Fear woke me this morning.
Okay, actually my alarm clock woke me. But then I turned to my go-to excuse to stay in bed: Facebook. And the first thing on my Facebook feed happened to be yet another relationship status changed to “engaged.”
Here’s the thing- I got over my boyfriend-craving stage by fifteen. A combination of pro-singleness articles, a busy schedule, and a (probably unhealthy, but we can talk about that later) reluctance to form deep attachments have kept me happily single ever since.
And yet… I see more and more of my friends posting happy engagement photos, then happy wedding photos, then happy first baby photos…and I start to panic.
What if I’m single forever? I wonder. What if when I’m ready for a relationship all the good guys are gone? (Please note that “good guys” in this case are a diminishing commodity, like when you stood too far back in the line for that crazy good deal and all the shirts in your size were gone by the time you got to the front. We should probably talk about that at some point, too.) I catch myself thinking, Man, I wish God were like Walmart. Maybe He could put a man on layaway for me, and I could just come pay and pick him up in, say, five years.
Because I’ve somehow swallowed this idea that singleness is good – up until you’re about thirty. Then you’re probably stuck forever. And by “stuck forever” I mean “consigned to eternal Christian servitude, because that’s all singleness is good for.” That’s my real fear when I get down to it. I’ve read a lot of blogs, books, and articles about how singleness is a blessing. Most of them expound on Paul’s opinion that singleness is desirable because single people, lacking the distraction of significant others, can dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to God’s work. That probably sounds really encouraging to them.
They’re probably trying to say, “Look! There are more important things than marriage! You can still be significant!”
I read, “…and if nobody wants to marry you, being a nun is still a viable option!”
I feel like a superhero just gaining powers. In most superhero scripts, this entails pain, awkwardness, embarrassment… Then our hero realises that her true calling is saving the world. And saving it again. Aaaand again. She’ll have to sacrifice almost everything in her life and spend every spare moment, every weekend, every vacation, every everything on her mission to singlehandedly defeat all the bad guys the comic universe can throw at her. But all of that’s okay because she has significance… as long as she’s defeating those bad guys.
But what if I decide not to be Single-Woman? What if I don’t have any ministry in my life? We can debate the meaning of “ministry” later, but do I still have significance? Is life a black-and-white choice of either marriage or Super-Single-Christian-Woman for the rest of my life forever? See, not having a boyfriend right now- that’s not scary. Realising that might sentence me to eternal Bible-study-leading- that is scream-like-a-little-girl terrifying.
But maybe we can broaden the definition. Maybe single people have significance even if they’re not leading Bible studies, pioneering missions work, or wiping noses at AWANA programmes. Maybe we have significance because God made us in His image.
So if I’m single and pursuing a talent He gave me, maybe that counts as using my un-distracted-singleness (another thing we could argue about, cause I’m pretty easily distracted!) for His glory.
And maybe I should stop fearing that all the men in my size will be gone by the time I get to the front of the sales line and instead start enjoying the friendships I have, seeing people as humans, not commodities, and trusting God to deal with the rest. After all, He’s been successfully handling relationships far longer than I can imagine.
Opinions? Arguments? Friends, single or not-so-single, what’s your take on relationships and significance?