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Free to Be Me

The small pangs that go with being single are nothing compared to the adventure of walking with Christ.

There's a show on television called The Amazing Race. Participants race in pairs, navigating foreign countries and cultures and overcoming obstacles and setbacks in order to win the prize. In many ways it epitomizes and represents life: a goal or destination, blocked by a series of setbacks and challenges.

And of course, it's done in pairs.

That pretty much sums up what the world believes. Solo is no-go.

And Christian singles are used to that—because we know the whole world is under the control of the evil one. That the Enemy's influence and lies have permeated our culture.

But there is a Christian version of this lie that exists in the church. And it is simply this: that the amazing race consists of you and your husband. And your race doesn't start until you find and marry him. Like the board game, "Trouble," finding Mr. Christian Right is the "one" or the "six" that you have to roll to get out of home and onto the game board.

If you're a single Christian woman odds are you have felt the impact of this belief.

No one will say such a thing to you. Our brothers and sisters in Christ will agree: Singleness is a gift . . . it's biblical. . . Paul espoused it . . . Christ lived it. But if you've been single for long, chances are it seems like no one really believes that. Because the question you'll hear again and again isn't, How's your walk with Christ? It's, Have you met anyone yet?

I read an online article recently. The writer was Christian. The intended audience was Christian. The article started out warmly sympathetic. It was full of comfort and reassurance. I wasn't alone, the writer told me. Everything was going to be okay, despite my circumstances. God would come through for me.

But there is a Christian version of this lie that exists in the church. And it is simply this: that the amazing race consists of you and your husband.

About halfway through I checked the title. Surely I was reading, "Your Diagnosis of Lupus" or "After the Divorce" or something like that. I must have stumbled into a bereavement or loss section, I thought.

But no.

I was reading an article about being single.

Seriously? I thought. You've got to be kidding me!

Don't get me wrong. Singleness can be tough. It has some definite stinging with it. It stings when people try to "help" you with your "problem." It stings when you set up yet another wedding or baby shower for a friend. It stings to watch other women bringing babies into the world, a dream you've always had for yourself.

I've been single for 25 years. If I wrinkle my forehead and think hard I can remember how it felt to be devastated by my single state. But at 43, I look back now over the last two and half decades without a husband by my side, and I can tell you: The small pangs that go with being single are nothing compared to the adventure of walking with Christ!

Bearing much fruit

I've done so much in my single life. So much wonderful fruit has come out of these husband-less years. Not because of me. But because of Jesus. Through Jesus.

I have poured myself into children, not my own. Fought for them, loved them with everything in me. Sweated and prayed for them. Sacrificed and endured. Adored and treasured them. I have thrown wedding and baby showers and house-warmings. I've celebrated joys that were not mine. I've rejoiced with those who were rejoicing. And I've mourned with those who were mourning. I've held my married friend as she wept, and grieved the loss of her toddler son.

I've traveled. I've seen eight different countries. I've enjoyed deep, rich, lasting friendships. I've contributed to the lives of others through my time and gifts. I've loved and spent time with my family. I've supported and helped and nurtured them. I've been a blessing to my sister. I've nursed my mom through downturns in her health.

And I've walked with Jesus. Always Jesus. I look back and see my life full of him, running through the tapestry of my life like a ribbon. Anchoring it. Filling it.

I've written articles and stories. I've studied the Bible. I've learned God's Word. I've known Jesus!

And I've lacked nothing because I had everything. I had him.

Christ is not only with us as we race, he is the endpoint of the race. The purpose of the race.

The world will tell you that being single is horrible, a state of loneliness and suffering. And even in the church sometimes we believe this lie. The lie that you can only limp along, coping as best you can, waiting for your life to start. But the truth is that we are more than conquerors in Christ. That God has a specific and individual plan for each of us, a race for us to run—husband or no husband. He has work for you to do. Being single or married is just about the company. Because the prize at the end of the race is not your spouse or children—at the end of the race, just beyond the ticker tape, is Christ, arms wide open. Waiting to tell you, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

That's the true Amazing Race. You and Jesus.

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Heidi Larson is a happily single Christian woman who dotes on her nieces and nephew in Roseburg, Oregon. She was recently published in LIVE magazine and is a faithful reader of Today's Christian Woman where she finds inspiration and fellowship.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Dating; God's Presence; Identity; Relationship with God; Relationships; Singleness
Today's Christian Woman, December Week 1, 2013
Posted November 26, 2013

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