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Singleness: The Line I Can’t Seem to Cross

Written By Wu Yan Ping, Singapore

What is the purpose of a line? It is used to separate things into two categories. From where I’m standing, the people on the other side of the line are either attached or married. And here I am, on my side of the line, waiting to cross it.

Yes, I’m single. Some people say that once you pass a certain age, it is difficult to get attached. Unfortunately, I’m past that age. Most of the guys in my age group are already attached or married. There’s no one eligible in sight for me.

I have never been in a relationship before and I pray every day for the Lord to bring me across the line into a relationship and eventually, marriage. That almost happened when my church was in the midst of merging with another church and I got to meet other singles in my age group. In a bid to bond the members, the churches organized a combined service late last year.

That was when I met *Xavier, who attends the other church. We hit it off very well and shared similar interests in philosophy and history. We attended the young adults cell group together. Xavier and I also met up outside church to go out for dinner. He gave me gifts even when it wasn’t a special occasion and often went out of his way to help me.

Throughout the five-month long friendship, I started to develop feelings for him. He started to become more than a friend to me. Here was my chance to get attached and married, I thought to myself. He wasn’t a bad catch at all—he was very encouraging, and always sent me text messages to cheer me up. He was also intellectual, and yet a bit of joker. I felt very comfortable around him.

His behavior towards me suggested more than just a platonic friendship. I wanted to follow my heart and tell him how I felt about him. However, I held back when Xavier started talking to me about his ex-girlfriend who had chosen to marry someone else. I remember his wistful expression as he showed me a picture of his ex-girlfriend riding an elephant with him, and him telling me how his friend had betrayed him and stole her from him.

It became obvious to me that Xavier still hadn’t gotten over his ex-girlfriend and was still bitter about it. And yet, he also said that he was interested in another lady and had gone on dates with her. When he said that, I tried my best to keep my composure. Deep inside, however, my heart was broken.

In the end, our churches did not merge and I was back in my own church. I felt the odds were against me. I was the only single in her thirties and the chances of meeting other single men were slim. I felt so lonely and uncertain of my future.

Desperate for a relationship, I even thought of switching to another church with a higher proportion of people in my age group. I tried dating applications but because I couldn’t see the other party’s facial expression, I found it tough to connect with them or to ascertain their sincerity in a relationship. I even had irrational thoughts of confessing to Xavier just so that I could be attached again.

Throughout my journey of getting over him, I cried out to the Lord multiple times, asking Him to take away the feelings I had for Xavier. I wanted to move on to find someone else.

However, God didn’t give me a new partner or remove my feelings. Instead, He gave me distractions from my pain. I discovered that I had a good ear for music, and have since become a vocalist in church. I’ve also been involved in doing up the worship slides. Having some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, I am also learning how to sing worship songs in Bahasa Indonesia and Bada—an Indonesian dialect—for an upcoming event that I volunteered to be part of.

At my workplace–where I work as a School Programmes Executive—I have been tending to students’ injuries, and have put my first-aid skills to good use.

The Lord has shown me that I still can experience pockets of joy without a romantic partner. For example, I still enjoy going out with my family and had fun at the recent National Day Parade preview with a friend.

At this point of time, I still don’t know what good will come out of this situation. However, one thing is for certain: God has given me a new desire to use what He has given me to advance His kingdom.

Sure, it would be easy for me to be bitter or to wallow in self-pity over my situation. For the longest time, my natural response had been to stop thinking about the Lord and His Word. I would blame God for the situation and for my pain, and stay away from church.

However, I’ve made a conscious choice to praise the Lord. Although I still pine for a relationship and to be delivered across the line into marriage, the Lord has put joyful songs in my heart, as if to remind me to praise Him. I have found myself singing worship songs at 5.30 a.m. and I’m very encouraged by the lyrics. These songs uplift my spirit, leading me to worship the Lord.

 

*not his real name

Love isn’t all about Happy Endings

Written by Samantha Chin, Singapore 

I absolutely adore animated movies—I grew up watching Disney movie after Disney movie, singing to catchy tunes and laughing along with the cute characters. Almost every plot involved a beautiful princess who found a brave prince willing to slay dragons and evil witches all in the name of love, and they lived happily ever after at the end of the movie. Even dogs and lions found their one true love!

Little did I know, these movies were leading me to believe in a picture of love and marriage that was unrealistic, but God corrected my thinking along the way.  

 

My Timing vs God’s Timing

 When I was 16, I dreamed of meeting someone special by 22, getting married to him at 25, and having children by 28. This year I turn 29, but wedding bells haven’t rung for me yet. Where was the fairytale ending I had been hoping for?

Unlike the movies where one can easily predict that the “happily ever after” will come at the end, it is never so predictable in real life. It takes some people much longer to find their marriage partner—if they do get married at all. Does it mean that all of us who are still single should give up hope? No, I believe not. Instead, I believe God is calling us to wait on His timing.

I have since come to understand that He knows best, and I need to trust Him. Knowing I need this constant reminder, I have Proverbs 16:9 pasted on my bedroom wall, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Tough as it is, I believe He is using this time of singleness to prune me so that I will be more prepared to enter into a covenant relationship with someone He has in store for me when (and if) the time comes. And I can certainly trust that the love story God, my divine matchmaker writes will be so much more glorious than I can ever plan or imagine.

 

My ideal partner vs God’s ideal partner

Other than the perfect timing, I also had a grand idea of how the man I would eventually marry would be like. He would be God-fearing, humorous, caring, loves dogs, able to lead, able to listen attentively yet also give good insight, as well as serve in full-time ministry, or at least consider it. Without realizing it, I was actually looking for someone who had it all together—just like the brave and handsome male lead in the countless movies I had watched.

When my best friend commented that I would simply reject any guy God might bring along who didn’t fulfill these ideals of mine, my first response was to defend my position and argue that these were good desires to have. After all, I wanted to serve God alongside my spouse. Wasn’t that godly thinking?

But the reality is that marriage brings together two sinners who are still works in progress. This means that the man I marry will have weaknesses I may not like and quirks that irritate me. It means that I too would have to confront and work on my own shortcomings. Love is not just about receiving—it is also about giving. It is giving even when I do not feel like it, when I’d rather be doing something else, and when I just can’t stand the sight of him. Love is a verb, not merely a feeling. I will experience romance and laughter, but I will also experience sacrifice, humility, and refinement.

Marriage is about two imperfect people helping each other become more like Christ. And maybe that is also what makes marriage so wonderful—having someone who knows you inside out, warts and all, and still loves you the same.

 

Finding fulfilment in a partner vs in Christ

Cinderella was always dreaming about meeting her prince, so was Rapunzel, and Snow White and, well, you get the idea. It was almost as if their life was incomplete till they found “the one”. When they did, it was bliss—a whole new world unlocked. Initially, I thought the same way. I was constantly searching for someone who would finally make me feel special and complete.

But another friend posed me this question: If one day you find the person you have been dreaming of all your life, and yet you don’t feel as fulfilled as you expected to be, what happens then?

That was a necessary reminder that I must first and foremost find my ultimate fulfillment in Christ, for only He can truly satisfy. These days, I am slowly becoming able to echo what the Psalmist says in Psalms 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

 

I still love animated movies, my friends can attest to that; but I now watch them knowing that love isn’t all about happy endings. That doesn’t make me desire marriage any less, and though I have much more to learn, having a realistic understanding of it reduces the likelihood I run in the other direction when facing difficulties with my future spouse.

 

©2017 Whole Life. All rights reserved.
This article was first published on Wholelife.sg and republished with permission.

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?

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.