I have avoided writing a blog about my singleness for many reasons. I have always believed that the number one reason for avoiding such a blog is due to the sheer number of similar blog posts that already exist in the world. What could I have to contribute to the discussion of singleness that has not already been said? Nothing. Truly. I am sure that I will have nothing new to say. Yet, I feel compelled to say it. It has recently become important that I make my decisions public for the purpose of confirming the promises I have made to God. I have shared my feelings about my singleness with many close friends and many curious young women that have been in my life. I say the same things. I repeat myself, because I believe what I have to say. However, I also repeat myself because I need to believe certain truths more completely. Therefore, I have forced myself to “pen” this post for the sake of being accountable for my thoughts, my choices, and for the messages that I have preached to younger generations.
Like most teenagers, I believed that my first boyfriend was the young man that I was going to marry. I remember praying that it would happen. It’s incredible how seriously I felt about this guy, considering the fact that I was only 12 years old. I just knew that things would work out! So you can imagine how crushed I was to find out, at the age of 13, that we were only friends and not in fact boyfriend and girlfriend. I’m not sure how I made that mistake, but that is what I was told after spending almost every free moment of 2 years with this guy. Luckily I was only 13. In my mind, I had plenty of time to get a new “serious” boyfriend before I graduated high school. Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is what helped me get through the pain of rejection.
My parents got married when they were very young. If I had done things in their timeline, I would have: a husband, a 9 year old, and a 5 year old. Are you having trouble seeing that? My mom was engaged in high school. My dad was a young, handsome, military man. He had a mustache, a motorcycle, and the hots for my mom. They married shortly after my mother graduated from high school.
I think that I knew that my life would be different, but I still believed that I would be in a serious relationship before graduation. So, with that mindset, I jumped into 2 different relationships in high school that I should have handled quite differently. I was an emotional teenager, so I’m not really going to be too hard on myself here. I won’t spend the next few paragraphs discussing the issues with those relationships. One of those gentlemen still stalks my blog and is probably reading every word of this, wondering how I will portray him.
I never thought I would turn 20 years old without a serious relationship in my life. I figured that Bible college would be the perfect introduction to my Jesus loving, Prince Charming. Yet, I never really connected with any guys in college. It was strange. I was completely focussed on my education and my ministry. God protected me from relationships that would cause me pain, distract me, and ultimately waste my time. It wasn’t until my senior year that I even developed a crush on a fellow student. It didn’t take me too long to realize that the crush had only really developed for two reasons. First of all, my best friend had just died in a car accident and I was feeling very lonely and vulnerable. Second of all, I was nearing graduation without the hint of a significant other. It didn’t hurt too much to find out that my feelings weren’t reciprocated, because I realized that I didn’t actually feel strongly for this guy. I just liked that we had youth ministry, (playing) music, and our good looks in common.
High school graduation came and went. College graduation soon followed. I didn’t have much hope for finding a man in seminary, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t on the look out. It was in those years, as a seminary student and as a youth pastor, that I decided that I was going to live an adventurous life. I had seen all of the great things, like college, that my mom had missed out on when she married young. Expecting that I would one day remain with my husband until death do us part, I decided that I would chase my other dreams as a single woman. I wanted to do all of the things that were much easier to do as a single person while I could. At the age of 30, I am now sure that I have done them. I graduated from college, I (almost) finished seminary, I had a paid job as a youth pastor, I lived on a friends couch as a homeless person for a month, I lived alone in a beautiful townhouse, I lived through many different roommate situations, I got a “real” job and climbed the ranks, and now I live in Europe as a missionary. Now what?
On every birthday, after my 18th, I consoled myself by thinking about how I could know my future husband before my next birthday. Major birthdays passed by, with little to no hope for a future mate. I was too distracted at my 21st to worry about my singleness, but 23, 25, 27, and 30 were somewhat harder. (I don’t know what it is about the odd years!) Am I sad that I have reached this age without a husband? Students always want an answer to this question. My response usually involves all of the stories of my adventures, my happiness, and my better understanding of who I am. While these single young women felt a sense of encouragement for a moment, I know that their thought was: “I’m glad Lexi is happy, but I really don’t want to be single when I’m her age.” I know this was their thought because some of them have said it! At other times, I have seen it in their eyes and asked them if that is what they were thinking. I have never had a girl tell me “no.”
What is this issue of singleness about? It’s about loneliness vs happiness. Admit it. That’s what it’s about. However, most of us know that this isn’t what marriage should be about. Marriage is about holiness. Guess what! Singleness is also about holiness. A forthright student asked me if I was ever sad because I was single. This was my response to her: “Yes, sometimes I am sad because I am single. However, I know a lot of people who are unhappily married. I would rather be sad alone than to involve somebody else in my unhappiness.” I wasn’t making the point that I was going to be sad no matter what. I was merely expressing the fact that the grass is often greener on the other side. I do, however, know plenty of married couples who are extremely happy. Marriage is not the end of life, nor is it the beginning of it.
This issue of singleness brings Philippians 4 to mind. Paul, from prison, wrote “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Do not be afraid. I will not now compare my singleness to being in prison. This verse comes to mind because Paul is speaking of contentment and about his purpose in life. My purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. I want to be obedient to that calling and to be content in all situations, no matter what.
Thirty, flirty, and thriving. Is this statement true of who I am? I would say that it is. I am indeed 30. I often fall to my selfish desires, and flirt with mental images and conversations that I shouldn’t be having. The Lord, and my accountability partner, know that I have certainly sought happiness in the wrong places repeatedly. Yet, I do feel that I’m thriving. This isn’t to say that I’m not ever lonely and that I have given up on the idea of marriage. In fact, I’ve been thinking that NOW would be perfect timing for that relationship to come about. It is, however, about the fact that I am trying to listen to the Lord and to work on my holiness as a single person.
I am currently faced with some hard decisions about the next chapter in my life. (See the last blog post). Like so many times before, I hear God asking me the same question when I pray. He says, “Which is more important to you? Is it more important for you to serve me wholeheartedly or for you to have what you want?” I hate that question!!! I always try to convince God that getting married would be so good for me. I know that I have a lot to learn about my selfishness. Isn’t a husband perfect for that lesson? What about sacrifice? I want to have children so badly. Can’t I learn these things without being alone? Most importantly… money. I loath worrying about my finances so much that I am starting to see the value of having a sugar daddy. So, how does this battle usually end with the Lord? It usually ends with my submission and a pile of kleenexes.
Of the three descriptors in the title of my post, I strive for thriving. I don’t think most people strive for 30, but anyway. I don’t know what the next chapter holds. Maybe it’s marriage (no, I don’t secretly have a boyfriend). Maybe I have a future at ANOTHER school with 0 single men my age. Haha. Maybe I am meant to stay put for a while. I am unsure. For now, I’m going to work on being content and pushing forward in this journey towards holiness.