“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1
I often feel a certain amount of dread when I run into old friends or family members I haven’t seen in a while. They all seem to ask the one question, usually accompanied by a wink or a nudge of an elbow, I don’t want to answer: “So, Danielle, met a guy yet?” or, my favorite version, “Danielle, have you met that special someone yet?”
These two versions, along with their myriad of alternatives, usually end in the same way. They end with “yet.” The word insinuating I am somehow falling behind or I have missed something and, because of it, I am deficient.
If you’re like me, you also want to avoid the awkward questioning which leads to people trying to conjure up a reason as to why you should feel thankful to be single. They say, “Oh, honey! Trust me! You have so much time to yourself. You should be so glad you aren’t in a relationship right now.”
Even with their reasoning as to why I should be glad or thankful for my singleness, I, more often than not, feel less than thrilled. All around me, my friends are becoming engaged, getting married, and having children. I am happy for them—ecstatic for them. But at twenty-five I never thought I would be as single (and I mean single as in no possible relationships on the horizon) as I currently am. There are definitely more times than I can count I have wanted anything other than to be single.
But I want to encourage you—I want to encourage me—singleness isn’t a burden. It isn’t a punishment for a crime.
Everything under the sun operates in seasons. I want to encourage you no matter how many times people place priority on your relationship status to determine if you are “moving forward” in life, you are right where you need to be. Do not be in a rush to change seasons. Singleness does not define you. Christ does.
So, then, what do we do when we are single and don’t want to be? Here are some ways I have thrived while in this season of singleness.
- The first thing I had to do was surrender. I did and daily have to surrender my hopes and dreams to Him. I would like to be in a relationship—yes. But I also want His will, not my way. So I repeatedly pray, “Lord, please make me an instrument You can use.” I do not know if God has marriage planned for me. But I do know this (and this is something I read from a blog a while back and it impacted me profoundly), “marriage is not the ultimate goal.” Therefore, I must surrender and trust the Lord is not withholding a gift from me. He isn’t neglectful or absent-minded about anything concerning me. He is directing every move I make and every season I enter.
- I invested in my relationship with Christ. I have time to spend with my Father in silence to actually hear what He has to say to me. I am focusing on reorganizing my habits to become more of what God wants and less of what I want.
- I invested in myself. I pursued a Master’s degree. I started working out (intermittently and somewhat sporadically, I admit). I read the books I had on my list. I traveled (and am still traveling) to places I always dreamed of going. I worked on creating a future career for myself by investing in my passions and strengths.
- I invested in my relationships with others. I have been able to cultivate a strong relationship with girlfriends who pour into me and I into them. We strengthen one another through community and communication.
No matter how you are viewing your current season of singleness, remember it is not a burden but a blessing. You are not broken but called. It is a season. And just as there is a harvesting season, there is a planting season. Remember to use this season to plant seeds within your soul—seeds you will want to reap when the harvest comes.