On Singleness and Self-Pity

On Singleness and Self-Pity

I need to be real with you: I have been a really pathetic single girl this week.

You see, some weeks I’m like a Single-Girl Superhero, conquering every bit of insecurity and self-doubt with my super-single-girl-superpowers. Those are the best weeks- the weeks I am so thankful for the path that God has laid out for me. The weeks that I feel so incredibly blessed- even to the point of tears- to be living a life devoid of the heartbreak and distraction that dating can bring.

I have such an incredible amount of freedom to live spontaneously, dream freely, give myself fully to my relationships with friends and family. I have so much time to be involved and work and study. And some weeks, that’s exactly what I want.

And let me tell you, friends… Those are good weeks.

But some weeks… well, some weeks it’s harder. Some weeks I am reminded of my humanity, the one that yearns and hopes and desires. Some weeks, more than others, I want to share. Share my time and meals and favorite bench. Share my thoughts and future and Friday afternoons.

Today I sit outside, enjoying the first pleasant day of the school year. The life-sucking humidity of the last few weeks has disappeared, Friday classes are over. My favorite bench, the one surrounded by ivy-entangled trees, sits open and free for me to occupy for an hour or two. I sit writing, my favorite thing to do, belly full from a wonderful lunch with a friend and a slight smile on my face thinking of the three day weekend ahead of me.

And yet I’m frustrated. Why? Because I sit here, overwhelmed by the fullness of this life I live, and yet desperately feeling at loss.

And complaining to God that I’m single.

It just… feels so wrong to me. It feels so wrong to ask God for anything after He has given me everything, all the way to the point of the cross. To know I have things to do, but to be unable to get the same thoughts out of my mind.

 

Why am I still single?

How come that girl can date guy after guy when I can’t even get one to talk to me?

Why is every good guy taken??
Am I too forward?

Too indifferent?

Do I say the wrong things? Act the wrong way?

Why is it so impossible for me to grab a guy’s attention? Go on a date? Hold a conversation?

See? Pathetic. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And sometimes the hardest part is knowing that it’s not wrong. It’s not wrong for me to desire a friendship, a relationship, a marriage. I know it’s not wrong, this desire that God has given me. But, honestly, that’s the most difficult part sometimes. I know it’s not wrong, but it’s also not real in my life right now. Sure, I can hope for a relationship all I want, but at the end of the day my life is the way it is.

So, the question stands: what do I do with that?

 

I’ve been stuck in Philippians for days now, my poor Bible underlined and highlighted to the point of becoming un-readable. I used to read my Bible out of obligation, checking my to-do box every day as I read a chapter or two.

But then, well, then life began. As I’ve grown older, I have known times of complete desperation, loneliness, loss. And in those times, the Bible has become vastly more to me than simple religion.

It has become my lifeboat.

More and more, I am finding myself on my knees, staring at this life and this Earth and crying out to God, “Please! Help me believe! I need to believe. I need everything you say to be true! Because if you’re not everything you say you are, God, then… then I am lost.”

If God’s not everything He says He is, if He’s not my Savior, the one who raised Himself from the dead 2,000 years ago after being crucified on a Roman cross. If He’s not everlasting, all creating, all loving, all forgiving, then I am nothing.

If God is not who He says He is, then I am going to live 80 years on this Earth and then die. That’s it. No purpose, no hope. If God’s not who He says He is, then I guess it’s just my job to have fun and let live and let go.

 

And if God’s not who He says He is, then… I guess my love life is pretty urgent because it’s all I have, my only worldly way to “true” happiness. Without God in the picture, I guess I should be sitting here freaking out about whether “he likes me” or not. 

 

And in light of that, I pray we consider another reality, the one where I don’t have to sit on the most beautiful bench on campus and ruin my day by feeling sorry for myself.

If God is who He says He is, what does that mean to me? If every Word in the Bible is true, then what does it mean for me, sitting on a bench in 80 degree weather on a Friday afternoon, wishing I wasn’t single?

Oh, friends, if only I could somehow put into words the incredible importance of this truth.

If God is all that He says He is, then He created the world, carefully designing every animal and tree, every hill and valley. Then He created me, knitting me together and loving every ounce of me, seeing me and planning my days on this Earth.

If He is all that He says He is, then God really became a human and was born in a barn to a teenage mother. He grew up as a carpenter and lived a humble life and made no complaint when He was nailed to a cross for something He didn’t do.

If He is everything He says He is, then He really laid in a grave for 3 days and then rose Himself to life.

If this is all true, then when He says that I am saved from the utter hopelessness of this world, that’s true too.

 

You may be wondering, “Ok, but what does this have to do with being single?”

I don’t know about you, friends, but when I look God in the face and see Him for who He is, it’s just…

Well, it’s impossible to feel at loss.

When I remind myself of who God is, of what He has done for me, it is absolute absurdity to be in want of anything.

The more I think about it, it is less about minimizing my desire for a relationship and more about remembering what is so much more that a relationship could ever be.

 

So, yes, this bench is occupying one person. But this occupant is seen and loved and saved by the one true God, and the only loss here is allowing myself to forget that. 

