All my single ladies, putcha hands up.
I have been wanting to write on this topic for over a year now, no joke. Remember that list of blog topics I mentioned in my last post? Well, this one was in my top three. I’ve just been too nervous/didn’t know how to put my thoughts into words. So I’m hoping that something–even one little thing–will stick with ya/offer a new perspective/give you hope+joy right where you’re at. Also, just in case nobody’s told you yet today, YOU ARE RADIANT + LOVED BEYOND MEASURE. You really are.
I’m not really in a position to be giving “dating” advice, so I’m gonna take it from a different angle. Instead, I hope to give some “single” advice/share my heart + thoughts on the matter. DISCLAIMER!!! This is heck-to-the-actual-not a pity party, nor am I trying to prove that one is better than the other (dating or singleness, I mean). I just want to share my heart, because I know for a fact that there is power and healing that happens in those moments of, “wow, me too. I thought I was the only one.”
This past semester offered some pretty sweet experiences. It had its share of tough ones too, but gaining new friendships and growing in old ones highlighted the past five months. I can think of one night in particular where I got the chance to just hang out and talk about life with a group of girls on Panama City Beach. Among all the stories shared, one comment struck a chord in me. One freshman girl made a comment something to the effect of “I thought coming into college that everyone had had their first kiss/date already.”
WOAH. I then realized I’ve gotta just get over myself and share this facet of my life.
It seems that there’s this pressure in our culture to be in a relationship, or if you’re not in one, to be looking for one. It may not be outwardly spoken, but it’s certainly implied. I remember being in my 7th grade geography class and talking with the girls at my table about this very issue (we were BARELY teenagers, man). They were all sharing their first kiss stories, and they looked honestly shocked when I said I hadn’t had mine. I remember feeling so insecure about it then, like I was doing something wrong. Am I not pretty enough? Do guys think I’m weird? Those were the kinds of questions that flooded my mind. My thirteen-year-old self was already insanely self-conscious about way too many other things. My heart was far too vulnerable. And the thing is, the pressure just builds as the years add on.
I turned twenty a couple of months ago, and I STILL have never had my first kiss. I’ve never been on a date in my life. Maybe that’s not common, but that’s not the point. Or maybe it is exactly the point. Why is it that the older you get, the more difficult–and I would argue uncomfortable–it is to share that you haven’t experienced what seems to be such a huge milestone in life?
I have a few observations.
- There’s a weird stigma surrounding the topic of sexuality. It’s a tough area to navigate. And you know what? The Enemy is lurking at every corner. If you’re a virgin, he’ll try to make you feel ashamed and insecure. If you’re not a virgin, he’ll try to make you feel ashamed and insecure. The Enemy’s main goal is to make us feel like we don’t deserve the goodness of God, and the title He gives us. Guess what, gal. No matter which you see yourself as, you are BEAUTIFUL + WORTHY OF HIS LOVE. And that is absolutely NOT contingent on your past or your future.
- It’s almost like it’s an expectation that every woman will get married. People joke about it–you come home for Christmas and Grandma asks if you have a “special boy,” when are you getting married, etc. When you get married–like it’s a guarantee. I have a Pinterest board called “One Day,” where I’ve put together a collection of super stunning rings and elegant dresses and cute couple wedding photos, and recently, it’s gotten to a point that my feed consists almost exclusively of wedding related items. Last semester, singleness was a freaking struggle for me. It seemed as though every other photo on Instagram, someone was getting engaged, shared a cute ice skating couples pic, or got married. It felt like a slap in the face.
- Kind of going off of both 1 and 2, our culture has elevated sexuality almost right up there with food, water, and shelter. Like we NEED it to survive. Now, I do think the human heart NEEDS love. But love≠sex. Love=patience, kindness, it’s not full of envy, nor is it boastful, nor proud (in the selfish sense). It’s not rude, nor self-seeking. It’s not easily angered and it doesn’t keep track of how often you do something wrong. It doesn’t find pleasure in injustices, but is JOYFUL when the truth wins. Love ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres (even when the going gets rough). LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Our hearts are like jars. They are meant to be filled with something. I hear the expression, “we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts.” But I actually beg to differ, because that implies that God can’t fill our every need. Rather, I believe that we all have a God-shaped heart. His love is meant to fill every crevice of it. What happens to a jar that is full? Anything else that is poured into that jar makes it overflow. Likewise, when our heart is filled to the brim with God’s love for us, any other relationship (whether a friendship or dating relationship) that enters into our heart will experience the OVERFLOW of joy and love that Jesus already gave. (Hoping that made sense.)
I think it’s also super cool that your needs have been PERFECTLY + UNIQUELY CHOSEN + CRAFTED for you, by God, to match up with His riches and fullness in Jesus. It’s like your need is the square hole, and Jesus’ riches are the square peg. The world is constantly bombarding us with triangle and circle pegs, but no matter how hard we try, those pegs aren’t gonna fit. My prayer is that all of us, gals, will experience even a tiny portion of that richness and fullness. Because I think when we experience that, we experience joy right where we are, that our need is fully + completely met.
My last observation: in seasons of singleness, we can be tempted to think that our standards are too high. Or we can be tempted to think that guys only want one thing and that can make us feel hopeless, like good guys don’t exist. But I want to point something out. Early on my freshman year, I happened to be reading in Matthew about the birth of Jesus. In it, I found a golden nugget of truth. You know what, I kinda forgot about Joseph. But Matthew 1:24-25 gave me a pretty sweet perspective. So, backstory, Joseph found out Mary (whom he was preparing to marry) was pregnant with a baby that wasn’t his. Now back in those days, if something like that happened, she could have been stoned to death. But Joseph wasn’t about that. Instead, he “did not want to expose her to public disgrace, [so] he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19). Joseph was a GENTLE, KIND MAN. This woman wasn’t even his wife yet, but he showed her honor and respect. He didn’t want to shame her. But he didn’t want to be married to her, either. But then, God told him in a dream that that baby definitely wasn’t his, but it was His. And that He chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His Son, and that he would be the one to declare the child’s name to be Jesus–Immanuel–God with us. What a calling! Now once he received that message…
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
Joseph was married to Mary. Mary was his wife. He totally could have done what husbands and wives do. But he waited on God. He waited for Jesus to be born, for God’s promises to be fulfilled. That blew me away.
My pastor made a really great point (talking specifically to the guys in the audience), regarding the whole “test-driving relationships” thing. He said, “if someone offered you a Lamborghini, you’d think nothing of signing on the dotted line, even if it needed a new engine.” You wouldn’t need to test drive it because you know it’s worth A LOT.
Ladies, you are worth A LOT. Like, A LOT A LOT. If God brings a guy into your life, I hope that he only reaffirms what is already true, and that he would also realize the individual worth and value that God gave him. You’re not beautiful BECAUSE a guy says you are. You’re beautiful because God–the CREATOR of beauty–made you a unique and personal brand of beautiful, and He’s always thought that you’re a freaking stunner.