On Life, Love, and Singleness

We grow out of certain life circumstances. I won’t be 28 forever, I’m rapidly losing every negative mindset I once had, and I’m about to be a master chef after years of burning toast and running away from spices.

While it is legal to dig into the archives and write about “the way things were,” I recently figured that if I’m going to write any sort of authentic and intriguing first-hand account of being single – I better get cracking now.

I’m 28 and unmarried. Most of my friends are single, and I know heaps of attractive and intelligent, God-fearing, Jesus-loving, vision-driven, hilarious, capable, and relatable friends who are between the ages of 20 and 40+.

We have lived some life… fully independent.

Yet while I should have a PHD in singleness, I actually know nothing about it.

Society tells me it’s a negative life status that I should try to avert quickly. Some companies imply that it’s the missing X-factor that would negate me from being the best fit for a particular career. Wise-meaning peers see the efforts of getting out of it as my career. Former middle school students treat it like a giant booger in my nose, looking at me in slight awe and dismay, wondering if it will still be there when I’m 83.

My life experience tells me it’s awesome. My mind tells me it sucks, and my heart tells me it’s an empowering journey of discovery and trust.

Singleness is a joyous dichotomy of loving what’s in front of you while being more than excited to give it away. It includes having great pride in your family’s last name, yet being willing to change it in a moment.

It includes celebrations of life at romantic places where the company of girls around you is ALL you’d ever ask for, yet you openly tell them how excited you are that one day you’ll be at a place like this with only “him”. It is wishing away the moment, while indulging in it at the same time, and your friends totally get it.

Embracing singleness makes you aware of how amazing your friends are; there is a deep-rooted gratitude for those who make you feel so known and loved as a single woman. Embracing singleness also realizes that time is short, and at any moment, an unknown character can enter the scene and the perfection of “now” will shift a bit and you’ll know that it’s right, even when transition hurts.

And, while my girl friends and I love well, and go deep, and expose the heart, and help guide the transforming of the mind process for one another – the new guy will be able to crack into depths that we couldn’t even reach. It’s God’s design.

Can I tell you what singleness in my house looks like?

It means that “boys” is an ever-ready conversation topic. We notice them, we appreciate them, we probably read into some things they do too much, and too quickly overlook other things they do. We’re inspired by heartfelt, sincere comments from them that honor us as women and friends, and at other times we are awestruck by their seemingly complete unawareness.

A house of single ladies means drama for some, and more easily closed doors for others. It means loving the hunt, while dieing for the day it’s over. It includes the occasional, brief rant about the fact that we’re still single, and the frequent celebration and affirmation of what amazing wives we will be.

It also includes a tiny, 1-egg skillet that gets used potentially 4 times a day.

This girl...
This girl…

It includes 4 powerful women in one house pursuing a relationship with their heavenly Father, and being pursued back. In unique ways, in subtle voices, in dreams, and encounters, and visits from friends and loved ones, our abundant Heavenly Father loves on each of us individually, and it all floods into one home where 4 single girls live together and share everything.

Can I tell you the best day ever in a house of 4 single 20-somethings?

Valentine’s Day.

I woke up with giddy anticipation and one thought, “The King of the Universe is excited to spend this day with me.” A note of affirmation sat in my doorway from a roommate who is a pro at calling gold out in people. As I walked down the hallway, another roommate joyfully greeted me, almost glowing as she normally does, because she meets with Jesus every morning.

I went to breakfast with 13 of my best friends, visited a puppy store with 4 other fun-loving women, and took a coaching workshop with leaders I highly respect. Another roommate did her taxes that day and reveled in the fact that we can DO stuff like that on Valentine’s Day – a rare privilege experienced by few folks on that particular day.

A dozen roses decorated our table later that evening, and a former roommate who now lives in Switzerland was standing in my kitchen. She had personally delivered them. After tears of total surprise at her presence, we all went to dinner. Two days later, a box of my favorite chocolates arrived in the mail from another former roommate who moved to Seattle with her husband.

I personally believe the sequal to the book “The 5 Love Languages” should include chocolate, breakfast dates, good conversation, learning new things, surprises, great long-distance connection, and quality time (again). Therefore, after such an overwhelming experience surrounding February 14, I was left thinking, “Whoever commercialized Valentine’s Day to be for romantic couples only was a fool.”

Loving Jesus and loving people is powerful. And my single friends and I have chosen not to miss out.

While I daily ponder where “he” is, I savor these moments, and often pinch myself wondering if this level of joy and friendship can be real life. I have friends who love well and love deep – far beyond words.

They say the hard stuff, share their dreams, make coffee in the morning and my bed after I’ve been away. They celebrate my breakthroughs and let me into theirs. They pray and respond and activate faith on behalf of others. They prioritize their life around core values, not peer pressure, and I glean from each powerful decision they make in daily, normal life.They appreciate my personality, yet beg me to not take them to places with me that require my personality. They grow more fully into who they are by keeping their heart open to God and others, and they help me know how to better love them in ways that truly communicate care. They notice the details. They let me in on their details. They have chosen to create family with me, because ours are far away, and that’s what our hearts long for. They have not just occupied our rented space, but made it home, and it’s truly become a place of peace and abundant growth (not really of flowers, but definitely of people).

They choose connection with the Lord and connection with each other. And amidst a range of emotions, we’ve allowed our hearts to be knit together in a way that lends and receives strength, knows when it’s time to speak or not, and understands the power of community through our various seasons of life, including great joy to deep disappointment, unmet expectations to abundant surprises, anticipation of good things, and the completely unknown future.

And in our differences and in our connection, we experience a more full reality of the Father’s love toward us.

And, I realize that when I think about singleness, I get off track onto the beauty of everyday life with a good God and good community. So, since I might have failed a PhD program on the “Sadness of Singleness in Today’s Secular Word”. I’ll just accept what the Church says:

Singleness is a gift, and I gladly embrace it for now. It clearly has its up sides, and I hear it has a sweet exchange policy.

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It’s not quite a love-language, but social interaction, such as comments on my blog make me just about as happy as donuts do. Let me hear your thoughts!

8 thoughts on “On Life, Love, and Singleness

Add yours

  1. Julie! LOVED this read! What a gift with words and whit you have. We may be on opposite coasts but I’ve enjoyed going through this journey of singleness with you too. Love you cuz!

  2. This was excellent, Julie! For some reason I liked, “They appreciate my personality, yet beg me to not take them to places with me that require my personality.” Smiling. 🙂

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