Confessions-of-a-Single-Guy

Confessions of a Single Guy

Written By Aryanto Wijaya, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

“When I was a child, I saw adults dating. When I became an adult, I saw children dating.”

I laughed when I saw these words on a meme while scrolling through Instagram. I knew exactly what the meme was talking about. Many of my friends started dating in high school, but I have remained single throughout college and even after I’ve started working.

I was raised in a broken family, and had trouble with my self-confidence. I was not rich, could not play any musical instruments, or do sports. So I figured I was only an ordinary guy and would not be anyone’s ideal type. Though I had fallen in love with several different girls in the past, I was usually too nervous to tell them. I often thought that if I told a girl that I loved her, it would ruin our friendship. Instead, I kept my feelings to myself, and just remained friends.

Eventually, in college, I fell in love with my best friend. We went to the same Christian youth fellowship every Tuesday night. We prayed together, hung out, and shared burdens. I finally told her how I felt towards her a few months before graduation. But she said she didn’t want to date, and preferred to remain best friends. I respected her decision. We are still good friends today even though we have since gone our own separate ways after graduation.

Not having a girlfriend, however, does not mean that my life is any less worthwhile. In the same way, my life would not always be better if I had a girlfriend. I have often listened to brokenhearted friends share about their breakups.

I’m happy being single at the moment. Though there are times I feel lonely, I’m learning to channel my emotions and energy during such moments towards meaningful activities.

 

I travel and write a travel blog.

I love to travel. During my four years of college in Yogyakarta, an Indonesian city, I travelled perhaps half of Indonesia, from westernmost Sabang Island to the northern city of Manado. Once, I even spent 30 days travelling across the island of Sumatra with a German friend.

Travelling is a way for me to meet people. I make a lot of friends while travelling, especially through my couch surfing community. And when my new friends express curiosity about my faith, it becomes a great opportunity to share about Jesus with them.

Travelling also reminds me that God always provides. For example, I was working as a student staff at my university which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout Indonesia to promote our school to high school students. And when I travelled with other backpackers, they often paid for my accommodation.

I enjoy writing about my travels and sharing my thoughts and experiences with other people. I believe that God is using my skills and interests to enrich my life, and hopefully the lives of others. What has He been doing in your life?

 

I spend time and energy loving my family and friends first.

I believe that when I learn to love and be content with what God has already given me, He will give me new responsibilities in His own time. Jesus told us that “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)

I believe God wants me to use this stage of singleness to love my friends and family—and He uses this to enrich my life and theirs. I’ve learned to empathize with the problems my loved ones face and be a better listener.

Twice a month, I go back to my hometown to visit my family. I recognize that my parents are getting older so I make it a point to let them know how special they are to me and buy them food. I also spend time keeping in touch with my friends through phone calls and weekend visits. Because I do not have to coordinate my schedule with a girlfriend or wife, I have time to listen to my loved ones’ problems, encourage them, pray with them, and hang out with them.

If you’re at the same stage life as me, why not consider how to use this time to be a blessing to those around you?

 

I often like to say that I don’t need a soul mate because God created my soul complete. If and when God decides that it’s time for me to leave my singleness, He will naturally provide someone. What I need to do in the meantime is to focus on how God wants me to live my life to the fullest and bless others.

The completeness of someone’s life is not determined by whether he has a mate or not. God has already created us complete. Regardless of our relationship status, God has a good plan that He wants to accomplish through us.

Are you living a fulfilling life now?

 

Read “5 Ways to Become the Most Eligible Bachelorette” here.

When-Will-It-Be-My-Turn

When Will It Be My Turn?

Written By Jordan Lee, USA

You meet him—you know who I’m talking about. He’s the guy you’ve been dreaming of, the one you thought you’d never even talk to . . . and then he asks you on a date, a real date!

You hide the happy dance your heart is doing, fight back the squeal, and accept with pleasure. Within seconds, all your girls know and they’re offering their closets for you to peruse. You spend hours picking out the perfect outfit.

He picks you up at 7:00 a.m. sharp—not a minute early or a minute late, just like he promised. The date ends with a sweet kiss goodnight, a promise to call you tomorrow, and you dance to your room with a light heart and twinkle in your eye.

And then he actually calls the next day. The dates not only continue but soon he begins calling you the magic word. He begins calling you his—wait for it . . . girlfriend. Score! When you hear that word, it’s not scary or weird or uncomfortable like with the other guys. It sounds just right—fitting.

Eventually, he pops the question. You call your girls and inform the world with the perfect Instagram post and finally create that Pinterest wedding board. You ever so creatively ask your girls to be your maids, which they make known on Instagram, and they help you prep every detail of the big day like you’ve done for them.

Isn’t this how we want it to go? Isn’t this how we envision it as a little girl? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this is an ideal but less than likely scenario.

