It’s not a checklist.

It’s not a to-do list.

It’s not a game with hidden rules.

Though sometimes it feels like all of those combined.

Being single is not something I like to talk about. Because there are days, if you want me to be honest [and I think you do], being single feels like a curse.

A punishment.

A loss.

And if only I could find the magic key, pray the magic prayer, or do the right amount of things on the list, it could all be over.

And good Christian girls aren’t supposed to hurt if they are single. They are supposed to love it and endure it and think that being single is a glorious gift.

I don’t always think that. And I am a Christian. I promise.

On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt everyday. Many days, I totally love my life and I am super grateful for all the wonderful things God is doing.

It just seems like one day, I’ll unknowingly pray the magic word and POOF, my husband-to-be will appear, we will get engaged, and all my married friends will sit around and laugh at the memory of my singleness and how they are so glad they don’t have to keep the secret from me any longer.

Or what if I could solve it myself? Like one day, I say, “Oh, I’m single because I haven’t done enough hours of community service? Well, I’m really going to get right on that.” If, somehow, we had the power to orchestrate life to look the way we think is right.

The problem: Being single is a punishment that I have brought upon myself.

The solution: Do something about it.

But that is not the case.

A funny thing just happened. As I’m sitting here typing this post at the beach, my friend yells to me, “Come look, there’s a wedding!” I immediately jump up, roll my eyes, and with a hint of a smile say, “God, You would do that to me.”

Here I am writing about the confusion and concern and worry that come from the heart of a 29-year old single girl, and just down the beach, someone has solved the puzzle. In her white dress, she practically floats across the sand right into her answered prayer.

I almost yelled, “WHAT’S THE MAGIC WORD??!”

But that might have been awkward.

I stood there and watched the entire wedding, from the bride entering to the couple taking pictures on the sand. And as evening came and the sunshine melted away, so did my sad heart. In its place, God filled me with a renewed hope.

Not hope that my husband is on the next train into Annie-ville. [Though I wouldn’t mind that.]

But hope in the truth that this is out of my control. A hope in HIM. A hope that only comes from knowing that there is no real checklist, there is no certain amount of community service hours, and there is no puzzle to be solved.

In Romans 12:12, it says to be joyful in hope. And when I think about the truth, that God knows better than me, that His plans are always good, and that singleness is just part of that good plan, then I can choose joy.

Choose joy. Choose to live the abundant life that He has already given me.

The hope I have is in knowing that He knows. I can have days when I whine and am disappointed and feel hurt. But He knows my heart, He knows my desires, and He knows, in the end, that I love Him more than anything.

There is no puzzle. There is no checklist.

There is just a loving God who knows my heart and loves me anyways.



Annie Downs tells stories for a living as a freelance writer in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, Annie uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. You can read more from her (but probably not about being single) at annieblogs.com.

Also read Symbol of Hope, another excellent post by Annie at (In)Courage.

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27 Comments

  1. thanks for the reminder to ‘choose joy’.

  2. I often wonder if marriage is God’s plan for me at all…it’s often discouraging and I go through days when I just can’t understand why so many young people around my age (19-20) are getting married and I’m stuck with hardly a guy in sight. Just the other day I was wondering how other girls do it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ What makes them so much different from me? Anyway…

    This post was so encouraging!!! Thanks for your honesty! It helps to know that there are others who feel the same way sometimes!

    1. Amy, trust your heart and future in God’s hands. Marriage may or may not be in God’s perfect plan for your life, but there are many who do not marry at 18-20, when everyone else seemed to. I was the last in my family and among most of my close friends to marry, and sometimes I thought I never would. I was content with that, and never imagined that this Spring I’d be a bride. But, God knew it, and the few years more that I waited, not even knowing of the guy that I would one day marry, taught me lessons that now I wouldn’t trade for anything at all. Keep being faithful in your lot, and God will make all things beautiful- marriage or not- in His time. ๐Ÿ™‚ *hugs*

  3. It’s funny. My youngest sister just said to me yesterday, “Mary Beth you should get out more, you know, go to church to meet guys.” I chuckled to myself. Tried that…didn’t work. My mom says that when we say that we must ” go to church” or “get on eHarmony” or “get out more” to find a husband, it is the same as saying that God’s arm is too short, or that He cannot orchestrate circumstance to accomplish what concerns me (Psalm 138:8). Yeah. I tend to agree with her! Cheers, girls! I am 34 and loving my wonderful single life…mostly! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This was exactly what I needed. Sometimes, I think about girls who got married at 18, 19, or 20, and feel like I failed somehow. My mom was 20 when she got married, and here I am at 22 and not married! But hearing from sisters like you who are still patiently waiting at 29 or so is VERY encouraging! And sometimes the Lord reminds me that the longer I wait for marriage, the more beautiful it will be.

