That's why, on Friday (Valentine's Day), as a single woman, I spent more time than usual talking to God about my "love life" and talking with friends who check the same marital status box as I do on questionnaires. Of course, all single women who love Jesus don't think the same but I was amazed that some of my friends and acquaintances and I had some of the same "secret concerns." What it in darkness must come into the light...
Here are some of our secret questions and concerns about being single. I'm not sharing to "break code" but as a way to liberate myself and others from the lies we hold on to. I hope you will add your own confession that we might learn and grow from one another, and release the chain of deceit that keeps us from being fully loving and fully loved. On top of that, it's actually kind of humorous, when we enter the safe space of community, to think of the myths you've been carrying as truth! Silly us. :-)
Here's what I consider the top 5 "secret concerns" single Christian women have:
- What if God has bad taste?! If you're single and search your heart, you may find this paralyzing thought floating there: What if God wants me to be with someone to whom I am not attracted? I know, I've wondered and feared the same thing. But, would God really want you to be with someone with whom there is no attraction?! Doesn't God want us to be with someone we feel a connection to and chemistry with? God knows what we're attracted to better than we do. I think we can stop being fearful that the one we aren't attracted to is the one God has His eye on for us! Yes, God may "test" us when it comes to judging others but connection and chemistry naturally happen. It's a part of how God has wired us. We must honor that, in a healthy way. God will give us our heart's desire. Our job is to make sure that desire is in line with God's will.
- What if I end up an Old Maid?! This one may not be a "secret" like we may wish. Some of us feel that we're always going to be single. We've been single for so long that we believe this is just the way it's going to be, and we settle. But seasons change. They always do! Just because you've been single for how ever many years doesn't mean that God doesn't have someone for you. We're in this season for a reason and it doesn't mean that reason is negative or some punishment. God doesn't always wait because we're not ready and we need to get our act together. Sometimes God chooses to wait because He knows we're enjoying ourselves fully in this moment. Sometimes God is saying, "Go ahead, add another stamp to your passport." Or, "Sure, Sweetheart, sleep in today and do the chores later." Things God might not say as often when we're married and a parent. Whatever it is -- be it we need to work on our finances or to give us more time to enjoy our freedom -- God gives us time because He knows best. It's time we enjoy and embrace our season of singleness knowing eventually we will be in a different one. Being present, after all, is the true gift of life whether single or in a relationship.
- What if there are no single men who love God like I do?! Well, every relationship is different and no two people love the same way. Our looking for someone who loves God the way we do may be unrealistic. I think what's important is to be in relationship with someone who is passionate about his relationship with God. Someone who desires and makes steps to grow closer to God. One of the strongest ways I communicate with God is through poetry. Am I expecting "the one" to be able to do the same? That's unfair and limiting. But, I can hope and expect that God will send me someone who loves and desires to walk closer with Him. Someone who will bless me and whom I will bless by our relationship with God. Can we believe that God will send us someone who doesn't know Him already? I guess that's for each of us to discern. For me, I've come to realize that while walking this spiritual path, I want someone who can (and wants to) walk beside me.
- What if I become a Jesus Freak?! OK, let's be honest... one of the fears, especially for the Christian who is a "none," is that loving Jesus first and wholeheartedly will make you a "Jesus freak." So many hold back their love of God 1) to keep room for "the one" and 2) to not appear odd and too religious. But here's the deal, it's okay for God to be our first love. It's more than okay. It's natural and desired by both our spirit and God. Not only that, loving God first and with our whole heart is the gateway to what we are looking for in a relationship in the first place! That security, sense of being, intimacy, ecstasy is all right there in our relationship with God. And the bonus? There is no rejection! No, "I'm sorry I can't make it…" No, "Well, you're really not what I want…" God wants to be with us more than we can imagine! It's a whole kind of love. The kind that, honestly, a man -- no matter how much he loves us -- can't completely give (and ladies, we need to stop expecting him to). So, go ahead, love God with all of your heart and mind and spirit. Dive right in like you would the person you've been waiting for. And trust that when the person God has for you shows up, you will be able to love him more because you learned to love God first. Now, there's nothing freakish about that.
- God can't possibly care as much about my love life as I do, right?! Interesting how we can trust God with our jobs, health, finances, spiritual gifts but when it comes to when, how and who to date, we think God has no idea of how to get that right. We go to self-help books, dating sites and friends. None of that is wrong but when it's our first and only option we have to wonder why we aren't where we want to be in our relationships. God cares about our love life just as much as He cares about our ministry and gifts. God wants us to be happy and full of love. God wants us to experience the depths of love which romantic relationships offer. That's why I have come to understand that our love life is too important to not have God orchestrate. Romantic, enchanted love is a sanctuary all unto itself. We desire that sense of connection with another and it's available and real. It is also necessary, not only for the couple, but for the world to know God up close.
Single or not, our lives including our relationships are vessels for God's love. Once we call out the myths on which our fears have been feasting and let God in our hearts a little deeper, then I believe miracles will happen. That miracle might not show up as the man of our dreams, but true miracles are about a change in perspective. God's timing (and choice of mate for us) is perfect. It's not always easy to wait, especially around Valentine's Day, but I believe what God has for His daughters is worth it. In the meantime, let's put more emphasis on and joy into what God has called us to do and experience in our single season -- no matter our age -- buy our own chocolate if we want to, and be conduits of His love. After all, it is Love that will save this world. Love already has.