I’ve been so hesitant to post this blog. It’s a tough and personal topic. I think I’ve rewritten it 10x, and have had it saved as a draft for months. I want to do it justice. I want to do singleness well. If you’re single, I hope it helps you and those who are walking alongside you on your journey.
I have this temptation to read every article I see on Facebook on singleness. It’s a struggle to not make it an idol. To not let it consume me, my thoughts, my actions, my time. Take for instance I recently read this article on Desiring God about how “Singleness Is Not a Problem to Be Solved” or this Relevant Magazine article. I think there’s a post every week about singleness on Facebook, what to do/not do as a single, and what to do/not do if you have a single in your community. Or sign up for the latest online dating site/app or self-help site on how to get a date.
I have the temptation to think that my singleness is a problem, and I sometimes ponder too long on what I may have done wrong in life. Should I join an online dating site? Are these people even real? What’s wrong with ME that I’m still single? Why can’t I just meet someone the normal way? Why can’t I meet someone normal? Maybe I’m called to a life of singleness.
Do you see the dark road I’ve led myself down? I know these are all just wandering thoughts, and most likely the worst of thoughts. I’m believing the lies that creep in, the insecurities, the doubts.
The other day, I decided to indulge in listening to a podcast on singleness. One of my favorite podcasters, Annie F. Downs, had posted on Instagram that she had been a featured interviewee on a podcast called “Funtherapy” by Relevant Magazine. In it, she’s raw and real about the struggles of being single. I may have let a few tears fall right along with this woman that I don’t know, but relate to many aspects of her singleness struggles.
She talks about this “tension spot”, and it’s a very fitting phrase. Being single in your late 20s/30s is met with this tension of feeling like you’re not enough or too much. Like you haven’t “arrived” yet as if marriage was a destination. We know it’s not, but the language that the world, and even the church, throws at us can lead us to this ideology.
To summarize the podcast a bit: Some of us are just trying to survive by just doing what’s in front of us. We feel judged, as if we’re not trying or that we can’t make it work or that we’ve chosen to do ministry above being in love with someone. Many feel like we only have two choices: Keep going for it and be disappointed or give up.
Some believe the negative narrative of Christian men and the language that there are so many more single women than single men in the church. I know of some great Christian men who are active and regularly attend churches. Unfortunately, we give in to the conversations and create this negativity, emasculating the men in our churches.
Many can relate to this quote from the podcast: “I’m terrified that He’s (God’s) going to disappoint… If He would say “don’t hope for this”, I would move on with my life.”
For Christians, this season of singleness is a challenge to our faith. Our faith that He is for us. That we are trusting in His goodness, sovereignty, and control over all things. Do you see the tension? The tension of someone saying that you don’t have enough faith and having actual issues with it? Do you see the tension of hope and disappointment? The tension of singleness and faith. Sometimes we feel like the church just keeps pushing us aside. There’s a rise in this demographic, and we question whether our families, the church and the world, has adjusted to this change.
Here are some misconceptions about singleness:
- You may think that we have more time than a married person with a job and kids. It’s false. We have families & jobs too, not to mention a social life trying to find that someone!
- We’re told that God is our partner in singleness. It’s hard to live that struggle when the world, and sometimes the church, is telling you that you’re not measuring up to their standard. That shouldn’t stop with marriage!
- We can say that you need to find contentment in any season. It’s true, but that shouldn’t stop with marriage!
- We can be praying for a spouse. It’s true, but that shouldn’t stop with marriage/your spouse!
- We may be the dreaded term – “Single For Life”. It’s true and that reality becomes more and more real with age.
- We can be working to be the best version of ourselves. It’s true, but that shouldn’t stop with marriage.
- We can be working on our relationship with Christ. It’s true, but that shouldn’t stop with marriage!
Maybe we’re not in such different stages of life as we think! We may just find in crossing the lines of married/single, that we struggle with some of the same things in life… it just looks slightly different.
Maybe this post is a rant, and maybe just a bit too much of my heart. Maybe this is just another blog talking about singleness that has become clickbait for the 40-45% of singles in the United States over the age of 18. I don’t want this to be endless chatter…
I presented a problem and am searching for a solution to all of this. It’s against my nature to present a problem and not offer some sort of solution(s). I’m going to start with this – just be. Sounds WAY too simple for what seems like a complex problem right? But sometimes, we just want you to acknowledge that we live in a very tough culture as a single. We know that you hurt for us and ache for us to find that special someone just as much as we do, but sometimes it hurts for you to say “I just don’t get how you can still be single”. We know – we don’t get it either!
If you’re married, I don’t mean this as a bash session. Know that I realize you all are just trying to encourage us singles in this season. We know that you are there, are praying for us, and want us to hit that next season in life just as much as we do! You WANT to be in the same life stage, and so do we! Here are just a few things that I’m open to, have had married friends/family take me up on, or have seen single friends do:
- Invitations to family dinners
- Requests to watch your kids (I may balk at kids being a lot of work, but I sure can sugar them up and leave them/send them home – ask my siblings or niece & nephews! haha!)
- Sports Trainer/School Help for your kids
- Driver for when your 6 kids need to go 6 different places
- Game Nights (I’ll play that Draw 4 in Uno on your kid, so fair warning!)
- Coffee Dates
- Shopping Trips (Yes, even grocery! We eat too!)
- Projects or Special Guests (Even School Projects – We have resources and may even be teachers!)
- Requests to match your 100+ socks! (Yes, I’ve spent an afternoon doing just that, and it came in real handy for a friend when she opened a whole container of matched socks after moving twice!)
Please don’t think that EVERY single in your life is open to this! I just think that there’s something to be said about singles seeing how different families work – good, bad, and ugly! There’s something to be said about still incorporating singles into community. There’s value when that community and your husbands/wives are able to speak truth into a relationship when that single starts dating someone. They can see what he/she may not!
If this post has done nothing else, it’s helped me process. Process the tension, the thoughts, the doubts, and a reminder to have more grace for myself and others when I think words are hurtful and the feelings are raw.