Flickr photo by Acy Varlan
I’m 23, I just graduated from university, and I’m single.
Many of my friends are married, and a few are starting to have children. And I feel as if I just graduated from high school again. You could say my life is in transition. And it’s true; I am in the middle of shifting myself from university to the career world. But I’ve started to wonder about whether it’s right to refer to my singleness as an in-between stage.
What exactly am I in-between again?
“It’s the first day of the rest of my life.” I recently I heard someone on TV say this about her wedding day, and it really bothered me. While I don’t want to discount the gift of marriage, I must say I’m a bit confused and frustrated with this sentiment. I’ve heard the cliché before, but I suddenly felt the weight of it. As if it equates marriage as the start of life, or at least the good part.
Don’t misunderstand my frustration; I think there is a beautiful element of starting a new family with your spouse. I’m all for godly marriage. But what I’m afraid of is viewing life through the lens of marriage as the goal. For waiting to get married before life starts.
I’m afraid, because I’m afraid it has happened to me. I’ve been living like I’m waiting for someone to get here. And it isn’t Jesus.
I’ve wasted my time, my energy, and my emotions on this concept that singleness is just a waiting room for a relationship. I’m tired of this view that my life begins when I wake up next to my husband, because I’m pretty sure my life began 23 years ago when my mom gave birth. And this mentality has robbed my joy.
As much as I’d like to place all the blame on Christian culture, the perpetual “Have you met anyone yet?” question the world asks me, and the reality that my Facebook feed looks more like a Pinterest wedding board these days, I am convicted of my own failures.
I’ve been living like God owes me something. Like he hasn’t held up his end of the deal. He has given me the desire for relationship and marriage, and he just hasn’t followed through.
I’ve been living under the impression that I deserve a relationship.
I’d be lying if I said Christian culture does much to inhibit this mentality. There seems to be a deep understanding and appreciation for the gift of marriage, but not so much for the gift of singleness (if it’s treated like a gift at all). Rather, singleness is something to be cured. Like I’ve got a disease, and introducing me to your single friend might perhaps cure us both. Singleness is the lump of coal, the gift that is never on your Christmas list.
There are at least a handful of us standing around, wondering what happened. (After all, I have been pretty nice this year.)
But it’s never been about being entitled, or even about being nice. I have to stop thinking that I’m doing something wrong here.
Well actually I am, but it isn’t about fixing something that will magically make a boyfriend appear. It is about changing the direction of my heart.
“I’d rather have the right God than the wrong man.” –- Christen Rapske
People talk all the time about pursuing people or things for the wrong reasons, but maybe we pursue God for the wrong reasons. Maybe subconsciously I’ve been treating God like he’s a vending machine. And my pursuit of him has really been a pursuit of someone else.
When did Christ cease to be enough?
And when did I stop finding my identity, self-worth, and fulfillment in Him, only to place my life on hold for someone I’ve never even met?
Each day is a gift, and I’m not waiting for it to get here. It is present in every moment, and it begins anew daily. Man-less or not, I want to wake up every morning and be excited because I get to spend my day with the God who created the universe.
And I want to do that for the rest of my life.