I turn 23 in a couple of months and I’ve never been in a relationship, let alone on a first date. I have only ever known singleness. But that is okay.
Even when it seems as though your Instagram feed is more like a wedding album, there is nothing wrong with being single at 23. In fact, I’ve never been more content in my life.
But it hasn’t always been that way. It comes and goes in waves. Some days I feel ready, excited and expectant for the joy of spending another day serving, loving and fixing my gaze on the King of the Universe. Other days, it’s hard to see yet another friend get engaged and not yearn for someone to hold my hand or wipe away my tears.
Embracing the Season you are in
For years, I nursed the ache of longing. I wrestled with insecurity, doubts and fear. I felt like there must be something seriously wrong with me. I constantly battled with lies of not being good enough, pretty enough, mature enough, funny enough… I was so tired of having the same Christian clichés thrown at me. I questioned God on numerous occasions. Did I need to be in some perfect state of spiritual maturity to gain the ‘reward’ of a boyfriend? Why was no one ever interested? Were my standards just too high? Would I be single forever?
But God doesn’t work like that. He doesn’t reward us in the form of another broken person. Don’t settle and don’t give up – those are dangerous places to stay. It isn’t a sin to have a longing. But don’t let the fixation of an ideal relationship consume you. Don’t run from the season you are meant to be in, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel.
God wants your heart, not your desperate search for certainty.
After all, He is God and we are not.
Maybe you know in your head that Christ is enough but that doesn’t always align with your heart. As you step into yet another bridesmaid dress or try and be genuinely happy for another friend in love, it feels exhausting. You wonder, ‘will it ever be my turn?’
I’d love to tell you that it will. That it’ll happen very soon as you keep on growing. Or maybe even several years down the track. God will write a better love story than you ever dreamed. Your knight in shining armour is just around the next bend in the road. Or maybe it’s that Godly guy who’s been in front of you all along.
But I can’t give you any of that. I don’t know the state of your future relationship status any more than you do. I don’t want to give you shallow promises and empty words. Marriage is not a guarantee in this life. Jesus is the goal, not marriage, no matter how much our culture has shaped us to believe otherwise.
The Wild Unknown of a Future with God
In February, I decided that I didn’t want to see this as my 23rd year of being single, but rather as a fresh season to grow and learn and keep living this wild and wonderful life for God’s glory. To use my ‘yes’ to bless others, to keep investing in treasured female friendships, to have the freedom of time to create and learn new skills, to lead in ministry areas that I never expected to walk into, and to practice spending devoted, undistracted time with Jesus. Being single has honestly brought me so many incredible opportunities to love God and His people.
Singleness kills my selfishness, pride, sense of entitlement and my deeply held belief that I know what’s best for me. So when my heart was prone to feel the ache of loneliness or the wandering of distraction, I turned to Jesus. I chose to trust the wild unknown of the future to a God who has better plans than I do.
I stopped wanting the answers and started wanting God.
I think that’s when everything changed. Because I finally accepted that the future will always have the element of unknown. But whatever the outcome, God has promised good. He knows best and He never withholds good from His children. After all, when He gave us Jesus, He gave us everything. So surely if he has given us everything, we can trust that His best is better than anything we could dream, hope for or imagine.
God has you right where you need to be. His relentless pursuit of you is greater than any man’s pursuit of your heart will ever be. You are adored and cherished by God more than you will ever know. You are significant with or without a significant other because the King of Kings has chosen you.