singleness – a lonely place

“Thirty, flirty, and thriving?”

In the movie “13 Going on 30,” Jenna Rink desperately wishes on her 13th birthday to be “thirty, flirty and thriving.” Her wish is granted, and she discovers that she has become a shrewd, malicious, manipulative woman. She was in fact the “Sixth Chick” and the prom queen, and is now editor of her favorite magazine. Dream come true? Not so much, we discover. In the end, she wants to go back.

I am 39 years old and as thoroughly single as I’ve ever been. Unlike Jenna Rink, I don’t want a redo at life for a different ending.

False Assumption #4: Because I am single, I am lonely or sad.

One of the things I appreciate most about singleness is the gift to be alone. Whether it’s a slow morning or the end of a fun-filled day, I so appreciate my various quiet times throughout the day.  And it’s nice to know that I’m not neglecting anyone when I take them. That doesn’t mean I never feel twinges of loneliness. Some days, I want someone there with me to enjoy the quiet. Yet, although singleness can be lonely, the paradox is this: that loneliness is the space where God can – and often does – speak.

And I’m able to hear Him.

Jesus often withdrew from crowds and even from His disciples, seeking time alone with his Father. “In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.” (Mark 1:32-39) Jesus pursued solitude. Having the capacity to withdraw is a gift, part of the way I can serve God with “undivided devotion” (1 Cor. 7:35), because as Henri Nouwen writes, “the secret of Jesus’ ministry is hidden in that lonely place.”

Being becomes way more important than having.

Thirty, flirty, and thriving? You’d better believe it.


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