Maybe you haven’t met your match. Maybe you’ve never had a boyfriend that sticks around. Maybe you’re frustrated because you’ve never even been asked on a date and all your friends are getting married and having the cutest babies ever. And maybe you believe that your life is a bummer. Maybe you’re sick of seeing everyone else fall in love. Maybe you’re wondering what’s wrong with you and when it’ll be your turn.

If that’s you, cool. I’d love to tell you that it’s going to happen for you soon. I’d love to tell you Mr. Right just got caught in traffic. I’d love to say the clichéd little phrase, “to find the right person, you have to become the right person.”

But I can’t.

I don’t know the future of your love life any more than you do. I don’t know the purpose of your current relationship status any more than you do. Only God knows if you’re supposed to meet Mr. Right and only He knows when it’ll be your turn.

But this isn’t about taking turns. Life and relationships aren’t a game and God isn’t skipping your turn when you feel like He is. The cold, hard truth is that there’s no cookie-cutter answer for your situation, and I think sometimes we like to put blanket statements on it because we all know being alone is hard.

But I’m not going to give you a magic solution or throw clichéd phrases on your life. Because as you step into yet another bridesmaid dress or fake a smile for another one of your friends in love whom you’re really trying to be happy for, I’d be willing to bet that those statements don’t help at all.

I’d rather remind you that there’s a reason God has you right where you are, that you’re appreciated, and that your current role is needed in big and mighty ways. You are needed as you are, right now, flying solo, individual, and independent.

I know it’s tempting and normal to step into a lonely pity party, but I dare you to own your loneliness instead of letting it own you. Don’t throw your heart walls up in protection or your hands up in surrender. Both are isolating and discouraging and you’re better than that.

When you feel like you’re losing hope, take a step back. Are you placing your hope in the ring or in the King?

Your character, your strengths, and your exact blend of humor, wit, and beauty are needed for something a lot bigger than Pinterest boards and wedding bells.

And maybe you just need to be reminded that the Prince of Peace sees that—even if a Prince Charming never does.

You are beloved by God and needed in this big world—with or without a plus one.

 

This article was originally posted on the writer’s blog here. This version has been edited by YMI.

When-My-Spouse-Couldnt-Read-My-Mind

When My Spouse Couldn’t Read My Mind

Written By Rachel Moreland, Scotland

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”

I remember clutching the book Eat, Pray, Love with dear life one night in my apartment in Washington, DC, in the US. As I sped through the pages, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this true? Can this kind of honest and revelatory love really exist?” The words of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, sunk to my core. While I desired what she crafted on paper, what I didn’t fully appreciate was how un-romantic this kind of love would be. Let me explain.

I’ll never forget an argument that my husband and I had. I called it one of the “big ones”. It all started with me complaining about how James didn’t buy me a bottle of wine at the supermarket for a party we were going to that evening. I was offended, grace was not extended, and he reacted. What unfolded over the course of the evening (which felt like a lifetime) was a long drawn-out argument, the kind of heated debate that feels like it’s going on for hours and only seems to conclude when you reluctantly hit the “pause” button to order a pizza.

You’ve probably guessed that the argument wasn’t actually about a bottle of wine. In fact, it had more to do with my insecurities and the realisation that my husband couldn’t read my mind. He wasn’t acting exactly the way I thought he should. He wasn’t meeting my unrealistic and fanciful expectations.

When James and I got married, we were given a lot of helpful advice such as “Discuss your expectations” and “Don’t criticise each other in front of others”. The one that really hit home for me, though, had to do with grace. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Give each other grace. Neither of you is perfect.

I didn’t give James the benefit of the doubt that night. He probably didn’t extend that to me either; it takes two to argue, after all. What I’ve slowly gathered since “the big one” was this—my husband isn’t perfect, and putting unrealistic expectations on him is not only unhelpful but also toxic to our relationship.

What I have learned since the fateful wine bottle argument is that sometimes my husband forgets to pick up items at the grocery store. From time to time, when he’s engrossed in a task, he may also forget to perform basic human functions like eating a meal. (How anyone can forget to eat for a period of three hours is beyond me.) And sometimes, the trash will overflow if I don’t remind him to empty it. If grace is left at the front door, I might be tempted to get a little annoyed or resentful over what I have previously called his “cute quirks”.

However, after being married now for the past 2½ years (I am by no means claiming to be a relationship guru), I have come to understand that marriage isn’t about “changing your spouse” into the perfect Hollywood image of a “knight in shining armour”. If anything, you will discover that the guy has plenty of kinks and dents in his armour.

Instead of expecting perfection, I want to celebrate my husband for who he is and for who God created him to be. Choosing to see my husband through God’s eyes has transformed my understanding of marriage—and my role within our relationship.

