My dad always says that there are two kinds of old people. The sweet ones, that end up getting sweeter, and the bitter ones, that will usually become those crabby old people. It’s true of singles as well. In high school there were several teachers that were single. Some of them older than others, and some of them more bitter than others. We had a few of these single ladies that actually were sweet, but there was one in particular that I began to respect for certain reasons.
She was bitter, she was mean to the students. It seemed that she liked to take out her anger towards God for being single, or for whatever other reason, out on some of the kids at school. Then she travelled. She was gone for about a year and when she came back, she was actually different. She began showing interest in the students and having a little bit more passion in her teaching. She actually became a fun teacher to be around, and even though she was a little awkward at times, she became one of my favorite teachers, not because she was crazy fun, but because you could tell she enjoyed being there.
What was the difference? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe she changed her attitude towards being single and towards life in general. She started changing not only in her attitudes but physically as well. She started losing weight and taking more interest in her appearance. (It’s true what they say, our attitude shows on us physically.)
A few years back, I thought I was going to become a wife. I had a long-term steady boyfriend (practically fiancé). We were planning on going into full time ministry, and I loved the ministry I had with some young girls at my church. I thought I was going to have a “happy ending” that so many girls desire. But when my relationship came to a halting, screeching stop, it seemed as my world and my joy had crumbled. Quite honestly, I had treated my relationship and my “happy ending” as an idol. I wanted those things more than I wanted my relationship with Christ.
After I became single, it took a while, but I thought I was content being single, and with who I was. My confidence grew back after a while, and my relationship with God took new turns. But, one day as I reread my prayer journal, I could tell I still wasn’t content. I was constantly asking God to show me who the right guy was, and to ask him to prepare me to be a wife. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with praying this way, but these types of prayers were constant, and it seemed to be one of the main subjects of my prayers. I still wasn’t content being single. The idea of being married was still an idol for me. I knew something had to change, or I would grow into a bitter single, discontent because my wrong expectations of God weren’t coming true.
I decided that in my prayers I would not focus on asking about the future and that God would show me his will, (he had already stated His will in His Word), but that I would have a content heart now in the present. I started praying that I would love and grow in my knowledge of Christ. I treat my prayer journal as a way to pour my heart out to God, of all my dreams and desires, so it was hard when I decided to treat it more as a way to praise God for what he’s done for me, for who he is, and to chronicle what I’ve learned of him, instead of a place to whine and complain and ask for things that my selfish and spoiled heart wants.
I still struggle today with being content everyday. I would love to have my own family, to have my own kids that I can teach my own thoughts and ways to, and that I could love, but, it might not be in God’s plans for me to have a family of my own. Maybe a single Lydia is the Lydia that is in God’s will. He knows me best, and if his perfect will is for me to be single, I can definitely be content and have joy in that.
I decided to change my attitude towards my singlehood. It was a purposeful decision. It was what I needed to do in obedience to God. I struggle daily, still, some days are harder than others, when I see all my siblings married and with their families, or when I’m singled off while all my friends at a certain party have significant others, or sometimes, when I just want someone to share a burden or a praise with. Through my singleness, I think God has grown me more, than if I were in a relationship. Not only can I focus more of my time towards my relationship with God, but because of my weaknesses and loneliness, I depend more on God.
The single life is sweet, but it’s sweet mainly because I chose to make it sweet. I’ve chosen to be satisfied in God, and to focus on what good he has done for me.