I’ve never been denied anything before as a single person.
Let me rephrase that: as a single woman, there has not been a desire or dream that I haven’t been able to pursue. Being single has not been a disease (although we sometimes believe it is) that’s crippled me from experiencing life, going on adventures, or doing something that I’ve set my mind to. I’ve never been held back because of my martial status.
Over new years eve, a few friends and I went to downtown Kansas City to Union Station, an old train station that’s been turned into a historical landmark that’s been renovated into a venue for corporate celebrations, weddings, and fancy evenings such as this. The gigantic room was out of a dream. Simply divine. It had Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling, beautifully decorated tables with white linen and gold confetti, and everyone was donning their grandest attire. I’m talking extravagant ballgowns and bedazzled cocktail dresses that shimmered in the dim light.
This party was roaring 20’s theme with a swing band that was absolutely killing it. While they played, we all had the opportunity to learn how to swing dance. Of course, I was over the moon excited about this and ran to the dance floor. I love swing dance (any kind of dancing really) and I was all about “getting down” on the dance floor. But as I approached the wooden floor, I noticed something that I didn’t even think about until that point.
Everyone was coupled up!
You’d think that would be blatantly obvious to me, especially since I got a “you’re here by yourself on new years!?” remark from the older gentleman running the ticket table at the beginning of the night.
But for some reason this hit harder than it ever has before.
As I stood there, half hoping someone would ask me to dance and half hoping they wouldn’t because that would be awkward, I was suddenly very aware of my state of singleness. And it was the first time I realized I could not participate in something I loved because of that very reason.
There was no one there I could share that memory with. No one to stumble through the dance together and make jokes at how horrible we are at dancing. No, instead, I had to watch from the sidelines as rows and rows and rows of couples filled the floor, including some of my dear friends. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a great time. And I just wanted to cry.
As I felt myself begin to tear up (just a smidge, mind you) I decided to make my way back to my seat and rejoin my fellow single friends. Thank God, I have these friends!
It’s an odd feeling when your singleness is brought to your attention like that. In my opinion, I’ve been doing singleness right. I have’t been “waiting” to start my life. If anything, I’ve experienced life to the fullest and got to do it with some amazing friends and family. I’ve ridden roller coasters, swam in the ocean, hiked mountains, visited different states, ate delicious food from some of the best restaurants, seen countless historical landmarks, flown great distances, and settled into a great life here in Kansas City. I’ve also had some of the best coffee one’s taste buds could ever experience. Pure bliss, right there.
I’ve been given amazing opportunities to serve God through children’s ministries, at college campuses, as a camp counselor, and at various youth groups. I’ve traveled to writer’s conferences and even began writing a book. My friends, I have been living life. And it’s been glorious.
So I think it really threw me off to not be able to experience something I so desperately desired in that moment. I was a little disappointed and kind of mad. I hoped that God felt my pain in that moment. Lord, I’ve waited long enough, haven’t I? This wouldn’t have happened if I was dating someone. My life is rich with friends and family and memories. Now, when will it be my turn to experience this amazing life with someone else?
I wish I could say that I’ve come to some great conclusion about singleness. I wish I could encourage my fellow singles out there with some inspired word from God and a nice little Bible verse for you to keep in your wallet. But I still struggle with this, no matter what I know about singleness and the loneliness that comes with it. Believe me, I’ve heard it all. And I know it doesn’t help.
But here’s what I’m learning in my life beyond just being single: God is an all sovereign God.
Whatever He wills is how it will be. I can pray and plead and ask for things in His name. I can quote the Bible and remind God of His promises. I can express to Him how I’m feeling and even beg for Him to change my circumstances. None of that is off the mark of what we’re supposed to do.
But ultimately He will do what is best in the grander picture. He knows what we need before we even ask for it. He understands our pain and He knows the solution. But maybe, just maybe, He has a different plan for us than we could hope or ask for.
He knows. And He’s working on our behalf. That might turn out differently than we plan. So the question truly is, am I okay with that?
Am I okay with God turning the tables so that He will ultimately be glorified? Will I continue to place my trust in Him even though all I see is pain and sorrow in my path? His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways. Am I okay with this?
As my mentor said to me, this is one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask yourself because it means surrendering to an all sovereign God who’s will and plan is not your own. It means putting your trust in the one who knows all and holds all, even when you don’t understand.
So I guess, in all things, this is where I need to be. I need to be in a place of trust in an all sovereign God whose plan for me is different from what I’d expect. Maybe marriage isn’t in the picture for a while. Maybe I’m meant to stay in Kansas City longer than I planned. Maybe the job I’m at is just the job God has for me at this time. Maybe surgery is the ultimate way God is choosing to be glorified through me in my healing.
And maybe that’s okay. After all, His plans always turn out way better than mine.
Perhaps someday I’ll dance the night away with the one I love. But today’s not that day. And that’s okay with me.
May you go about your day asking yourself this question: “His ways are not my ways..am I okay with that?”