When "I'm Tired of Being Single" Means So Incredibly Much More

No, this post isn't about food or about Valentine's Day, really at all. Though Lipstick & Gelato is a food-blog, it is also about the heart of matters. About your heart, and mine, and the way it all comes out in the food we make. So in that vein I'm serving up some honest-to-goodness vulnerability. Some real talk. Some "this is what took up all my heart-space this week." It isn't a feel-good post, but it's an honest one and I hope that it hits someone like an embrace. XOXO


"I'm so tired of being single.
I don't think I even knew everything that I meant when I sent that text. Despite my greatest efforts to get over myself and find joy in my freaking-awesome single stage, despite my gratefulness for the community I get to do life with, despite taking care of my body better than ever, getting plenty of sleep, having a jam-packed social life and anticipating the birth of my second niece, in these baby months of 2018 I just can't seem to kick the longing for more than a week or two. So I sent that text to more than one friend and spent that day feeling the kind of aloneness that only comes to a heart-sore extrovert on-shift by herself on a slow day with approximately two sales transactions to break the monotony. These bouts of longing come now and then but I am usually good at sprinting through them, whether by
ignoring what I'm feeling, telling myself it's not a good time for a relationship anyway, reading Buzzfeed articles like "30 GIFs You'll Only Understand If You're Single AF," and, yes, serial texting my long-suffering sister to let her know exactly how done I am. And last week, I was so incredibly, completely tired of being single.

This isn't something that is easy for me to admit. I hate the possibility of seeming typical, of sounding like I'm complaining, or of setting off a string of well-meaning newly-weds who want to tell me (three months that side of the altar) how marriage isn't what we thought it would be and will happen when you least expect it. I wanted to ask anyone who is hiding her struggle with singleness for these reasons to please listen: there seems to be this idea in the world that when a girl says she's tired of being single that she hates her life, despises her "season," and needs to learn to love Jesus a lot better before marriage should even be an option on the table. 







This idea is hurtful to those of us who are pursuing Christ with our full hearts and devotion and still feel the dissonance of doing the work without a life-partner. This wise-sounding but unhelpful idea goes on and seems to suggest that if we, as young women, did love Jesus as much as we should, that the longing for a husband would never surface or that if it did, we would mortify it under a Pollyanna ton of blessing-counting. Of course my true fulfillment is found in Him. Of course a fallible man could never satisfy in that way. But there is an innate something in us that longs for the artistic balance of another human to go on-mission with us. That is a godly desire, created by Him from Adam onward. I don't apologize for feeling desire for a life-partner in a fierce way sometimes. But there is something else we need to acknowledge: when a woman says she's tired of being single, it doesn't always mean she is tired of seeing cute photos of couples on Facebook.


when a woman says she's tired of being single, it doesn't always mean she is tired of seeing cute photos of couples on Facebook.

"Take a social media fast" is the advice well-meaning people tend to give. "Unfollow those couples, or stop getting on Pinterest, or quit watching romantic comedies." None of those pieces of advice are bad ideas, but I think sometimes what we mean by "I'm so tired of being single" is mistranslated and oversimplified. Do you know what I meant that Monday when I griped about how tired I was of being single? I didn't know myself when I sent that text, but Jesus (the same one who I ought to spend more time with if I still find myself longing for marriage) showed me in quiet ways that pierced like a knife and gave voice to the reason I haven't been able to shake this longing in the first weeks of this year. Here's what I meant when I said "I'm so tired of being single."
She keeps to her chair and bed now, hooked up to 24/7 oxygen which sometimes brings her oxygen levels high enough and sometimes brings a little color into her cheeks. How I love her. When I go to visit and tip-toe into my grandmother's bedroom, I'm a little afraid of adding any discomfort to the discomfort she already feels. But we start visiting and I forget about her condition and the fact that she is 84 years old and that all good shows draw to a final act one day. I only know she is Grandmama and I love her and I want to be like her every day. She is sassy and elegant still with her bright mind and those beautiful family rings worn on hands that also wear medical bracelets now. She is brilliant and very much alive. We talk about the books she's read and the places she's been. We talk about her childhood and the days when my mother and uncles were small. She is one of my favorite people - always has been. And when I stand to leave, I kiss her goodbye and walk out. And once again I adjust that dream. The one I've told few people about since she got sick - the one that has already been adjusted so many times. It used to read, "I want Grandmama to be at my wedding. I want her to know and love my husband and I want him to know and love her." It now timidly reads something like, "I want her to meet any man I date. And then - if things work out - my husband can look back and know he once met the woman I aspire to be like when I'm old." And I pull my car backward out of the horseshoe driveway wondering how many more times I will be able to adjust the dream before it has to be put away completely. Will I be brave enough for that? Will there be a pair of arms to hold me as I weep or will I put that dream away forever and tell him, one day, how badly I wish he could have known the strongest woman I'd ever met - the one who still holds so much of my heart?
On Monday, that's what I meant when I said I was tired of being single. And a lot of the time, some similar heartache is what some of you might mean too.

