Over a year and a half. I don’t know why it’s taken this long for me to write about being single and why I still am, but here it is, I’m finally doing it. To be quite honest, I never really thought of writing this post before now, but I realized that 1) it might help lessen the number of times I am asked why I do not have a boyfriend, 2) what I intend to write about in majority of my future posts sprouted from my being single so I may as well start here, and 3) today’s message at church was “Be a Blessing: Make Your Move”, which inspired me to pour out my thoughts on the matter with the hope that it might be able to inspire/reassure/affect others (it is perfectly okay if it does nothing to you, I promise to try harder next time 🙂 ).
There is something to be learned in every experience, just as there is also either pain, or joy, to be felt. I am no stranger to pain. I have experienced the death of a loved one, have been involved in family feuds, have had several failed romantic relationships, and have gone on numerous dates since adolescence–all of which I thought made me an expert on how to deal with pain and heartache. But one fateful day in September 2012 I experienced a kind of pain I thought I would never feel, leaving me so broken, blindsided, and doubtful if I knew how to deal with pain at all. It was the end of a relationship I felt was the most mature I had ever been on. A relationship I thought was so strong and stable it was headed for the altar. But on that day, my world came crashing so abruptly and devastatingly that just like that, I was left with nothing more than anger, resentment, bitterness, and a gaping hole in my heart.
Let me clarify: I am not telling you that the reason why I am still single is because I have not yet moved on, nor that I am now so terrified of that kind of pain that I do not ever want to experience it again. The reason is far from that. I tell you of that September afternoon because a year and a half ago, I thought I would forever look to that day as the day I fell apart; today, I look back and see it as the start of the path to my becoming whole.
We cope in different ways. My coping mechanism for heartache before that blow was a threefold approach: walk away, turn to my vices, and walk to someone new. It had been my strategy for more than a decade–it felt powerful, cool, and most importantly, it was easy. I thought it would work again that time around. Except it didn’t. It was easy because it was temporary. After years of bouncing from one guy to another, I had finally come to a point where I felt so tired and used and incapable of giving anyone any more of me. I realized that my answer to the hurt that was brought upon me was to hurt myself some more, and I knew it had to stop. Looking back, I viewed romantic relationships as the end all and be all of my existence that I became so bent on finding someone and working on my relationship with that person, instead of first working on myself. It took awhile, but that experience made me accept that there was something wrong in how I handled my pain, and ultimately, that there was something wrong with how I had been living my life.
We all have faith. May it be in ourselves, in humanity, or anything else, we all anchor our faith on something, or someone. I put all my faith in that person, and in my capacity to love him. I trusted that the faith I had would be enough for our relationship; I was wrong. But in my acceptance that I needed to help myself, and in my decision to find another way to move on, I stumbled upon a kind of faith that gave me so much more than a fix to a broken heart: faith in the Lord. Hearing this from me may seem like quite a surprise, especially to those who know how I was before (more on this in another post), and whom I have not talked to in awhile. But believe me when I say that I was the most shocked of all when I found myself enjoying Bible study, seeking guidance from His word, and asking to be prayed for by friends who shared that faith. I learned that God condemned no one, however large or small the sin, and that His love was not earned–everyone willing to come to Him can receive it. Little by little I began to heal, then to forgive, and I resolved to build my faith in Him. I am not professing that I am now blameless and sinless and perfect–I am far from it. But the kind of person that I am today is very different from the angry, crying, broken girl over a year and a half ago, because of the kind of faith I have found.
Waiting, I thought back then, was for suckers. I felt the need to grab every opportunity, never mind if I had to compromise my values, my standards, and my beliefs, and this resonated in my need to keep on entering relationships. As my need grew, I became less and less discerning, putting physical and emotional satisfaction on top of my priority list, instead of focusing on other aspects of my life that needed attention. But gaining my new found faith put me on the right track–I learned that there is immense joy to be found in waiting if you trust in His promises, and it will let you gain patience, fortitude, and an opportunity to find avenues to build yourself, instead of spending time looking for someone to make you whole. Trusting in His promises means trusting that He will give you everything you need, in His time. That is something I hold onto, in all the aspects of my life, love life included. 🙂 And so, dear reader, that is precisely what I have been doing for more than a year and a half: waiting, but not in vain, because the amount of time I spend waiting is also time I spend in serving Him, finding out more about myself, building my character, and growing in my faith.
There is something to be learned in every experience, and sometimes it is that a source of pain, can be transformed into a source of joy.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
– Jeremiah 29:11-12