I used to take pride in my being NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth). But recently, I have been trying to elude that topic to avoid the awkward moments of trying to rationalize (and justify) why I am still single at my age. Apparently, being single at thirty is a crime that demands an explanation. So explain away I did to my well-meaning friends, loved ones, and to society in general who were just sincerely concerned over my love life (or the non-existence of it).
Having gone through too many conversations about my singleness, I’ve come up with a list of reasons why I am still single. From “I’m not yet ready” when I was younger, it evolved to “I intimidate men” as I aged through the years. And trust me when I say that there’s an interesting spectrum of alibis in between. But I guess, my favorite is that I am single by choice. I am your typical “Waiting for Mr. Right” woman. You might have guessed that I have THE list (complete with the non-negotiables and negotiables) of what I was looking for in a man. And I have all these naïve ideas of how a Godly relationship should blossom into a love story worth telling. Almost like in fairy tales, only it’s Christian. And it’s real. Yes, I am a woman with strong Godly convictions, and I am never going to apologize for it. Until eligible suitors came along.
For the first time, I experienced being seriously pursued. Like any other woman, I was vulnerable. A totally new experience for me. I was trying to go about the whole courtship thing like a matured adult, convictions and all, but deep inside, I felt like a teenager. It excited me to think of possibly finally meeting Mr. Right. But unlike in fairy tales, prospect of marriage and a deep sense of calling complicated the love story I was hoping for. The pressure of “I’m not getting any younger” and the fear of “what if no one else comes along” added to the already chaotic web of the impending decision I was expected to make. Finally, I had to make the hard choice to turn down suitors, all good and Godly men. So I remain single. But now, I say that, not with pride, but with a broken heart.
No, this is not another sad love story. If anything, it’s coming to terms with one’s convictions. After all, convictions are not convictions unless they pass the test of fire. In my brush with prospects of love, I learned I have a lot to unlearn. For one, having a list is good. But you will never really know what you are looking for in a man (at least the negotiables), unless you see those characteristics you are looking for, in theory, operational in a real live human being.
Also, I learned that choosing to open up one’s self is not for the faint-hearted. I used to think I was a strong woman just because I refuse to be needy or vulnerable. Sadly, I admit I looked down on others who just seem to unashamedly bare their hearts. Now, I know better. Resignation to vulnerability is not at all a sign of weakness. It’s actually being brave. And when I think about it, it’s the whole essence of loving others.
Ultimately, it was not my conviction about love (or finding Mr. Right) that was being put to the test, but it was my conviction of loving God and finding my satisfaction in Him alone. At the time, I was in tears because I was disappointed with God. I felt cheated, feeling He was holding back something I believe I deserved. It was like a slap on the face realizing my arrogant self-entitlement. I am one who would often tell others that one of the reasons why I am not too eager to look for a romantic relationship is because I am satisfied with God. I realized I have been a hypocrite for the longest time because obviously there was a strong discontent in my heart, a sense of lack that I thought only finding Mr. Right could fill. I am not at all condemning the desire to love and be loved in return. Believe me, I am all for that. And I believe God Himself is a hardcore romantic. Why else would he liken the Church as His Bride, if He isn’t?
Loving God and finding my highest satisfaction in Him alone became more real. Indeed, it is an everyday battle with the many things that contend for my love and my sense of satisfaction – my job/ministry, my achievements, my status in life, my relationships, my ambition, my dreams. Stripped of all these, can I still honestly say that God is more than enough? God showed me the answer through the heartaches of not finding Mr. Right. At least not yet. Until then, I choose to every day fight to rest my heart in God alone. Until He is my all in all. Until I can truly say that with much conviction.