There is joy in singleness.
Not Waiting Around
Joy Beth Smith, Party of One
Hi, I'm Joy Beth!
Singleness is hard. But it’s also so beautiful.
It’s filled with growth and service and so much time. My adult single years have been the greatest source of refining I’ve ever had in my life, and that’s after experiencing tremendous personal loss. God is glorified in my unfulfilled longings, and He alone sustains me on those days when it feels easier to hide in my bed than to get out and make decisions and take care of myself. There is good here. If I would’ve gotten married at 22, as my mother and I both hoped and prayed I would, I would’ve been a completely different person. I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am now, I wouldn’t have gone through the therapy, the years of working on myself and my issues, that have greatly shaped who I am as a person, friend, and writer. I wouldn’t have been able to move across the country for my job or family. And that would have been a huge loss — for me and my community. There is joy in singleness. There’s something liberating here. When I choose to look up from what I’m missing to take in all that I have, it’s a beautiful sight. I am a have, not a have-not. And that doesn’t stop me from desiring marriage, and it doesn’t stop me from stalking Tim Tebow’s social media and imagining what if? But it helps — it eases the sting of loneliness and pain and suffering. Some days I even find myself savoring that joie de vivre. We misconstrue the gift of singleness as a lifelong thing, as if it’s something you have or don’t have. If you’re single today, you have the gift of singleness. If you’re married today, you have the gift of marriage. So today, I have the gift of singleness and all the blessings that come with being single: I have time to pour into people. I have energy and efforts and creativity. I have money, and I don’t have to talk with anyone about how I spend my money. If I want the booties, I buy them. Today is a gifted season of singleness. I’m not going to wait for marriage anymore. I’m going to hope for it, I’m going to pray for it, but I’m not going to wait for it. If I truly believe this isn’t a season of preparation for something better — that this, that right now, is a life worth living — then we should consider making different choices. Maybe that means finally buying a house. I know this is a biggie, so I don’t offer it up lightly. There are some y’all who can afford it but have been waiting, knowing you’re wasting money on renting and that you are in a local community worth investing in for the long term, but you’re scared to death of buying a home on your own. To you, I say this: do the dang thing. Buy a house you love. Build a life you love. I know it’s a big commitment, but if you keep putting it off, we could have this same conversation in ten years, and then how much time (and money) will you have lost? We can’t wait around anymore — not for renting, not for husbands, and not for life to pass us by. So download that Zillow app, and let’s check out your neighbor’s mortgage. Maybe you don’t need to buy a house though; maybe you’d benefit more just from getting to know yourself. One of the advantages of being single later in life is that we have time to figure out the way we tick without having another person eavesdropping on the process (or worse, interfering with it). So figure out what you bring to the table. Is it trauma you need to work through with a counselor? Is it unhealthy communication patterns you’re seeing play out in your friendships? Is it a string of unmet expectations you’re frustrated over but can never seem to voice? What are your strengths? What are your needs and wants? What are your values? Now is the time to unpack all of your own baggage, neatly fold it up, and put it away. Once you add in a husband (or 2.5 kids) to the mix, this process becomes much more difficult. Become a healthier person now, today, because you deserve that. You also deserve community, so don’t wait to get grounded. That feeling of finally getting settled isn’t one most single people are familiar with because we like to stay in a state of slight upheaval, just on the edge of “everything can change,” so we’re ready if a perfect somebody comes along. But that’s a hard way to live your life. Let yourself settle, plant your roots, and plan to stay awhile. If a perfect someone comes along, it’ll make sense with everything you have going on. And for goodness sakes, stop adding items to your dream wedding registry. You can have nice things now! So quit lusting after the KitchenAid mixer and buy it already. If you can afford it, you shouldn’t just be sitting on dilapidated furniture, using chipped dishes, sleeping in a too-small bed, all because you’re convinced that when you get married you’ll upgrade all your belongings then. Start surrounding yourself with the things you love now. The single life comes with its own challenges, like loneliness, isolation, and having to kill spiders that drop in the shower, so there’s no need to compound these by creating problems that don’t have to exist. Stop waiting. Stop deferring your dreams. Be willing to do the hard work of entering into and celebrating the single life God has given you. It’s not easy because we live in a culture that tells us singleness is a second-rate life, but God is too good to give his children second best. Cling to that truth. Know that you are being intentionally gifted God’s best for you, and lean into that. And then let’s remind each other when we forget. Original article exclusively for Faith.Full written by Joy Beth Smith, author of Party of One. * * * Your Turn If you have the gift of singleness right now as I do, what are you waiting around for? Now's the time to get doing what Jesus has called you to do! To dream! To move forward! What's next for you? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full