By Selina Almodovar
I would be lying to you if I told you that I absolutely loved my season of singleness. I was the kind of girl who needed to be in a relationship at all times. I didn’t know what to do with myself whenever I was alone. It was too quiet. It made me nervous. Even though I tried to focus on the good, my singleness led to bitterness, a depreciated confidence in myself, envious of strangers holding hands, and humility among my friends who found ways to move on and find better relationships for themselves.
Once my self-pity phase passed, I naturally began to shift my focus on setting goals to better myself and get over my past relationships. I poured into self-help books, magazines, and blogs to find the answers as to why I was still single and how could I find contentment in that. I began to focus on self-care and exercise routine. I transformed the way I looked on the outside by cutting my hair, losing weight, and buying new clothes, trying to convince myself that I had also been transformed on the inside.
The worst part was when my community of friends, family, and church members began to notice. They wanted to help. Instead, they misunderstood. While I had my own checklist of what I thought I had to do in order to live happily as a single woman while preparing for Mr. Right, many, many others would weigh in their opinions and suggestions on what I could do instead to find a man, get married, and “become happy”.
DITCH THE LIES
The frustrations of being single are sort of like that thing you don’t talk about. Of course, being single is a good way to “draw closer to the plans that God has for you”, but let’s be real here: it’s downright annoying. To hear that I wasn’t “praying the right way”, or that I should “just forget about finding a man and look to God instead”, or that “God will bring a man in His own timing” was not reassuring, it was annoying.
Who said I was thinking about a man every waking moment of my single life? Sure it was a dream, but it wasn’t my only dream. And who said I wasn’t delighting in the things of the Lord already? Was my faith dependent on my dating status?
“Don’t copy the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12: 2 (NLT)
When I was single, I felt this insane amount of pressure to conform to the ways of what society thought would bring me joy and happiness. And if I wasn’t receiving that particular kind of joy (in this case, from a relationship) then it was because I wasn’t doing my part to draw near to God. Either that, or I simply was “not ready” to become a wife yet.
As we are told to embrace and celebrate our singleness, everyone is also telling us that the reason why we are single is because we need some kind of fixing or adjustment in our life before a husband comes along. Those lies become our thoughts. Soon, we believe that being single is a curse. A season that no one wants to be in. A trialing part of life that makes us question God and His divine plans for our future. Instead of going through life portraying Ruth, Hannah, and Esther, we adopt a life of Job—constantly asking God “why?” while sitting among friends who just don’t understand.
LOSE THE CHECKLIST
The one thing that was holding me back in my season of singleness was the very thing I thought would help me get out of it: the lists of what I thought needed to be done in my life in order to be happy and find love. As I soon as I decided to shift my focus away from the things that I thought I had to do, and towards embracing my singleness as a choice I freely made for myself, everything changed. I understand now that I didn’t have to change who I was. I had to change my thinking. I had to realize that I am not broken in need of fixing and that I am already loved.
Being single was a place for me to grow and learn to truly love myself. That didn’t click for me until I chose to focus my thoughts and actions on how God already sees me. God thinks I’m awesome. And He has already given me a life of freedom to enjoy as His gift to me. He loves me already, no strings attached. Once I felt His freedom wash over me, I was finally able to accept myself for who I was. I felt empowered to take risks and go on adventures. I did things for me because I wanted to do them, not because someone else told me to do them in order to get something out of it. I needed no validation outside of God in order to remain single or when to start dating when the timing was right.
I believe our season of singleness is meant for us to break free from those expectations and live freely the way God intended.
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)
When you step into a season of freedom, you can breathe again. The fears of being single and the lies of the enemy cannot keep you down any longer. You find joy in your life as it is. You begin to play. There is transparency in who you are. There is love in what you can become. So if you want freedom in the area of singleness in your life today, pray the below with me.
Dear Lord Jesus,
I desire to focus on myself and my relationship with You during my season of singleness. I pray that You will liberate me from the ways of the world. Renew my mind from thinking that I have to be a certain woman in order to find happiness in this season and in the next. Help me to see myself as you see me, Lord. Thank you for loving me just as I am already and always. I want to love and accept myself as I am, like You do. Thank you for reminding me that all of my blessings of today are already within my reach. Thank you for your wonderful gift of freedom in the present and the blessed assurance that You remain next to me every step of the way.
In Your Name, Amen!