(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Owning Your Singleness Journey
By Jasmin Patterson
Have you ever played The Game of LIFE? I feel like it’s one of those board games you either love or hate, but it was my absolute favorite as a kid. I remember being fascinated by trying to accomplish all the life milestones in the game: going to college, choosing a career, buying a house, and of course, we can’t forget about getting married and starting a family!
In the game, I chose all the options I thought would be cool to have in my adult life one day. What happens, however, in the real game of life when your milestones unfold differently than you expected or differently from those around you–especially when it comes to your romantic relationships? How do you carry your heart then?
It seems like Christian culture puts pressure on us for our life milestones to unfold in a certain way and at a certain time. If we don’t have a degree (or two), a noteworthy job, a home, or a spouse and two kids by our thirties, we’re perceived as being behind the curve.
I get this firsthand; you might too, in your own way. I’m 30 with no husband or kids, and I’ve never been in a relationship. I’m having a blast pursuing a non-traditional career path as I serve in ministry and am honestly really happy being single right now, in which I could be this way for a while. Guess what? None of that bothers me. I wouldn’t want my journey to unfold any differently than it has been. You’d be surprised how many people think I’m weird or less mature of a Christian because of how my life looks and the fact that I’m happy with it.
It’s easy to get caught in a culture of comparison when it comes to relationships, isn’t it? When we do, we feel shame about where we are in our own individual lives, and we miss out on celebrating what God is doing in the lives of others. It can be even more challenging for those who desire to be married and have a family one day to wait on God to fulfill that desire. Why? We add the pressure of making them feel less than because it hasn’t happened for them yet.
Something I love about our faith as Christians is the value God holds for marriage and family. I love the way He uses marriage to picture the eternal relationship between Christ and His Church. I love the way He calls husbands and wives to follow the example of Jesus in how they treat their spouses and kids, helping them to personally become more like Jesus in the process. I love the context He creates within family for children to be raised in His ways, laying the foundation for a future decision to follow Christ.
Did you know that while God’s Word values marriage and family, it never promises that everyone’s life in that area will look exactly the same? Some people will get married young, others much later in life. Some of us will be single for whatever length of time, but we’ll be surrounded by a great community of friends and amazing families who take us in as one of their own. That’s been the case for me.
Some people will only date their future spouse and others will have several relationships prior to finding the person they end up marrying. Some people will remain single throughout their entire lives, either by their own choice or because that’s what God has for them, but you know what? All of those expressions are beautiful and okay.
God is so creative with how He writes our stories. He knows exactly what we need and how to lead our lives. He’s so good! Psalm 139:13-17 tells us that God has uniquely and wonderfully crafted us as individuals, having our own specially crafted life story. When we remember this truth, our diverse journeys in singleness and relationships become something beautiful to be celebrated, not something shameful to be compared. So, wherever you are in your singleness/relationship journey, trust God, own it with confidence, and help others do the same with theirs.
Find out more about Jasmin by visiting jasminpatterson.com/