Let me start off honestly: being single can hurt at times. Southern Christian culture tells me I’ll be whole once I find a husband. That once I find someone to “complete me,” I’ll finally be able to start my life. To be completely transparent, the enemy often shames me for my singleness, and he even uses Scripture to do it. When God created the world and created man, “the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18). Here I am, still single at thirty, and therefore, according to Scripture twisted by the enemy, I must not be wanted or be a helper suitable enough for someone. I know those are lies, but they’re spoken so often it’s hard not to believe them.
I also can’t say that I am confident in my singleness. I want to be married. I love hard, and I love a lot. I have a big personality, and I love sharing it with people. (Wow, is this starting to sound like an online dating profile?!) I am still not exactly sure why I am single, but little by little, God is revealing more and more to me about His character and who I am called to be, and that has made me comfortable in my singleness. Paul was single his entire life, and no matter where he was, how long he was there, or who he was writing to, he developed deep relationships with others and pursued God with everything he had. I can do the same.
As I examine where I am in my life, I have had many opportunities to experience the love of Christ and to share that experience with others. As a single person, I have a unique opportunity to be included in some of the most amazing families. I have close friends that have been married over 20 years with teenage children, which means I get to hang out with adults AND youth at the same time. Within the same family, I have deep friendships and an opportunity to mentor and love the next generation. Win/Win. I also have the honor of committing to the best youth program in the world (shout out to Harris Creek Youth), and not only have I served with the same youth Life Group for seven years, but I also have had the freedom to travel across the country and even across the world with teenagers, year after year. Can you do all those things if you are married? Sure, but it’s not always the easiest.
Occasionally, though, it can grow tiresome at times. In the past, I have been the “go to” for babysitting, running errands for others, or helping with projects. As a people pleaser, I felt like I had to say yes, but over the years, I have learned balance and boundaries. I say no when I can’t give my all or already have plans with friends, which I recognize as a huge gift and one that families don’t necessarily have.
Here is what I know is true. I desire marriage, and more than anything else, I want to be a mother. I am so confident in those desires, so why wouldn’t I be comfortable with where I am now? Why wouldn’t I expect God to refine me in the waiting so that I grow in my identity in Him? The pruning He does now will only make me better down the road. And don’t all of us, regardless of our marital status, desire God to mold and shape us? One of my favorite songs right now is “Canvas and Clay” by Pat Barrett, who says: “You’re an artist and a potter, I’m the canvas and the clay.”
So my advice to my single friends? (Actually, I believe this is helpful for everyone.)
- Pursue Christ. No matter what, whether you are stoked to stay where you are or travel the world and pursue God’s kingdom in other cities and countries, put your relationship with God first and above it all. A question I constantly ask myself is, “Rachel, if everything was stripped away, your job and your friends, would you be okay? If it were just Rachel and God, would that be okay?” Pursuing Christ daily gets me closer and closer to that answer being yes.
- Be Vulnerable. Be vulnerable with your community, and if you don’t have a Life Group, join one! You need “your people.” Those that know you best, that pray for you often, and hold you accountable. People that celebrate with you and cry with you and help you persevere. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24) Be brave in what you share with your Life Group and your people. Shame has no power when things are brought to the light, and God always shows up.
- Diversify Your Friends. I am a huge believer in having a strong community that is diverse. Friends who are married, single, co-ed, families with children, and people who don’t think exactly like you. In my experience, when your community is diverse, you become a better listener and learn more about God’s character. If you are a single person and aren’t involved with a family at Harris Creek or in your local church or city, find one! I have found mine through work and connections I’ve made through serving at Harris Creek. Also, married couples–don’t forget to check on your single friends, too!
- Do Not Grow Weary. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6: 9-10) Keep pursuing the Kingdom, keep finding ways to become comfortable and confident in your singleness, and pretty soon, you’ll be thriving.
By Rachel Lieber. Rachel has been attending Harris Creek and serving with youth since 2013. Rachel is an Innovation and Learning Specialist for Midway ISD. She is passionate about Harris Creek Youth, Sisterhood, innovative thinking, tacos, laughing, and deep conversation.