The reason you're single
Don't let your gifting take you farther than your character can sustain you.
This quote is worth its weight in gold, but you're probably wondering how it's relevant to the great problem of singleness...the reason you clicked to read this post.
If I alter it a bit, I think you'll see...
don't let your romantic desires take you farther than your character can sustain you.
Romance, love and marriage are gifts that the Bible warns against as much as it pushes us toward. But why?? Didn't God create marriage? Yes, but any good thing can be used and abused until it no longer resembles what the Creator intended. The Bible warns us against opening love like a flower before it's ready to blossom.
i command you that you never again attempt to stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 8
The reason you're single is because God is developing you for an amazing marriage.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief because PTL we now know why we're still single! NAWT! It still sucks. Spending the holidays single sucks. Missing someone during a stroll through the twinkling lights at the park, the brisk air whirling around you...that sucks. Your married friends being romantic while you awkwardly watch as the third (or fifth) wheel...sucks. The truth is we don't want to know WHY we're single so much as we want to know HOW to not be single. Most of us want to fix singleness like it's a curse that we must rid ourselves of before we're old, wrinkly and alone. Before time runs out. Before God runs out of options in his ginormous matchmaking puzzle.
Well, that's not true. God could bless us with anything in the blink of an eye. But He chooses to walk us through lessons that build our character so when we do meet our handsome Mr. Right or darling Mrs. Right, we can actually sustain a healthy, growing, godly relationship.
Wouldn't it be the absolute worst (like literally) ever if you fiiiiinally met that special someone, but then you bombed the dating stage? You'd end up single just as soon as you started, with not even enough time to make it FBO. That would be worse than singleness, knowing you messed up a good thing because you weren't mature enough to keep it good. So buckle up, and join me on unpacking a few reasons why you're still single.
#1 You don't have friends
A lot of single chicks and dudes are out waiting for a #SO before they get plugged into a community. But I'm here to break that myth that the gf/bf comes before community. Here's why:
Lack of friends makes you hard to handle
If you had community, your SO (significant other) wouldn't be under the heavy pressure of fulfilling the roles of SO and friend and community simultaneously.
Maybe that's not you. Maybe you have friends, but you're willing to drop that as soon as you find someone to date. And then your life feels icky and out of place. You finally got the girl/guy, but it feels all wrong. Don't drop your friends. It hurts your chances of having a healthy relationship. And as someone who has been "dropped" by friends as soon as they get a bf/gf, it seriously hurts. And I can't say I've not seen it work out well for people who drop their friends. It becomes a habit to drop out when things get tough. Make a commitment now that whenever you find your special someone, you will continue to make quality time for quality friendships. It will make a world of difference in your life!
Lack of friends makes you an easy target
...for the wrong suitor. Like a young bird without its flock, you are flailing around falling for the first person who will affirm you.
How often do I hear a guy/girl saying, "I wish I would have known that he/she was going to be like that. It took about 6 months before I finally saw the real person - what a monster." Well, if you were around your friends, they would see past your boyfriend's charm or your girlfriend's hotness. They could tell you who that person is when he/she isn't flirting, because we're all blind in those early stages of dating. We all think we've found the only perfect human on earth. Spoiler: I already did, and his name is Mr. Jordan :P JK - but that's my point. I thought Russell was perfect, too, when we first met. He's still just as handsome and wonderful, but now that we've been marriage almost a year, I can tell you we know things about each other we wouldn't have said pre-marriage.
Good friends will help you to assess suitors when all you can see are #hearteyes
When Russell and I started dating, I asked my friends for their honest opinion of him. Not to say that they were all right. Some were wrong. But I was open to hearing them out and taking into consideration any red flags. That proved a valuable defense for me as I slowly looked to see if those red flags would were underlying significant issues, or if he would evolve past them as our relationship grew.
In case you're not sure what red flags are:
- lack of spiritual depth
- lying & secrecy
- jealousy & rage
- binge eating, drinking, spending, sexing, etc.
- frequently backing out of commitments
I'm not saying these things aren't able to be overcome (in Jesus' name!), but they are things to be aware of and ask your friends for advice about. They are not red flags to tear down and hide in the back of a closet, because after a few months and years, they will pop out of the closet as a big, hairy monster.
Community made a HUGE difference in the way my relationship evolved with my (now) husband. Having the full support of everyone was deeply meaningful to me. I've never had that because I used to have pretty poor choice in dudes (actually, I think rotten is a more accurate word). But with Russell, I made sure my friends were around him and were supportive of our relationship, which made our engagement, wedding and marriage much smoother. And even though we got married the day after Thanksgiving, our friends were willing to sacrifice to be a part of our wedding day because they believed in us and our love.
#2 You watch the Bachelor
...and think that's how love should be. Dating has become less about spending time getting to know one another and more about doing it for the gram.
