This past weekend, my sister and I went and saw the movie “How To Be Single” because well, we are single and appreciate irony. Despite some humor, a decent message at the end, and co-starring the fabulous Rebel Wilson, we both walked away from the movie a little disappointed. It was not an accurate description of what being single is really like or what I thought it should be like. In lieu of this, I decided to give you my own guide to being single.
In culture right now, on one hand being single has this “fabulous and free” stigma associated with it. There’s this idea that being single in your twenties and thirties means you can sleep around with whomever and stay out partying until whenever. The “I don’t need nobody” attitude is glorified accompanied with the “#yolo” mentality. While this may seem great in theory and might be feel good for the night, you still go home to the emptiness inside you that you just tried to fill with a night on the town. No amount of alcohol or men or partying can fill this hole inside. Try as you might, you’ll only end up with regret and remorse as opposed to happy and fulfilled.
On the flip side of this, there’s still an air of longing from women to be married with a sense of obligation to do so by a certain point in life passed down by history. Marriage is seen as a destination, a mile marker to reach in life’s journey that will solve all problems and make you a whole person. The idea is held that once rings and vows are exchanged, you are successful and have achieved full adult status, and you will finally be happy and complete. The idea is also held that if you are not married by said point in life, you are a failure of some sorts or there must be something wrong with you for your failed relationship status. Your life being linked to another does not define your value. The romantic union between you and another does not define your potential for joy in life. A relationship of the romantic sorts is an added joy and blessing to an already complete person. A marriage certificate or changed Facebook relationship status will not fill that void in you. A marriage alone will not satisfy that hole inside.
Jesus is the only thing that can fill that void. Jesus alone can satisfy and sustain.
We can gallivant around this world all we’d like, chasing one thing after another, but nothing will satisfy until we are filled with Jesus. Everything else is “vanity and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). The world promises, and the world takes away. God promises, and gives us Jesus. Jesus meets us right where we are in the middle of our mess, in the middle of our search for completeness and answers, to give us himself (Romans 5:8). He died so that we could know him, be saved and forgiven from our current selves, and spend forever with him. Could you say the same of a night out or a spouse? As much as these things might promise relief and a happiness, only Jesus can provide rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28). Drink of the world and you’ll come back thirsty, drink of Jesus and your thirst will be quenched for eternity (John 4:13-14). Satisfaction comes from a marriage until things get rocky because without that solid foundation in Christ, one or both are at great risk of crumbling. Satisfaction comes from alcohol until the effects wear off, because while you felt confident in that moment, you’re faced with who you are and what’s going on when the hangover wears off. Satisfaction comes from a night spent with another until the sun comes up, and while you felt loved for the night, where are they the next day? Satisfaction comes from Jesus for eternity, because while we are all sinners and falling short of perfection, Jesus died to save you from the wrath of God and yourself and make way for you to have a new life with God here on Earth and on into eternity.
I’m not a relationship (or lack thereof) expert. I just have 22 years of experience being single, so I think that gives me at least advanced level singleness street cred. Being single is hard, I won’t paint it out otherwise. It’s hard, but it’s also beautiful and brilliant. It’s an exciting and fun time to be you. So, here are my “how to be single” tips.
- First and foremost, I pray you dig into that hole inside. Let it creep up. Let it convict you. Let God move in you! Explore the gospel. God is a powerful and mighty God, but He is also a gentle and loving God. Because you see, He sent His son to pay the debt we owed. Jesus gives life. Jesus is love. Surrender this exhausting life you’ve tried living on your own and be freed by the cross. Find what it means to truly live! Embrace the most important and sustaining relationship you will ever have.
- Find what you like to do. Explore the heart God gave you. You are uniquely designed with exact specifications. What are those? See the beauty in them.
- Unashamedly enjoy what makes you happy. Like nerdy stuff? Rock it. Like girly stuff? Rock it. Whatever it is that you like-rock it. Don’t let the world’s standards morph who are you. Own that girl inside and let her do her.
- Take yourself out. Girls, don’t lie, you know you have rom com induced ideas for a date night or romantic evenings out and about. If you think it sounds like fun, why wait for a guy? Go! Take a group of your girls or fly solo. Take yourself out to the movies or to dinner somewhere cool. Take yourself for a drive. Take yourself out to do what you like to do every now and then.
- Intentionally see the joy in this time. You can go wherever,do whatever, be whoever. It’s just you doing life with God, so the possibilities are literally endless! See the excitement in that. I know it’s hard amongst the seemingly endless stream of engagement pictures and wedding hashtags on social media…trust me, I know. But intentionally (because let’s be real, our brains will more than likely revert to a sarcastic, subtly cynical comment otherwise), seek to see the joy for you and those around you in this season. Singleness is a blessing and can be a lot of fun if you let it be and quiet the voice inside that says otherwise (*cough cough Satan*).
Please don’t take this post hating on relationships and marriage. There is immeasurable joy in a Christ centered marriage. The intention of this post is for you to see there are alternatives to the “typical” single lifestyle portrayed by Hollywood. Rock and enjoy your singleness!! Singleness isn’t a punishment or pointing to something wrong with you or the pool of people around you or because you didn’t forward the chain messages of 2008. You are here for a reason, and I don’t know what that it is, but I know it’s great one. This has potential to be a joyful, strengthening, and empowering time for you! There is a crucially important relationship that needs to be explored between you and Jesus though, single or not. Singleness just happens to be an opportune time to dig in because there is not the distraction of an earthly relationship. Nothing else can satisfy and sustain except that relationship with God through Christ. Everything else gives moments of happiness, but will not fulfill or make you whole. Jesus does though.
My prayer is that when that moment hits late at night when you’re feeling alone and feeling like there is no hope or you’re feeling terribly single, that you will talk to Jesus about what you’re feeling. Let Him cradle your heart. God’s arms hold the universe, He can handle you too, hot mess and all. Jesus endured the cross to give you an enduring love. Let Him show you love like you could never dream of. Love and grace that defies human logic (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 8:38-39).
So cheers, my single sistas, to this crazy, amazing, wonderful life we get to live because of Jesus! #singleswag