Things started changing when I was in Montreal in 2012. I distinctly remember walking along the beautiful historic buildings enjoying the sunshine when I heard a voice, “You can’t do this anymore”. Do what? I thought. It didn’t take me long to realise what “THIS” was. I had somehow hit a wall in my single life. I wasn’t dating anyone – heck, I as actively avoiding anyone who suggested I go out on a date with them. I was fine, happy and enjoying my adventure-filled life (and I LOVE adventures…especially the solo kind). And yet, when I heard that voice, I knew it wasn’t my active imagination, it was something deeper.
Let me start off by saying that I’m the kind of woman that frustrates the church because I struggle with ‘traditional’ views of women because I couldn’t relate. Correction, the church has shown me that I frustrate them by being me. In my younger insecure days (Ok, I still have those days but whatevs), I tried performing character gymnastics on myself to ‘fit in’ but a dear friend watched me publicly crash and burn at a children’s camp and gently said, “It’s not for you my friend.” That sealed the deal for me. And then there is my outspokenness and all-round quirks. I was once called the F word by a guy in church. A Feminist (shudder). When I asked for clarification, I got the sense that what he was actually calling me was misandrist…I’m not. Why would I hate men if I am attracted to them? Surely, they’re not all evil.
Anyway, I cleared touched someone on their studio that day.
When my friends started betting married and having babies, I was sad (ok, I cried at
all a few of the celebrations) but it wasn’t because I was feeling the pangs of loneliness of going to another wedding along. I felt that I was losing a friend (but I couldn’t see that I was also gaining amazing guy friends). So, logically I filled my time with adventures. New job in Cape Town? I’m there. Gallivant around the country during leave? Sign me up. Research overseas? How soon can I get my visa? And all the while, I started feeling a little nudge that there must be more to life than making me happy. Sure, I always have great stories to tell … but that moment in Montreal made me realise something that God had started working on within me a few years earlier. You see, I’m a recovering addict. To what you may ask? My singlehood. That’s right, I’m a recovering idolater. You may not agree with my definition but it feels applicable to my life, although some may think that I wasn’t /isn’t exactly ‘living my single years dedicated to the Lord”, I don’t have any regrets.
One of the reasons why latched on to my single status was seeing men and women around me focusing so much of their energies on talking about relationships/ trying to get married/ dating/courting/”dourting”. I struggled to relate. And then there were sermons/books/podcasts about the aforementioned topics. “I kissed dating goodbye”, “Lady in waiting” “Purity and Passion”…Oh yes, I’ve seen and (shudder) read them to fit it. Eventually, I just wanted to separate myself from all of that madness and like the fool I am, still kept attending church because I believed (and still do) that the church is a place for the WHOLE Simangele, not the suffering-through-her-single-purgatory-until-she’s-married Simangele.
God is funny; I don’t know how I came across this book, The Single Issue by Al Hsu. This book totally blew my mind in giving me a changed perspective about being single in the church. Al discusses the view of singles in the Old Testament and in the Early Church and how we as the modern church should be loving singles as part of the whole church. Finally, I didn’t feel like an add-on in the marriage and family centred church that is everywhere. It wasn’t easy, pushing back from the pressure that Christianity is for families and would-be families, and not for the average Christian.
As you can see, I held on to the book like gospel…until 2012.
So, did my love life change dramatically from 2012? Well, no. 30 came and went without any drama. I got into a short and crappy situationship shortly after but I still carry the lessons to this day. Now that I’m overseas (again), some friends and especially family back home are CONVINCED that this is it. I’m finally going to get married…
It never ends….
And now I find myself once again living in a new city and you know what? Yes, I LOVE my singlehood but God has been showing me in various ways to make room in my life. I’m not sure what for…and for the hopeful romantics out there, who for but I want to be able to use this time well because I am called to serve God wherever, whenever, in and out of season,and in and out of relationships because I love Him.
Let the adventure begin.
I’m not sure I can include this but I like this slam poet about waiting.