So, you're single...
The "s" word brings on a barrage of disproving "hmmm"s, apologetic head nods and even a few sympathetic pats on the shoulder or squeezes of the hand.
Christian culture treats singleness like a disease, a sickness that can be cured with one vaccine-- that special someone. (Because that's what people call your future spouse when you're boyfriendless. Somehow, by adding "special" to "someone," it seems more appropriate to suggest I'm somehow inadequate because I live life on my own.)
Most of the time, I get the same answer to what has become a predicament now that I'm in my 20s.
That response hits me as somewhat insulting for a couple of reasons.
It suggests that my waiting deserves something more, something extra special. You already know "special" isn't my favorite word. Will my husband somehow be better than my friend's, who met her soul mate when she was 18? Does the extra time allow my man to marinate in "specialness" and justify my extra years? No. My engaged and married friends should have just as much happiness, just as much "special."
The phrase also insinuates that I have a problem that needs solving. But I don't view my relationship status as a problem. Ever. If I'm dating someone, that's a fact. If I'm not, that's also a fact. Neither poses a problem. Neither needs a solution.
But that doesn't mean every day is full of happiness because I'm "independent." It's hard, and it's lonely and it's not fun in February. But singleness isn't a disease.
The saying also hints that God's sovereignty gives me a reason for complacency. By being reassured I have someone "on hold" for me if I'm just a little patient, I don't have any reason to pursue my dreams or aspirations. It suggests that God will pull out a husband from the top of his shelf of godly men if I can manage to pursue him and trust him until then. What if I am pursuing God? What if I am trusting him? Because I don't have a ring on my finger, am I doing something wrong?
I don't think I am. And I don't think single people can be complacent and sit and wait for the heavens to open, dropping a bearded man clad in skinny jeans, holding Starbucks and a Bible. It's not reality. And being single doesn't give me an excuse not to work hard and make something of myself. I can't just sit around the house, practicing recipes and reading books on childcare.
I trust that God provides, but I also believe that God wants all of me, all the time. And if part of me is flipping through bridal magazines waiting for a husband, I'm not surrendering myself to His work. If that means that I have to overcome the desire to have a husband, am I willing to do that to pursue a Savior that loves me unconditionally, eternally?
God is sovereign, and he does have great plans. But he probably cares a whole lot more about what I'm doing to seek him daily than what my wedding color scheme will be.