Over the past year and half since I started this blog, I have received my share of messages and inquiries regarding my single-hood. By this stage in my life it has become something I’ve just grown accustomed to, not only from my blog readers but from friends and family. The endless questions/comments are immanent – “Why aren’t you married yet?”, “Are you being too picky?”, “Maybe you should make yourself more available/pursuable.” By this point in life, I’ve heard it all. Especially considering I come from the midwest (Minnesota) – a land of young brides, full nests, and Martha Stewart-esque women. I have four brothers who all met and married their gorgeous, incredible wives in their early twenties and shortly after started having children. I now have twelve nieces and nephews and love each and every one of them to bits. But every time I am with them it makes me very aware of my relationship status and the obvious lack of children running around my home.
I’ve avoided speaking of this much on this blog because it is a vulnerable thing for me. But I recently received a message from a well meaning blog reader that stirred something up in me and inspired me to write. I will not share his full message, out of respect for him, but I will share the gist of it. He pointed out how he thinks that if I want to get married I have to “go easier on the men” who might be interested in pursuing me. He said, in so many words, it seems through my blog and social media that I am too capable, active, independent, and beautiful for most men to have the confidence to pursue. Please know I don’t share this publicly to flatter myself but to simply make my point. I hope you all can see my heart in this. He said men are generally intimidated by this so if I “really want to find a man I need to develop some vulnerability, give men a problem to solve…be mildly needy. And give superwoman a rest.”
First of all, I just want to put to rest the idea that I am “superwoman” or am fully “capable” and “strong” on my own. I will be the first to say that though it may look that way somehow through whatever filter social media places over my life, that is not the truth about who I am at my core. And hopefully through reading and seeing the vulnerability of my blog posts, it is apparent that I have my weaknesses and shortcomings. I am simply me. I am human. I am broken, weak, incapable and vulnerable just like the rest of mankind. And I am often very much in need of support from the incredible friends and family that God has placed in my life.
With that said, here is my main point. Though I understand where this man is coming from, because I’ve heard it so many times before from other well-meaning friends, I just simply can’t agree. The message that this sends to women who are in a similar situation as me is that the ultimate aim of life is marriage and that to be able to eventually get married we need to essentially not be fully who God created us to be, as to not intimidate or deter a man who might be interested in pursuing us. It is really opposite of what scripture teaches us to do. “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward” (Philippians 3:14). The one thing you will never see me do is back down from this race that Christ has called me to for the sake of catching the eye of a man. Instead I hope I could catch the eye of a man who is running at the same pace as I am and we could run this race together. I would hope that the right man will fall in love with the true me – strengths, weaknesses and all – not a version of me that I have to put on to impress him. And I think the same goes for all of us. We should never have to be anyone except our true selves – the unique person that God created us to be – for the sake of winning over a potential mate. We are all created differently and no matter your unique personality, giftings, physical appearance, etc, the right person should be able to love you purely for who you are.
My closest friends know that my motto is this, “I will remain single until I find a man with whom I can bring God more glory than I could as a single woman.” I simply haven’t found that yet. And though I have dated some incredible men, God never allowed those relationships to end in marriage. And though that is painful and I have both had my heart broken and have broken hearts, I have to trust that God knows best. And I will stick to this conviction because as followers of Christ our primary call on this earth is not to seek out a spouse (though that is a noble aim and can be part of our calling) but to seek Him first (Matthew 6:33) and “all of these things will be given to you”. He calls us first and foremost to love Him and love others – to lay down our lives for the sake of the gospel whether that includes marriage or not. I will be the first to say that I want marriage and a family of my own more than anything else in this world and most definitely don’t want to be single my whole life. But God hasn’t willed that into my story yet and until He does, I am learning simply to trust, be faithful, follow, and know that life doesn’t start the day I get married, it started the day I was conceived. And it is full, joyful, and complete just as it is, at the center of His will whether a man is by my side or not. That’s not always easy. In fact, 90% of the time it’s incredibly challenging and I wish more than anything that I had a partner in crime to run this race with. But the older I get the more I realize that we all have a unique story. This is mine. It is different, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.
And that is what I want to encourage all of you singles who are reading this with. That you would know that your story and life is complete right now, just where you are, and right where God has you. It doesn’t start the day you get married, it started the day you were born. All you have to do is focus on being faithful where He has you now – as the unique, wonderful creation that He made you to be – strengths, weakness and all. He sees the desires of your heart. All He asks of you is to have the strength and courage to trust that your story is in His hands and to faithfully follow wherever He leads.