Single at 27. That’s something 15-year-old Stephanie would have never imagined her life looking like. I had this plan as a teenager and young college freshman - I would be married by 22, spend 5 years of wedded bliss with my rugged, manly husband, and start a family shortly after. It was all planned out – and in my mind, it was perfect. The only missing piece to my amazingly orchestrated life-map was the man of my dreams waltzing in, prince charming style, and sweeping me off my feet. I was sure God would send him to me in college…. Err, maybe grad school…. Hmm… possibly when I got a good job?
And here I am, 27 years old. No prince charming in sight. I’ll be completely honest – because that’s the only way I think this whole blogging thing will work – I am terrible at being single. Absolutely, 100%, no question about it – I’m a horrible single person.
I’m visiting my brother currently in Seattle and I had the privilege of hearing him speak on Singleness today. He opened the sermon with a cute little “tribute” to me. He talked about how I am a great role model for single people, and how I’m doing this whole single thing so well. While I was grateful for his perspective, I couldn’t help but think to myself…. “Oh my. He doesn’t know the half of it.”
He doesn’t know how many nights I am face down on the floor sobbing, angrily shouting at the Lord. He doesn’t know how I had to enroll in counseling recently, partly because the pain of the single life was beginning to be too much for me. He doesn’t know that the loneliness of going to bed alone night after night after night caused me to begin sleeping on my couch. He doesn’t know that until recently I have been doing this whole single thing kicking and screaming like a toddler. I’m no role model for singles. I just try to get through one day at a time and if I’m being honest with myself – I’ve learned to hide the pain of the loneliness very well.
Something tells me this is the way a lot of single Christians live.
Why is there such a stigma for single Christians? Why is it so stinking hard? Here are just a few revelations I’ve had in the last few months:
1.Loneliness isn’t okay to talk about.
We’ve all been there, right? Someone we know and love and maybe even someone we trust to bare our soul to asks us how we’re doing. We try to be honest and tell them how things are really going in our life – we dare to speak the L word. As soon as that word comes out of our mouth, something unpleasant happens. Perhaps the person is completely uncomfortable talking about such a deep subject, so they get very awkward and change the topic. Or maybe they take pity on us and make us feel like we are a wounded puppy who needs to be taken to the vet. Or even better, they make us feel guilty for not “trusting God enough” during this season of singleness. For whatever reason in our Christian culture, loneliness just isn’t typically okay to talk about. And because it’s not okay to talk about, we begin to believe we should be embarrassed by this emotion. So we bury it deep in the caverns of our heart, not to be touched or spoken. And we hurt silently. And we suffer alone.
2.Society (especially Christian society) isn’t structured for singles.
Can I just get on a soapbox for a minute? Can we just all gather around and huddle up and talk about this very legitimate problem? First of all, I would just like to say how infuriated I get when I look on my paystubs and realize how much I get taxed… All because I’m single. Like the loneliness and social stigmas aren’t enough to drive a girl mad, let’s just penalize her because she doesn’t have someone else in her life. YEAH! Sounds like a great idea! Okay, I’m done.
But seriously, society isn’t structured for singles. The Church (as a whole) isn’t either. Before I became a pastor, I had the privilege of looking for different churches to attend in grad school. It was a torturous process. If you want to experience the most awkward moment of your life, walk into a church by yourself, sit by yourself, and leave by yourself. Even if you try to put yourself out there and meet people, you will probably get placed in a small group with mostly married people who have children. I’m not opposed to being with different people in different stages of life whatsoever – but when you’re the only single person in a group of people it can become very isolating. And this only leads to more loneliness.
3.We think there’s something wrong with us.
As a general rule, I think most Christian singles think there’s something wrong with them. That must be the reason we’re the only ones in our Facebook feeds without a picture perfect family. The truth is, it’s easier to believe that something is wrong with us than to tune into the fact that maybe it is not God’s time for us to meet our person yet. Maybe He’s preparing us – and them – for the best, and we’re just not quite ready (I know, not what we want to hear or admit). I feel this all the time… and I do mean ALL the time. Maybe I’m not thin enough. Maybe I’m too intimidating to guys. Maybe I’m too forward. Maybe I’m not forward enough. Maybe I’m too loud, too quiet, too crazy… You name it. There’s a lie that the Enemy wants us to believe… that God – our good Father – got it wrong with us. That we aren’t whatever we are supposed to be. And you know what that breeds? You got it. More loneliness.
Loneliness is the cross that we singles bear. It comes in many shapes and sizes – but it’s there… it’s always there. Sure, some days we do fine. We get through and even live abundant lives. And other days, if you’re like me, you want to crawl in a hole with a box of Kleenex and wait for the storm to pass. Take heart, dear friend. Ironically, what I want you to know is – you’re not alone. Not even close. He is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. And we are with you too.
I am praying for you tonight. That in the midst of your day, wherever you are, you would sense the Holy Spirit’s sweet presence with you – comforting you, sustaining you, and giving you the grace to walk this road one more day.
Hi! My name is Stephanie, and I'm the girl behind this blog! I'm a pastor and a writer and a lover of all things chocolate. As you browse the content on this page, I hope you find yourself encouraged and smiling. At some moments, perhaps you would even shed a tear or two. Most importantly, I pray you find hope in whatever season you're walking through. We are in this journey together, and my calling is to encourage you along the way!