Don't be too quick to fix your heart in these times, or blame yourself for taking this long to find someone, or think that in anyway you need to stop feeling the effects of entropy. It's been a long time coming but I'm learning to realize that voicing the difficulty is a healthy part of handling what I'm going through. Sometimes the timeline of our heart is driven by outside circumstances, like the old age of our relatives, an illness, etc. There is an insistence to life these days that reminds me of perishable dreams and how short the time may be before I have to be brave and put that particular dream away. And you know, I don't feel ready for that. I don't feel brave. I feel like I'm tired of being single and I want someone - anyone - that I can bring bring over to her room and let her inspect with a raised eyebrow and a twinkling eye. Anyone to like her enormous cat and pet it in the spot it likes best and she'll love him for loving the cat and for loving me, and I can be brave then and not mind so much about the wedding. I'm learning to be okay with feeling the pain of a timeline that isn't my own. I'm learning how to let it ache and to know that in the ache there is healing. While driving around later in the week, the new song, "Weep With Me" by Rend Collective came on. It seemed to me then, and now, that this song is exactly what I mean when I say that I'm simultaneously in a rich place and doing well and feeling overwhelmed and just really tired of being single:

"Weep with me
Lord will You weep with me?
I don't need answers, all I need
Is to know that You care for me
Hear my plea
Are You even listening?
Lord I will wrestle with Your heart
But I won't let You go

You know I believe
Help my unbelief

(and) Yet I will praise You
Yet I will sing of Your name
Here in the shadows
I'll light up an offering of praise
What was true in the light
Is still true in the dark
You're good and You're kind
And You care for this heart

Lord I believe
(that) You weep with me..."

Listen: I love my life. Being single is a whole lot of fun most days and I thank God for the years He has given me in this "solo flight mode" to better learn who I am and who He is and what my place in this world can be. I am okay. I am not in a constant state of grief. My grandmother isn't imminently dying. To be fully honest with you, I'm a little worried about clicking "publish" on this piece. I don't want anyone to worry about me. And for the love of all that's holy, I don't want people to be extra nice because they read this post. I'll cry, and that's something I'd rather do later when I have more time. I don't want to make my mother sad when she reads this. I don't want my dad to be proud when he reads it. I don't want my grandmother to read it, for that matter, and feel bad for being full of years and not so full of health. I don't want some helpful boy to read it and offer to meet my grandmother just in case. When I do click "publish" I'll probably watch, horrified, at what this post sets off and wish I hadn't done it.
But I know that I am not the only one who has said this Valentine's Day, "I'm tired of being single" and has meant a whole lot more than that. I know I can't be the only one, and I feel like I have a responsibility to speak truth to you as Jesus has spoken it over me and let you know that you are not alone in feeling helpless at the hands of a pace you didn't choose. In whatever circumstances are driving your heart's timeline, Jesus is there. He has felt what you feel. He cares. He is with you in the ache and He will be with you in the loss and in Him alone is fullness of joy and the hope of each one of us passing through this world briefly so that we can be with Him forever. That confidence gives hope even when we have to put away the dream for good. Maybe my husband will have to hear about my grandmother from me instead of from firsthand experience. Jesus will be there in that moment too, and I wait on His faithfulness and the chance to know Him in grief as well as in joy. What's true in the light is still true in the dark, He's good and He's kind and He cares for this heart.

Holding You Close,
Rachel

12 comments

  1. There is a kind of trauma, I think, in those things in life we are missing and they are even harder to deal with because they are unseen. Everyone has them and I've been feeling that soul sickness more lately. No answers here, just letting you know these words do feel like an embrace. These types of thoughts and feelings are not only mine, they are normal and I don't have to feel guilty for my natural wants. There's a balance to everything and I feel you have a healthy balance of being okay alone to wanting a soul mate. :) People that love me sometimes accidentally assume I'll not get married or have children and I forget to not let their words define the result. They are also jealous of the "me-time" I get right now, which is a good reminder of reality but I'd rather know what it's like to find a human I work like gears with or like you said in such a lovely way, "artistic balance of another human to go on-mission with us." It's not that I don't expect the negatives. Everything I do has an expected negative but I do it anyways for the positives. It's not unrealistic for us to want a soulmate and so many respond like it is. From my perspective lately, this post was a breath of fresh air and not saying it made me feel okay to have a bad attitude haha but it made me see there's a healthy balance and part of that balance is it's okay to not be okay with being single.

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    1. <3 I'm glad you felt loved by this, Rhea. <3

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  2. THIS. I really needed this. And Rachel, you're not alone. <333

    Liv // livkfisher.blogspot.com

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  3. Rachel, this is a VERY impressive blog. Keep up the good work! Remember, sometimes you can say more with less!

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  4. I can feel the love you have for your Grandmother and I totally understand what you are expressing. I'm glad you said what so many of us feel about our families. Time marches on but the love never dies.

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    1. I've been so blessed to grow to be so old without encountering first-hand how deeply love can hurt, but how worth it love is.

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  5. This is infinitely the most relatable post on singleness I have read in a very long time. You are definitely not alone in feeling these things so deeply! Your words are massively encouraging to me and very probably to many other single girls tired of hearing the same old well-intentioned, but unhelpful advice for maintaining a that semblance of contentedness as a single woman. Thank you for sharing your heart. <3

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    1. Thank YOU for reading and commenting, Emily! <3

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  6. Amen! I've been struggling with my singleness lately and people don't understand it. When I express it, older women act like I'll marry the first guy that comes along no matter what, young marrieds give advice on how to attract a guy, and random people tell me how lucky I am. I'm not unhappy with my life, I just sometimes ache for more. I know it won't be perfect when it comes. I know that won't end my struggles, but there is a feeling of separation that singleness brings, especially after twenty-five.
    Thank you for your openness.

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  7. So so so good. And I hear you girl. I cried for the first time ever on a Valentine's day this year...and I'm Valentine's day biggest fan. I'm so happy with where God has me now and there are so many wonderful things happening in my life that I'm thankful for, but I had a giant, "I'm tired of being single" moment today for so many reasons more than just the fact I didn't get roses. Love your heart for Jesus, girl!

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