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.
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.