Every day, it seems, I am having a conversation about singleness and the mind-rattling frustration it brings countless beautiful girls who just can’t figure out what they’re “doing wrong”.
Sometimes these conversations happen over coffee, or in the middle of watching Netflix, or, well… too often with myself as I stare in the mirror in the morning. “What’s the point of curling my hair if no boys ever seem to take a second glance?” Of course, thinking like that is instrumentally detrimental and just down-right unhealthy, but sometimes I can’t help myself.
Singleness can be a weary reality indeed.
These thoughts and frustrations from myself and others have made me search for wisdom like hidden treasure. My mom always told me that choosing who I will marry will be the second most important decision in my life, second only to choosing to follow Jesus.
So you’d better believe I want to make that decision correctly, and I can’t help but know that it all begins in my single days.
In my Wisdom Search, I ran across a book full of articles by a woman named Elisabeth Elliot (many of you may know of her. I have taken to calling her my “new best friend” because her words tend to my heart in a way few have ever been able to.) She wrote one particular article on the topic of singleness- but more than that, prolonged singleness. Like me, she had had countless conversations with many jaw-dropping, loving girls who felt utterly trapped in a life of singleness.
She speaks of women who prayed for 20 years for a husband who never came. Of women with feelings that have no outlet. Of women who have given everything to following Jesus, trusting Him with every aspect of their lives, yet finding themselves humanly alone even though their hearts long to share their lives with someone.
Am I doing something wrong?
Should I go to more “singles barbeques”?
Should I just ask him out already? I’m allowed to do that, right? Right?
Why does this all feel like a big game?
A game. What a way to describe it.
Last night I stayed up late talking through life with a dear friend. Our conversation traveled from faith to family to… well, boys. (Hey, we’re 21. It happens.) We’re both single, but both all-too aware of the plethora of attractive and God-fearing men on our college campus. (Last time my parents visited campus, my mom remarked, “Maddie, there are so many cute guys on this campus!” Yes, mom. I know.)
Once we had covered the basics (who we like. how many encounters we had had with him in the past week), we let our laughter fade and fell silent. Why? Because, at the end of the day, we both have no idea what to do about these feelings we can’t seem to shoo away. We don’t know how to play the game.
“Nobody does” remarks Elisabeth, “It’s chaos, frustration, confusion, and emotional devastation. It was never meant to be a game, so don’t try to play it. Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”
There have been times in my life where I have been tempted to stop praying for my future husband. Often, conversations with other single girls end with “I’ve stopped praying for a husband because God doesn’t guarantee one. It will just end in frustration.” But then what do I do about verses like Philippians 4:6 that tell me to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything- by prayer and petition- present my requests to God”?
Now, if your singleness isn’t making you anxious, then maybe God isn’t stirring your heart in that direction right now. But, if you’re like me and your current relationship status has a tendency to keep you up at night, tossing and turning and making you want to cry out in frustration, “Oh, can’t I just ask HIM out??” then I urge you- PRAY ABOUT IT.
Elisabeth tells you to leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you. Let me ask you a question: Do you trust God with your love story? Do you really truly believe the Bible when it promises that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”?
When did we take earthly love out of the category of “all good things”?
God didn’t create romance to be a game. He created marriage to reflect His love for the church. He created it to be something His children thoughtfully trusted Him with.
It’s not meant to be a game, and thank goodness because I don’t know how to play it.
So instead, I will pray. I will cast my anxieties on the LORD and trust that He sees my heart and truly knows me. I will focus on being His Bride and prayerfully wait to see if He designed me to be anybody else’s.
“It was never meant to be a game, so don’t try to play it. Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”