Happy Valentine’s Day.
Happy Galentine’s Day.
Happy SAD Day (Single Awareness Day)
I’ve heard all the different titles. I’ve celebrated each of them at different times in my life. And each one came with its fantastic moments and disappointments. Last year I talked about how Mister Ninja and I do Valentine’s Day (and how anyone can join in the tradition). But this year, I wanted to talk about the relationship side of things. Because I know that this day can be hard for a lot of people. So I wanted to share a little of my “single story.” Yes, I’m married, so “who am I to talk”? but before I was married, I was single. And everyone’s story can encourage in some way.
As a single girl I had high standards. I was PICK-Y, people. I knew exactly what I wanted in a husband and I didn’t want to settle for anything less.
What this meant was that I didn’t date much (if at all.) Either the guys asking me out were definite “no”s in my book or the guys that I thought I wanted to go out with just weren’t asking.
The years of “So, Nadine, are you dating anyone?” went by and I answered with “Nope” and then deflected their “Have you met my brother/son/nephew/friend?” People started asking, “Why not this guy?” (because he doesn’t value Jesus like I do.) and “What do you have against that guy?” (He laughed at the fact I wanted to be a writer.) and “Just say yes to a little date. It’s just a date.” (No, because I can already tell that he’s not for me and I’m going with my gut.)
Eventually, people stopped asking. And they started saying, “Don’t you think your standards are a teensy bit too high?” I started to feel like Ron at the Yule Ball.
“Get a move on, or all the good ones will have gone.”
I mean, a decent, polite guy who feared the Lord and who was fun and who had an adventurous heart…was that too much to ask? (Not to mention attractive and not a million years older than me. Because I’m picky like that. 😉)
To be honest, I started to fear that maybe my standards/hopes were too high. I graduated high school without a boyfriend. But I was off to Biola University–a whole college filled with eligible guys. That was where husband was waiting. I just knew it.
Then I graduated.
I left college with a family of friends whom I loved (and still love) with all my heart. But no husband. I was okay with that–I didn’t go to college to get married. But, to be honest, I really thought that if I was going to find “my guy” anywhere, it would be there. And that didn’t happen. And a teensy twinge of panic set in (especially as everyone renewed their inquiries of, “You just need to stop being so picky. Maybe you’ll be surprised!”)
I wasn’t trying to be a stick-in-the-mud, but I knew that marriage was a big deal and I didn’t want something mediocre. And when I realized that maybe a guy didn’t exist who had the values, morals, and spirit that I desired in a guy…I realized I might be single forever.
And that was okay.
At first, that was a scary thought. Because I’d grown up reading all the romance novels and dreaming of How We’d Meet and All the Life Things Together. And it took some time for me to let go of those dreams and realize that there were other amazing paths that I could take as a single woman with God. New dreams that I hadn’t considered yet. Singleness was not “Plan B”. It wasn’t the path I took if “Plan Marriage” failed. It was just a different path–a different adventure–with just as much life and just as much fulfillment that requires an adjustment of mind.
I have several dear friends who are single who are doing incredible things for the world and for Christ. Theirs are some of my favorite stories and I think about how different those stories would be if they were married. And how they are able to minister in a way that a married person would not be able to.
Well…I didn’t stay single.
I wrote a post several years ago about how I met my husband, but in short, when I met Mister Ninja and married him all within a year, it was because he not only met all of my hopes and standards…but he exceeded them. And that wasn’t because of him, that was because of God. It was like God said, “The world claims you dream too big. But let Me show you how to really dream.”
I share this post to encourage you to never stop dreaming. Don’t lower your standards or your hopes. Single or not, God will use you in amazing world-changing ways if you allow Him to. I know that is pretty close to sounding very Christianese, especially when I’m saying it on Valentine’s Day…but I was there. Part of my story is proof. My world-changing single friends are proof.
And this story is proof that, no matter how big you dream, God knows the desires of your heart and He will exceed them all when you keep Him as your ultimate reward. Keep seeking Him. Keep turning to Him as your fulfillment, even when it’s hard or it’s lonely.
There is joy and happiness–truly–to be found on both paths. 🙂
What’s your story?
What paths are you currently walking?
And how can I pray/praise for you?