Look, I watch the Bachelor & Bachelorette sometimes, and I own The Notebook (collector's edition). It's just sooooo romantical! #swoonswoon But take movies and TV with a giant grain of salt...like the big, sea salt crystals, not little table salt. It's not real. It's staged. The couple may genuinely like each other, but there are producers, stylists, editors, camera angles that make it a completely over-the-top fairytale.
Don't allow yourself to be deceived. Real dates aren't color-coordinated. Real love isn't a fairytale. It's passion, it's work, it's love when passion is low, it's forgiveness, it's growing, it's vulnerable, it's raw and real.
#3 You spend too much time on Insta
You have to create the quiet to be able to listen to the very faint voice of your intuition. Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau - famed actor, producer, director; you probably know him from directing IronMan 1, 2 and 3. Now that you have some context and respect for the name, read his quote again!
Our generation spends far too much time and energy on Facebook, Insta, Snapchat and Twitter. We can't hear the Holy Spirit's voice, because we're drinking from the firehose of social media. And because of that, we think our lives should mimic what we see on social media. Well, surprise! Social media isn't an accurate depiction of anyone's life. It's select moments - carefully chosen highlights. (It's not intrinsically bad, but it can be used incorrectly.)
If you spend zero time on self-reflection, but a lot of time being cute and clever on social channels, guess what?? When you get into a relationship, you will have even less time to spend cultivating your character.
If you let Him, God will use this season of singleness to help you cultivate the character, habits, and gifts that will allow you to be an amazing spouse. And amazing spouses tend to be married to amazing spouses. So take heart in knowing you are working on building an amazing marriage today, even while you're single.
Who you are in five years will be a result of what you do today, tomorrow, and this year. If you dream of being a physically healthy person one day, begin exercising and eating better today. If you dream of being financially secure, begin spending less and saving more today. If you dream of having a full life with real, live people as friends (as opposed to virtual friends...), ask someone to get coffee with you today.
Because what will happen if you meet your future spouse and you're content in your bad habits is that you will probably never break those habits. I know plenty of people from my past who got married young, before their habits were really evident in their lives, but as they got older, they seemingly "changed". The only change is that they became more like themselves over the years. Some people I knew come to mind:
- As a young girl, she was constantly caught up in petty drama. Her emotions were easily spiked to "defend someone", but it was just satan manipulating control over her life. Nowadays, she doesn't know how to relax and enjoy peaceful moment. She's constantly on Facebook, posting drama about herself, mere acquaintances, and celebrities. She's become a toxic wasteland.
- As a young man, he struggled with overspending on temporary pleasures. Nothing inherently bad, but overspending none-the-less. As an adult, he makes 6 figures, but can't afford a down-payment on a house. Sure, he has a luxury car and designer shades, but he lives with his parents because he overspends at the bar every weekend trying to show off to people who don't even remember his last name.
Alternatively, I know some people who have become much better versions of themselves because they cultivated good habits. Years later, they are seeing progress in life. The habits that required discipline and sacrifice in their younger years have paved the way to beautiful, abundant lives.
- As a young man, he quickly figured out his desire to work in the financial industry. He buckled down and studied hard. Academia didn't come natural to him, so he tried even harder. He knew the goal he wanted to achieve. Now, rather than battling to stay at work to finish a project, he is well-disciplined. He thrives off of knowing that his hard work is paying off, and he is making a difference in the lives of his colleagues. They recognize his skillfulness and passion for the industry.
- As a young lady, she didn't go on a single date. She got made fun of a lot for that. They said she was too uptight, her standards were too high, and she took things too seriously. Well...Her first kiss was with her (now) husband. Because she found her identity in God, her husband doesn't have to constantly prop up her self-worth. Nowadays, her marriage is healthy and she is grateful that she spent time in the Word instead of focusing on dating, getting all dolled up and incessantly talking about the dates. She spent time developing herself, and now her husband and her have a rich, meaningful marriage.
- As a young lady, she was constantly journaling. She journaled almost everyday from 10 y.o. to 27 y.o. She now has a blog with a 2500-person following. People might say writing comes natural to her, but she knows better. She worked to develop her gift for the past two decades!
In case you missed it, that last one is me! TEHE! Actually, I can see myself in all of these people, including the ones with bad habits. We all have good and bad tendencies. No matter where you grew up or how good your family is, you learned positive and negative things as a child. It takes work to eliminate the bad habits and enhance the good ones, but it's so beneficial to you personally and to your future spouse.
Dear reader, whether you are single, dating, engaged or married...
I challenge you to contemplate what areas of life are hindering a godly relationship from growing in your life. Some possibilities:
- You don't have true friendships, making you hard to handle for the right person and an easy target for the wrong person.
- You watch the Bachelor and think love is supposed to look like that.
- You spend too much time on Insta and not enough time with God.
If you're single but you don't see any of the above ideas as a reason why you're still single, because you already have great, deep friendships, you have a realistic idea of love, and you have a deep, abiding relationship with God, then...then maybe God is developing your patience. And the fact that you read through to the last line of this v. long post is just another test passed :P Congrats! Your time for love is coming!
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