"You need to find a husband," my stylist announced, briskly clipping my curls.
Ignoring my silence, Janet (not her real name) bubbled about an eligible male customer of hers who was "just right" for me. There was a time when such comments about my single state would rub me raw.
To Janet and the others who meddled in my personal life, a woman my age should be in the happily-ever-after set—not still searching for Mr. Right. If a thirtysomething woman hadn't tied the knot, folks thought something was wrong with her.
For many years, I agreed with them. The word single sounded like a disease to be avoided at all costs. Sometimes, the Bible's support for the single life helped me feel less weird. But if being single was so great, as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7, then why did most of my friends constantly date in an effort to head toward the altar? And why did the few single women I knew seem like miserable misfits? I concluded marriage and motherhood equaled "success" for a female; singleness branded her a failure.
Thankfully, as I got older, I got wiser. God challenged my notion that a woman's worth is based solely on her marital status. Over the years he's opened my eyes to the many ways he considers me a success—even as a single woman. God can help change your definition of success, too. Here's how.
Holding Fast to God's Standards
Oddly enough, God began teaching me my best lessons as a single through a few forgettable dates. First there was "Richard," a college classmate, who took me to dinner and a movie, then cheerfully suggested we spend some time at his apartment since his roommate was gone. When I refused, Richard's easygoing manner switched to anger. He mashed down on the accelerator and abruptly drove me home. After I had a good cry, God pointed out that I'd protected my virginity, a counter-cultural move he considers a huge success.
Next was a blind date with a handsome, well-dressed guy named Hans. Unfortunately, the best part of our evening together was the movie we watched—two blessed hours in which I didn't have to hear Hans talk about himself. Our time together taught me how deceiving looks can be. Jesus' words in Matthew 12:34 proved true: "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Preferring inner beauty in a guy more than outer, God showed me, is success.
Influencing Little Ones
With the birth of my first nephew, Ryan, God began correcting another of my misconceptions. A successful woman isn't solely one who raises godly sons or daughters, but rather one who also positively influences the children he places in her life.