Breathe that in ladies. What youâ€™re smelling right now is the sweat that forms when I am about to attemptÂ to answer the all-formidable question of â€œYouâ€™re so great; why are you single?â€ from the one-millionth church member, random stranger in line at Target, grandfather, mom, or the young twenty-something-boy who canâ€™t take a hint that if we were in Bible times he would be young enough to be my son.
That question is my least favorite question of all questions in all of the world. I would rather talk about gyno checkups, kale, Donald Trump or gluten free cookies â€“ anything else that we all have to endure but actually hate.
The thing is, being single is tricky. I think every non-single person thinks itâ€™s a breeze. â€œYou can do whatever you want!â€ â€œYou can travel!â€ â€œYou donâ€™t have to worry about anyone else!â€ Or my MOST FAVORITE one-liner: â€œHeâ€™s going to come when you least expect it!â€ Well ya know what, happily married person, I certainly hope he doesnâ€™t.
Because me whenÂ â€œleast expecting itâ€ would look something like this: 4-day unwashed hair with a pound of dry shampoo in it, wearing my ex-boyfriend’s sweatpants, a wrinkled t-shirt and my gross Nikes and brownie crusted on my knee, while buying tampons at Target with last night’s mascara on. I would actually prefer to be a bit more prepared,Â believe it or not.
So what is it about being single that makes everyone want to chat about it with you?Â What about singleness can make you feel like you’ve been gifted with the biggest blessing and punished with the biggest curse?
I recently had a conversation with my mom about my singleness and how there are so many things that I want to do. I told her that myÂ greatest fear in life isnâ€™t that I wonâ€™t get married and have kids; itâ€™s that I wonâ€™tÂ accomplish the things that aren’t the norm; the things that I have been specifically placed on this earth to do.
For me, getting married and having kids is a given. Itâ€™s a desire that God has given me and I believe that he gives us the desires of our hearts. But God gave me much, much more than justÂ one desire to marry a man over 6â€™ feet with dark hair and have beautiful, brown haired children, naming them after hockey players and presidents.
As women, those desires are inside of us. We want to be romanced; whether by a man, a movie, or reading about someone else’s adventures in love. We want to be needed; perhaps by children or family, but by the world around us as well. We want and desire those things because they are human nature. There’s not weakness in wanting those things. None at all.
But somewhere in the rush to the alter, we have missed something. Ourselves.
We have been so focused on being exactly who everyone expects us to be, that we have forgotten to be who we want to be.Â Getting married and having babies will be grand (especially the making of the babies…). But I know that God made me more complex than that. I know that I am more powerful than that. I know that those two things aren’t the only thing that God put inside of me. I know that there is more to me than the stereotypical expectations that are put on women.
So what is my greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that I wonâ€™t be true to myself â€“ Â that in the race to be the Pinterest Mom that everyone wants me to be, Iâ€™ll lose everything that Iâ€™m truly talented in; not because it goes away, but because I ignore it.
We ignore ourselves so often, ladies. We ignore the fact that there are MANY different paths for women in this world. We ignore that we are beautifully intricate and complicated. We ignore that our plans were never meant to be the same. We ignore that there is no perfect model of a woman.Â We try to dumb ourselves down to make it easier for men to love us. We ignore the very inner part of who God made us to be, simply to land a man.
The other day I said something so profound that I actually paused and wondered if I had heard someone else say it before: Would never getting married be the absolute worst thing that could happen to me? Would not being able to bear children be the thing that ruins my life? Would I be empty and alone without these things? Would I lack value if I didn’t accomplish these feats?Â
BothÂ would undoubtedly carry their difficulties, and I don’t want to downplay the pain that some feel from the lack of these in their lives. But at the same time, donâ€™t we trust that god has an answer for everything? I can think of 26 things off of the top of my head that would be worse than never getting married. I would venture to say that you could too. And when we are truly, truly honest with ourselves, we will all come to the same conclusion: The world will not end if weâ€™re still single at 30. Or 35. Or 40. Or 50. Why?
