Alright ladies. I am about to dive into a topic that I have heard discussed (and been a part of discussions about) for the majority of my young adult and teen life. Let’s talk about being single.
First and foremost I am going to say something profound. Something that you may find controversial but bear with me, are you ready? Open your notes app….okay here it is:
Your singleness is not a curse.
Did you read that? Did you understand it? Read it once more to make sure. Okay.
A little dramatic? Yea, maybe, but I do feel that this is something that needs to be repeated again and again and again and yes….again.
The amount of time that I spend convincing women of all ages that singleness is actually not a documented disease and that people can actually survive and maybe…wait for it…thrive in their singleness astounds me. It astounds me, but I also understand it. Because I understand it is why I want to write about it.
I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while actually but the mapping of it just seemed all wrong. I knew I would get feedback such as, “Nicole, you’re not in a relationship so of course you’re going to say singleness is okay, because you’re also single” or “You’re just stronger than me and better at being alone” or “We can’t all be independent woman with no need for a man” or whatever else. These statements are actually things I’ve heard in person when addressing the issue with teens and adults alike. Although I internally rolled my eyes, I understood the frustration. So I waited. And now I feel it’s time. Why? Well quite frankly because I am currently in a relationship, and guess what? I still feel the exact same way about singleness.
I think this single period of your lives needs to be celebrated. Why? Because it is soooooo special. And when it’s gone, it’s gone forever (that’s the goal anyway). Yes, relationships are good. Falling in love and finding the man you want to be with for the rest of your life is a beautiful experience. But let’s not be dense here….every stage has its challenges. And with a relationship enters a whole new level of challenges…also, if you’re trying to do this relationship the right way…sometimes your challenges outweigh your pleasure in the moment and you spend a lot of time fighting through those difficulties. I know it sounds scary girl, but it’s true. It’s not a bad thing, but a true thing.
What’s so great about it then?
Well, I am so glad you asked. In the last year of my singleness I had actually hit a point in my life where I was content. Sometimes we associate the word content with being moderately satisfied, or even with settling, but that’s not what I mean. I mean the real form of content. I found myself in a place where I didn’t long for anything more than what I had. I knew that eventually I wanted to be married, but I wasn’t stressed about it. I knew I wanted children but I wasn’t fixating on it. I was enjoying this stage of being with myself. During this stage I came to realize that being a content single woman is actually a very powerful position. Because of your genuine contentment (genuine meaning you’re not a low-key bitter aunt Bethel, forever angry with men for not being interested in you) you get to encourage other women in their singleness. I work with teens and young adults constantly, and most of the time, those women are waiting for their singleness to end before they think about what they can do in their futures. I personally don’t believe that you need to wait until you are a mom with three kids to be a benefit to society and I definitely don’t believe that’s a prerequisite to be able to work for the kingdom.
Sooo, what you’re saying is being single is so great because I can encourage other singles and we can all be single together and live in single harmony…?
Ha…no. That was one reason. Here are the rest:
- You get to discover yourself by yourself: You get to discover who you are, what you like, what you’re afraid of, what you hate on your own, in friendships, in workspaces without the pressure of trying to impress someone. When you’re trying to get someone to decide that they like you, whether on purpose or not you become hyper aware of how they react to pieces of you. Based on their reaction you can be tempted to tuck that piece of you away. There are things I discovered about myself that I’m sure some people find odd (my sense of humor for one), but because I learned to love those pieces of me on my own, without fear of disapproval, I’m comfortable with them and I’m comfortable leading with them.
- Free Time: No surprise here. When you are in a relationship you spend more time with that specific person. You schedule them where ever they can fit in your life. For me, I already lived with a packed to death schedule. But somethings had to shift and move when I considered the fact that I am nurturing a relationship. There’s less time to wander through life aimlessly, your days and time have a purpose now connected to another person. These are great things, and I love spending every bit of time that I can with him. But, I am so thankful that I learned to enjoy those moments with myself as well.
- Girl Time: Ladies. Develop bonds with other women. Learn to be real with them. Learn to be held accountable. Learn to be vulnerable. Learn how to handle being confronted about bad behavior. Talk to them about your weaknesses (this is important, if you think you can hide them…you can’t. They’ll most likely show up in the midst of that relationship you’re so desperate for). That phrase iron sharpens iron isn’t just a phrase, it’s a truth. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. Use your sisters in Christ to sharpen you. Develop those bonds BEFORE you “need” them (quotes because I think you always need them, but you’ll especially need them throughout a relationship). Take this time that you are allowed to be selfish with because you did not yet commit it to anyone, and use it to develop productive relationships with strong women.
- Self Work: Working on yourself is easiest when it’s just you in the equation. It just is. This is mainly directed at my Christian ladies. Take this example; You’re in a relationship, you’re comfortable. Your significant other is comfortable. You both love listening to music with angry lyrics and profane language, it doesn’t bother you guys, its just music. One day after hearing a message or reading a devotional about what you put into your spirit and guarding your heart you start to feel convicted about the music you listen to. What’s your next move? Obviously you’ll want to talk to your man about it. What if his convictions aren’t the same as yours? What if he doesn’t understand? Is this a deal breaker? Do you keep pushing the topic? Do you compromise because he doesn’t think it’s as big of a deal or because the conviction didn’t come to him directly? Does his lack of conviction mean you’re not meant to be together? Notice all of the question marks? It can become confusing and stressful trying to navigate your convictions while walking next to someone, you want them to walk with you. But when you’re single, if you feel convicted of something, you work on it, eventually its over and on to the next one. Now, you might not think the music thing is complicated, because, you know…it’s just music…but lets change music to drinking, clubbing, smoking or sex. That makes it a little more complicated huh? Especially that last one.
Relationships are good because of what they’re designed for. They’re designed to build. They’re designed for marriage. They are not designed to be the end all be all of our self-worth. When they become that, they can become very dangerous and you can risk losing yourself in the process.
If you are a single teen or young adult I want to encourage you to make this time the most fruitful time of your life. Do something significant with it. Mentor someone. Encourage someone. Make a difference in someones world. Use the time and energy and freedom to do something other than fixate on your singleness. And if you are a single young adult, encourage the girls looking up to you. Don’t feed into the woe is me movement, build them. Encourage them. I personally wish I discovered this a long time ago, the value of that season of singleness. The last year was lovely, and I am beyond blessed in my current relationship, but knowing what I could have done then is what motivates me to share this with you now.
You have a purpose. Yes you. Right now. At 14, 26 or 34. Go, find it and stay lovely.