catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 11 :: 2009.05.22 — 2009.06.05


Choosing to be single?

When I think of being alone, I often think of being single, especially my experience of being single. Being single is not something I thought I purposely chose. It was more that I purposely chose some things, and being single was a by-product of those choices. The following gives you an idea of what I mean:

  • I followed a sense that God was calling me to move across an ocean — and my focus on going influenced how I saw possible dating relationships. However much I might have thought I was willing to wait and/or how sweet the guy might have been or how much he might have liked me — all that faded against my leaving and starting somewhere new.
  • My desire to use my intellect and gifts to follow God with my whole heart wherever and however he might call me seemed not to fit so well with dating someone who was honestly interested in me as a potential wife, but whom I suspected saw me mostly as one who’d encourage and support God’s call on his life. Using my own gifts well seemed to have a number of complications — it was not possible everywhere and anywhere — and I longed for someone willing to join me on the crazy adventure of God’s call on our life, as opposed to me joining him in his call.
  • And sometimes I was caught up in these strange crushes on someone I thought might be good for me — a crush that persisted long after I knew he wasn’t interested. It was as if such a crush was my way of acknowledging my desire not to be alone while also being safe: a crash wouldn’t force me to do the hard and scary work of making myself truly vulnerable to someone else.

And thus, I’ve ended up single — sort of, but not exactly, by default. I’m a lot more willing now to acknowledge my participation in my being single than I used to be. I admit that earlier I might have done anything I could to hide my embarassment in being single. To acknowledge my longing not to be alone while still fighting against the assumption that my being single meant that there was something wrong with me, I might have even said that “God just hadn’t put the right person in my life yet.” But honestly, I can’t exactly claim that I’ve had my eyes or heart open to see if God might have brought me into contact with a person who was good for me — either me as I used to be or the me I’ve become. Instead, I had my own ideas of who would be a good fit (and we all know how well that turned out!). At the same time, God has prevented me from the irresistible charms of someone who might be bad for me. And more so, he has helped me so that my longing not to be single has never been so great that I’d choose to get married more to have a companion and family than because a certain person would be good for my growing further in God and his calling in my life.

I recognize now that my being single has been a choice. And I’m thankful for that choice, thankful for how I’ve been able to follow God’s call on my life — and all of the adventures it has entailed. I am deeply thankful for the community that I’m part of, which fills my life with others who are concerned about me and who share the delight of their family with me. Thus, being single hasn’t meant being alone.

I am also thankful for the freedom being single has given me, for in being single, I can share my love easier since no one has any greater claim on my love, even as I have chosen now to share that love with a specific community. And I don’t want to give up being able to do that even as I’d enjoy having a “special someone” to share in my desire to love deeply those who are in my life.

As I think about finding someone with whom to share more of my life and calling, I feel like God has helped me grow healthier with that situation. I feel a lot less helpless — I have ideas of how I’d go about meeting people who might fit me and about how I’d date in a healthy way, unlike my unhealthy crushes of earlier.  And I’m praying that God would open my heart and eyes more fully than in the past. But the search is still kind of limited, because if it’s a choice between leaving this calling I feel God now has for me or finding a special someone, then I’ll definitely choose to be single. Perhaps some day that will change, and then I’ll have to look again at what (other) kind of crazy adventure God might have for me.  Until then I’m content choosing first to be single and trusting that God will open my heart and eyes if that should change.

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