future. Let’s allow other people’s lives to look different to ours, and open ourselves up to learn from that – believing we too have something unique to offer in exchange.
We can be people who commit to seeing, and celebrating, the value in everyone and in ourselves. In all life-seasons.
Like God does.