Photo Cred: Psychology Today
I have been single for about 7 years now. In that time I have been fellowshipping at the same Church. This means that I have been part of the youth group at my church for about 6-and-a-half years and have made many acquaintances and friends, especially because I’m a very sociable person. It also means that some of these friends have moved away because life has taken them on different paths, and I’ve been privileged enough to make even more friends.
It also means that I have been a part of, planned, attended and witnessed a number of engagements, bridal showers, weddings and baby showers. I’ve been a bridesmaid at my fair share of weddings (think ‘27 Dresses’ vibes although thankfully not that many! Lol). Fun right? Not so much initially. Not that I don’t enjoy such occasions – don’t get me wrong. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love love and everything that comes with it, most especially the celebrations. But let me expand.
Truth be told, this was really difficult for me for the first 4 of the 7 years that I’ve been at my Church. I’ll never forget this one Sabbath when I and a group of my friends decided that we’d hang out that evening as we usually did after Church. I was so excited! As a single girl (and a sociable one at that) you enjoy whiling away time with others. So the time came for our great adventures to begin and one by one my friends started telling me that they could no longer hang out cause they were spending time with their person or as couples. It stung big time.
I was alone.
I honestly was angry with my friends, especially my girlfriends, for ditching me like this! Not only that – I was (I realized) very much jealous of their romantic relationships. I mean, why was I the only one without a special someone to love me? What was so wrong with me? It’s not like I wasn’t as desirable surely. Had God forgotten about me and the fact that I too really wanted to be in a relationship? After all, I’d been holding out on entering relationships with just any Tom, Dick or Harry like He’d asked me to. To make matters worse, I was always asked to help plan their bridal and baby showers when the time came and of course to attend their weddings (God WILL put you smack bang in the middle of situations that bring you your greatest pain so that He can birth your greatest purpose!). I was glad that they were finally settling down with the person they loved so dearly and living the life that they desired but I could not ignore the fact that I was envious.
For a long time I denied these feelings because as Christians we are told that jealousy is bad and we’re basically encouraged to bury any “negative” feelings. In doing so though, I was only hurting myself more. It just meant that it took longer for me to accept and be content in my singleness, and it stole away from me being completely happy for my friends and loved ones. I thank God though that in good time, He encouraged me to face my true feelings and acknowledge that I was not happy being single and that I was not happy for others who were receiving what I thought I deserved. And that that was okay.
Even God experiences feelings we have labelled “negative” such as jealousy and anger (Deuteronomy 6:15; Deuteronomy 4:24). I believe strongly that the majority of feelings we experience are not in and of themselves bad – it’s just our expression of them and how we allow them to control us that can be evil. I only started to come to full healing and acceptance of my single status when I acknowledged that I wished it was me with the ring on my finger instead. It allowed me to unblock the negativity building within my spirit and to let God restore peace and hope within my heart. Not this whole “focus on other things like your purpose and serving God then you’ll be content with your singleness” message we are fed as youth. That is true yes, but before I could accept that message I had to confess what was in my heart.
So am I completely satisfied with being single today? I’d say pretty much – obviously I have days where I recognise it would be nice to have someone there but it does not stop me from enjoying my here and now. Am I completely happy for those around me getting married, having babies and receiving that which I would like one day? I finally am.
I finally am because I finally believe and trust that my Redeemer, my Saviour, my Best Friend, my Father and my Provider truly has my best interests at heart and desires only the best for me. I finally see my season of singleness as the greatest opportunity I have to bloom in my purpose and to discover my make-up as an individual. I finally trust that my story is different from everyone else’s and it’s all about His perfect timing. I can never rush the process and quite frankly I probably shouldn’t want to. I finally realize that I have no idea the struggles my now-married friends have had to endure to be where they are or what they currently face. I finally understand that I am learning invaluable lessons from my friends and family who have gone ahead of me on this journey of marriage and parenthood – I am lucky enough to drink from their fountain of knowledge before I step into that stage of my life God-willing. I finally understand that I’m fulfilling my calling as a Christian by supporting and rejoicing with my loved ones who have what I would have liked to have too.
I finally realize that I am more than worth the wait – even to myself.
I honestly don’t think that I would have come to these realizations or to this state of contentment if I’d continued lying to myself and had not acknowledged my feelings of jealousy. I pray this encourages someone today to know that they are not alone in these feelings and to finally take the necessary steps to healing.
What has your journey of singleness been like? What issues are you grappling with? Let’s share and grow together!