I’ve been single my whole life. All twenty-four and a half years. A small part of me thinks it would be fun to hold out until I’m 25, just to say I was single for a quarter of a century. Because that’s what I do with my singleness – I make it a joke. I have to, because somewhere along the way, it started to hurt. There was a period during college when I said I didn’t want to ever get married, convincing myself that it would hurt less if I didn’t want something I was sure I could never have.
Now I can laugh it off more easily. I can smile at the spinster jokes, chuckle at the insinuations that I’ll be the fun aunt instead of the cool mom. I’ve become better about not caring, because otherwise I care too much.
You never want to believe that your self esteem or worth is tied to people outside of yourself. You don’t want to accept that you see yourself the way others see you. But we can’t always ignore those thoughts, the hints that maybe you are less, that you are missing something, that you are defective, unlovable, or broken.
Sometimes it seems that it must be true, because no one has ever taken the time to tell you otherwise. No one has put in the effort to make you feel like you mean something, that you are worthwhile, that you are absolutely wonderful.
It hurts, more than I ever believed it would, to always be the woman no one notices. It leaves me in a state of disarray to know no man has ever thought I was worth the effort. It breaks a piece of my heart when I think that I’ve never experienced love, real true desperate passionate love. It brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my soul.
Because I want that. Just once. I believe I was created for it. I know I’m worth it. But it isn’t always easy trying to pretend that being without that love is the way I imagined my life going. No matter how many people say I’m a lovely person, a good catch, or worth the wait, it doesn’t change the loneliness. It doesn’t soothe my heart. It doesn’t undo every time a man I cared about looked past me as if I was nothing. It doesn’t erase the hollowness in my heart.
But I’m told I shouldn’t feel empty or lonely. I shouldn’t feel unloved or broken. I shouldn’t feel any of those things, because I believe in a God who offers Himself to me to fill the empty spaces. I shouldn’t look beyond Him for anything. He is enough for me. He is all I need. He is my purpose in life. And I believe this. I do. But still, isn’t there something else?
I was created to love. I was born to love. I was imagined by a God of love, and He planted that desire within me. I have a heart I long to share. I have a beauty I long to unveil. I have a soul that longs for its match.
But I’m told I shouldn’t need that. I’m told not everyone finds their love. I’m told that maybe I’m exception to the rule. I’m told maybe my life was meant for something else. Maybe if I loved God more, obeyed Him more, believed in Him more things would be different.
I’m left feeling heartbroken.
Because it hurts when I’m told that maybe I won’t find what my friends and family have. It hurts when my loved ones look at me at think I’m destined to be forever single. It hurts when the people I care about deeply consider maybe I’m not worth the love they’ve found. I’m left feeling bereft, distraught, and slightly angered.
To my fellow single ladies and gentlemen,
I feel for you. I see you. I understand you. My heart aches for you perhaps even more than it aches for myself. I know what it means to feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. I know the emptiness that grows steadily with each passing day, and I know the longing you have to fill it. And I know that nothing I say, nothing your friends say, nothing your family says will undo the hurt you feel. I can’t take away your loneliness.
So instead of saying you can’t feel this way, I’ll say you are allowed to. You are allowed to feel broken. You are allowed to be upset. You are allowed to be confused, angry, and lost. You have a right to every feeling in your heart; every emotion in your soul.
But don’t let them paralyze you. Don’t let your feelings change you into something you’re not. Don’t let them destroy your spirit or shut out your hope or take control. Don’t let them tell you that you aren’t worthy of love. Because you are. Always. You are worthy of a great, unfathomable love. You are worthy of a love you can’t even imagine.
And you will find it. At just the right moment, exactly when you’re ready, that love will find you.
To the lovely friends of us single ladies and gentlemen,
We love you. Truly. And we are so very happy for you. You deserve the love you’ve found. You are worthy of every happy moment. We are glad that you’ve found happiness. We wouldn’t wish it any other way.
But I ask you to remember when you were single. When you had, perhaps, lost hope. When you felt as if you would never be able to experience the love you saw those around you experiencing. I ask you to recall how you felt when your chance at love didn’t work out, when you felt heartbroken and unworthy.
We feel those same things. We hurt as you once did. And the advice you heard, the suggestions that you look to God’s love instead of focusing on finding a man or woman to make you happy, is just as frustrating for us as it was for you. Instead of suggesting we ignore that part of our heart, encourage us with love. Offer us hope and prayer. Make us smile and laugh. Love us when we aren’t that sure we love ourselves.
And to both the gorgeous single men and women, and the lovely attached friends who tolerate us, remember that God does not need our love. He is a self sufficient, all powerful, supernatural God. And yet He wants our love. He desires it. He revels in it when we give Him our love. He is beyond worthy of our love. As His children and His own creation, isn’t it natural we should desire the same?
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