Being single and over 30, a repeated hot topic when meeting friends and family usually consists of something along these lines…
‘Well Danielle, any news on the love life? Any men on the scene?
Any sign of a ring or distant wedding bells ringing?’
‘Awk, Don’t worry love, God will bring you His best!’
Although this is obviously meant with the best of intentions, Gods best for me right now is being single and you know something? I am absolutely LOVING it! I am not half a person just because I’m not with someone else! I’m not missing something or pitying myself, desperate to find ‘the one.’ I’ve been single now for nearly five years and it has been the greatest blessing of my life. But, I haven’t always felt that way. I haven’t always viewed my ‘relationship status’ with such contentedness and dare I say it, joy!
False expectations and misplaced responsibilities
In my life BC, I always sought love, acceptance and approval from my previous boyfriends and committed myself to a series of long term relationships from I was 13 until I met Jesus at 24. I had so many issues, so much emotional baggage and trauma! I brought it all with me and then dumped it on my partners who were never made to carry the weight of all that pain. I put too much pressure, responsibility and too many conditions on their love expecting them and their commitment to fix me and my problems. I unconsciously set impossible standards for them to attain then got angry and frustrated at their inability to meet these standards! It was never a reflection on them or their shortcomings, quite the opposite! The problem wasn’t with them, it was with me. No matter how much they loved me and poured their lives out for me, it was never enough, because in my eyes, I was never enough.
Two broken people don’t make a whole relationship
When you are broken, you are broken. The only person qualified to carry those pieces and put them back together again is Jesus. I had everything I ever wanted. My dream job, dream boyfriend, money, a degree, amazing friends and social life and yet I felt so empty, so void. I felt like I was living a double life. Externally, I was so happy and bubbly and yet inside I was empty. Drenched in the depths of darkness, I was full of fear, panic and anxiety. That moment when Jesus stepped into my life at 11am on the 12th April 2012, I knew that everything I had been searching for was found within the embrace of His presence. When I first felt the sweetness of His grace and His love, it melted 24 years of darkness, trauma and suffering away in a moment. I was completely transformed and my life was never the same again.
You see, they don’t teach you that in Sunday school. I always thought that giving your life to Jesus just meant that you signed on the dotted line and devoted your life to a routine of being a good person and turning up to church every Sunday in ironed clothes. But something physically happened to me that day, I was completely made new. I didn’t realise that Gods love radically transforms you from the inside out, and it didn’t stop there! I have lived everyday in this continual transformation of letting go of the things that bind me and hurt me, and daily embraced my identity as a beloved child of God.
It’s about the Journey, not the destination
When I reflect on the past five years, I can see how God has meticulously peeled back layers of deep issues that I didn’t even know were even there! Thats the thing about God, He knows you better than you know yourself. Hidden deep within my soul were wounds of abandonment, rejection, shame, worthlessness, fear of peoples opinions, self destruction, self harm and a whole ream of insecurities. Most importantly and continually, God has been peeling back the layer of self sufficiency that has guarded and protected my heart from being dependant on anyone, including God! You see, the issue with all these layers is that it masks the heart of who God created you to be, you become trapped within your own limitations and mindsets. If you don’t deal with these things, you will just dump all your baggage on the next person to walk into your life.
These past few years, I have co-partnered with the Holy Spirit in peeling back layer by layer, conquering my fears, facing my past and accepting myself and my failures no matter how much it hurts. On reflection, I can see that being in a relationship with anyone other than Jesus during this time would have only delayed and distracted me from the path of transformation and in turn hurt and destroyed any potential partner I may have had.
Reassessing your values: listening to your own heart
I have learnt so much about what I do want in a relationshipjust by stopping long enough to listen to my own hearts desires. In my life BC, my priorities where very superficial, based upon the laws of attraction and desire. But knowing Jesus, I realised that external beauty is no substitution for internal beauty and the priceless value of a surrendered and transformed life. Attraction based on external beauty is worthless, physical attraction is the very last priority on my list, for beauty fades with age but attraction based on internal character will remain until the end of time.
I want to be with someone I can ‘do life with.’ Someone I can talk to for hours, who wont judge me. Someone who will honour their commitments and hold to their word, no strings attached. Someone who is steadfast, not afraid to face their fears and not too proud to be vulnerable and lead others by their openness and transparency. Someone who is not afraid to own up to their mistakes and humble enough to rectify them, not just stick their head in the sand and deny them. Someone who is stronger than I am in character who can bring me back to myself when I am fraying at the seams and isn’t afraid to stand up to me to tell me I’m in the wrong. Someone I can be confident in and proud to stand beside and do life with.
Falling in love with the God who loved you first
As yet, the only person that meets these needs is Jesus. He is the finest Heaven can offer in this side of eternity and the next. Being in a relationship with God has fulfilled the desires in my heart. If that relationship brings someone else along then thats cool, if not then thats cool too! The Bible is full of single people who lived incredibly fulfilling lives who changed the course of eternity just by walking side by side with the Holy Spirit. Being single is amazing because I am able to fully commit all my time, efforts, resources and passions into loving someone who will love me back without constraints, demands, hidden motives and pressures. I have delved down into my darkest moments and let love heal me so that I can bring that love and hope into other peoples lives. I don’t always get it right! I screw up all the time, but I am learning to be gracious with myself as God is gracious with me.
You are part of the greatest love story of all time
This valentines day, I will not be doing a Bridget Jones sitting on the sofa eating a tub of ice cream and criticising myself on my miscomings and flaws. Not at all! Instead I will be reflecting on the last five years of growing in my relationship with God, rejoicing in the transformation He has delicately unravelled in the layers of my past. I will be meditating on the fact that my life is complete because I know him and am wholeheartedly embracing the path set before me with my first love by my side. I am not alone this Valentines day, I am never alone and neither are you.
Single ladies, gents, mommas and papas, you are blessed!! Do not be disappointed at another year of singleness! Your worth in life is not based in the approval of other people liking you or your relationship status!
Embrace where you are and where God has brought you too. Single or married, you are loved beyond measure by the greatest love the world has ever known!
He stands before you now, His arms wide open beckoning you to join Him in the greatest love story of eternity!