I Survived My 20s – Dateless

(c) Alyssa Schroeder

[Guest Post by Lindsay Blackburn] – I survived my 20s.  In fact, I survived my 20s–dateless.

Yep, you read that right.

No coffee dates.
No dinner dates.
And, most of all, no wedding date.

This is my story.

When I moved back to my hometown after graduating from college at age 21, my priorities were finding a full-time job, moving out of my parents’ basement, and reconnecting with some high school friends.

Sure, I wanted to get married and have children someday, but I just assumed it would happen in the perfect linear fashion that most 20-somethings expect.

Go to college → Graduate from college → Get a job & build a career → Meet the husband → Get married → Have babies.

So, when I found myself in graduate school at 23, still living at home at 24, and still dateless at 25, I wasn’t sure what to think or do.

How was I going to get married and have children before age 30?

Now before you think I was a sad sap, dwelling on my prolonged singleness day-in and day-out, you’d be wrong. Overall, my life was great. I was growing in my faith by leaps and bounds, working hard, serving in my church, making the most of my single years, and having a ton of fun doing it.

I was a surrendered Jesus girl with lots of great relationships (friends, family, church family, co-workers), just not the relationship.

How was I supposed to live a content, meaningful single girl life now (not knowing how long this season would last) while also preparing for the married girl life I wanted (which may never happen)?

God and I spent a whole lot of time together on this topic in my 20s, the “dateless decade.”

Oftentimes, it was just a fact of life – a checkmark in the “single” box – with no strong emotions attached. In other seasons, I’d attend retreats and read every Christian book on the market about singleness, dating, and marriage, for encouragement.

There were also plenty of times when it wasn’t fun or very pretty, as I’d sow in tears and desperately plead with God to end this dateless season.

And, every now and then, there were sweet times of worship as I thanked God for the life I did have and the relationships I did have.

Throughout this decade-long wild ride, I also asked God a whole lot of hard questions:

-God, I know you are able to answer my prayers, but you’re not. Why?
-God, why haven’t I been chosen? Would I be married by now if I was prettier? Thinner? More outgoing?
-God, how long should I hold out hope for marriage and family?
-God, what am I supposed to do with unfulfilled desire and the need for physical touch?

And, of all the tough questions, this one seemed to hurt the most as my 20s came to a close:

-God, the Bible tells us that “It is not good for man to be alone,” and this was before sin. It also says that “two are better than one,” “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” and that men are to “rejoice in the wife of [their] youth.”  I’m not getting any younger, God!   What am I supposed to do with these verses?

Have you ever asked these questions? 

What questions do you ask God?

I won’t pretend to know the answers to all of the hard questions we, as single Christians, ask God; but, I do know something after surviving my 20s: Even if you haven’t met “the one,” you can trust the One.

The Lord knows exactly how you feel. 

He knows your heart’s yearnings even better than you can articulate them. He cares about you, loves you, protects you, and provides for you. And last, but not least, he is El Roi–the God who sees. Isn’t that beautiful?

In the world (and even in the church) where Christian singles can feel overlooked and forgotten, God sees.

I’m now 32 years old and still waiting on the Lord to work a mountain-moving miracle in this single life-to-wife process. But I’m okay. I know He will provide whatever He sees fit for my life in His own perfect way and timing. I know He’s up to something good, and that whatever it is will be better and more lovely than what I can even imagine.

I still make the most of this single girl season.
I still ask God the hard questions.
I still miss someone I’ve never met.

But, by the grace of God, I survived my 20s, and I know that you can too.

Lindsay Blackburn, M.Ed., is an ordinary Montana girl who loves life and its many wild and crazy adventures. She recently left the field of higher education to work in full-time ministry at her church. These are a few of her favorite things: reading, writing, snowball fights in June, handwritten letters, orphan advocacy, missions, and simply spending time with the people she loves. Follow Lindsay on Twitter @ellesbee.

12 comments on “I Survived My 20s – Dateless”

  1. Laura says:

    Great post. I really appreciated your honesty, especially the questions that you asked God; I’ve asked some of the same questions.
    (http://continualtransition.wordpress.com)

  2. Katie says:

    This is intense! I have so much respect for someone that can speak confidently of God’s direction and faithfulness in spite of waiting for over ten years for the man of her dreams. That’s a pretty incredible testimony of your faith! But you are beautiful, inside and out. I hope what you’ve been waiting for is right around the corner. (:

  3. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the comments, Katie and Laura! You are sweet.

  4. Andrea says:

    I am so there… Next monday I will turn 25 and there didn’t exist a single male person who thought I was good enough for even a little coffee date. Did I mention that all my closest (superskinny and superpretty) girlfriends are married,engaged or on the way to get engaged?
    I am right now often questioning God why he would give all my friends the perfect prince charking at a young age when they don’t plan to have children soon and I am just the one that is left out. I sometimes feel like I’m a leftover and wonder if I will ever be the lucky one.
    At some days the only thing I can do is to cry out to God.

    1. Lindsay says:

      Andrea, I’m sorry that you are feeling overlooked. Believe me, I understand how that feels. And it is hard when you feel like the last one standing to catch the bouquet. I think it’s good that you are crying out to God in this season of waiting. He is the only One who can heal a hurting heart. So, keep on asking Him questions. Be honest with a small group of close friends, family, or church family members about your fears, and ask them to pray regularly for you and keep you accountable to staying involved in church or a small group (or whatever you do). It’s so easy to isolate yourself in this season, and you definitely don’t want to do that! Memorize a couple of Scriptures that directly relate to your fears, and say them when you start to feel bombarded with doubt, anger, hurt feelings, etc. A couple of mine were “Be still and know that I am God,” and “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” I’d also suggest that you attack the lies of the enemy with Truth from the Bible. Let’s say that you are believing the lie “you aren’t pretty enough or skinny enough for a boyfriend.” Attack that with “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Write down every single lie you’ve believed, and then write verses next to it that refutes that lie. Keep your list, and remind yourself often about Whose you truly are.

  5. Christine says:

    I hope that if you have not yet, God will bless you very soon with someone and He helps you understand why you had to wait. This story touched my heart and I spent some time in prayer for you tonight.

  6. LindsAy says:

    Thank you so much, Christine. You are so kind to pray for me. I appreciate it. 🙂

  7. Jessica says:

    What a beautiful post. Well said. I too am in my 30’s and only been on one date in my 20’s. And I’m not even sure it was a date. But anyway this post encouraged my heart. Seriously more of us need to voice the hard stuff so we can remind others and yourself that we are not alone in wanting the dream of marriage and family but still not there yet. Thanks for being brave. Please keep writing. (And I loved Montana when I visited there last year. We have family friends there.)

  8. Lindsay says:

    Jessica, you’re darling. Thanks for commenting, and I agree with you that Montana is pretty special. 🙂 You were prayed for today – stand firm and take care! You are loved.

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