The Single Pastor….. The lonely Pastor
Many women (or just adults in general) don’t always like to share their age. Here it is straight up…. I am 32 years old, single, and only had one serious relationship in those 32 years of life. Oh and trust me I have heard all the typical things people say to a single person: “God is still working on your husband”, “Oh why are you still single?”, “Are you called to celibacy?”, “I have a single friend I can set you up with”, “why are you so picky?”, “When you stop looking that is when he will come.” “Trust in Gods’ timing.” I have even had some of my dearest Christian friends try and set me up with people they know don’t go to church or have a relationship with God. I would be lying if I said I never tried to date a guy who isn’t Christian or more importantly a man of God. I’ve tried it and just like it should- it failed. Some took a while to fail because I wanted to force it to work but at the end of the day I am glad it ended. It doesn’t make it any easier though.
Sometimes I feel like Paul when he talks about being single or getting married. Some days I say I rather be single and happy then be with someone who doesn’t love the Lord or who will make me miserable. Then some days those miserable situations don’t seem so bad in comparison to the miserable feelings being alone can bring. Being single can be hard, and being a single Pastor can be even harder. Let’s be real, when you are a pastor you can’t date just anyone and sometimes that sucks! Don’t get me started on the expectations of seasons of life because I’ll save that for another blog! But I know me and probably some of you thought you would be married by now or at least in a serious relationship. My biggest pet peeve is when someone says they remember how hard it was to be single when they got married in their twenties, and you are already in your thirties and still single! You want to yell, “You don’t know how I feel!”
Let me say this though, just because I am single doesn’t mean I am lonely. There are days I feel lonely but I have to surrender them to God before I let one day turn into a dark place in my life. I know we don’t talk about it a lot, but being single can be really hard. When you start to get older and you see all your friends start getting married. You go on social media and you see another friend’s status go from single, to in a relationship, then you scroll down and see the pictures of the proposal. It’s not that you are not happy for them, and it’s not like they are posting it to throw it in your face, but it can feel like the world is yelling at you through that post that you are still single, you are still alone. It is only a matter of time before you start going to your friend’s birthday parties, and while all their kids are running around, you are merely known as the cool auntie. The one single person with all the couples. No one makes you feel bad about it and some days you rock being the cool aunt but some days you just want to leave. If you have felt this way you are not alone because I have been there. I am there more times than not. When you are with other couples and they split the bill and you are being charged as if you are two when you are one! Some days you stay quiet and say nothing, and some days you snap because you can’t take it anymore. They don’t mean to offend you, but it hurts. It can hurt to be alone sometimes.
Now, I have had married friends tell me that sometimes even though they are married, they sometimes feel alone with someone right next to them. This makes me relize that it isn’t just a mate that will fill that void of loneliness. It has to be more than that, it is more than that. The truth is we are never alone but sometimes it can feel like no one is there for us when in reality, you have a team of people around you who would do anything for you. You have a God that loves you so much that he lets His son live in your heart. I can sit here and type about all the advantages of being single. The fact that you don’t have to check in with anyone, you have more time to do ministry, you can drop everything and take off on a trip, you don’t have to share your food with someone and allll that good stuff. I have not always been a healthy single person, but what I have learned so far is what I can do as a single person doesn’t always make me feel better about being single. Once again, it has to be more than that. If I knew the exact answer I wouldn’t have lonely days but I do have them. I have nights where I cry myself to sleep, I have nights where I just preached this amazing sermon and God moved in a special way but when I come home and I am alone, I weep. I have thoughts that there must be something wrong with me if no one has wanted to date me. I have had the temptation of settling and at times have gone through a season of settling. I have been sad, and I have been bitter, I have been a lot of things.
When you are the Pastor you often know exactly what to tell people when they come to you. Yet when you are in that exact position you just forget all the wisdom you just poured into someone else. We sometimes forget to tell ourselves that we are loved, we are adored, we don’t walk alone, we don’t do life alone, we are so special, we are so amazing, we are so beautiful, we are so important to the Kingdom of God. We tell it to everyone else BUT ourselves sometimes. Reading this blog isn’t going to make you any less singe and it isn’t giving you a magic fix for feeling better but what it does offer you is company. You are not alone if you have felt this way, because it is often a real battle for me.
Most days I trust in Gods timing. Most days I am excited about improving myself so I will be even better for my future husband. Most days I love that I have so much time for ministry and to serve the Kingdom of God. Most days I come home and I love my alone time and I don’t cry myself to sleep. Most days I am really happy being single. But not all days- and that is ok. What makes it ok is that I put it into God’s hands. If I left it in my hands I would probably fall into depression, but putting it into God’s hands gives me hope for victory.
Maybe there is truth to all those sayings. Maybe God is still working on my husband or maybe God is still working in me. Maybe he will come when I stop looking, or maybe I just really need to trust in God’s timing. Maybe I just need to do a better job at realizing that Jesus is the lover of my soul and whether I marry one day or stay single, the fact that Jesus is number one will never change. We are not alone!
Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20