One of my favorite games growing up was called Perfection. The goal of the game was to quickly put each shape into its correct spot on the game board before time ran out. The game sounds easy enough, but if I didn’t get each piece in the right spot before time was up, the board would jolt up, and the pieces would fly everywhere. As the timer got louder and louder, I would frantically fumble around, trying to put trapezoids, circles, rectangles, hearts, and stars into their spots just right, jamming pieces wherever they would fit and hoping that somehow it would all work out.
For women who have been diagnosed by others as suffering from “chronic singleness,” our lives sometimes feel like this Perfection game.
For many of us, we have this goal of becoming a wife and a mother. Yet, for various reasons, we’re told that, frankly, we don’t have enough time.
We must pick and choose: family or career, best friend or boyfriend, sub-par men over being alone—all because our biological clocks are ticking. A subtle message of judgment is projected at us through whispered comments and raised eyebrows— if we really wanted to be married, if we really wanted children, we would find a way to make it happen… and happen soon.
Dating was all fun and games in high school or in college, but now that we’re in our 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s, our families/co-workers/church members/ random ladies at the grocery store have had enough. It’s time that we stop this foolishness and decide to settle down. Reassurances such as “Don’t worry, you have plenty of time” or “You’re still so young” start to be replaced with blind dates and desperate attempts to marry us off to the first available man. If you’re not freaking out yet, don’t worry; they’ll remind you of how little time you have left.
Countless articles, books, blogs, texts, and emails have been written by women, single and married, trying to help other women find contentment in wanting what they do not have and having what they do not want. Single women know that their bodies are starting to revolt against them, threatening to run out of time before all of the pieces of their lives are where they should be. Being single when you don’t want to be is hard and the simple fact is that we don’t have all the time in the world.
Unfortunately, neither does anyone else. We are all running out of time. This is not just a plague of the single woman. She does not waste away while her married friends have found the secret formula to stop the passage of time, ensuring that all their hopes and dreams are fulfilled.
Running out of time is not a condition of singleness; it is a condition of the human race.
I recently went to the funeral of a friend who ran out of time. At 24 years old, his life was cut short. When awful things like this happen, we shake our fists at God and demand that life comes with a guarantee—85 years of health, love and happiness with little to no sadness. But we all know that life doesn’t offer a guarantee—we might not even make it to the 30th birthday we’ve been stressing out over the past five years, we might never find the man of our dreams, we might not be able to have kids.
Someone said to me once that the reason why some people are still single is because they aren’t ready for a relationship. They don’t have what it takes. However, I think it’s the opposite. It takes a great deal of courage to choose to be alone, waiting for something great that may never come rather than settling for just “good.” I used to boldly whisper to God that it wasn’t okay with me if I never became a wife or a mother.
But now, I feel like I can say with more passion and conviction than my whispers in the night that I’m not okay with being miserable my whole life because I’m not a wife or a mother.
Life is too short to waste time waiting for it to begin.
Marriage and children aren’t a guarantee of life, and it hurts when we don’t get what we want—we all know that. We may never be called a “Mrs.” or “Mom,” but hold onto this guarantee— nothing can separate you from the love of Christ, who purposefully ran out of time 2000 years ago, so He could be with you. He is not quickly scrambling to put the pieces of your life together. He isn’t surprised (or worried) that you’re 30 and haven’t been on a date in a year. You are not a disappointment because you have seemingly failed what seems to come so easily to others. He is holding you in His hands and will continue to sustain and provide for you, no matter what lies ahead.