I am not single. It is hard for me to imagine what it means to be single. I am still in the time of my life to be happy with a few hours for myself.
But Jenn Swift wrote an article about her journey through her singleness and it moved me very much.
When I asked her if I could re-post her blog this was her response:
Thank you for such kind thoughts about the article! I would be honored to have you re-post it! I trust it to reach the right places. It has been an important process to learn how to embrace where I find myself in life. I believe that’s probably the case for all of us – we are all accountable to seek joy and life in the places God has for us right now where we are. But there is often less discussion about how to be single and recognize it as an intentional direction God has for us rather than an accidental waiting room. It was freeing to accept that I am single right now because Jesus has ordained it to be so.
The only thing I can say: read it and feel free to share, to say it with Jenns words:
I trust it to reach the right places!
(source: http://www.annesleywriters.com/single-post/2016/09/19/An-Incredibly-Rich-Life )
An Incredibly Rich Life
If you had told me at 18 that I would still be single at 40 I would’ve, once I regained consciousness, politely asked you to help me find my exit from this planet.
No. thank. you.
As a musician I was participating in a number of college friend’s weddings in high frequency in my 20s. It often left me feeling like “what is *WRONG* with me!?”. Sitting at these events, endlessly singing songs about their love stories, I felt overlooked, not good enough, and like I was missing something.
A shift came when I was 31.
I became reacquainted with a good friend I’d know from my youth group years. We were enjoying getting to know each other again, but he lived far away and it was becoming clear a romantic relationship with him was not going anywhere. I was pretty disappointed.
On a drive home I whined out a tired “Why!?” to Jesus, feeling like once again I was becoming very interested in someone and, once again, discovering the hope of possibility dissipating. The pattern was disheartening. But before the question left my heart, God answered with “Because you’re too expensive.”
*Blink* I almost pulled the car over.
If I believe that my life is in God’s hands, and I really believe He knows about the plans He has for me, then there is no moment at which God pauses with a surprised look on His face and says “Oh! I guess… Well, I guess I entirely overlooked…” *sheepish laugh*.
People of planet earth, that is not a thing! So the fact that I am currently, or have ever been, single is not an accident, it is an appointment. And Jesus, my beautiful friend, savior and perfect Dad, is not going to act capriciously with my heart and subsequently, my life’s partnership.
I realized that up to that point, to quote Colin Hay, I had been “waiting for my real life to begin.” To keep pining away for something that was not actively promised to me wasn’t leading to life. I didn’t know if I was going to be single forever, and I still don’t, but I had to figure out how to be; and not just be ok with it, but fully alive in it. I was also assured that I had all that I needed, right NOW, for life and Godliness. I was not missing out on something.
I have gotten to a point now that I have been able to joyfully believe that one of Jesus’ most amazing gifts to my life is singleness. For these reasons:
I have had some focused time to heal from some deep habits and hurts from my childhood.
I have had to figure it out. Whatever “it” is, I have had to be the one to get it done.
I have had to grow up. You know who’s doing the dishes in the Swift household if I don’t? No one. My earlier tendencies towards deferring have been enlightened which has had important and massive ripple effects.
I’ve become braver. Things I wanted to do, and once wished I could, I stopped waiting to do and did. Things I once ran away from I’ve now learned how to stay present for.
I am wealthy in time. I have a lot of freedom to say “yes”. There are life and ministry opportunities I can say “yes” to because I have the undivided time to offer. It has provided a much different platform from which to be incarnational.
There isn’t a common template for my life. There are not a lot of other lives around me that look like mine, which has required some creativity and vision. For this artist, that has made me a better Creative.
These are absolutely some amazing things and, for me, singleness provided them, but lest I get too romantic about the single life, there are some partnering realities:
I need to be conscious about engaging and staying engaged communally. I’m an introverted only child that is still single and lives alone at 40. Partnership and “team” are not what I trend towards. (Worth noting though: I do not have cats. #noCatLadyhere)
I have known loneliness. That’s not exclusive to the single life, and I don’t tend to be lonely, but in recent years when I lost my second & last parent, with no siblings and partner to share either the load or understanding with, I experienced a loneliness that carried some new realities. I don’t know many people my age thinking about how they’ll provide for themselves at 80. The truth is, if I am single I may have to hire people to help care for me if necessary. It’s an area I can’t leave unprepared.
Dating is tricky the older you get. You’re more defined, you have a better sense of what you like and don’t. Your life is more independant and not as easy to join with another’s. Add being a pastor to the mix and you’ve got an challenging recipe.
For better or for worse. I’ve become an experienced tour guide for the “Land of the Solo”. My widowed mom and I related on a surprising new level after my Dad passed. My divorced and even empty-nesting friends are wondering what life holds for them now they are unattached in specific ways. I’m here, offering the welcome basket filled with all the best in “un-attach-ed-ness” self-care for those newly arrived.
And all of these things make for an incredibly rich life.
If you had told me at 18 that I’d still be single at 40 I wouldn’t have had the capacity or vision to understand how full, unique, and creative my life could be. I would’ve exitted myself right out of this vast, hard, still-becoming, adventurous life Jesus has invited me to live.
2 Peter 1:3