All The Single Ladies//What God Taught Me About Singleness
“Up in the club, just broke up, I’m doing my own little thing. You decided to dip and now you wanna trip ’cause another brother noticed me. I’m up on him, he up on me. Don’t pay him any attention. ‘Cause I cried my tears for three good years, you can’t be mad at me”
Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good dance tune. Here Beyonce belts out her anthem to all the single woman in the world. Bey’s had it rough, she’s cried for three good years over an ex she gave her all to.
The antidote to her misery? Hook up with the guy at the club and make your ex jealous. This narrative is just one of many that the world is pushing on women these days. Men are to be the centre of our world and “putting a ring on it” is our chief aim in life.
Happily Ever After?
From the cooking sets to the “my first makeup” to the mini vacuum cleaner. The common standard is that a girl will become a toddler, a teenager, a woman who is a wife. For some time in our recent past, the world was built on the premise that women cannot live alone, own property or work.
Compound that with the natural curiosity and desire to understand and explore your sexuality in adolescence and you have a beautiful mess.
I dove headfirst into what media was pumping into me. I soaked myself in dramatic romcoms about how the girl gets the guy and lives happily ever after.
I always assumed that my life would follow this trajectory: graduate from University, travel the world, get married in my mid-20s and have children. By nature, I like to set goals and press towards them. So leaving high school, I was clear on my plan.
At some point in my late twenties, I hit a point where I was scrambling for the societal standard. That by the age of 30, I was supposed to have accomplished something big and I should be married.
God enabled me to go to graduate school and I got to experience different parts of the world. With all that in mind, I still felt lonely. At my breaking point, I was sitting with some friends in Paris. Doing one of the things I deeply desire in life; travelling. Yet I still longed for a husband. I was uncharacteristically sad. Even in my sadness, I knew my focus was on the wrong thing and that I needed to understand who I was and what I was called to do.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
For a while, I thought that romance = happiness = love = sex = spouse = bliss. In our simple thinking, we can imagine that God is promising us wealth, health, a great partner and all the children we desire.
If however, we think about this scripture in light of eternity. The scripture means something different, we get to be with the one that loves us forever.
God loves us for exactly who we are at every moment. He likes our hair, however, it is done. He doesn’t have a preference for makeup and he listens when we speak, even when we are spewing nonsense. (Psalm 139:14)
He is focused on our eternal souls, not a momentary gain. Those are things that no person can offer consistently and constantly. We can be in a frenzied state – upset – livid – mourning – and everything in between and God is always present and perfect. (Romans 8:38)
Even on Sundays
“You are so great. I just don’t understand why you’re still single?” “Have you tried dating websites?” “I know that your day will come, stay faithful until then!”
These are a sample of questions, statements, and affirmations I receive about my marital status from well-intentioned Christians. Comments like these about why we’re not married can deepen our insecurities. We can allow false beliefs convince us we are nobodies because we’re single.
75% of the battle of being single is what others think of me and say to me in relation to being single. The remaining 25% is me fighting the loneliness I feel because I don’t have a spouse. But even in that, God promises that he is with us.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. “ (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)
Even when we have some ailment troubling us. In our weakness, we’re still strong because we have God. He is comforting us. He is walking with us. There is no substitute for that.
The Gift of Singlehood
It is a blessing to be single. I work full-time and help shepherd women at church. I am active in the community and work in international organizations. I enjoy opening my home to the family of believers and I travel quite a bit.
All of this is possible because I am a single woman living my life for God (1 Corinthians 7: 34-35). There are days I fall into bed wiped from the day and simultaneously filled up and ready to do it all again the next day. I wouldn’t be able to do half those things if I were not single.
Singles are unencumbered and have the ability to make decisions that would otherwise necessitate input from our spouse. We have the time to spread our interests wide and deep. We can explore other countries and go on adventures with God. Through different people, places and experiences; we are awakened to the sum of God’s beauty through his vast creation.
Single and Complete
While I still have a strong desire to get married and have children, I’m not panicking to find someone to “complete me” or “be my other half”. God is the only one that completes us. No caveats or replacements. (Philippians 1:6)
God is in control and will lead us exactly where we need to be if we follow his will for our lives. Every day, we can choose to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18) for where we are and things we get to do and experience until another season of our life comes.
Written by Oby Ukadike
Oby lives in Boston and works in Higher Education. She also runs a non-profit organisation in Ghana that fights for justice. In her spare time, she enjoys soaking up as much culture as she can around the globe.
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