As a 25, almost 26, year old woman I have this conversation almost everyday. It is usually prompted by an unanswerable question followed by a surface compliment then ended with a reoccurring question, "Stephanie... why are you single? You are just so cute.... why don't you have a boyfriend?" My vocal answer and head answer usually sound terribly different. My vocal answer is, (giggling while talking) "Well I don't know... maybe he is just around the corner!" But my head answer sounds something like this..."I don't freaking know. You think I am doing this on purpose? You think I LIKE to be one of the only one of my friends that isn't having babies, or married, or seriously dating someone? You think this is my choice? Cause it isn't. So stop asking me questions like this is MY fault!" haha Thankfully the Lord blessed me with a filter and everything I think doesn't escape from my mouth! I know that people do this because they care about me and my happiness. But what I have found out is that talking about singleness usually feeds Satan's plan to get my eyes off of the 'blessings of singleness' and focus on the 'hardships of singleness'... aka jealousy, bitterness, loneliness and self-pity.
I think people think this is like an entitlement and if you don't have it then there is something horribly wrong with you. Like, if you are married then you are godly and have your life together, but if you are single it is a punishment for sin in your life. But these lies are what get our view of singleness so distorted. Singleness and the pain of it's struggles should not drive us to long for marriage, but to long for a reunion with our Creator.
Singleness comes with many different attributes. One often found is loneliness. This is not a unique quality to singleness though. You can feel this in many different stages of life. I have friends that are married and have husbands that are emotionally distant, absent or abusive... that is lonely. I have a friend who just lost her best friend and husband of 30 years to cancer in February... going to bed, to the grocery store, to normal everyday things by yourself now is probably lonely for her. Loneliness is not just felt in singleness. It isn't even something that will kill you... but I can honestly tell you that when I am experiencing it, it seems quite unbearable at times.
I am a hopeless romantic and love, LOVE! So when I think of a possibility of never being truly known by another person it hurts. Never having a best friend that is always with you. Never having someone to constantly encourage, spur on, reveal secrets, dreams, fears, and longings to... that hurts. However, I am reminded that this is a gift. I read a blog and a girl wrote and shed some light on this. She said, "The pain of loneliness is such a gift. Like all pain, it lets us know that something somewhere isn’t quite right. My loneliness reminds me that this world is unsatisfying and insufficient. It’s a signpost that prompts me to seek help outside of myself. Each jab of loneliness tests my heart: do I believe in the ‘enoughness’ of God? Will I believe in what He says even when life seems to testify otherwise? He says I have everything I need. He says He will satisfy the longing heart. And each twinge of pain provides a reminder to cast my gaze heavenward and to refuse to be comforted by anything but Him."
When I am sitting at home alone for the 4th time in one week because my roommate is out with her boyfriend, and I feel like no one is thinking about me, cares about me or even knows I am alive...I have to rest in the hope that only comes from the truth of the gospel and the goodness of my Beloved. Because if I am just sitting around having a woe is me attitude I am wasting this gift of time without distraction. Whether that lasts for a year or two or until I am called home to glory, it is still a short time to fully fix my eyes on the Lord. Loneliness wasn't designed to teach us to long and pray for a spouse. It was designed to teach us to long for our Creator. Loneliness doesn't happen because Jesus is not enough, it happens because we don't have enough of Jesus.