Photos c/o Sara Kerens
This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series.
Have you ever heard someone complain about being in a season of singleness? It sorta makes me nauseous, but I can’t quite pin point why.
Usually when I hear someone talking about a season of singleness, it like it’s something that has been done to her that’s completely out of her control. As if God was like, “Hmm… I know what’ll make her really upset…I’ll give her a season of singleness.”
I see so many women living like a victim to their singleness. It’s as if they are powerless until God magically places a guy on their front doorstep.
Playing the victim can be great because it allows us to throw ourselves a pity party and invite anyone who will listen to feel sorry for us (and trust me—they don’t want to listen to our pity party).
I can spot these women from a mile away. But it’s only because for years, this was how I felt about being single—that I was a purposeless, powerless, victim, and that God was holding out on me.
The Power of Taking Responsibility
At some point though, we have to take responsibility for the season we’re in — whether that’s singleness, marriage, motherhood, climbing the corporate ladder, or even heartbreak. I think today is a great day to do that!
So perhaps singleness isn’t a punishment, but a sacred gift. And in receiving a gift, we get to figure out how to steward and take ownership of it.
I believe there are powerful ways to actively wait, and make yourself available and ready for the type of relationship you truly long for.
For example, a friend of mine graduated from college, moved to New York, and started climbing the financial corporate ladder. He longed for a meaningful relationship and wanted to eventually get married. But the demands of his job kept him at the office until all hours of the night and he was single for many years. There was no way he could invest in another person when he barely had enough time to take care of himself.
After years of this, he finally hit a breaking point. He realized if something didn’t change he would end up rich — and alone. So he made a decision that changed everything: he created space by leaving work by 6:00 p.m.
He wasn’t dating anyone, but he wanted his life to have margin for the things he really wanted, so when the time came he would be ready for it.
It wasn’t easy, and it was counter cultural in his industry. But he understood that we need to create space in our lives for the things we value. How we spend our time reflects our priorities.
Learning to Actively Wait
Here are some things I’ve practiced over the last few years that have really supported me in my singleness:
- Get Clear: What are your specific and unique passions, gifts, and skills? What lights you up inside? What is your vision for yourself, your family, community and world? When you look back on your life what is the legacy you want to have left? Use this time to get clear on the vision for your life so that when you’re dating someone you can see if there’s alignment in your values and the directions of life you’re both headed in.
- Pursue Emotional Health: What I know about marriage is that even if you’re with your perfect match, it’s still hard. As a single woman I can be intentional about becoming the most healthy version of myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically while I’m waiting. For me that has meant investing in counseling and working through my past hang ups, going to personal development workshops, and making my physical health a priority.
- Create Margins: Make space for what you want, like my friend who longed for a relationship and created margin for the thing he desired. He didn’t leave New York City and hire a matchmaker. He simply made a strategic decision to leave work at a reasonable hour so that when he met someone he’d already have space in his life for her. (By the way within a few years he was married with a baby on the way.)
If I’ve felt lonely and aimless in my wait, I’m sure many of you have too. I know the deep ache of longing for a relationship, and I don’t dismiss my desire or pretend it’s not there.
There’s this weird idea that when we’re finally content, or when we least expect love, it’ll happen. I don’t necessarily think that’s true.
But I truly believe that we can move through singleness with purpose and clarity while we actively take steps to become the best version of ourselves.
PS I created a Free Resource Guide Called ‘While You Wait’ designed to give you tools to move through this season of your life with clarity and intention.