I am single. I am single. I am single. I am single.
Sometimes I think if I say it enough times, the truth of my singlehood may finally sink in.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been “renting space” in the land of singleness. I haven’t quite settled in, hung the pictures on my walls or unpacked all of my things. In my head I have only taken up temporary residence, hoping my stay would be brief, eyes searching the room for that vacant ring finger.
I spend precious spare time daydreaming about how I would spend my time were I in the companionship of a man. Would I be hiking, paddle boarding, laying by the pool? I read books on “dating God’s way” and “how to get over rejection so I can move on to a healthy relationship.” As a renter, every prayer, every book, every activity, every act of obedience is a means to an end: Getting the guy.
So much energy has been expended on preparing for something that isn’t even mine. Over time it’s become more and more evident: my pushing for it isn’t going to make it happen. What if, in order to embrace the fantastic calling God has for me to become a woman He can really put to extraordinary use, I need to go get a mortgage, make an offer and settle into more permanent residence here? Put some risk into it – some skin in the game. Make it mine. OWN IT! Perhaps then I can put my whole self into God’s purpose for me as a single woman.
That sounds so brave and bold on paper, but what I really feel is defeat.
In order for me to not go to a defeated, discouraged place (because if I’m being really honest, I’ve also spent the past 6 years in defeat) God has revealed 6 truths that have given me enthusiasm for my purchase:
- God has purposed and gifted me specifically for His work. Maybe God’s silence in my prayers for a companion are a resounding YES to creating space to learn everything I can about my gifts and how to best use them for His glory.
- God uses the deepest, darkest part of our hurts to minister to others. Being crafted for communication has helped me not only draw out the infection from own wounds, but gives me an opportunity to tell other struggling singles about God’s glory and love for us. Maybe I can minister best to other single and divorced people from a place of singlehood.
- God is the master relationship guy. If I want healthy relationships with people, I have to learn how to have a healthy relationship with God. I have come understand the power of just being in God’s presence with no expectations or pretense. Just to sit and be, for the love and for the joy of His presence. Approaching this communion from a place of singlehood offers fewer distractions, greater focus.
- As I’ve deepened my relationship with God, I see now how he’s never left a prayer for companionship, friendship, provision, protection unanswered. All the things I cry out to God for in desperation and loneliness, believing these needs are only met in a relationship with a man, God has answered in other extraordinary ways. He has surrounded me with a community of people through my church. I only needed to see the provision and start getting myself out there, unafraid of what people think of me, vulnerable enough to express my deepest self, welcoming the opportunity to love again.
- My value as a woman does not come from being chosen by a man. Conversely my value doesn’t diminish when I’ve been rejected. So much of my time as a single woman has been spent searching for someone who will validate me. I found him, a couple of hims, but they aren’t God’s best for me. I know it, but the feeling of being accepted and valued by a man sometimes overrides the truth that I am the same beautiful, valuable woman with or without a man.
- Just like the girl who gave her hard earned dime store pearls to her father out of love, I’ve had to relinquish my hard earned dream to God. I’ve released a dream on several occasions, knowing that something (or someone) better is supposed to come along – you know, the genuine pearls. But somewhere in the back of my mind I always believe God will see how much I love a particular someone and give me the man, too. So everyday, I have to remember the real strand of pearls may be a different kind of dream.
In the new dream, I’ve purchased a place in Singleville. I’ve made it my own and have started a five-year plan with excitement. Not only have I bought the property, I am now the proud owner of wide open horizon – a view of who I could become, unencumbered by who I think I need to be to get the guy.
Would you like a peek into the five year plan? I envision walking across the stage in a packed auditorium to talk about my new book on – what else? – meaningful singlehood. And I envision completing a half Ironman when I turn 50.
Your dream may look completely different from mine. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel or be the CEO of your own company. Maybe have always had a heart for foster parenting, and the path is finally clear. Whatever your dream is, chase that. With your whole heart. Own your singleness as a special gift from God. Embrace the truth that God loves you with an everlasting love, and He always answers prayers.
A dear friend shared the story of the little girl and the strand of pearls.
A little girl was in the dime store with her mother, and she fell in love with a very beautiful strand of pearls. The little girl begged and begged, so her mother offered a solution. If she worked really hard, she could earn a $1.00 to buy the pearls.
The little girl put her whole heart into the pursuit of the longed-for pearls, and she was finally the proud owner of a the necklace. She wore it everywhere, everyday. She was so proud of her pearls.
One night her father came to her and asked, “Would you give me your pearls?”
The little girl was very sad to part with them, so she offered another precious item in place of the pearls. Her father turned her offering down with a hug and a smile and went on his way.
Three times her father asked his daughter for her precious strand of pearls, and each time he was denied.
One night, he entered the room to find his sweet daughter sitting on the edge of the bed crying, the strand of pearls clutched in her small hand. She slowly handed them over and said, “I love you so much Daddy, you can have my pearls.” From behind his back, he presented her with a glowing strand of genuine pearls – the most beautiful she had ever seen.
What worldly trinkets (or circumstances) are you clinging to, holding back from true surrender to your Heavenly Father? I have searched my heart and realized I have stored up dreams of companionship that God has left unfulfilled, not always handing these dreams to Him with open hands or an open heart. The plans He has for each of us are worth far more than gold or silver, valuable beyond the simple elegance of a strand of pearls. My prayer is for the grace, trust and faith to hold loosely to the dreams I’ve envisioned for myself, making space for the plans God has in store for me. I’ve been looking for a ring when all along I should have set my sights on the strand of pearls God had in mind – a string of blessings crafted in my honor and laid out in love, just for me.