I have been single most of my life. I have had the privilege of meeting different people, and have experienced different intensities of relationships with them–from the straight “No, not in this lifetime, not if you were the last man alive,” to the “Let’s give this a shot,” to the ones I thought were good looking, but an absolute “No chance but hey, maybe we can be friends long-term” (I have lost touch with all the individuals in this category), to the ones I call “regrettable losses,” the “ones who got away,” the guy I liked who was a perfect fit, except for one fundamental gap–whether it was long distance, intolerable drinking habits, not an Adventist.
There is a checklist. A lady’s gotta have standards! And it’s actually getting more stringent with age (oopsie). Some things are not negotiable–not when I will be coming home to you. Others–and that’s the hard part I have been trying to put into a checklist–are not tangible. I equate it to a scent–I have my preferred scents–it’s a family of scents I get drawn to, not that there is anything wrong with other scents–they just do not resonate that well with me. So it is for the men who meet the “minimum criteria.” Sometimes he’s just not my preferred “scent.” And that’s a real prayer item.
I am off my target marriage year by 8 years and counting. I had these lofty dreams of settling down with a nice Luo SDA guy–date him for at least 2 years, get married, and figure it out from there. Possibly get “knocked up,” have a couple of cute kids and try to live exactly like the Joneses. 2 years off from my target marriage year, I realized that I was terribly off track.
At a certain season, my friends started settling down–but no one eligible was asking me out–so I opted to bury it by busying myself with academic pursuits as I waited it out. It started out as a coping mechanism, where I was just engaged with other stuff to try and fill the void. However, as time went on, the void was filled and, though I did not realize it, I was not keen to get married. In theory and in conversations with long-suffering friends, I wanted to get married; in priorities and choices, however, I do not think it bothered me.
I met a lovely guy–we had a good thing. This was the one man who got endless “I love you’s” from me. It broke my heart when we broke up; what I regretted the most back then was that I was not one of those women who can get the guy to marry her without his realizing it. It was a gamble, and I knew it might be quite a while before I found someone who met the checklist, and was the “right scent.” But I did not have those “persuasion” skills to drag him down the aisle. Hats off to him–I think he had a lot more foresight than I, and was not willing to settle just for the heck of it.
I thank God that it has not been 100% certified dry. I have met a few guys who met the checklist and had the “scent.” Sadly, for one reason or other, it didn’t work out.
In earlier years, I quickly figured out that I had better sort out a few things in my life–seek out investment opportunities that made sense in my circumstances, and have life experiences that I had an opportunity to. My biggest wins have been in:
- Spiritually – I have a much closer relationship with God than I had 8 years ago. I see more gaps and opportunities to grow. I have been privileged to serve the Lord in ways I would not have seen in my “getting married and living like the Joneses” Even my reasons for wanting to settle down earlier were terribly flawed. It was based on my limited view of other people’s lives. Interestingly, a financial decision I made years ago, that I regretted in later years, actually made a significant positive impact on my spiritual life. Had I taken the alternative route, I may not have lasted in the church. Thus, I may not be on the financial superhighway, but spiritually, I am on the right track.
- Financially – This area has its ups and downs. The ups are that it is not all lost, and there is a very basic structure I have. There is lots of improvement to make in this area. I have seen where some of my faults lie. It is a work in progress right now. I thank God for the more mature friendships and relationships I have to help along this journey.
- Professionally – I’m not where I had envisioned myself to be. But then again, I have skills that I had not even dreamed of possessing. The biggest lesson I have learned is this: Do not stop investing in yourself, do not stop learning, and do not allow yourself to keep getting held back. Do not hold back!
- Physically – I need to style up and get a proper routine with regards to what I eat, working out, resting and generally being purposeful and a planner.
- Socially – This area is mostly ok. I had to struggle to create a new identity for myself, rearranging my friendships as well as we have different transitions, and now seeking to see what holds together my friendships–it has to be aside from going through similar circumstances. Thus, it is fine that I am not as close as I have been in the past to some of my BFF’s. It is fine to have developed other friendships. It is important to thank God for milestones celebrated by my friends, but also to be discerning enough to know who, and to what intensity, to develop different friendships. And somehow, God always sends the right people my way to help along the journey, mingled in with hikes, random interests, enjoyable work, learning new stuff, and generally throwing myself out there a lot more.
I’ve also come to appreciate family much, much more.
The truth is, there are times when I have wondered “why bother,” and some days, for periods of time, when there was no significant other to check up on me, I felt lost and demotivated, and stopped trying to work harder, invest wiser, and create networks of friends. I am definitely quieter and more reserved, and now it is getting boring as time trudges on.
This month, the cloud is lifting and I am seeing new possibilities–best of all is the framework I am developing. (It’s always stuff you know, but experience makes the theory real.) My advice to single ladies is to earnestly seek the Lord, ask Him what will bring glory to Him, and pray fervently that He does it all to His glory.
There is too much competing for my attention all around, and it is painful realizing that I do not have the answers I think I should have. I should be proactive to take it to the Lord and dedicate my life to His Glory. I have been trying it out the past week and so far, so good. I lost balance and at some point tried to take control again. When I realized my error, it was like Simon Peter realizing that he denied Jesus.
The key I am trying to embrace is to truly “seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness,” and all others shall follow. Some days are easier than others, some days are as dark and dreary, and as biting cold as May and June had been. That is why God put so many promises in the Bible. I will share one:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV)
Live life to the fullest in every season–I am getting up, growing, developing, and trusting God through my own unique journey. Trust God for your fullness–you are an individual–do not work on being a copy.