40 and Single | One Man’s Story
Today we have a guest post from my friend, John Gunter. John loves his life in Asia, but misses his family, friends, church, baseball, and bar-b-que (in that order) immensely. He enjoys scuba diving when the time and location permits. John blogs at http://johngunter.net.
As we walked through a park in an unfamiliar city, it was a clear day. She jumped right into what was on her mind. “I don’t know what the deal is. I really care for you and want to love you, but I just don’t.” Just like that, our relationship was over.
She had been the girl of my dreams, as we had dated on and off for four years. I couldn’t image a future without her in my life. My heart-felt like pins were being jabbed into my chest. My breathing literally changed. I became light-headed.
My heart was broken by her rejection. However, even as we walked in that park, it was as if the Lord was whispering in my ear, “I am good. I see you.” He asked me to trust him with the outcome. And I did.
This year, I entered a new decade as a single man: my 40s. I live in Asia and have lived here for most of the past 12 years. My work does take me back to America a few times a year, but my adult life has largely been invested in a country far from my own, in cities and neighborhoods far different from my native Atlanta.
And do you know what? I am okay. I really am.
Yes, I do get extremely lonely. However, my life is rich and free from always longing to be where I am not: married. This subject of “singleness” is so vast, with many different aspects and emotions, but I’m going to share three truths that have helped me embrace singleness over the years.
First, singleness is NOT a disease to be cured, but rather a stewardship to be lived . . . just like marriage. Many single adults treat their relational status as something to change at all costs. As Ruthie wrote about last month, this has been the cause of many ill-advised relationships. I hate witnessing friends “settle” for bad relationships rather than waiting for the right person.
I have been there. I have moved forward in relationships with women who, though they were great people, were just not heading in the same direction. I’ve come close to marriage several times, but I realized our hearts were in not in the same place. God gives us different passions and mine is for the people of Asia.
Second, singleness is an OPPORTUNITY; it’s not something to be avoided, nor a condition from which one must escape. Yes, the Bible clearly points out in the book of Genesis that marriage is the norm for most people. Man truly was not meant to be alone. However, Paul is equally emphatic in 1 Corinthians 7 that singleness is actually a desired life choice.
I know, I know, we just roll our eyes when we hear this referenced. However, having been freed from the responsibilities of marriage and children (wonderful responsibilities though they may be), we single men and women are wide open to serve and enjoy the world around us with reckless abandon. This is a wonderful thing!
Instead of lives filled with social gatherings, awkward blind dates, and self-centered time wasters (college football, video games, etc. I’m talking to you guys!) all the time, we could look for ways to serve the world around us. I had to decide a long time ago that I would live my life and pursue building God’s Kingdom regardless of whether or not a spouse was on the horizon.
Third, for those of us followers of Christ, the very term “singleness” is a myth. We are NOT alone. We are not destined to walk this world as hopeless vagabonds who will die miserable and alone. As believers in Christ, we are already His bride.
We are also part of a world-wide family of brothers and sisters. I can serve and love the children of those around me as my own, because Biblically, they are directly members of my family. What a joy!
Do I hope to be married one day? Absolutely. I pray for this regularly and encourage my friends and family to do the same for me. God instructs us to pray out of the longings of our heart and it’s ok to desire marriage!
I am continually challenged to view wherever I am in life as an opportunity granted to me by my Heavenly Father, not as a burden to be disparaged, disdained, and fought against. God asked me to trust Him that day in the park, and you know what? I did. I never imagined still being single at 40, but when God says He has a plan, I’ve learned to sit back and trust Him. And I hope you can, too.
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- All the Single Ladies: Where have all the men gone?
- Singleness, Settling, and Waiting for “The One”
- What if I Never Get Married? The Feared Call of Singleness
- What is Your “Calling”?