By Lori Emery
I am single. I am single. I am single.
Sometimes I think if I say it enough times, the truth of my singlehood may finally sink in.
For the past six years, I’ve been “renting space” in the land of singleness. I haven’t quite settled in, hung the pictures on my walls or unpacked all of my things. In my mind I have only taken up temporary residence, hoping my stay would be brief.
I spend precious spare time daydreaming about how I would spend my time were I in the companionship of a man. Would I be hiking, paddle boarding, laying by the pool? I read books on “dating God’s way” and “how to get over rejection so I can move on to a healthy relationship.” As a renter, every prayer, every book, every activity, every act of obedience is a means to an end: Getting the guy.
Over time it’s become evident: my pushing for a relationship isn’t going to make it happen. What if, in order to embrace the fantastic calling God has for me to become a woman He can put to extraordinary use, I need to settle into a more permanent residence in the “single-hood?” Make it mine. OWN IT!
Perhaps then I can put my whole self into God’s purpose for me as a single woman.
That sounds so brave and bold on paper, but what I really feel is defeat.
For me to not go to a defeated, discouraged place God has revealed six truths that have given me enthusiasm for my purchase:
1. God has purposed and gifted me specifically for His work. Maybe God’s silence in my prayers for a companion are a resounding YES to creating space to learn everything I can about my gifts and how to best use them for His glory.
2. God uses the deepest, darkest part of our hurts to minister to others. Being crafted for communication has helped me not only draw out the infection from my own wounds but gives me an opportunity to tell other struggling singles about God’s glory and love for us. Maybe I can minister best to other single and divorced people from a place of singlehood.
3. God is the master relationship guy. If I want healthy relationships with people, I have to learn how to have a healthy relationship with God. I have come understand the power of just being in God’s presence with no expectations or pretense. Just to sit and be, for the love and for the joy of His presence. Approaching this communion from a place of singlehood offers fewer distractions, greater focus.
4. As I’ve deepened my relationship with God, I see how he’s never left a prayer for companionship, friendship, provision, or protection unanswered. All the things I cry out to God for in desperation and loneliness, believing these needs are only met in a relationship with a man, God has answered in other extraordinary ways. He has surrounded me with a community of people through my church. I only needed to see the provision and start getting myself out there, unafraid of what people think of me, vulnerable enough to express my deepest self, welcoming the opportunity to love again.
5. Being chosen by a man does not define my value as a woman. Conversely, my value doesn’t diminish when I’ve been rejected. So much of my time as a single woman has been spent searching for someone who will validate me. I found him, a couple of hims, but they aren’t God’s best for me. I know it, but the feeling of being accepted and valued by a man sometimes overrides the truth that I am the same beautiful, valuable woman with or without a man.
6. I’ve had to relinquish to God my dream of a marriage. This hasn’t been easy but necessary so I can move on to new dreams that look much different than what I had imagined.
I’ve purchased a place in Single-ville and am on the journey of making it my own. I am now the proud owner of a wide-open horizon with a view of who I can become, unencumbered by who I think I need to be to get the guy.
My prayer for all of us single women is to embrace your singleness as a gift from God. I know it's easier to say than do but it's possible!
Own the truth that God loves you with an everlasting love, and He always answers prayers.
Lori Emery is the Development Director for Community Uplift Partnership, a non-profit dedicated to alleviating poverty through restoring relationships so lives are transformed. She’s also a writer, speaker and mama of two exceptional boys, 12 and 9. Lori’s favorite things to do in her free time are hiking, swimming, running, biking and traveling to far off places bringing Jesus to the lost and hurting. It was during the most painful and challenging event in her life that she came to understand the full measure of Jesus’ love for her and she’s been following his lead ever since. To read more about Lori’s adventures as a single woman, please visit her blog.