Surviving Dry January
The month for happy couples
The month of ‘new year, new me’,
of diets and resolutions,
and most of all,
the month that everyone I know seems to get engaged.
Last January, a total of seven engagements came up on my Facebook news feed in one week! Fourteen happy people sharing with their virtual world that they were blissfully content and their lives were now complete. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish for my friends to be any less happy or for their lives to be in any way changed, but watching all my friends in their cosy little twosomes, it’s hard not to constantly question, “When’s it my turn?”.
It is in these heart-wrenching moments that I also seem to find myself receiving advice from people who have already ‘made it’. Last year alone, I dread to think how many times Jeremiah 29v11 “For I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you...” was quoted to me or how I was told that ‘God always has a plan’. Let me be clear, I don’t doubt for a second that God has a plan for me, and that the plan is meant for good but that thought isn’t always comforting on the lonely nights of winter.
So how can we, in this time of new starts and happy engagements, quench our thirst for love and a different relationship status? Personally, in my life I can think of three paths I’ve taken to try and fill this hole: Randomers, Netflix and Acceptance.
The first which I have titled ‘Randomers’ relates to my three years at university in which I would go out on the town, drink until merry and find myself dancing with any random person on the dance floor. I also spent most of the three years giving my time (and my heart) to people that didn’t really care but simply gave me attention. Many of them had a belief in God but not really a desire to do much about it, and therefore were not really right for me (not that that stopped me!). So leaving university slightly heart-broken, confused with a lot of regret, I moved away from the ‘Random’ tactic.
Quite swiftly, I moved onto Netflix, a subscription that has allowed me to escape into some of the happiest stories in history. I currently spend all my free time watching Once Upon a Time repeatedly in the hope that their fairytale endings will satisfy this need within me not to be lonely. For a while, the dashing looks, sarcastic humour and quick wit of Captain Hook do make me smile, but as the TV sleep mode runs out and the screen goes dark, I’m once again alone. Thus, escapism is not a long-term solution.
I find that this leaves me one last choice: acceptance. I must learn to accept that in God’s plan, I am currently single and begin to see this as an opportunity not a prison sentence. Recently, at my church prayer evening, we were talking about how God is using us in our own areas of ministry. It was at this moment I realised that God is using my lack of relationship. Every time I meet someone and admit that in my 24 years I’ve never had a relationship, it is inevitably followed by the question ‘Why?’. This has since provided me with many great opportunities to talk about Jesus. I am able to share how whilst being single isn’t always wonderful, deep
down, I know there’s a reason for it. My strength in sticking to this belief often creates intrigue and great conversation.
So, this ‘dry January’, where it might feel like there is nobody to quench your thirst for love, I invite you to accept your current singleness and use it for God’s glory. Share with people where your values come from, tell them about Jesus who loves them most of all. This is not to say stop putting yourselves out there, finding your perfect love is not as simple as Ed Sheeran suggests... but don’t make my mistake and waste your time waiting