Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Look. Behold the girl sitting at Wendy’s alone. She looks happy. Egads! How can that be?! She can’t be happy; she’s alone. Everyone knows if your alone then you’re miserable.
Happy and alone. Those two words sound like an oxymoron, don’t they? I mean how can they go together? How can one be alone and happy at the same time? At least that is the question many singles and happily married couples ponder.
Well, dear readers, allow me to let you in on a secret. It is possible. That girl eating alone at Wendy’s is me. I have been single all my long life, and when I say single I define single in terms of marital status. As in sans a husband. Yep. It’s true. I’ve never, ever had a husband.
You ask, how can one be single and happy at the same time? I don’t believe a single person arrives at happiness by accident. In fact, I don’t believe most people arrive at happiness by accident. I didn’t get to this place of contentment easily. Trust me. It was a long and winding journey.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked boys. Yes, even at the tender age of 5. My first friend was a boy. I still remember my first crush. He was a blonde headed boy in my kindergarten class. I remember his name and I remember when my mom became pregnant with my brother she wanted to name him the same name as my crush and, thus, ended my crush.
Fast forward to teen years. Being the shy, awkward girl, I always had a secret crush. My strategy for letting the boy know I liked him–completely ignore him. Yeah, great strategy, eh? I always wanted a boyfriend. I couldn’t wait to get one. At 15, I got my wish. I had boyfriend. Now, I thought, I arrived. I was somebody. All because I had a boyfriend.That only last a few months and then I was nobody again. A year later I got another boyfriend. That lasted only days and then I was nobody again.
You see my pattern of thought? Boyfriend=I’m somebody. No boyfriend=I’m nobody.
You see the lie I was believing? I didn’t at the time. It took me awhile…a long while. I believed a lie that said I could only be validated as a human being if I had someone on my arm. Bless my pea-picking adolescent heart.
I will spare you the messy details of my search for love in all the wrong places as an adult, but I pretty much took that lie from my adolescent years to the next level in my beliefs about what marriage could do for me. As an adult I believed marriage would solve all my problems. I thought it would cure my loneliness and give me purpose. I thought having a husband would heal my wounds I suffered as a child. Bless my pea-picking naive heart. Until I had possession of a husband, I couldn’t be happy.
I had no help from our culture because the same refrain is made: Single people are unhappy people. Single people must needs to get married and be happy. You’re not a whole person unless you’re with someone. After few failed relationships, some toxic relationships, and by toxic I mean unhealthy, damaging relationships, the Lord began to show me the lies I believed and shined light on the truth. God made me to be whole. A whole person. Other people can’t do that for me. No one person can make me whole. That’s God’s job. I had to go through some painful poor choices in my dating relationships to learn this.
“In him we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:28 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:10 NLT
What a revelation that these verses were to me. I could be complete without a man. I could be a whole person through Christ! I’m not saying marriage isn’t great or there are no benefits to marriage. What I’m addressing here in this post is our misguided and unrealistic expectations of what marriage or a significant other can do for you. I love this blog post by relationship counselor, Debra Fileta, said in her blog titled, “Marriage Doesn’t Solve Your Problems”. She lists what marriage can’t do:
1) Marriage doesn’t erase your insecurities. 2) Marriage can’t give you purpose 3) Marriage won’t make you whole.
What is a single person to do then to find happiness? Find it in God. He is our only source. Only God can help erase those insecurities. Only God can give you purpose. Only God can make you whole. Believe me–I’m not saying I no longer desire marriage; I most certainly do, but I have learned over the last few years to be happy by myself. If God’s plan for me is marriage in the future, it will play a small part in God’s bigger plan for my life.
Marriage is built on two people. If a house’s foundation is faulty then the house will crumble. If you go into marriage with a faulty perception of what it can do for you, you will be disappointed and disillusioned, and I suspect, this is one of the greatest reasons for divorce in our culture. It’s not that people go into marriage with low expectations, I think, as much as high and unrealistic expectations. If you learn now to take your insecurities to God, find your purpose in Him, find wholeness and healing in Him then you will have a great foundation to build a great marriage upon, if and when you do get married. For now as a single person, be alone and happy. Sit at Wendy’s with your burger and french fries and dare to smile; make people wonder why you’re happy. If they ask why you’re happy, tell them because in Christ you are complete.
Question: What lies as a single did you believe that God is now showing you truth?