I was 27 and single. That phrase alone feels taboo in today’s society, where love is so highly sought after that we even have mobile apps to help us find love.
The year that I turned 27, the reality that I had never dated anyone hit me hard. Over the years, I had my fair share of crushes and a couple of guys who were interested in me, but none blossomed into a serious relationship.
The very first guy who confessed his feelings for me was a classmate in poly. As a teenage girl, it definitely felt good when a guy confessed his feelings for me and was exceptionally nice to me.
In university, I got to know this guy through orientation, and our friendship blossomed into daily late-night calls that lasted a few hours at a time. Naturally, I developed feelings for him, but I did not dare to tell him. He eventually got into relationships with a few other girls, and I got so upset
and jealous because he continued to keep a close friendship with me in spite of that. I wondered, “When will it be my turn to be with him?”
When I started working, a person I saw merely as a ‘big brother’ confessed his feelings for me. Even though I had no feelings for him, it felt good that someone was pursuing me again. Regretfully, I led him on for a while before realising that I could not keep up the pretence. It was this false security of being “in a relationship” that I was hooked on, along with the fear that no one else would come along if I missed this opportunity. I made the decision to come clean with this friend and we ended all communications between us.
THE FOUR-YEAR DROUGHT
The next four years were spent wrestling with God about my singlehood. Well-meaning friends and family would ask ever so often, “When are you getting attached?” or “How? Do you have a boyfriend yet?”
All these seemingly casual remarks triggered my insecurities about my relationship status. Somehow, the culture we live in today has taught us to gauge our worth and attractiveness as a female based on the number of suitors we have or the number of relationships we have been in. As if I wasn’t already struggling to trust God with my future — these comments made me doubt His plan for me even more.
Often, I would feel like God had forgotten about me — it felt like I was the last to be given that special someone.
Soon enough, I found myself looking for a potential relationship with every guy I got to know. I would intentionally put on my best front while interacting with them in the hope of the friendship blossoming into something more. I would find ways to increase our interaction with each other by setting up group outings. But these guy friends would then get attached to someone else and the familiar disappointment would set in again.
IT FELT LIKE I WAS THE LAST TO BE GIVEN THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE
What ensued was a period of feeling confused, angry and tired with God because nothing seemed to work — after so much prayer and effort, I still had not met The One. I found myself asking, “What is wrong with me?”
KNOWING THE BELOVED
Breakthrough came one night during a prayer meeting in church. During worship, I felt God whispering to me, “Gwen, I love you just the way you are. You don’t have to be someone else to find love. You are already deeply loved and valued, by Me … I know the desires of your heart even before you can say them, so won’t you trust Me with your future?”
Tears flowed down my cheeks uncontrollably. The immense love of Christ reached the depths of my heart, soothing wounds caused by insecurity and disappointment.
Each time I remember this gentle whisper, I renew a commitment to entrust and surrender my future and current season to Him. This commitment is a daily and conscious decision to not let insecurity and lies from the devil rob me of my identity in Christ and keep me from walking in my God-given destiny.
I have two learning points from this journey with God to share in the hope that they’ll encourage those who may be in the same season as me.
1. We are deeply loved and valued by God just as we are
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13–14 ESV).
This psalm of King David puts it beautifully — we are remarkably created by God. We do not need to be someone that we are not in order to find love or acceptance. The moment we feel we need to be someone else, we downplay the unique personality and character God has placed in each one of us.
2. God is not withholding anything good from me
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 ESV).
Remember what caused Eve to sin in Eden and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? It was her belief that God was withholding something good from her. When we are overly focused on that one thing God has not given us or imagine that He does not have our best interests, we lose sight of all else He has blessed us with.
I choose to celebrate daily the life God has given me — Jesus Christ, my family, my friends, my job, and the opportunities to serve God, making a difference in people’s lives and help others in need. I choose to fix my eyes on Christ alone, the source of my faith and all good things.
WHEN WE FOCUS ON THAT ONE THING GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US, WE LOSE SIGHT OF ALL ELSE HE HAS BLESSED US WITH
WHO HE SAYS I AM
While I was attending a three-month course at a Bible school, God asked me the hardest question I had to answer thus far in my faith journey: “Gwen, would you still love and obey me with all your heart even if you never have a husband?” It was that unreserved, never- changing and unconditional love He has for me that convicted my heart to say YES.
Each time I have felt insecure about my relationship status, God would again whisper His love message to me, and every time He does that, it leaves my heart overflowing with love, peace and assurance that my future is in His hands and that He hasn’t forgotten about me and the desires of my heart.