Women are encouraged to be independent, to delay matrimony until they have finished school, and to pursue a career. But many women, especially Christian young ladies, have difficulty focusing on this independent path when they dream of starting their own families. And those women who do complete school often do so with the hopes that graduation will shortly be followed by a wedding.
I know this struggle personally. Again, there’s nothing wrong with those feelings, and the desire is natural. But the struggle can lead into something dangerous. I call it “putting your life in park” or “the someday mentality.”
Few single women truly plug into their present lives.
We go through college, hoping that Mr. Right will show up along the way. If he doesn’t show up, we find a job or a ministry “to keep us busy.” Eventually, we wonder how long this transitional stage will last. We never expected to do anything long-term.
And that’s the problem. Single women are so afraid of being unavailable for their future husbands that we don’t make long-term plans. We don’t whole-heartedly pursue a course of action. We don’t root ourselves in the present. Instead, we go from part-time job to part-time job, dabble in ministry, start and stop school half a dozen times, and continually long for marriage to bring stability to a goal-less lifestyle.
Single women have an important question to answer.
That question is this: What would you do for the rest of your life if you never got married?
Once the answer is given, another question must be asked: Given that goal, what can you do now to start working toward that fulfilling single life?
“But,” she might protest, “What if a husband does show up during that journey? What if marriage would interrupt my plans?”
Interrupted plans are really the least of a woman’s worries. My sister started a thriving business as a private piano instructor. It became her full-time job and she became one of the most sought-after teachers in her area. But along came Mr. Right and she gave it all up. Yes, it was hard and disappointing in a way, but it was so much better to trade in a fulfilling business for a beautiful marriage than to trade in a lack-luster lifestyle for marriage. Why? Because the attitude of focus and diligence that she brought into her marriage gave her a good foundation. She was not as emotionally needy as she could have been, because she had found fulfillment in serving God in the present and in meaningful work.
I am far less concerned with the interrupted plans of a goal-oriented single woman than I am with the lackluster lifestyle of the goalless single woman. We need goals--big goals. We need to plan for the next year, the next five years, the next ten years, and a lifetime. How can we make an income? How can we serve others? What skills should we develop? How can we know God better?
What are your plans?
If you are a single woman, are your activities “just to keep you busy” or do you have solid plans for the future? If you never get married, what do you envision as the scope of your life’s work? Are you fully “plugged into” the present, or do you feel that you are waiting for something? Do you feel that you are in a temporary, transitional stage or do you feel that you are where you ought to be? If you’re not plugged in or feel unstable, what can you do now to root yourself more deeply in your present life?
Determine that your life will not be a wash-out if you never get married. Determine that your life will be every bit as fulfilling and inspiring as the life you could have had as a wife. Determine that today will be the start of a life with roots, purpose, and significance.
When you are single with a plan, and you know the Lord Jesus Christ, this will be true: Your life, no matter what happens, will be astonishingly beautiful and fulfilling.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.