I love inspirational stories of singledom. Over the years I have encountered stories of happy soloism, single missionaries, and female pastors (not pastor’s wives) without husbands. I have met singles who truly believe they have the gift of singleness.
I personally know singles who have ditched the whole I’ll-wait-till-I’m-married approach to life. They have seized the day. They have stepped into the great unknown. They have decided to follow God wherever he might lead.
They have turned the whole you-can-only-do-ministry-once-you’re-married thing on its head.
I love those stories. They inspire me and others to pursue God, no matter our life circumstances.
But my story of singledom was different to theirs. Mine was not what you might call inspiring. Mine was marked by struggle, disillusionment and discontent. Mine was a story of frustrated singledom, of watching friends marry and have their first and second babies, while I wondered what was wrong with me.
My story of singledom was not what you might call inspiring.
What did I struggle with in singledom? Well, perhaps a more apt questions is what *didn’t* I struggle with. I battled constant loneliness. I fought sexual frustration. I hated being the only one in my circle of friends that did not have that devoted, special someone.
I wrestled with near-poverty, even though I was working as a full-time professional. Apparently a living wage in Sydney does not translate to actual standards of living. I survived from pay to pay, only buying what food I could afford. Sometimes not even that.
My faith was a wrestling match when I was single. I prayed, with increasing fervour as time went on, for a husband. I prayed for years. I was terribly honest with God. I poured out my frustration to him. I told him to stop faffing around and bring me a husband already.
I told God to stop faffing around and bring me a husband already.
Good thing God has a thick skin.
I also struggled with ministry. Sure, I was involved in worship ministry at my church. But I had a mountain of ideas and passions under my skin, bursting to come out. I had dreams about music and writing. I wanted to produce professional songs. Badly.
I know many people say ‘go for it’ despite the singledom thing. And some people can. The cold hard fact of my reality, however, was I did not have the cash (or energy, after working full-time all week) to do anything with my beloved dreams. I despaired for my situation.
Why am I telling you this? Not to induce pity. I am now married (hey, sometimes God actually answers prayer. Who knew.) and I am blessed to now have the finances, time, spare energy, technology and inexhaustible support of my husband to pursue those dreams.
No, I do not need sympathy. But I do want to demonstrate how different our singledom stories can be.
My singledom story is not one of triumph. Nor does it have to be. It is a real story of hardship, suffering, starvation, spiritual struggle and biting loneliness. And it has made me who I am.
My singledom story has made me who I am.
To those who have a less-than-inspiring story of singledom: I see you. I hear you. I vividly remember the prolonged heartache of apparent rejection and invisibility, wondering if anyone saw me, if God saw me. Good news: God sees you. He understands. And he cares.
Tell him your story. Tell him the worries, the doubts, the depressing thoughts. Tell him the joys of singledom and the pain of it. Tell him what you feel and what you need. He is listening.
There is no ‘better’ version of singledom stories. Each of our stories is unique. And your story is worth telling.
Do you, or someone you know, struggle with singledom? Are you inspired by positive stories of singledom–or depressed by them? What would you like to tell God about singledom? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.