Single, old and alone? (Nic's story)
“Being single sucks!” That was the mantra I had for a long time. I’m in my early thirties with 2 brothers, 1 niece and 5 nephews. Everyone in my immediate family was happily married by the age of 22. I am the black sheep. Your thirties is that time of life when everyone seems to be getting married and you seem to be waving goodbye to them all from your dusty shelf. What do I have to look forward to?
Well, it turns out, a lot. As I’ve got older I’ve seen more and more of the wonderful opportunities that singleness presents. It’s the alternative that no-one is talking about, but it’s so much better than I used to think. Now, I’d be lying if I said I never get lonely. The desire for intimacy and affection can be overwhelming at times. And, truthfully, sometimes I can lie awake at night and worry about my future, asking questions such as “Who will look after me when I’m older?”, “Where will I live?” and “Who will keep me company?” When this happens I always need to remind myself of 3 things:
God has given me a biological family who provide some of the love that my heart craves. I left my family in the North of England to move to the South for work. When I moved to my local area I felt alone, but by His grace God placed me in a great church (where I now work) and has introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever met.
One of the most important things with family is the need to be open and honest. I confided with my church family a number of years ago about my struggles with same-sex attraction and all I have received is love and acceptance. I think it’s such a valuable thing to be able to do (even if not to the whole church, at least to some people that you trust). Christians can feel so saturated by the gay agenda in society. One of the blessings of hearing of a Christian with SSA trying to be faithful to the Bible’s teaching on sexuality is that this news is often met with warmth and encouragement, rather than the hostility and the rejection we often fear.
Singleness provides opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have - I mean quite apart from being able to indulge my selfish desires of boxset binging, getting out of bed when I choose or returning home at whatever time suits me! I can serve my church family in many ways.
I am able to visit friends, babysit for families, go on mission trips, organise social events, volunteer in different ministries, have time to read and learn and invest more in friendships. My life has something that many of my married friends envy - flexibility. And that’s a gift I can easily take for granted, but an amazing privilege. God has given me time, money and energy so that I can share it with others.
My eternal hope can never be taken from me and that has nothing to do with my single status. Christ died to break the dividing wall between people in His church. There are now no barriers between us, male or female, Northern or Southern, heterosexual or homosexual – we’re all deeply loved by God. And we’re promised an eternal inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, all aspects of loss that can happen with relationships here on earth. Christ Jesus has forgiven me for my failures and promised me a brighter future than any earthly relationship could ever promise!
So will I be lonely? Yes, I expect so, at times. But God is with me, and loves me deeply. One of the greatest things I have got from my (relatively short) time as a TFT member are some brilliant friends who I hope and pray will be lifelong lifelines. They are people I can be accountable to and share my struggles, failures and heartaches with as well as my joys and hopes. It’s helped me to realise I am not in this alone. God in His wisdom and providence has put people around me who can remind me that we are connected, in ways far deeper and more intimate than any earthly relationships. Together we are the children of God and will be sharing eternity, side by side. So I can use the relatively short time I have here on earth to start building what I’m going to be enjoying for all eternity.
The future may seem uncertain to me - but with God, there’s nothing more certain. So bring it on!
This article (originally published in the Winter 2017 Ascend magazine) is from a single younger person believing in God for future contentment.