Listen up my single sisters, we’re gonna talk about something we all have in common; being single (obviously). Brace yourself because this is not some self-empowerment speech or a stride in feminism, it’s just my approach to singleness and why it is okay to just be single. Hopefully, you’ll stick around to hear what I have to say on the subject and find out why I’m not “dating Jesus.”
From what I can tell, this phrase began as a preliminary step to actually dating and then marrying the person who would later become your future spouse. Although innocent in its original intentions, this phrase has since taken on a life of its own, setting standards and implying things that would be quite scandalous.
Just so everybody reading this knows where I’m coming from, I have been independent, flying solo, going stag, and third wheeling it since the very beginning. Yes, for the past 18 years this girl has been the definition of single. Everyone has their own view on what it means to be single, whether it means that you’re not in a relationship, just dating around, or plainly not even looking for a relationship. For me, it was more of a waiting to be pursued by someone and it just not happening so inevitably, I was single. Since around high school, I’ve been told by people in my church, mainly married people, to “embrace my singleness” which sounds great and all, but I was never really given any direction on how to do that. Just keep being single? Great! That part was easy, but then what next? This thought after being mangled through the mind of an insecure teenage girl translated roughly to “Congratulations! You’re going to be single forever and since boys don’t like you anyway, you should start collecting your family of cats now. By the way, it’s probably because of the way you look. Try changing it up a bit. Kisses -A” (I’ve been watching Pretty Little Liars recently, don’t judge). But this is not a joke, this is how insecure teenage girls see this statement when no one explains to them what it means.
But it is because of ideas like “Jesus is my boyfriend” that makes me ask, is singleness really that bad that we have to imagine up a boyfriend for ourselves? Why are we not content with just living out our faith, in our singleness, waiting and trusting that God will provide when it’s time?
I’m not just being cynical (or at least I don’t think I am). Singleness is not a curse or a punishment, it’s a period of growth, and that’s something that often needs to be learned through experience and nothing less.
Jesus is not my boyfriend:
Jesus is not my boyfriend, not your boyfriend, not anyone’s boyfriend. If you don’t understand why I am shocked by this statement, then let’s look at all that is implied with the phrase “Jesus is my boyfriend”:
- I have romantic feelings for Jesus
- He can only love me as a boyfriend loves a girlfriend
- I would have to “break-up” with Jesus before getting into another relationship
- Jesus is “dating” hundreds of people at once
I don’t know about you, but this is not the picture I want in my head of the Savior of the world. Jesus will not come in one day and sweep you off your feet and take you away to live happily ever after. Jesus will not court you and bring you flowers. He does not take you on dates and bring you over to meet his parents.
He is the messiah, the King of the world. No one is meant to be his queen, we are meant to be his servants. (Luke 1:38)
My savior is capable of loving me more than I can even imagine, it’s unconditional. A love past first dates and first kisses. My savior loves me beyond all measure (Ephesians 3:19) enough to lay down his life for me (John 3:16). This love cannot be put in a box or be given a label such as “boyfriend”. Saying that I’m dating Jesus is giving off an incomplete picture of who He actually is. It is humans trying to make the infinite finite.
So I ask again, why must we mask our singleness by giving ourselves an imaginary boyfriend? Is being single really the worst thing in the world?
I don’t want to date Jesus, I want to have a relationship with him that surpasses any earthly relationship. In Philippians 3 Paul says
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”
This is the kind of relationship that I want with my Jesus, not an earthly boyfriend-girlfriend love affair.
Embracing Singleness (and what it actually means):
Since no one really ever explained it to me and I had to figure most of it out on my own, I thought I might try to simplify it and make it accessible to other young single sisters who are being told to “embrace” their singleness.
Getting down to it, singleness is not a curse of eternal loneliness. Being single gives me an opportunity to pursue God on my own, without the distraction of a significant other. To pursue the Lord and take some time to grow on my own and find out the different ways in how I learn from Him, how I hear from Him, how to fear Him and see God as the true deity He is. I built my relationship with God on a firm foundation. In this pursuit, I began to learn the characteristics of Christ from more than just seeing them on paper. To see His faithfulness, His passion, and His immense love. Furthermore, in this relationship, I begin to see the characteristics of Jesus in me.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
You know when you start to hang out with someone and you immediately recognize some phrases they say, how they tap their foot, or maybe how they interact with others? And then after some time of hanging out with them, you start to catch yourself doing those very same things or saying their phrases. Well, this may be news to some of you (I know it was to me) but the same thing happens when you get to know the Lord better. Amazing right?! Through reading the scriptures and talking to God I begin to reflect Christ and I start to see myself the way that He sees me. I see myself as strong, worthy, and loved without needing anyone telling me that I am. Without seeking affirmation from others and just believing what the Lord says I am is true when I am in Him.
And let me ask you, Christian, but isn’t this the whole point of having a relationship with Christ? To be more like Him, to reflect Him. Find your confidence in Jesus before you try to seek out someone else to fulfill that. I promise you, being single is not the worst thing in the world– being without Jesus is.
It is purely because of Jesus and what He did for me that I am able to speak to Him like a friend, a father, a counselor, a savior, and my Lord. Who am I to try and limit that?
And one day, when the time comes I hope that I will have been prepared, mentally and spiritually, to be the girlfriend that my future boyfriend deserves.
Well, that was a speech and a half, thank you to those of you who made it to the end of my rant about relationships. I hope you found some sort of encouragement or guidance from it.
Strength and love my sisters,
Photo courtesy of Maddie Dean Photography from my senior prom last May (in which I was going stag!!)