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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Relationship Series- All My Single Ladies (and Men)

I’ve been working on this ongoing piece about relationships/marriage/singleness that started out as a small article and turned into about 3 pages worth of my thoughts and feelings.  Basically, it’s 3 pages of me writing from atop my soap box as reoccurring reminders of why I climbed up there are tossed my way.  So, since the need for these things to be written shows no sign of ceasing, I thought I would do a little mini blog series about relationships.   Each week of the month of February I will be posting a new blog covering a relationship related topic. 

This week, I want to start out by talking about singleness.  That’s where it all starts after all, singly.  It’s February which means talk of love and dating fills the air.  It’s impossible to walk into any store anywhere without the smell of packaged chocolate and cheap flowers assaulting your nostrils and the brightness of red and pink d├ęcor overtaking your view.  The commercial pounce on love began shortly after Christmas ended, and for all us single people out there, seems to drag on far too long to endure.

I’ve been rocking the single life for about 2 years now after the man who I was ready to give up my dreams for broke my heart.  And I’m glad he did.  I’m glad he did because he was not worth that sacrifice.  I’ve refrained for so long from writing anything about relationships simply because I feel like I just really suck at them and I’m definitely not qualified to be giving anyone any kind of advice regarding them.  More on that later in the series, but for now I want to talk about something I’m better at than being in a relationship—being single.

At first, being single was difficult.  Really, really, difficult.  I spent YEARS being in a relationship, it became my comfort zone.  The first year of being single was filled with nights crying myself to sleep and checking my phone at 2am to see if he’d texted me and holding on to old pictures of us hoping he’d come back to me and being torn apart by empty seats at holidays and breaking down hearing love songs that use to make my heart soar.  The latter part of that year was spent being angry and throwing out everything that reminded me of us and wishing I could fill that gaping hole he left in my heart the day he walked away.  Basically my life was a Taylor Swift album.  I use to be ashamed to admit that I had let so much of myself depend on another person, but I know now that I am stronger for making that mistake. 

All that struggle and hurt and anger all led me to this place of valuing my singleness.  People do this thing where they make the ultimate goal in life marriage or, you know, finding “the one.”  That elusive “one” who will somehow solve the insecurities of being alone.  So they say things like, “one day you’ll find that person” or “there’s someone out there for everyone” or my personal favorite, “God has someone special set aside for you.”  All these are well intentioned sentiments, but end up sounding to me like what you’re really saying is, “One day you’ll find another human being to complete you.” 

Well, what if I don’t and why is that such a bad thing?  What if some of us are called to singleness?  What if it’s possible to be content without another human being tethered to our sides?  The problem when we make a relationship or marriage our ultimate goal in life is that we end up expecting the other person to complete us.  We strive and hope for and work hard to get to this final destination of oneness with another person and then quickly discover that they are just as insecure and broken as we are.  It’s no wonder that so many marriages shatter!

Over these past couple of years I’ve learned the joy of singleness and I honestly treasure it.  Being alone has taught me that I am by no means lonely.  I find happiness and excitement in the wonderful friendships that I am blessed with.  I have had the ability and delight to chase my dreams and ignite new passions as I pursue the beautiful mess of ministry that God has lassoed me into.  I’ve experienced a depth of personal growth and discovery that I could have never imagined and was never possible while my energy and focus was spent on another person.

The most enticing thing about life lived singly is how truly intimate my relationship with Christ has become.  All those nights spent weeping into my pillow over love lost were also the nights when I felt almost tangibly held by the same arms that cradle the universe.  All those late nights spent squinting at my phone hoping for a word of love were also the nights the lips that breathed life into dust whispered words of His delight in me into my ear.  All those days spent in anger and pain when I didn’t feel like moving forward were the same days that I was carried by the calloused hands that carried my cross. 

I know that all may sound crazy and weirdly ethereal but it was so real for me.  It IS so real for me.  I’ve spent 2 years falling madly in love with a God who has always been madly in love with me.  I’ve had the divine privilege of getting to catch glimpses of myself through His eyes.  Glimpses that make me treasure this time spent being alone but not lonely. 

My friends joke about the coffee loving tattooed man that may be awaiting me in the future and I can’t help but laugh and say, “It will have to be one hell of a man to woo me away from this life!”  Who knows what the future may hold for any of us, but I am content living solo. 

To wrap this whole mess up I’ll leave you with this:  May you find confidence and security in just being solely you.  May you embrace life alone but not lonely.  May you find completion and satisfaction in a God who became nothing so that you could have everything.  May that completion ignite in you new passion and desire for others to experience it too.  And may you find the joy in being single.  


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