A few days ago, I saw a meme pop up in my Facebook timeline that basically said ‘If you’re worried you’re not going to get a New Years kiss, just remember that Valentines day is in 45 days and you’re probably going to be alone for that too’. Now, apart from the bad grammar in the original meme, it got me thinking about my own experiences with singleness and how we view singleness in today’s society.
For years, I thought it was a bad thing to be single, that it meant that I had less value, but now I realise quite the opposite. There is actually great value in our time being single and I wanted to share this with you in case you hadn’t realised it yet!
Personally, at the age of 21 I have been single my whole life. I have never engaged in any sort of relationship or short term fling, let alone kissed a girl! Until the summer of 2016, I had spent my adolescence worrying about being single, I thought I had less value and purpose because of my relationship ‘status’. I knew a relationship was something I wanted one day but society, in particular TV and social media, told me it was something I needed right now!
Sex and relationships are portrayed by TV as something that you need, as soon as possible, and that you couldn’t be happy without regularly experiencing either of the two. TV shows, like ‘Friends’, showed images of relationships and flings that rotated as much as a revolving door, with characters only being happy when they were ‘with’ someone else.
As a young, impressionable lad, these values and images became part of what I believed as a person. As a result of my influences, I came to the unhealthy conclusion that I needed to be in a relationship, otherwise I could not be happy. This led to wrong thoughts and attitudes towards woman, thinking of them at times as objects rather than my sisters in Christ. A major moment of changing those attitudes came during the summer of 2016.
Whilst in one of the main meetings at Momentum, a Christian festival, I was praying and God started to tell me about how great I am because of the value He had placed on my life. My value isn’t increased or decreased by who I’m with. Another person can only compliment my being and self worth, not increase it.
Since then, I have had a new lease of life and have not worried about getting into a relationship. In fact, I have felt an incredible peace about any feelings I may or may not have towards another, because I know that however things unfold I will be a better person from it because I have experienced something new.
I have also learnt how much value my life does in fact have. In Isaiah 41:10, we are told ‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’. If the creator of the universe wants me to succeed so much then I surely must be valued by Him! As a Christian, I know, now more than ever, that my value is found in the truth that God speaks about me and that I am secure in Him, no matter what the world speaks of me.
Freedom To Live And Develop
When living in a time of singleness, there is actually an incredible freedom that is a gift for such people. Without feeding into and committing to another person, a single person is able to experience life without the constraints of a relationship. They have the ability to go to the places they want to, do the things they want to, without having to split their energy.
I hope that doesn’t sound negative about being in a relationship, because it’s not supposed to be. Being in relationship is incredibly joyful and amazing, in fact I think it’s one of the highest ways of honouring God in our time on this Earth. But, it’s undeniable that when you’re in a relationship you can’t focus completely on yourself because spend time and energy committing to building the other person up too.
Being single is a gift that allows you to learn more about yourself and experience life the way you want to try it. Since the summer, my mind has been so much free-er from self doubt and anxiety. I’ve been getting more into reading and writing, something I have not enjoyed doing since I was a child, and I’ve been able to enjoy my friendships with women more! It’s an opportunity to experience life and learn from it with minimal damage to others.
Singleness is something that should in fact be cherished, contrary to what the media say, and is an amazing opportunity to develop ones self in order to be the best you can be if and when a partner comes along. What some people don’t realise is that being a relationship doesn’t change you, you are still you, so what you take into a relationship will affect you and now someone you really care about.
You see, what you take into a relationship becomes part of that relationship. In 2002, a study of divorce attorneys in America found that 62% said that obsession with porn had been a significant factor in divorce cases in the past year. A lot of those 62% will have brought porn addiction into their marriages and it ended up being their downfall. The same can be said for many things like alcoholism, drug abuse, violent tendencies; the headline being that what you take into a relationship will affect it and so it’s important to try to deal with them before making such commitments.
I freely admit I will never be totally perfect, but there is a level of maturity in our self-awareness of ourselves that is needed for a committed healthy relationship. A level that I’d like to say I am now starting to achieve.
The moral of the earlier divorcees stories is that we shouldn’t feel the need to rush into relationships before we are prepared and ready to. Whether it takes a month or a year for a relationship to happen, or it never happens at all, we should feel comfortable in our own value before intimately involving another human in our life. At the end of the day, when all else is said and done, we are the ones who are valued by God and no one can take that away from us.
A Message For Everyone
Singleness is in fact a time to be joyful! The time in someone’s life when they are single defines how they live for the rest of their life and gives the person an opportunity to find out even more about themselves. If we can realise this for ourselves, we are able to best develop and shape ourselves so that when relationship and family does come along, we can be the best we can be in that season of life!
Singleness should not be a time of fear or worry, but a time that allows us to revel in what we know for sure: the value that we are given by God, which is not changed by what anyone does or says about us. Knowing this allows me to be the best person I can be for myself and those around me; not having the pressure of what others think of me or how they value me frees my wings so that I may soar!