Because our happiness is not found and kept in moments, as moments pass. But ourÂ happiness is found and kept in KNOWLEDGE. I am eternally grateful for my singleness and not because I donâ€™t have to submit to anyone or because I donâ€™t have to do someoneâ€™s laundry, but because I have taken the time that I need and will continue to takeÂ my time in orderÂ to be true to myself. I will be able to walk into a relationship, and maybe even one-day marriage, with the complete and absoluteÂ knowledge that I am Leah; I am complex. I am beautiful and am SO going to be worthÂ someoneâ€™s time!
I believe it more than almost anything-Â singleness is aÂ gift! I believe it not because some married person who is sick of their spouse told me so. Or because I get to take ballin vacations and don’t have to submit to someone else’s itinerary. I believe it because I have had the time to form a relationship with my creator that is just mine and His.
I now view singleness as an opportunity to be me- without reservation, without fear of upsetting anyone, and without responsibility to anyone else. I experiment. I try. I fall. I recover. I rejoice. I cry. I pursue. I am pursued. I am Leah.Â I am worth my time.
A few years back I was in a dysfunctional relationship with a man who couldnâ€™t decide if he loved me or not. It was honestly very, very awful. He kept me close, but kept his involvement with me a secret to even his closest friends and family. It destroyed my self-confidence. One night in crying out to God, He told me to meditate on the book of Ruth in the Bible. Like every woman in the world, I automatically assumed that â€œmy Boazâ€ was right around the corner and I needed to start getting myself ready for him.
About oneÂ year passed and I was still with the man who couldnâ€™t figure out where my place was in his life. I was still waiting for him to be â€œmy Boaz,â€ when God basically backhanded me with, I don’t know, the ten commandments or something and told me this:
Ruth wasnâ€™t successful in landing Boaz because she was in the right place at the right time or because she gave up her dreams to follow her mom-in-law around the globe (bet she got a few jewels in heaven for that). Ruth was successful in landing Boaz because of her faithfulness to what God had called her to do. Ruth was mostÂ true to one person: Herself.
Ruth wasnâ€™t rewarded with Boaz. Boaz was rewarded with Ruth. Why? Because Ruth was a prize. AndÂ you are a prize!
She was confident in what God had called her to. She was actively living it out. She was well spoken. She saw herself as worthy. She presented herself to Boaz; not daydreaming about a ring or planning their life together in her head, butÂ with anÂ overwhelming knowing that she, inÂ one way or another, could enrich his life.Â She not only knew her worth, but understood it. Boaz could have turned his back on Ruth and she would have continued to be true to herself and to the call that God had on her life. Why? Because Ruthâ€™s happiness wasnâ€™t founded in moments.
Ruthâ€™s happiness was founded in the knowledge of the complexity of her very being- the being that God wove together when He formed her. Ruth viewed herself with respect. She didnâ€™t view herself as alone.Â Instead, she viewed herself as whole simply because she was living the life that she was created to live.
We make excuses for our singleness. We justify andÂ reason about why a man wouldnâ€™t want us. We automatically assume that we are empty when not attached and that we must be unlovable. We, in that moment, deny everything that God has placed in us.
We deny the very best part of being a woman- our feminine, beautiful, delicate strength. We focus so much on the man being our â€œanswer,â€ we areÂ actually their answer!Â The answer to every single desire that you have is found inside of you, right where God planted it whenÂ He formed you in your motherâ€™s womb.
The answer to every single ounce of happiness that can come out of your existence is found in the knowledge of who, not what God created you to be. We are more than a list of “what’s”.
I am Leah. I am happy. I am single.
Who are you?
This piece was originally found on a wonderful friend, Joryâ€™s, insightful and challenging blog. You can find the articleÂ here.Â And while youâ€™re there, check out a few of the amazing things that sheâ€™s written as well!