The Lonely Season.
Truthfully, I didn't put too much thought into my twenties when I was growing up.
I knew I'd go to college, get some type of job, get married before 30, probably even have a kid by now. I just assumed that's what everybody did. I assumed that was the general plan. I assumed that's how life worked. But, I have learned quickly, and sometimes painfully, that life isn't a general outline. It's not one size fits all. And 28 definitely does not look anything like I thought it would.
Real talk: all my friends are married.
Well, not all of them. All of my college friends - my sorority sisters that I spent almost every waking moment with - are married. And some of them are even starting to have babies! Cue the warm fuzzies :) While life is changing rapidly for them, as the perpetual single friend, it seems as if my life has stalled.
A season of loneliness for a lifetime of influence.
Pastor John Gray said this during a sermon, and I have found myself repeating it often. A simple truth full of God's promise. There is so much more waiting for me (and for you!) in the lonely season than I ever thought possible. If you're single and have been for a while, I know what you're thinking..."what could possibly be in store in the valley of isolation? the pit of singleness?"
Here's what I think...
1. I think that the lonely season holds keys to self-awareness. When you are truly by yourself, you are able to discover your likes and dislikes. The things you'll compromise for, and the things you won't. And if you're lucky, you may even discover your passion. For some of us, that passion part may take a little longer, but there is a genuine freedom that won't be the same when you're married.
2. I think that the lonely season builds character. One definition that I heard of integrity that I've always loved is this: "Integrity - what you do, and how you are, when nobody is watching." It's easy to be kind or gracious when we know there's an audience. When you're dating especially, you're always going to present the best possible version of yourself. The lonely season can allow for that version to become a genuine one.
3. I think that there is joy to be found in the lonely season. There are adventures, memories, and laughs to be had that will eventually make great bedtime stories. Fill the lack with travel. Fill the lack with incredible meals. Fill the lack with concerts and exploring your city. You can exist, and thrive as an individual.
Again, that's what I think. Now, here's what I know.
1. In the lonely season, there is NOTHING wrong with me. Or with you. Psalm 139:13-14 says this, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous." Y'all KNIT. SEWN. TAILOR-MADE. That language speaks of care and consideration. A Father who tenderly and gently designed every hair on my head, the specks in my eyes, and the sparkle in my smile. To say that there's something wrong with me, or with you, is an insult to the Designer. And everyone knows that you never tell a designer to his or her face, that their work is trash. Duh.
2. In the lonely season, I am NOT FORSAKEN. Forsaken means to leave behind, or abandon. Those friends who's lives seem to have jumpstarted without me, while I'm stuck trying to shift my gears into go? There's the temptation to see that and think that I've been left behind. But, I haven't been. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, "the Lord your God, HE is the One who goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you." His silence doesn't mean he's left. On the contrary, it's means that he's working. And I've heard, in the stillness is where He works best.
3. In the lonely season, there is still an incredible PLAN for my life. Even when it seems like my plan isn't working out the way that I thought it should, I need to remember (and be EXCITED!) that there is a Master Plan. There's always the Master's Plan. Why should I get so bent out of shape over things that I can't control? Half the time, I think I'm right, and I'm actually not. P.S. THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I WILL SAY THAT. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. Just because I don't know how things will work out, doesn't mean that they won't work out to be good. HE KNOWS. AND HE CARES. So sometimes, you just gotta leave it at that.
Anyway, I hope my thoughts and my truths encourage you. Remember, that even in the lonely season, it's still just a season. And seasons change.