Now back to Gilbert’s words on soul-mates. If you want a sure-fire way of destroying your marriage, then by all means go ahead and compare your spouse to your long laundry list of “I wish you did this” statements. That will be just the ticket!

I can’t look to my husband to fulfil my every need when he was never designed to. This is an impossible feat and to put that kind of pressure on him will only lead to disappointment and resentment.

On the contrary, marriage will require you to change. That’s what marriage does. It will reveal things you thought you had dealt with long ago—the good, the bad and the ugly. But hopefully, in a godly, healthy and mature relationship, your partner will give you the freedom to let down your guard, a safe space to be vulnerable, and the support to help you sort through your reflections with grace and wisdom.

James and I are not perfect, but I can honestly say that the longer we have been together, the richer our relationship has become. In many ways, he has mirrored to me what it looks like to be confident yet gracious, as well as positive and optimistic yet realistic. In return, hopefully I have reflected back to him how to be empathetic and gentle.

Like “iron sharpens iron”, we aim to help refine one another in order to become the people Christ has called us to be. This always will be an ongoing process throughout our marriage. Like a set of train tracks, our goal is to grow in maturity yet remain parallel to one another as we come up against every curve and bend along the path.

Conflict and differences of opinion are bound to happen within relationships. But instead of nit-picking every little thing my husband has done wrong and trying to “fix” him, I know that ultimately, real change and maturity will only come if Christ works in Him. But I can show him sacrificial love, giving up myself for him—my agenda, my selfish desires. It’s not always easy and it’s certainly not the same kind of narrative Hollywood has portrayed to us at the cinema. But it’s the kind of love worth fighting for.

The-Waiting-Room-Called-Singleness (1)

The Waiting Room Called “Singleness”

Written By Emily Burrill, USA

There’s a raging party that is sweeping across the world.

It’s exciting. It’s trendy. It has confetti and sparkly dresses and loud music. It’s desired by many. And it makes for some really swell Instagram photos.

There is also a waiting room to get into the party. The waiting room is dull. Its walls are bland and colorless. It’s crowded but full of empty people that desperately want to get invited to the party.

This is the sad reality of singleness in college. It is viewed as lonely, depressing, and weak. It’s a waiting room. All of these girls are waiting. Waiting for a chance for a cute boy with a hipster haircut and mad long boarding skills to ask them out on a date so they can finally take part in that raging party of being in a couple.

The more they wait, the more hopeless they become. They see more and more people being invited to the party. They see more and more marriage engagements on Facebook. They see more and more cute couple videos on YouTube. And while they wait, they deteriorate.

The waiting room destroys. It destroys self-esteem. It destroys confidence. It destroys body image. It destroys self-image.  It destroys from the inside out.

Soon, they start thinking they are not good enough to be loved. They are not pretty enough. They are not smart enough. They are not interesting enough. They are fat and ugly. They are not attractive to any man. It is their fault they are single.

Before long, they are completely hopeless. The only thing they have left is a lifeless shell of their exterior with nothing but self-loathing on the inside.

Ladies, the waiting room is a lie.

It is a lie that is handed to us directly from the hand of the devil. This lie is meant to empty us from the inside out. To leave us hopeless, depressed, anxious, broken and left with nothing.

The devil has lured us into the waiting room and made us obsessed with one goal: to get the guy, to date him, to get engaged to him, and to marry him. While that desire is valid and something I want as well, we may have unwittingly made this the most important goal in our life.

So this is my question: When did the guy become the goal instead of God?

Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words, what you place as your goal is where your heart truly is. We have treasured a boy above God. We have desired a relationship with a man above a relationship with our Creator. We have destined ourselves to an end goal of marriage rather than a goal of everlasting life with our Father.

Ladies, he’s not the goal. He’s the goal.

So to all my single friends, don’t wait in the waiting room. The devil created it in a desperate attempt to weaken our self-identity and to distract us from the truth. We have been blinded to think that waiting for a man is like waiting for a party. A party that is too cool and too rad for us. The party is a lie. Ask anyone in a relationship. The reality of coupling isn’t as great as they portray on Instagram. Yes, it is a gift. But it is not the goal.

We have got to stop seeing relationships as the goal and singleness as a period of mundane waiting. We can partake in the greatest party in the history of humanity—a relationship with God. Growing closer to Him, loving Him, being with Him, all while investing in relationships with your girl friends, your guy friends, and your family. You can be unattached. You can go places. You can do things. You can empower. You can grow. You can have strength.

The waiting room is a place of destruction. It’s time to step out and live. Ladies, we are strong. We are influential. We have the power to do things that couples can’t do. We are undistracted. We have more time. We can empower.

Singleness is strength. And that is the truth.

So, my encouragement to you: Stand up, leave that waiting room, and live.

While you live, remember the truth; he’s not the goal. He’s the goal.