The world celebrated Valentine’s Day last week, a day of love. I have always liked Valentine’s Day, not because I have a partner, but because it is about love – love for family, friends, spouses, fiancés, boyfriends and girlfriends. Love for all! However, I am keenly aware that Valentine’s Day does bother many single people. I was told by several people last week that it just reminds them they are single. Their lamenting of this day of love got me thinking about what message this world, and unfortunately the church at times, sends to single people, – whether they are single by choice or single because of circumstances beyond their control. This world (and the American church) sends this message to single people: “If you don’t have a partner, there must be something wrong with you. You are not enough without a partner. You are not as valuable if you don’t have a partner. Having a partner, being married and having kids is everything!”
Now to dismantle these lies. We’ll start with the first one: “If you don’t have a partner, there must be something wrong with you.” Wrong! Lie alert!
I don’t have a partner because my partner chose not to stay in this world. He chose death over life. He also chose selfishness and abuse over love. That was neither my responsibility nor my fault. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me because I am choosing to be single. I have been choosing to heal. I want to be healed, so when or if I do meet another man, I won’t cut him and bleed all over him for something he didn’t do. I am fully loved and fully known by Jesus Christ who is better than any partner you could ever have. Please get to know Him, He wants to know you. I am happy with me and I am content with me. There is nothing wrong with anyone who does not have a partner. Be happy with you. Be content with you. Learn to love you so you can love someone else if they come along. Enjoy your life and stop worrying about being single so life does not pass you by. You owe that to yourself. “You are not enough if you don’t have a partner.” Wrong! More lies!
I am enough because Jesus says I am enough! No person or their opinions of my “enoughness” define or have any control over me. This world did not make me so it does not get a say. The person sitting next to me or you did not make us so they don’t get a say. Your purpose and “enoughness” is not found in a partner or a relationship, it is found in what God created you to do and in the passions He gave you. We are not all meant to do the same things. We are not all meant to get married, have kids and live a suburban life. How boring would that be if our purposes were all the same? We’d be just like machines. Pursue your purpose and the passions He has given you! They may not look like the people at your church, in your family, at your job, or even in your friend group but they are your passions and purpose! When we put our “enoughness” in anyone but Jesus, we are doomed to fail because people fail us. Jesus never fails us. I want Him to be my enough and in Him I am enough! “You are not as valuable if you don’t have a partner.” Wrong! This is all kinds of sideways!
This lie has started this world down some pretty dark roads. This lie places the value of your worth based on someone else’s presence or absence! How ridiculous is that? If my value was based on my late husband’s presence or absence, I’d be in pretty bad shape considering I did not make the choice for him to be absent. Your value is never based in whether you have a partner or not. It is not based in any other person on this planet. You value comes from Jesus Christ. The only person who knows you inside and out and is not afraid of anything about you. He made you and he values you. And last but certainly not least (and the one even the American church has bought into, sadly): “Having a partner, being married and having kids is everything!” Wrong! Where does the Bible say this American church? I’ll wait.
Again, this gets back to Jesus’ individual purposes for each of us. He does not call every person to the same thing, that would be intensely boring and Jesus is not boring. I also want to point out that this lie elevates marriage and family to a place of worship – high above Jesus Himself. This was never the intent of the institution of marriage or the family. Jesus never intended it to be worshipped church, at the cost of everything else – even right and wrong. Anything we elevate above Him becomes a god and that becomes dangerous because we will devalue others in an attempt to justify our worship. We may even overlook wrong to justify our worship. What might we do politically to elevate the marriage and family above everything else? Do you see how dangerous this is? In the church today, valuable single people, men and women alike, are overlooked for what they bring to the table because they are simply not married. How silly is that? What are we missing that these individuals could give us? My fellow brothers and sisters, this should not be. Single people all over this world, men and women, are valuable both in the church and in the community and should be valued as fellow human beings and fellow community members. If we are doing anything else, we are not seeing nor do we know the heart of God. Four lies debunked! Single men and women replace those lies with these truths:
1) You are valuable because God says you are. He made you so He knows. No person determines your worth or your identity.
2) You are valuable because Jesus has a unique purpose and passions for all of you. Go out and seek and live those passions and with that purpose.
3) You have valuable insight and life experience that our communities and churches (even though they don’t know it yet) need very much. They need you! Get involved and be uniquely you!
4) Be content with you. Be happy with you. Be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have a partner to be happy – I am living proof that you don’t. If you aren’t happy with you, you will never be happy with another person.
5) You are worthy of love not because you have a partner, but because God loves you; He always has and He always will. With love from your happily-single-writer-friend, Elizabeth