I was working with elementary aged kids last week when one of the kids made a reference to my boyfriend and I had to inform her that I don’t have one. This happens to me a lot, actually—kids assuming that I have a boyfriend and then appearing shocked when I tell them, “Sorry, this guy you’re referring to doesn’t exist.”
“Yeah, but you’ve had one before,” one girl said. (Another line I hear quite often.)
“Actually, I haven’t.”
The girl’s jaw dropped. “So, you’re telling me you’ve never had a boyfriend in like, your whole life?”
That pretty much summed it up, so I shrugged and told her, “Yeah.”
She studied my face as she let this sink in. Finally she told me, very matter of factly, “You need to wear make-up.” As if that would solve all my life problems…
I wondered if I should tell this girl that my problem was not getting a boyfriend; it was wanting a boyfriend. I thought about letting her know that if I hadn’t been in this whole “five years and forever” deal with God, I probably would have gone on my first date a couple years ago. And maybe I was just being defensive because my face was being criticized, but what I wanted to tell this girl was that if I had been a typical teenager, I would have spent my high school years bouncing in and out of romantic relationships. But the thing is…
I never wanted to be typical; I wanted to be exceptional. Like my favorite Disney heroine, I wanted adventure in the great, wide somewhere. I wanted it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand…
I am not opposed to dating, nor am I obsessed with it. I’m resting quite comfortably somewhere in the middle, trusting that the God who set the universe in motion can also handle the details of my life.
I chose singleness. It’s not some horrible fate I was forced into. It’s not some prison I’m desperate to escape.
I gave God five years. Willingly. No one told me I had to. Sure, someone who gave God five years (and survived) recommended it, but I walked in her footsteps because I wanted to, not because I felt that I had to. I followed her example because I saw the value of letting God shape and mold my heart during that season.
Just because I can date doesn’t mean I should date. Yes, my five years are over. I’m now free to date whomever I please, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out with the first guy who asks me (unless, of course, he’s the kind of guy I can envision spending the rest of my life alongside, in which case I really have no reason to turn him down).
I’m not trying to be difficult. Honestly. In fact, I want to apologize to the amazing guys who have asked me out… and the amazing guys who have known better than to ask me out. It’s not you; it’s me. And I truly am sorry if my unusual approach to relationships has made things complicated for you. But, you see…
I’m not playing games with anyone’s heart—including my own. And while my lack of make-up may throw some people off, this is the real reason I’ve been single all my life.
But try telling that to a ten-year-old.