From the view of a 20-something dream chaser.

The Single Life: Why I'm Not Dating

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Hi, my name is Delesia and I’m addicted to men. 

*Hiiiii, Dele--wait, say what, girl?*

I know, I know. I probably don’t seem like I have an addiction, because it's often so easy to cover them up. I'm able to hide it so well because it’s mostly internal and during my talks with God. But it’s real. On the inside, I’m a mess. 

I think it stems, in part, from the fact that I am rather certain that part of my life’s ministry is to be a wife and mother someday. There’s nothing wrong with that part. Many women have gone on to serve in that capacity, my mother included. (Ma, if you're reading this, you're doing an awesome job!) What is wrong is my obsession with marriage and the future. I hate to admit that it had become somewhat of an idol. I found myself constantly daydreaming about who my husband will be, how we'll meet, what he’s going to wear on our wedding day (ok, you got me…and what I’ll wear, too), someday doing his laundry and cooking his meals. Guys, I'm not even domestic! See how crazy this is?

It occurred to me that I was doing too much while flipping through my prayer journal. I think it's good to take time to reflect on where my mind was at a certain time, what challenges I was facing, what my prayers were and what I call my moments of evidence: times where I know without a doubt that God was leading me in a situation. While I was reading one day, I began to notice a trend: I had been praying a great deal about men. And not for their souls or their salvation or their walk with God, but for selfish things. 

Lord, let him introduce himself. You know I love a man who leads.
Lord, let him cut his hair. I like him better with short hair.
If he holds my hand during this prayer, Lord, I’ll know he’s The One. 
Lord, if You would just tell me who he is, then I’d be ok. We don't even have to get married yet. 

And a whole bunch of other foolishness! I bet the Lord was too through with me. So one day He sat me right on down and told me I would be single for a year. Not kidding. In my interpretation, here's how it went down. [Warning: I argue with the Lord. A lot. Now that I think of it, this is probably evidence I'm not yet ready to submit to a husband as it says in Ephesians 5:22-23, but that's neither here nor there.]

Lord: You’re going to be intentionally single and not date anyone for a year.
Me: [as I spit out my drink] I’m sorry, Lord. Say what now?
Lord: Didn’t stutter.
Me: Wait a minute, now, Lord. You know I’m trying to get married! I’m already 25. I was supposed to have BEEN married by now, according to my 12-year-old self.
Lord: *silence*
Me: Aight. We gon’ see.

*Days later*

Me: Lord, are you sure this is You? This is a mighty convenient time for You to start speaking to me when You know I’ve been trying to distinguish Your voice from my own thoughts. I just want to make sure the devil isn’t trying to block my blessing. You know how he do.
Lord: You know who this is. I need you single for a year.
Me: Ugh. Ok, well let me think about it.
Lord: You do that. I'll be around. 

And, of course, He was around. Eventually, I gave in. I wasn't happy about it at all. Like imagine what I could be missing out on! But then my own words hit me. What if He isn't just starting to speak to you, but has been all along, only you've just been too distracted to really hear? That's when I realized I won't be missing out on a thing. What's for me is for me. Who's for me is for me. I can skip pointless dates, but what I can't do is be disobedient to God. What if where he wants to take me over the next year--or even longer--I can't go while in a relationship or married? What if I have to go it alone? What if there are people I'm meant to reach as a single woman? I can't let them down. So now, I’m even excited about it, as crazy as that sounds. I’m actually pretty relieved. Now there’s no pressure. I'm believing God will send my husband to me, but in His timing. I don't want to keep getting in the way. It’s amazing how God can change your heart.

So what exactly does "single" even mean? Because--let's face it--a lot of us are single yet in a situationship at the same time. I don't want this to become a legalistic journey or too rules-based, but basically, if it feels like a date, if he smells like a date, if I would like for it to be a date...it's a date. I must have no parts. I take it case-by-case, but in general, I check my motives before approaching a guy, I don't spend one-on-one time with them, or talk or text late at night. I think exceptions can be made for family members and guy friends who don't really consider me a girl. (There are only like two of those. Actually, just one.)

Without a doubt, this has been and will continue to be challenging. Fortunately, there are no real prospects in my life. For some strange reason, people have this idea that I receive invitations to and go on dates all the time. That's not my reality, and luckily so. And what will I do if I meet a nice young man and we want to keep in touch? I've decided that exchanging numbers is fine, but it will require being very conscious of time spent together and the frequency and depth of our communication. And, of course, telling him I'm not dating if ever it appears those are his intentions.

I know you may be wondering how I know it’s the Lord telling me to do this. I think the obvious answer is that I would NEVER have suggested this to myself. Like ever. I shared with a friend of a friend what I'm doing and he suggested I think of it as a continuing journey to closeness with God and not just a yearlong challenge. But this season of singleness is just that: a season. I'm excited for this time of pure personal growth without the distraction of dating. And I want to use my singleness wisely because someday I'll be married with children and they'll be my first ministry. Right now, I'm free to serve and travel however I want! I'm actually headed to the Girlfriends Conference in Miami next weekend with a group of--you guessed it, girlfriends--from my church. I have been reminded that singleness is a gift and I don't want to waste a single second of it worrying about the next season. Lesson: learn to enjoy your current season and portion.

What I learned most in 2015 is that the Lord will use you if you let Him. So here's to letting Him. 

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