I recently celebrated my 26th birthday. Now, if you know me, you know that I absolutely love birthdays. To me they symbolise new beginnings and a new chance at a new chapter in life.
This year though, I became a little nostalgic during the days leading up to my birthday. I found myself looking back at all the things I thought I would have achieved by this age. Despite the fact that I had not done or achieved everything I thought I would have by this age, I felt very proud of myself because I thought I had done a lot to be proud of. However, I had not achieved the one thing my family thinks distinguishes me from every other woman on this planet, and that is getting married.
At 26, I’m still single, with no hope of getting married and having kids. Because of this, I am deemed as a really big disappointment to some of my family members even though I am the youngest black female in my department to have climbed up the post production leader. Yes, I am seen as a disappointment even though I’m doing what I love every single day of my life. Be that as it may, my lack of a life partner is the one thing I was constantly reminded of on the days leading up to my birthday and even days after my birthday.
My extended family is very quick to remind me of my singleness at every turn, as if being single and signing single on every important document is not enough of a reminder to me. Can I be honest for a moment? Sometimes, I am tempted to just date and get married as soon as possible so that I can stop them talking and reminding me of my singleness.
During these conversations about my singleness I – impatiently – remind them that there are men and women in the world and mostly importantly, in the Bible that have spent the majority of their lives single. Some of them married later on in life but others went on to do great things in the world whilst being single. However, my response certainly does not come from a place of peace, rather, it comes from a bitter, angry and hurtful place. I ask myself: Am I not enough as I am? Do you not care that I have or rather I can make time to do things that make me happy, things that build and mould me into the woman you see before you? The reality is that I’m angry and hurt – not because I’m single – but because I feel like I’m not enough for them.
Now that I have given you my stance on singleness, you can understand my emotions when I was asked to write this piece on singleness. My first thought was to make sure that I let everybody know how strong and fierce I am. I needed to put it out there that I don’t need a man to validate me or my status as a woman in this world. In preparing this piece, I had to make sure that my points were clear and valid. So, I went to the one source on female singleness that I trust – Marian Jordan Ellis.
Marian did a series called “Single for a season or Single for a reason.” I went into her talk thinking, yup, she’s a woman who was single for a long time, so she’ll definitely be on my side. I thought I would gain great words of wisdom that I can use as strong comebacks every single time someone asks me – WHY ARE YOU SINGLE. To my surprise, she had based her talk on the Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 8.
“1. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
- A time to be born and a time to die: a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted:
- A time to kill and a time to heal: a time to break down and a time to build up;
- A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
- A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
- A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
- A time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
- a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace;” Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 8
Ecclesiastes isn’t usually a book in the Bible I run to when I need to feel good about myself. In my view, this book has a lot of depressing sayings, like the one quoted in chapter 3 of the book. So I was not very happy when that was the one book she chose as the foundation of her talk. Because let’s face it, Solomon has some really sad and depressing things to say throughout this book.
Nevertheless, what she said or better yet emphasised the most throughout her talk was – there is a season for everything, don’t rush your season of singleness in the hopes that all will be well once you have a life partner. The talk was an encouragement to use your season of singleness to the best of your ability. It also emphasized doing all the things you want to do while you are still single. Because best believe, once you are married some of the things you can do now, you won’t be able to do then.
I must admit, I was not particularly encouraged during her talk. If anything, I felt very depressed even as she kept emphasising how to be content in your singleness. Her points included leaning on God during your single years; making time to meet with God and His family during your singleness; delving deep into The Word of God and find comfort in God during this season of singleness. She consistently argued that there is a time/season for everything, so one should wait on God to change or move you from season to season – one needs to be patient and wait on God.
If I’m honest, I have to tell you that after listening to her talk I felt like crying a little. Well, that is because telling your family and friends that you are waiting on Gods’ timing for a change of season, does not always go down well. Telling them that I am happy and content during this season does not stop the “argh shames” followed by the famous “you know your biological clock is ticking” look.
A few years ago I would have probably ran to my family and friends with a link to Marian’s talk just to feel a little vindicated and obviously to get them off my back. But, what I have decided to do now, is to make sure I take into consideration all the positive and wonderful things she had to say about singleness. I’m going to do all the things I love to do while I’m still young, wild and single *singing*. I’m going to continue to grow, to push and to stretch myself. I’m going to continue to soak myself deep into God and His word – not only because I’m waiting for my future husband to find me knee deep in God, but because that is where I find peace. I’m going to wait on God, rely wholeheartedly on Him during this very trying season, however I have only one request…
My only request is: Please allow me to be content in this season of singleness. Let me do all the things married people say I won’t be able to do once I’m married. Let me serve at every church camp, let me be the one who stands in for other people because I’m single. Let me soak in the wisdom from the women who have walked bare the road before me. And if it is God’s design for this season to be for the rest of my life, then let me stand firm in my singleness! I ask that you don’t keep reminding me I’m single – solely because I know how single I am. I do not need you to give me pitying looks and to say things like “don’t worry the right guy is coming your way.”
On the contrary, encourage me to be content in my singleness. Invite me to your bowling league matches, tell me stories of your happy marriages and relationships – I’m a big girl, I can take it. Include me in your plans. Trust me, its ok if we go out as girls and I’m the only single one in the group, I can handle it just as long as every topic does not gravitate to helping me find a man. Support my singleness as much I support your relationships. Because I am Single for a Season or I might be Single for a Reason.
P.S. Give Marian’s talk a listen whether you’re single or in a relationship…