I’ll always remember the evening I hung up the phone after ending a five-year relationship with the guy I thought I was going to marry. Too much of a coward at the time to do it in person, I said my final goodbye and went my separate way, closing the door on hopes and dreams and plans for the future. Well-wishers who wanted to help me move past my grief shared sweet sentiments about how awesome the man God had chosen just for me must be and how now that I wasn’t distracted by the wrong relationship God could bring the right guy into my life. It will be soon, they said. Just you wait and see.
That was eight years ago.
For eight years, I have been single. And I don’t say that dramatically or exaggeratedly. I have dated approximately zero people in eight years. For the majority of my twenties, I have fielded an overwhelming amount of questions about dating and marriage and have been told more times than you can imagine that I’m too picky and might want to lower my standards. If I got paid for every time I have been asked “have you tried (insert your preferred dating website here)” I could be traveling the world instead of sitting on my couch writing this blog.
And I know people mean well. I know they do. But what they don’t realize is that this constant fixation on marriage is unhealthy and breeds lies that the enemy uses to trick someone into thinking that something is wrong with them and that they aren’t enough. I spent years after my relationship ended feeling less than and not enough. Worrying that no man would ever be crazy enough to choose me. Guarding my heart out of fear that I would be hurt again and that my feelings about not being enough would be validated. Every time someone would tell me that surely there was a guy out there for me but yet there was no one around, I fell further and further into the trap of constantly asking “then what is wrong with me?”
It doesn’t help that the American church places such an emphasis on marriage and families. It’s rare to find a single woman in a prominent leadership or pastoral position or speaking from behind a pulpit on a Sunday morning. Oftentimes the single population in the church feels that their gifts and callings are overlooked by the fact that they don’t have a spouse to sit next to. Services tend to be so geared towards families that it can make a single person feel outcasted or ostracized at times, or worse, it leaves them standing all alone while families huddle together for prayer and communion. And any girl who grew up in church knows that at times, marriage was presented to us as the ultimate goal, and Jesus was presented to us a means to get to that goal. The entire scope of womanhood was defined to us by sermons and Sunday school messages as marriage and babies and nothing more. So we get confused. Because we are Christian women, we love the Lord, we have served faithfully, we did all the “right things”, but yet we are still single.
A few years ago I was driving and having a
conversation pity party with the Lord, letting Him know exactly how I felt about the fact that I was still single. And in a moment of what really is only His grace, He asked me a question that changed my life.
Me : God I’m so frustrated. Why haven’t you brought me my husband yet? Why does everyone else always seem to get what I’m praying for? I have served and given and devoted my life to You but it’s getting hard to do it all alone.
Him: What would you do if you never get married?
Me: Well….I mean, I would still do what You called me to do.
Him: Then why aren’t you doing it?
Me: *sat there quietly for the rest of the drive because God just put me in my place*
This is one of the reasons why I love Him so so much. He easily could have assured me that He has the perfect man for me, that it was all in His timing and my reward would be great. He could have shown me things that me and my husband will do together one day and encouraged me to prepare myself to be a good wife. Or He even could have revealed to me an entire list of things that I needed to work on to make myself “marriage material.” He could have shown me all the reasons my heart was already sure were why I was still single.
But He didn’t do that. He took that moment to say look Angela, you stop worrying about everything else and just do what I have told you to do. Which is exactly what I needed to hear from Him. I needed to know that He was not concerned about the fact that I am still single. That He didn’t overlook me and belittle me. That His plans and purposes for my life were in no way contingent on whether or not I had a husband. In a simple question, He told me that I was enough. He told me that He found value and purpose in me and needed me to see it in myself. I found my freedom that day and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Please hear me friends – If the God of the universe is not worried about, concerned with, or moved by the fact that you are still single, then you shouldn’t be either. He is not frantically trying to figure out how He is going to make this happen for you. He has not left His throne scrambling to work all things out for your good.
Regardless of if I ever get married or not, I will shout this message for the rest of my life:
MARRIAGE IS NOT THE ULTIMATE GOAL.
You can’t experience real freedom as a single person until you stop believing any lie that makes you feel that marriage is some ultimate prize to be obtained and start living from a place of knowing that the ultimate prize has always been and will always be Jesus Christ.
He alone is our great reward.
This life has nothing to do with whether or not we are married or single. It has to do with the fact that we are here to know Him and to make Him known and we have to take responsibility for that calling, regardless of our relationship status and the season we find ourselves in.
I know that it can feel impossible to silence the lies in your mind that tell you all of the reasons why you are still single and that you aren’t enough. To this day I have moments where they try to sneak back in – Angela you aren’t pretty enough, skinny enough, funny enough, smart enough, talented enough, dependent enough, quiet enough. You are not enough.
But here’s the good news. I am enough! You are enough! We are enough simply because Jesus Christ is enough.
I’d be lying if I told you that I never think about a husband. I do. I talk about it with friends and continue to pray for God’s will in this situation. But the beautiful thing about doing everything that God has called you to do right now in your here and now life is that your mind doesn’t have time to be consumed with thoughts about marriage and all the “what-ifs”. You can go to sleep at night feeling fulfilled and whole, knowing that you are fully living out your purpose. And if one day you get married, that’s great, and if you don’t, that’s great too because He is more than enough for you.
Just live your life friends. Do whatever it is that God is calling you to do and asking of you. Don’t wait. You won’t be “better equipped” one day to step out in faith and follow Him simply because you are married. We aren’t living our lives for some elusive day in the future where we wake up next to someone. Marriage is not our ultimate goal nor is it a prerequisite for living out our callings
There’s too much trauma, abuse, hurt, pain, darkness, and corruption going on in the world today to allow ourselves to be blinded by how incredibly blessed we are simply because we aren’t married. If the hardest thing in my life right now is that I don’t yet have to share my bed and my bank account, I think I’m good <3