I promised a blog series on gratitude so here it goes! I knew this was going to be a hard topic for me to write about, because sometimes it can be really hard to give thanks for the small things, especially the things that are hard to give thanks for. Especially the first topic on the list – gratitude for your significant other (or for me, lack thereof).
I’ve never been in a relationship in my life (phew, that was hard to admit), and it was fine through high school (high school boys are silly anyway), and I wasn’t looking for a relationship for most of college. However, when it hit me that I was graduating college this semester without ever having been in a relationship, I realized I kind of felt like a failure. How many college graduates have you met with my empty relationship history? But, in light of the gratitude challenge, here are some reflections on why I’m thankful for this season of my life, and what I’m learning.
Part One: I’ve learned so much about who I am, and about self-sufficiency through my singleness. I went to college knowing no one, and learned how to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I’ve never had to discuss summer or post-graduation plans with anyone but myself, which has given me so much freedom. Would I have gone to work at Disney two summers in a row if I was in a serious relationship? Would I have studied abroad and learned as much about the world as I did? I don’t know. But during this season of my life I can pray and ask where God wants me, and know I’m doing what’s right for me, not what someone else wants me to do. I’m free now that I’ve graduated to settle into a new group of friends in the place I choose, and continue growing in the way that’s best for me, not for me and someone else.
I’ve also learned about self-sufficiency in the way of heartbreak. Liking people who don’t know you exist sucks. Being told by someone that they’re not interested in you hurts. A lot. But I’ve learned that I’m worth more than a guy’s opinion of me. You don’t have to be single to know that, but when you start feeling like no one wants to date you, you’ve reached a BIG opportunity for growth. It’s not that no one wants me. It’s just not my turn to be in a relationship yet. I have high standards for guys, I’ll be the first to admit that. But I’m not going to compromise my values, because I know I’m worth more than that.
Part Two: I’ve learned that it’s okay to want to be in a relationship. God wired us for that. When God created Eve, it was with the intent that she and Adam would be a couple, and would set a precedent for future couples (although I think it’s implied that most relationships should encourage each other toward praising God, not eating forbidden fruit). God created humans to grow up, leave our families, and join with a significant other for marriage (see Genesis 2). Not all of us, but most of us. So, while I get where Paul’s coming from when he says it’s better to serve God while you’re single (see 1 Corinthians 7), and while I have served Him well through this season, I don’t need to feel bad for wanting to be in a relationship.
In conclusion, I’m grateful for the growth I’m currently receiving as a single woman, AND I’m grateful for my desire to one day be in a relationship. I’m learning about taking care of myself, while learning how to be open and available to others. I’m learning to be self-sufficient, but not stand-offish. I’m learning to take joy in the present while also looking forward to the future. God may not send someone my way for a few years still. He may never send someone my way. And that’s okay too. But right now, I’m going to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5).
If you’re wondering where the inspiration for this blog series came, check out http://localadventurer.com/52-weeks-of-gratitude-challenge-complete/! It looks like a great challenge. I may not follow it 100% exactly but I’m looking forward to it!