  5. I could relate so well with this post, Annie! Thank you for sharing your heart with us…

  6. Annie thank you so much for this post, i read it when i most needed it, i loved your humor and sincerity!! i know all about being single…lol i am 30, and still single, and have been most of my life..thanks for pointing back to Jesus, and telling us that it’s not a check list nor a puzzle and that there is no magic word. Sometimes i found out through God’s wisdom, that he keeps us girls single longer than others, because we need to be refined like Gold, we may not be ready yet, nor is our future husband ready just yet. Also always remember to pray for our future husband, IT’s important to raise prayers to the Lord above to a man who we’ll marry. BUT our final solution and final peace and final happiness does not reside in any man on this earth, but resides in Jesus who is our spiritual husband, and we are HIS bride.
    never forget that!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    thank you again Annie for a cute and beautiful post =))

    Blessings always & Hugs!

    In His hands, Jane

  7. Annie,

    Thank you for your grace-filled honesty.

    I have some thoughts that may help you answer your questions. You’ll find them on my website, http://www.dyscletter.com.

    God’s blessings,

    Diane

  8. I love this one too, Annie! You have a gift for this topic–whether you like it or not ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s an area where we so need godly women speaking up. From one non-married gal to another, thanks for writing this (I prefer “non-married” to “single”!)

  9. What beautiful comments. Thank y’all for taking time to say hey and share from your heart. What a joy to be a part of such a community. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Being single at any age can be tough. But what a wonderful journey it is – through all the pain, laughter and tears – to learn to trust our wonderful Lord!

    Thank you, Annie. This funny, sweet post was a serious blessing!

  11. Amen, dear sister. ๐Ÿ™‚ There is no magic word…just trust in Him who does all things well. His way is perfect, and He does indeed make all things beautiful in His time, and not a moment too soon or too late.

  12. Dear Annie,

    Thank you for a very real post. I just recently got married, but I know of what you speak—the magic word, the key…. what works? The only reply I have to that is: keep devoting your life to God. Pray to Him, commit yourself to Him, be willing to be obedient to Him and your Spiritual authority, and then you will know that you are in His will. I am very happily married, and yet, marriage is not the answer to life’s problems, nor the reason for living. Those things belong to our God.

    I can see that you are a godly and mature woman, Annie, (though you may not always think so!). Thank you for your post, it was a blessing.

  13. Perfect timing! Thank you for sharing this just EXACTLY when I needed to read it … !

  14. I echo many of the comments above. Thank you, Annie–your post blessed me.

  15. Thanks for sharing! I often have similar feelings about the “magic word.” Sometimes it seems like those who are likely to marry are still single, while the most unlikely people are suddenly married with a few kids.

    It really is a mystery. To me, at least. I still try to prepare for marriage just in case, but I’m very aware of my future not being up to me.

  16. Thank you for your thoughts, Annie. Oh my goodness, I can’t express what a blessing they were. I just recently ended a courtship with a dear friend, and now newly single again. It’s been difficult this past week. Reading through Isaiah, however, the Lord keeps drawing me to my “hope in Him”. I also read Anna’s article (cameratismo.blogspot.com) this morning, and several other instances this weekend confirmed this.
    Our hope in Him is never deferred. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing the reality of the difficulty, but also the joy that comes from our hope in our Abba Father.

  17. Thank you so much for this post, the Lord knew I needed that. I love your humor but sincerity. Thank you again. May God bless you as you serve Him!

  18. Wow… This is so good! Thank you — I can relate to everything you wrote. (I’m nearly 28.) God is good!

  19. Avatar Julia Matson says:

    Thanks for sharing, Annie! I found myself nodding in agreement and a subtle smile crept across my face as I realized some of these were the exact thoughts I have had! I appreciate you honesty and candor.

  20. Annie,
    Thank you for this post. It definitely describes my life at this point. Thanks for really capturing the struggles and joys of being single.

    ~ Melinda ~

  21. Thank you for that post! I have felt exactly like that many days of recent, especially this excerpt:
    “Being single is not something I like to talk about. Because there are days, if you want me to be honest [and I think you do], being single feels like a curse.”

    I will check out your blog too Annie.

  22. Avatar Rebekah Dickinson says:

    I laughed so much when I read this. I love the honesty and humour. And I am 29 too! (and single obviously otherwise I wouldn’t of appreciated it so much!) ๐Ÿ™‚

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