Have you ever felt an ache deep in your chest for someone to love you forever? Have you ever sat by while all your friends seemed to develop relationships and you were stuck single? Have you ever wished so strongly that that special someone would notice you that it stung deeply?
And, honestly, sometimes it just hurts to be single.
We all go through seasons in our lives, and the season I’ve found myself in recently is loneliness. College can be a really hard time to be single: I’m surrounded by couples on campus, many of my formerly-single friends suddenly have relationships, and I’ve had a few years now of wishing for a significant other in my life. The weight of all these things together can be more than a little frustrating.
I’m discovering, however, that dwelling on them doesn’t help me, and it sucks a lot of the joy out of life. So, here are some things I’ve been mulling over when it hurts to be single.
- God Is In Control – This is one of those things that is firmly in my head, but my heart struggles to accept it sometimes. It’s true, though. God is all-powerful and all-present. He cares enough to die for us (Jn. 3:16). He has a plan for us (Jer. 29:11). He cares so much that he has numbered the very hairs of our heads (Matt. 10:30), and we don’t have to worry about food or clothes (Matt. 6:25-32). I’m coming to realize that, if God is in control of all that, then He certainly is aware of my loneliness. And I can trust that He has a plan.
- God’s Timing Is Perfect – My Creator knows me even better than I know myself. So, He understands the growth I need to achieve; He knows that I need to go through certain experiences; He knows that the same is true of my future husband. I don’t want to rush that and end up with something that isn’t in God’s timing and thus isn’t right. God brought perfect order to the universe in seven days; I’m sure He has perfect timing for my love life, too.
- I Don’t Want to Be with the Wrong Person – One of my fears is that I will end up in a bad relationship. I don’t know why, exactly, since I have excellent examples of healthy relationships in my life. I think I’m just aware of how badly things can go, and I don’t want that to happen to me. The best way to avoid that, of course, is to trust in God’s plan. Rushing things or ignoring His leading or diving into something that I shouldn’t will all lead to trouble. As with the above point, I can trust in God’s timing. And I believe He has the right person for me. Choosing my own timing could easily lead to the wrong relationship.
- I Can Choose to Turn My Mind to Other Things – Sure, sometimes loneliness is overwhelming. Trust me, I know. We are, however, called to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5), which implies that there’s a conscious choice there. I can choose to dwell on that specific person or the crushing loneliness or the resentment I feel around couples. I can also choose to turn my mind away from that. To read or watch something other than a romance, to focus on other people, to thank God for what I do have instead of wanting what I don’t. A huge part of the battle is in our hearts and minds; it’s all about choices.
- I Can Enjoy My Present – It’s easy to get caught up in the future and in fantasy, but neither of those are places to stay for long. God has put me right here, right now, for a purpose. And, for some reason, He hasn’t seen fit to give me a relationship right now. I may not understand all the reasons, but I do know that they’re valid. So, instead of moping, I can enjoy what’s here – focus on school, making the most of my chance to learn; love my family while they’re all present around me; work on my writing with the time I have; be genuinely happy for my friends and their joys. The list could go on and on. It requires getting my head out of my own misery to make the list, though. Ultimately, I want to enjoy my present instead of looking back years from now and merely wishing that I had.
Being single isn’t always easy. For me, it rarely is. When I find myself struggling, though, I try to come back to these things. They can sound like platitudes, but don’t most platitudes have a base in truth? And focusing on truth is the best way to help yourself through something like this. I hope this post is an encouragement for some of you. I’d love to chat about it with you in the comments!