Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On Being A Single, Christian, Almost 28 Year-old

So I've been kicking around writing about being single recently.  And then, Big Mama published this post, and I knew the gauntlet had been thrown down.  After I read her wise words, I felt like God had grabbed me by the face and said "Sit still and write."  So, here I am writing.  (But tapping my foot, because we all know I can't sit still.)

I used to think being single was hard.  Sometimes I still do I guess, but part of me just doesn't look at it like I used to.  In the old days, if someone wanted to talk to me about being single or did something well meaning that I took the wrong way, I would just lose it.  I would cry or get mad, the mope around feeling badly about being 20-something and single.  These days, I just find it kind of funny.  Someone always has "perfect guy" for me, the right website, or the right words to comfort my sad, lonely existence.  And I know enough now to just say "Thank you." and move along.  Please, don't get me wrong here.  I love that people care enough to want to take care of me this way, and I appreciate their attempts mostly (there have been a couple too many awkward blind dates for my taste).  I am not mocking them or wishing that they wouldn't try to help.  Singleness is just one of those things that you either get or you don't.  There aren't enough blind dates, websites, or kind words that will help if we aren't ready to be receptive to the real issues at hand.
Because here's what I know.  Every person's journey is different.  It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can accept whatever God has in store for me.  For a long time, I was mad at God.  I'd yell and scream and throw out questions like "How come she can get married and not me?"  I believe that God is big enough to handle my anger and my questions.  The breakdown in communication happened when I refused to listen to what He was answering in my heart.  Allow me to demonstrate:

Me:  (whining, screaming, and/or crying) God, I can't believe that I have to go to another friend's dream wedding.

God:  (in that kind, loving, mildly annoying because I am mad at Him, way) Be happy for your friend.  It's the next step in My plan for her.

Me: (with increasing desperation) I don't want to be alone.  Why can't you just send me somebody?  Anybody?  Please? 

God:  (still kind and loving) Be patient.  I have bigger plans for you.  Not just anybody is right for those plans.

Me: (whining, again) I wish I had someone to take out the trash, mow the lawn, fix the drier vent, cuddle on the couch and talk to at the end of the day etc....

God:  (not even annoyed with me, because He is eternally kind and loving about these things)  Be thankful for your earthly father, your able legs, the roof over your head, an ever-present Heavenly Father etc....

I know this will shock some of you, but I can tend toward the dramatic.  Time after time, I refused to hear God and pretended that He wasn't answering when I knew that He was.  God is the God of Miracles, but sometimes He's the God of Reasonable.  That's when I find Him a little hard to take.  It's not the same for everyone, but God has finally gotten me to the point where I accept that He doesn't need my help.  Shocking, right?  The Creator of the Universe doesn't need help from the girl who forgets when trash day is and routinely misplaces her car keys. 

Now, that's not to say I haven't tested it out.  I've "helped" His plan along when I thought it was dragging.  I've made my share of mistakes, some of which could have ended very badly (and I'm thankful they didn't).  And I've made the difficult choices when it would have been much easier to give in.  The world wants to tell single women a lot of junk, and I've had to learn to tune that out.  And I've had to learn to find humor in siutations that I would have thought completely humorless not that long ago.

I don't pretend to understand why I'm still single.  I don't know what God has in store for me.  I don't know if I will remain single for the rest of my life.  What I do know is that God is good, God is merciful, and God says right there in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  And that has to be enough, even on the days it doesn't feel like enough (and I do still have those). A long time ago, someone told me, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."  I still have plans, but I know that my plans all hinge on His plans for me.  And if 28 years has taught me anything, it's that His way is always better than what I have planned anyway.


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