My SinglenessGrowing up I was never one who was popular or attractive by any means. In fact I was probably known as the girl who was invisible, the outcast and socially awkward. I didn't have any true best friends, let alone romantic relationships. Over the years after high school there were a few instances of a guy or two having romantic interest, but none ever really worked out.
Being 24 and never being on an official date has left my heart feeling discouraged and worried that I'll never find someone who truly loves me for who I am. I constantly feel like I have to keep up with all my friends who are dating, engaged or getting married. I feel like my life is lagging behind while everyone else's is coasting along perfectly with everything falling into place. I feel like I'm not accepted or included because I'm not married and don't have a spouse. I feel like the girl who isn't attractive enough to be noticed. I feel like my quiet demeanor battles against me to feel comfortable in being myself. I lack confidence because I don't feel accepted. It's an endless cycle and I feel like I'm stuck in a rut.
I felt like I had reached a stage of my life that I was content in my singleness, but a recent heartbreak brought all the emotions flooding back in. I wish I could say that I am content with being single at the present time, but I feel like my heart has waited and tried to find hope, but lately it has hit an all-time low. Being single for 24 years makes me wonder what's wrong with me. I feel so defined by being single. I hate the labels put on me because I don't have a boyfriend. You're ugly. You have a unattractive personality. You have quirks. Flaws. You are unaccepted. Rejected. Abnormal. Unloved.
Looking to the OrchidI have been trying to grow in finding joy in my current season amidst the unknown future and I stumbled upon something the other day. While I was looking at one of our flowers in our house and I realized a truth applicable to singleness. Our family had received an orchid as a gift a year or so ago. While it bloomed for a brief time, it has been dormant for many months. I've been awaiting it's time to bloom. Month after month - nothing. I was beginning to wonder if it was still alive. It had green leaves, but no shoots or flowers. Then it seemed like one day there were tiny buds forming. And then more waiting for another few weeks until the buds finally grew larger, but still they hadn't opened yet. Then the moment came. The buds began to open, displaying the vivid colors and beauty that was developing inside all these months.
While sitting there looking and gazing in awe at the newly bloomed orchid I began thinking how it related to my own life, or anyone who is enduring waiting or singleness. We may be enduring a waiting season in our lives that seems so hopeless. It feels like nothing is happening. We feel dead and dormant. But we can rest assured that God is working, and just like the orchid, we are still alive, but God is getting us ready; we just might not see it yet.
While looking at the orchid in comparison to the other flowers in our house I realized that the other plants bloom everyday and remain all year round, but the orchid is different. While I enjoy the beauty of the other flowers, when the orchid bloomed it was special. I waited for the time to come and anticipated it's beauty. When I look at it now I appreciate it's beauty even more because of the waiting I had to experience. The same is true with singleness. When we have to wait for something it means so much more to us than if it was an everyday occurrence. When we wait for the right one to come along, we will find so much more pleasure and appreciation that we waited for the right one and trusted that God would provide.
Seasons of GrowthWe all have unique seasons of our life to grow in. Some may feel like seasons of waiting, discouragement, silence and frustration. But through each season we can learn something. God is teaching us something. Nothing we go through is wasted time. Let me leave you with six beautiful reminders relating to singleness that I have found evident over the past few months.
1. God is Protecting YouOften times God closes doors because He is protecting us. He isn't trying to withhold good from us. How many times I've had to remind myself of that truth. If you feel like God is closing a door on you and you just don't understand why, rest assured that He knows best. This time in your life may feel like God's trying to discourage and withhold good from you. It may feel like the door just slammed shut right in your face. Take comfort in knowing that God has better plans in store for you that couldn't be met through that door.
2. God is WorkingIt may feel like silence is the loudest noise you've ever heard. You can't take it anymore. It feels like God has just left you to fend for yourself. God is a God of His promises and He will never fail or forsake us. It's impossible for Him to fail us. He is up to something great in your life if you trust Him. I've grown to realize that true faith is shown when we cannot see what God is doing. I've also discovered that my faith wasn't as strong as I once thought when I felt myself doubting God when I couldn't feel or see Him working. God is present whether we feel or see Him. He is there. He has never left our side. Usually in times of silence it reminds me that God is testing my faith. He's seeing whether I will be weakened by this struggle or whether I will come out strengthened and restored.