My Most Used And Abused Word Of The Year

My Most Used And Abused Word Of The Year

I don’t know about you, but I can throw myself a darn good pity party when I want to.

You know what I mean. Things don’t go my way, and so I proclaim them “wrong”. Things don’t go my way, and I proclaim myself the victim. My life doesn’t follow the exact path I designed for it in 9th grade and suddenly I need to decide what’s wrong with it and complain often enough so that people know that my life isn’t going the exact way I planned it to go.

And the words.

The next thing I do is I find words that describe my life. Words that describe my state of existence. Some of them don’t last too long: “Ugh, that essay was awful. I’m so pathetic.” When, really, the next week I’m celebrating the A+ I received on my Psych test, all sense of my pathetic nature gone. Or “Someone come help me with this box! I’m so weak.” And the next minute I turn to my friend, “Hey, wanna go on a run tonight?”

But sometimes, my self-proclaimed prophesies last. Sometimes, those muttered words in times of frustration stick around and subconsciously become the standard for how I view my place on this Earth.

One word in particular has stuck around for far too long. This year has led me along paths I never knew I would take, and has made me leap into roles in ways I never thought I would. It has led me to new towns, unfamiliar houses, busy Saturday afternoon coffee shops. It has made me look into the mirror and create a person determined to stick it out. I have worked long hours in new places, driving unfamiliar streets and meeting strangers.

And one word has monopolized my vocabulary more than it ever should have.

“I am so…. alone.”

I began saying it one day, and it has taken me too long to stop.

If you read my blog, or know me at all, you know a bit of my story. Looking at my life, the world may approve my use of words and agree that I have reason to feel alone. I’m 20 years old, in that awkward place in life where I don’t live with my family I grew up with, and yet don’t have a family of my own. Though I desire a relationship, I have never been in one and don’t see any on the horizon. Living in a dorm, being an RA, I live in a hallway of girls I cannot wait to know better, yet nights can be quiet. Last summer, spending my 2 months in a new town, showing up without knowing a soul, it’s no surprise that quiet Saturday evenings had a knack for getting too quiet.

Sure, the World may agree. I have reason to feel alone.

But, friends, I urge you to be wary of the World’s opinion. I beseech you to look up for your reality.

There was a man who walked this Earth 2,000 years ago. His name was Jesus, and He did some pretty incredible things. He was born to a woman named Mary, grew up as a carpenter’s son, lived His life without turning a head. Until He was 30, that is. Then He began to do incredible things: healing diseases, restoring the sight of the blind, walking on water, calming storms. Of course, those around Him were baffled, astounded by this man who can do things no other person could ever do.

But not only that. He also began to claim things, things too incredible, things too great to believe. He claimed that He was life, He was love, He was light. He claimed that He was the Son of God who came to this Earth to save those of us who were pathetic, and weak, and alone.

He claimed that He came to save all of us.

As you would assume, only a few people believed Him. After all, He seemed only human. Who could possibly claim to be all that we would ever need and then live up to it?

No way, too good to be true.

And before too long, it didn’t seem to matter. Many people didn’t like the claims Jesus made about Himself, called it blaspheme, and reported Him to the authorities.

It didn’t take long. Jesus was arrested, flogged, publicly humiliated, beaten, and crucified on a cross. And then He died. On a Friday night, 2,000 years ago, Jesus died on a hillside in Jerusalem.

Jesus, the One who lived a spotless life, died a more gruesome death than most of us would ever dream of dying. And He went willingly, putting up no fight as they nailed His bloody hands and feet to a splintered up log and hung Him, naked, on a cross to suffocate as His body hang limp in front of a cheering audience.

In in that moment, as Jesus died, the Bible says that every sin of this world, every sin of mine, was placed on Him. In that moment, Jesus bore the weight of the world and received the wrath of God that all of us deserve.

In that moment, as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, Jesus was more alone than I could ever dream of being. He was more alone than anyone has ever been. In that moment, no one, not even God, was on His side.

And why? Why did He do it? He did it for you. He did it for me. He came to this Earth to live a perfect life and die the loneliest death in order to save me, in order to save you.

And He was put into a tomb, His body still. His body broken. Alone.

And why do I say all of this, friends? Why does it matter if this guy claimed things about Himself and then died? And what does it have to do with me, sitting in a coffee shop 2,000 years later, feeling alone?

That guy, Jesus… He didn’t stay dead. No other human in the history of the Earth has decided to ditch the grave and live a little longer.

But Jesus did. He did and He looked into the astonished eyes of His friends and said some of the most incredible words ever spoken. As they stared, wide-eyed at their once dead friend, finally believing that He was everything He ever claimed to be.

Life.

Love.

Freedom.

Salvation.

He looked at them and ordered them to go, and to not stay silent. To tell people, to write down what had happened. And then He looked into their frightened eyes and said the sentence that restores and upholds me today.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There is one word in my vocabulary that needs to leave. Every time I look at my life and claim to be alone I am spitting in the face of the God who gave His life to make it not so.

The God who has claimed to be with me. The God who is with me.

I am not alone. I am more loved than I could ever know.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6