I was recently talking to a family friend about the concept of marriage being a vocation and not the default. It was a beautiful conversation, and we talked about a variety of things related to faith and vocation. In the course of the conversation, I found myself admitting that I am really grateful that I didn’t get married young. This is not something that my nineteen-year-old self would have liked to hear, but looking at my life, I’m really grateful that I’ve been single for all of my twenties.
Why am I grateful for my singleness?
Simply put, it has allowed me the freedom to do things that I probably would never have done if I had been in a relationship. Would I have gone to grad school at 26 if I had been in a relationship? Probably not, and I’m really glad that I’m in grad school. I believe that grad school is a part of God’s call for my life. I wouldn’t have done some of the traveling that I’ve done. I wouldn’t have developed as a cook in the ways that I have. Do you think that I would have turned into a bread queen if I’d been in a relationship? Probably not. Would I have learned to cook all of the different kinds of food that I’ve explored? Probably not. I’ve been the gift of time to grow and explore during this season of my life.
I may not have grown in my faith in the ways that I have the past few years. I’ve developed a stronger love of and a deeper understanding of my Byzantine faith in the past few years. I’ve actively made choices to be involved in my church that have dramatically improved my walk with the Lord. And I think that I’m better for these decisions. I think that I’m better able to function as a daughter, a sister, a friend, and woman because of these decisions.
I may not always love my singleness. I have days where I’m lonely. I have days where it’d be really nice to have a man. I have days (many, many days) when I very seriously wonder how God could ever provide for me a man who is open to both charismatic worship and the Byzantine Catholic Church. (I don’t know that such a thing exists.) I have days where it’d be nice to have a husband for household tasks and for company. But that isn’t my life these days.
But those days have taught me many things. They’ve taught me what I can do as a woman. They’ve taught me to rely on God for my needs. And while I may be called to marriage in the long-term, I’m not called to be married now. Now, I’m called to be a teacher and a grad student. I need to remember that. I need to focus on where the Lord is calling me in the here and now and leave the future to worry about itself. And right now, I have many things (friends, family, career, cats) to be grateful for. That should be my focus. I should focus on being grateful for what I have and not worry about what may come.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”