I Survived My 20s – Dateless
[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.