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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Single Status: Blessing or Curse?

Before I really get into this post, I want to make it clear that I hope you all hear my heart on this. This post is full of things that are personal, and I have seen far too many statuses on multiple social media platforms about so many individuals who do not believe that they will ever get into a relationship or that they are not worthy of such an achievement. It bothers me to see so many who think on this path; a path that I have walked down myself. Again, I say please hear my heart on this subject.

To really start this off I would like you to ask yourself why you think that you are doomed to being forever single. If you are anything like me, you probably have your ever growing list of reasons why you are not worthy of being in a relationship – as Lydia Bennet of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries would call, “List of Reasons Why [Insert Name Here] is Perpetually Single”. Let’s be honest here, if we believe that we are doomed to single status, then we believe that we are perpetually single. So it’s an accurate title for that ever growing list, right? I am sure that list is full of “I am not [fill in the blank]” and “I am such a [fill in the blank]” and “there is no way anyone could love someone like me”.

Surprisingly enough, this way of thinking falls under the victimization category. Sounds extreme right? I used to think so too, but it is honestly not. We place ourselves as victims when we start thinking of things as happening TO us instead of FOR us. Well nothing I said before sounds like it fits that statement, right? By making this list you are thinking that a dating relationship is something that happens to you, therefore you are victimizing yourself by creating that list. You can do something about your relationship status.

I am not saying that you should just ask whoever it is that you wish would be your significant other. If you are comfortable with doing that, then go right ahead. If you are like me and prefer that the guy does the asking there is still something that you can do. This is something that anyone can do – ACCEPT YOURSELF! It sounds so simple and you may be thinking that you do this already. Well… if you are making a list of reasons as to why you are perpetually single, I have news for you – you aren’t truly and honestly accepting yourself.

I have yet to read a novel where the heroine states her list of single status doom and comes away with a happy relationship. I don’t think I am alone in this, but maybe I am – whiny characters get under my skin; especially those who whine about being single. The novel heroines who are in happy, healthy relationships are the ones who have accepted themselves as they are. That means going through that list you have created and saying “I am okay with this”. If you are truly not okay with something about yourself, change it. You are not a victim. You have the power to change whatever you want about yourself.

You may or may not be aware of the fact that there are benefits to being single. Paul talks about these in 1 Corinthians 7.

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7: 32 – 35 ESV

Your time of being a part of the “singles club” is a blessing. It may not always seem that way. Sometimes it seems more like a curse. I know I struggle with viewing it as a blessing. I definitely have my moments where I can clearly see it as a curse, but it is true that it is a pure blessing. This time of being single is a chance to truly establish yourself as a child of God and devote yourself to Him. Your identity is in Christ and knowing that and accepting that is important. It is definitely more important than going on a manhunt for “the one”, in my opinion. It is also important to know that whoever you are considering to fill the role of “significant other” is deeply rooted in their identity in Christ. Things will not end very well if that is not the case.

I want to focus on the second half of the quote – “Waiting is about who you will become as you wait”. Whether or not we intend for things to change over time, they do. Things do not always need our permission to change, they just do it on their own. Some changes may be more noticeable than others, but things change over times – end of story.

Super Personal Moment – I did not go on my first date until I was twenty years old (I am presently twenty-two). I did not enter my first actual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship until I was practically twenty-one. Let me say that there is no shame in never having any kind of dating experience until you are in your twenties or in college. It may not be common, but there are those of us who that is how our story is written. I believe that everyone has their own story that is meant to be shared in its own time. It is also written a specific way for the events that unfold in each specific individual’s life to fit together like a puzzle.

Anyway… I mention when I had my first date and first boyfriend to mention something else that is kind of related, but kind of not at the same time. In high school, I did wonder if there was something wrong with me because I was not asked by the guys I was interested in. Let me be clear, I did have a few offers but I had my reasons as to why I turned each one down. God knew exactly what he was doing with my story. I can see that now (you know, hind sight is 20/20). God knew that for me a boyfriend would have been one of the biggest distractions of the century. A distraction that would not help what I was praying for or what my heart truly needed. Yes, I prayed for a boyfriend – I don’t think I am alone in that either. What I prayed for is probably what got me “in trouble” – I prayed for God’s best. Sure, I had my own ideals of what kind of person I’d like (still do). But growing up in the church and in a Christian social circle, there are so many dating talks that you go through that it seems normal to pray for God’s best. That does not mean that you know what you are praying for – I certainly did not. And I wouldn’t say that I definitely know what that means now, but I think I have a better idea. During this time though, God taught me things about myself that I definitely needed to know before even considering adding someone else to my mess of a life. One of the big things was how broken I truly am and why it is that I need God. This was something that I learned not too long after I made the ridiculous statement of “I am perpetually single” – yes, I too have played the victim card.

I was nineteen. I had just finished my first semester of college. I was at the Passion conference and the main theme of the conference was freedom. It was presented in such a way that everything just clicked. It finally made sense what the decision I had made when I was seven truly meant and why it was such a huge, important decision to make. It finally made sense that I am broken beyond my own abilities that Christ is the only one who can mend the brokenness. A quote that I have carried with me from that conference is…

Brokenness is the bow from which God shoots the arrows of healing.

Loui Giglio

God uses your brokenness, just like He uses your time as being single. It is a way for Him to teach you things. I cannot say whether or not things would have been different for me if I would have been in a relationship at the time of that conference. I can say though, that because I grasped that concept, when I finally entered in a relationship and that relationship ended, I found it more comforting knowing that I have a God who uses brokenness to heal and to teach. The months that followed my first break-up were months that I saw amazing changes.

Being single can be absolutely awesome! It can bring about some of the most amazing things that help fashion the type of person that you are. I am not saying that the dating experience that I have had did not bring about changes, because it most definitely has changed me. But it is my months, years of being single that I have the change that I remember most.

So I write all of that and share what I have shared for the simple point of this…

By knowing your value in Christ – your identity in Christ – you know that you are worthy of love. Natalie Floyd says it so well – you are worthy of love “…because Jesus told you so”. God said “That one. I love him/her. Because I love him/her I am willing to give up my Son so he/she can have a chance at doing life with me.” God said that you were so important, that you were so worthy of love that His Son paid the ultimate price for your list of reasons why you should not be able to have life with God.

I think this is easier to grasp and understand when you are single. Paul knew what he was talking about when he wrote to the church at Corinth. When you are single, you have the blessing to serve the Lord with your whole heart. There is nothing else to divide your attention. Single status allows you to focus entirely on God. That does not mean that you will never have the opportunity to share all that God has taught you with someone that is that special someone or that God cannot teach you things as you date or are married. Everything is a blessing in its own way. You just have to take a step back and allow God to show you the blessing.

This post started off as something completely different in my mind. And it has unfolded into something more beautiful than I could have imagined. I hope you heard my heart in all of this. More importantly, I hope you hear God’s heart in all of this. He loves you and wants what is best for you.

Until next time… Kara

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