I am currently single. I've thought about that term and its complex layered meaning. At best it simply describes a relationship status, a sense of detachment to an attachment. But what the word misses in its focused singularity is the rich context that being single is not equal to being alone. For me, my singleness simply means that for this moment in my life, my heart and the magnificent tapestry of who I am has been exclusively reserved for the audience of one.
For me, my singleness has never been about a point of lonely, heartbreaking transition, a longing so debilitating that my days are left endlessly awash in tears and sorrow. Far from it. I intrinsically knew that my singleness was temporal, that I had a golden opportunity; unhindered, unencumbered to become someone spectacular in this precious allocated time. I made peace with God about timelines and narratives of who he would be and how I would meet him. I stopped living in the pages of my head and started becoming the woman I hoped to be when I finally handed over the keys to my heart.
My season of singleness has given me the gift of time. I have had time to discover the layers of who I really am. I've had time to enjoy the adventure of becoming me. I have not had the pressure to conform, to comply or even submit to someone else. I've just slowly over years of discovery had the joy of probing, questioning, debating, wondering and praying through strategic moments in my life where I had to simply dig deep and grow up. I had been able to connect the dots that make up my personality, I had the time to identify the flaws and hopefully come to terms with my own humanity and frailty.
One of the greatest joys of my singleness has been pioneering a business on my own. I think if I was already married I would have wondered whether I could really muscle up to the challenge of creating something out of nothing. Being single catapulted me out of every comfort zone I'd ever created for myself and placed me firmly on the highway of my destiny. I think that grit, that push, that fight in me needed to come out. I needed to feel with conviction in my bones, that I was born with greatness within me and I had the capacity for more.
The longer I walk this road of singleness, the more Jesus in all His wonder becomes compellingly satisfying. Its like my heart turns gently towards His face with each passing year and as the absence of my lover grows ever more real, I find myself complete in ways I could have never imagined. Where my emotional deficiencies and levels of brokenness would have dictated dependency towards him, my wholeness and restoration now release me from unrealistic expectations of him.
God has given me stability, surety and surrender during my season of singleness - I know who I am. My quest for the one my heart loves is no longer a list of credentials that include Harvard Business School for good measure, but instead they stem from a deep desire to give; to make his life glorious, to love completely, to champion unashamedly and to become together, because all my becoming alone has now been done.
I discovered while on a recent sabbatical, that my life's purpose is far simpler, yet grander than the one I had previously imagined. It's a life where service is at the centre and people at the core.
I used to look at life through a temporal lens of earthly accomplishments, lists of accolades and achievements polished on bronze plaques. I used to want a partner who would literally come along for the ride. I thought my proposition was compelling, if not at least desirable. But the more I pushed, the more I realised that the things I chased were bland at best, they lacked depth, colour and true resonance. They would fade and with it, the life I thought I wanted.
I discovered while on a recent sabbatical, that my life's purpose is far simpler, yet grander than the one I had previously imagined. It's a life where service is at the centre and people at the core. It's a life where my gifts, talents and philanthropy are used to change the world, and impact future generations. And as my heart changed so did my end game. I wanted a husband not a partner, I wanted a family of my own - I wanted to be part of his. I wanted children and the messy chaos that comes with toddlers; I wanted the disruption, the madness and the toothless grins over cupcakes and the laughter around swimming pools.
I wanted grandparents, Christmas lunches and camping holidays. I didn't just want emails, meetings and to live for the applause of clients. I wanted a rich full, all encompassing life.
One day I will be looking back on the golden sunset of my season of singleness. I will remember the worry, the panic, the questions and even the doubt. I will remember the resolve, the laughter, the research, the prayers, the answers and the hope. I will look back and remind myself that it was all temporal, all of it. That stretch of time - that moved so glacially is now water in a glass – contained, complete – finished.
I will remember how precious my season of preparation was, how integral the weaving of every moment had been into the very fabric of my being. And I can see his face, and a pair of weathered keys in his hands, and that knowing look in his eyes, and of course that perfect smile. In my heart I will know that the chapter is now closed and I am finally, Home.
This story was first featured in the book Wholeheartedly Free.