“It’s like, I meet a guy, and I think it’s great, and anyone else would just be thinking about how much greater it’s going to get. And I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.” – Beth Martin
This quote is from the movie “When in Rome,” and the first time I heard it I was sobbing.
Because I felt like it was a glimpse into my soul.
I’m guessing it was around the time I had gone through the breakup of a year-long relationship.
If you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve been there yourself. The relationship is going well. You’ve been dating him (or her) for a while. Maybe you’re even thinking, dare I say it, forever? Dreams of the perfect wedding with the perfect family in the perfect house pop up in your mind. (You’re never too old to daydream, right?) If you’re a woman, you might be wondering when he might pop the question. As a man, you are examining your budget to see how you might afford a ring.
And then suddenly…it’s over.
Maybe a gradual falling apart or maybe a sudden, unexpected breakup.
But the result is the same: Alone. Again.
Being a Christian single can make this experience easier…but in some ways harder. Because you feel guilty that you put so much stock in a human relationship, as if you should somehow be above grieving or wallowing in self-pity or eating a whole bag of Lindor truffles.
I mean, you’re a Christian and “it’s God’s will” and “God has a better plan.” All that is true, but it certainly doesn’t mean a breakup doesn’t stink. It’s not like Christians somehow magically think that life is all rainbows and sunshine just because we answer to a Higher Power.
However… we do have more hope than the non-believer. And God does have a plan.
At some point, after the truffles are gone and we’ve dried our tears (or tempered our anger, whichever the case may be), we have to circle back around to that.
I went through years of singleness as a Christian and, mistakes aside, there are some valuable things that I had to keep in mind to keep my sanity, especially when dealing with yet another failed relationship.
THREE TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIAN SINGLENESS
“Single” does not mean “alone.”
Trust me – I know it feels like it a lot of the time. But the great thing about being a Christian single, is that you never truly are alone. When you come home to an empty house, on those quiet evenings with just you and your pet, while you’re eating dinner on a TV tray catching up on your favorite shows…the loneliness can be overwhelming. I get it.
Thankfully, God assures us that He is always watching over us and He cares.
“…he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” – Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
Rejoice in that, sweet friend! The unbeliever doesn’t have that promise.
There are advantages to being single.
There are so many opportunities that came my way during my single days that I probably would not have been able to take advantage of if I’d had a family.
Mission trips, leisure trips, fun parties, concerts.
I love my life now, but 7:30 bedtimes and school drop off and pick up lines interfere with a lot of the “fun” I had as a single person. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life now, but I’m thankful for those years I was single that allowed me to minister to orphans in Nicaragua, worship with missionaries in Asia, celebrate New Year’s Eve with my friends (without falling asleep), fly solo to San Francisco, and drive to Florida on a whim.
Marriage and family are a different kind of adventure and I enjoy it. But take advantage of where you are now in singleness and appreciate those exciting moments that your married friends can no longer share.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)
Don’t think of this time as “waiting” – think of it as an appointed time in your life that God has assigned to you, and make the most of it.
Being single is better than being with the wrong person.
Let me stress that this point might be the most important one, and one that I almost learned the hard way. There were times I tried so hard to make a relationship work that, quite honestly, I made a fool of myself. You don’t know how many times I think about those past relationships and thank the Lord above that He did not give me what I thought I wanted.
I know it’s hard when people say it “wasn’t meant to be” or “God has another plan.” But it is so true. Nothing can thwart God’s plan for you. Nobody has that power. If a breakup happens, then God had a reason for it. And He really does know better than we do.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” – Hebrews 10:36 (NIV)
I was short-sighted during my dating years, and was just so lonely that I often tried to force God’s plan to conform to mine. Fortunately, it didn’t work.
One look at my husband and son tells me that God really did know best.
And even if he hadn’t given my family to me and I was still single today, I’m thankful that those old relationships didn’t work out. I would much rather be single than in a marriage that God didn’t intend for me.
Just trust Him. He will never lead you wrong.
SINGLE PEOPLE IN SCRIPTURE
We all know Paul from the Bible was famously single. (In fact, he tells us in I Corinthians 7 that it is actually better to stay single if you can handle it.)
But did you realize that Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus were also single? That Mary Magdalene was single, as was Miriam, Moses’ sister? Even some of the Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah and Elijah were single.
These are some of the most influential people in Scripture, people who helped direct the course of history, people who were friends with Jesus.
Bottom line: You are in good company.
These people did not allow their singleness to keep them from being effective for God. They weren’t in waiting mode…they were in active mode!
I certainly wouldn’t expect anyone not to grieve a failed relationship. I’ve certainly done my share of crying into a tub of Rocky Road after a breakup.
But don’t let it keep you down.
And please don’t ever think you are alone or that God doesn’t care about your loneliness. I can remember times lying in my bed at night crying out to God, and then feeling as if He wrapped His arms around me at my lowest point. Let Him do the same for you.
And then get out there and be the best you can be in the place God has you now.
Edie Emory is a wife, mom, and daughter of the King from South Carolina. After years in a traditional work environment, she has come home to be with her young son and pursue her passion for ministry through writing. She also enjoys spending time with her family, singing, reading, baking, watching sports and serving in her church. Read more of Edie’s articles on her website, She Who Has Believed, or connect with Edie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
This post is a part of the “Being Single Taught Me…” series – diving into lessons learned during singleness. Check out other posts in the series, including Being Single Taught Me… How God Loves Me Perfectly.
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