this is one from a loooooong time ago. can i just say it is very refreshing to read back and see how i used to feel, and to see how God earnestly pursued me and then provided for me? He gives and He takes away, and both are blessings. note: i am not suddenly single. still madly in love with my super great boyfriend. fear not. 

xxo, rachel

~~~

The thing about being single is that sometimes, it feels like a disease.

Like you stepped in a puddle of bacteria-filled water and now you have this rash that has spread from your ankle to your hip and everyone is able to see that there’s something seriously wrong with you. You scratch in a subtle way and make sure to keep your mind off of it, but it’s still there; it’s not going away.

And sometimes it feels as if it’s not only this topical disease that is itchy and raw and unbelievable obvious, but it’s also untreatable. Facial expressions darken in pity once the singleness is revealed, like it’s a life sentence. So we mask it like it’s really not a big deal at all, just something tiny and probably temporary.

We cover it up with ointments and clothing and disguise it as something that doesn’t bother us, when actually it is incredibly painful, all of the time.

And it feels like it will never go away.

And oh, the loneliness. It aches in a deep place in your ribcage; a pain that you cannot soothe. And is it just me, or does anyone else feel like everyone around you is getting engaged? “Ring By Spring” is a real, vicious, neck-breaking hurricane. And it makes that pain even more deep.

Being single can ache in the worst kind of lonely, because you can be with hundreds of friends and still feel completely alone.

For the longest time I was afraid that I was broken. I thought that I had screwed up too much to ever be loved, and I feared that I would never find anyone who could love me. I felt like I was paying for all of my past mistakes. As if my struggles with selfishness and idolatry and sexuality had now tarnished my soul and deemed me unworthy of the joys of being in love.

I equated relationship with reward. Thus, I felt that singleness was a punishment.

Like being a sinner made me unfit for what the Gospel means: abundant life.

To all my single ladies dancing around in black leotards, listen up: being single is not a punishment.

And being a sinner makes you completely fit for the Gospel. And “abundant life” does not mean, “having a boyfriend.”

Being single means I strive to make much of Jesus in every thought of my heart, through every word on my tongue, and with every step of my path.

And when I finally get to taste the sparkly waters of marriage, it will still mean that I strive to make much of Jesus with every thought of my heart, through every word on my tongue, and with every step of my path. I’ll have someone else around to do it with, yes. But my objective remains: to let Jesus reign in every moment.

You see, our task never changes, single or dating or engaged or married.

It’s hard to live obediently right now, as a single woman who sins far too often and believes far too many lies. I am by human nature, a sinner. I struggle daily to fight against the desires of my flesh, and to live for Christ rather than myself.

I can’t imagine how much harder that fight will be once I am a sinner living with another sinner.

But whatever the season, I live to walk in obedience with a God who created everything and knows how it all works. A God who loves me, as I am. Whether I have a plus one or not, He absolutely adores me.

And there is absolutely nothing to fear when you are loved by the Creator of all.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” [1 John 4:18]

I misread that once. I thought it said that when I finally found my Say Anything kind of love, I wouldn’t be afraid anymore.

But that’s not it at all.

There is only One who will every love me perfectly; the only One who is faithful all of the time. And once I trust in that love, all my fear is gone. The deepest fight of my every day single life is to cling to this promise: His love casts out all of my fears.

My fears about not being good enough, about not ever finding a man to love me, about being too broken for what the gospel means: He takes those fears and tells them to shove it, and I get to fall into the pillows of grace.

So yeah, maybe it’s hard to keep trudging along as a fifth wheel, and it gets redundant not having an excuse to straighten my hair or skip my way to class. But I am not afraid. And when the loneliness sets in and my mind and heart are throwing lies back and forth to each other, I am reminded that being so close to pain is a sign that I have come so close to Jesus that He could literally kiss me. And I dare not let the fear seep in too deeply, lest I forget the joys of His perfect love.