3. Be StillHow many times I have tried to take things into my own hands and take control. I've learned over the past few months that no matter how much I harbor over something, waste my tears or try to work things out on my own, I will get nowhere. If you find yourself trying to control things. Don't. Seek God and let Him take the control you desire. We weren't meant to carry burdens on our own. You may think you have to get that guy to like you or notice you, but leave it in God's hands. You may be searching for your future spouse, but trust Him with it. We don't have to do anything but entrust our lives into God's hands and seek after Him. God's got a plan and it far exceeds what we see. We may desire something and are trying to force it to happen, but without seeking after God's will we will be working against the tide to get what we want to occur. We have to let go. Let go of the desires you have. Give them over to God and rest. Be still. Find peace in where God has you right now.
4. God is ProvidingOne of the biggest reminders that I have been slowly trying to comprehend is that God has provided all we need. It may not be what we desire, but it is exactly what we need. So many things have felt like they have been stripped from me recently. I have felt alone and questioned what God was doing. I often still doubt this truth, but God does provide what He knows we need. I can't count the number of times I've prayed and asked God for a husband. Oh how it gets discouraging waiting for God. I have desired something so deeply and I can't understand why God is choosing to not fulfill this overwhelming need I think should be met. God Has many purposeful reasons why He does things that we may not understand. Maybe your future spouse needs to grow spiritually. Maybe you need to grow spiritually before you meet. Through this time of seeking God and feeling like there is a void in your life, remember that God will provide what you need. It's not a question. It's a fact.
5. God is EnoughI've heard the overused lines that "God is all you need." While it is definitely such a valid statement, I have struggled the most in this area. Sometimes God just doesn't feel like enough to me. I want a physical someone who cares, listens and understands. I desire to be that someone for my future spouse as well. I want to feel needed and to use my love to encourage in return. I have come to realize that I have often let my feelings for my future husband become a primary desire that takes God's place. I've sought after a relationship rather than focusing on God. While I don't think desiring a physical relationship is wrong, it should never take place before God. Find satisfaction in God first. Remind yourself that even without the acceptance or love of others you can find joy knowing that God loves you. There's a relationship between you and God that will never be replaced by someone else. Nobody's relationship with God is the same as yours. It's unique. Find comfort in knowing you are accepted and loved by God and let the world fade into the background. It is here in the quiet place with God that you can find true peace and rest knowing that He will never change how He loves you when the world consistently lets you down.
6. Pray without CeasingUse this time to pray. Seek God on a deeper level than you ever had before. Write down your prayers. Keep a journal of what you're going through. I had asked for a prayer journal this past Christmas and since the beginning of the year I have been writing down prayers every so often. When times were difficult I found myself filling up the pages endlessly. And honestly, a lot of the pages I've been using for prayer regarding my future husband. Pray for your spouse. Not just that you'd meet soon, but pray for their heart. That their relationship with God would be strengthened. That they would seek and follow after God. That He would prepare you both for your future relationship. Pray for your heart. That you would seek and have the faith to persevere through this waiting season of your life. Pray for strength and guidance. Pray that God would give you a peace of mind that He is working all things out for your best. Pray that God would fill you with a content and joyful heart even through the discouraging times. Prayer is the most important piece that ties all of the things I mentioned together. It's the piece that connects our hearts with God and transforms our perspective on our circumstances. Our circumstances may remain the same but prayer can change our hearts and allow us to see our struggles differently.
Don't let this time of waiting become a time that you grow weary and lose heart. Take this time and choose to focus on what God wants to teach you. Every struggle has something that God is trying to teach us. You may feel like God will never answer your prayers and desperate pleas, but God is working. He's got a plan. He's up to something. He sees the pain it causes you. He's protecting you. And just when you think you can't take any more of the emptiness you'll find that right around the corner is your chance to bloom!