I've toyed back and forth for a year about writing an article on singleness and dating. Let's be real, the last person I want to be is a Taylor Swift - a girl who airs her dirty laundry and puts her past relationships on the chopping block, serving up the men who've hurt her as sacrifice for her "art". No thank you.
I do wish, however, there were more honest conversations surrounding the frustrations and real insecurities that pepper the life of a single, specifically, Christian female. Since I've become a Christian, I've read a lot of books and blogs that speak to relationships and friendship and insecurities and how Christ covers all of it. Jennie Allen, Jess Connolly, Lysa Terkeurst, Lara Casey - all of these women, through their words, have spoken to my heart, shown me Jesus and taught me so much about being authentically who God created me to be. I’m incredibly grateful with how He's used them in my life.
They're all married. With kids. And they live a very different life than me. They have driveways with concrete. I live in the Concrete Jungle. Many of them settled down and got married before 25. I’m 26 and still trying to figure out where God wants me to live, let alone live with. Their afternoons are spent nursing and nurturing their children. My afternoons are spent trying to reign in my Google calendar, meeting up with old and new friends and trying not to order Seamless. And let’s be honest, the only thing I’m nursing is a glass of wine. Now, hear me when I say neither of these paths are bad. I love my independence - the time and space to do what I want, when I want. However, I'm praying that many of these things are in my near future - marriage, kids, flourishing ministries with my partner-in-crime and best friend. I want all of those things. I pray for, ache for them every day.
Right now, that’s not my reality. In the present, God has me in a season of singleness. Whether I like it or not, I have to accept it.
To be honest, sometimes it feels like these married women are sweetly waving from afar, "I'll see you on the other side of the war.” (Hamilton reference, anyone?) Because this process - singleness and dating can feel like war at times. And, I’m not naive. Believe me, my Nicholas Sparks dreams have been shattered long ago (thank you “Situationship*" #3) and I’ve been brought back down to earth. I know marriage is hard too. And can be really trying. And I’ll probably miscommunicate with my husband a good 70-80% of the time. And probably get annoyed that he can't read my mind. Plus, our culture has shown us that war-like ends to marriages are the norm.
Can I get an Amen that sometimes, this period of our lives, can feel like the absolute worst? Let’s just acknowledge those feelings for a bit without being prompted to think about the "posture of our hearts" or our “idols". Dating is confusing and can lead to questions like, “What’s wrong with me?” or doubts that “I’m too much and not enough all at the same time.” Or my personal favorite (because I do this),
“So how do I hack this whole relationship thing?”
No joke, I’ve tried to hack it - like it’s some productivity tool. Consulting gal pals, polling male friends, A/B testing different techniques, synthesizing the data to come up with some sort of solution to this “problem”. Go ahead and laugh, I'm fully aware it’s comical.
I know God can do beautiful things during singleness and dating. And it’s great to think positively and have priorities aligned. But I do think there is merit to admitting to where you are, even if it is a bit messy and imperfect. So go ahead ladies, get a bit messy.
It pains me to say I don't have a 5-step plan. Because I normally have a 5-step plan. I thrive on 5-step plans. But the only solution I have right now is to trust and have hope and get super vulnerable with God. I'd encourage you to do the same. To enjoy the bits of time you do have being single with friends - because that could also change in a moment. To really evaluate what you want and invite God into that.
Basically what I'm saying is to my single ladies out there - I get you, I’m with you and we can fight through this war together.
*Situationship: a not-quite relationship, but like, you're definitely more than just friends yet no one is going to say anything about it because you're a bunch of chickens so you just sit in limbo for forever until it dissipates or someone gets hurt. Not recommended behavior.