When I talk about singleness (which is a thing that I do kinda frequently), one of the questions I get the most is this:
“How can you be so confident about it? Aren’t you scared of being alone?”
The short answer? Yep.
Terrified. Cry-myself-to-sleep terrified, every so often. There’s a whole lot of scared in there.
And I know why.
For one, there’s some emotional trauma, and heart wounding, and unprocessed grief that I carry. And each day, as I learn to hold rejection well on the winding trajectory towards healing, I acknowledge its weight and validity in feeding my fear.
But before there was brokenness to feed my fear, there was goodness to shape my desires.
We were made for relationship.
Not “a relationship” as we often use the language, but relationship. Fellowship. Persons-in-community. God, the Trinity, exists in relationship. And when God said “let us make humans in our image, to be like us”, that resulted in our creational purpose to be communal.
To be fellowship–like God is–embodied. To be love for the other– like God is–embodied.
To be an image bearer, to reflect God, is to be relational. And so our fear of being not-in-relationship? It’s valid. Because we were not made to be alone. But interestingly, when God says “it is not good for man [adam] to be alone”, he’s not saying “it is not good for males [ish] to be alone”.
He says mankind — [adam] — humans. “It is not good for PEOPLE to be alone.” It was not human unmarriedness that was “not good”. It was human isolation.
And creation was not pronounced “very good” until a distinct-yet-corresponding-other, a fellow human, a person-with-whom-to-be was introduced.
So that “this is not how it should be” ache that can be felt at the thought of no life-long vowed companionship? It’s actually spot on. But not because we were made for marriage. Because we were made for relationship.
So why do we associate singleness with loneliness?
There’s this imagery of coming home night after night to an empty apartment, or eating meals alone, or not knowing who to reach out to in seasons of pain.
That’s fear, again.
And it’s real, and valid, and worth feeling. And if we’re asked to surrender that desire for companionship for a season or for a lifetime, there needs to be room to grieve that.
But often? Most times, actually? Fear lies.
I’ve been singing this song on repeat: “from the fear of being lonely, deliver me, oh God.”
And this fear of aloneness that I have? That you have? That everyone deep in their core has because we were made for togetherness? That fear doesn’t get to dictate how rested I am in who I know God to be and what I know God is calling me to.
Fear doesn’t get that kind of power. Period.
But if our solution to the scenarios above is a spouse? If we approach marriage with the assumption that the other person will bring community to the silence, that they will bring closeness to the meal-sharing, that they will bring comfort to the pain? If we assume a “someone” will solve the loneliness, or start our sentences with “if only I had a person to…”
Friends, that’s idolatry.
And the reality? There are plenty of lonely, married people. The church should be the first place to dispel the myth that loneliness is a singleness problem. No, loneliness is a humanness problem — in direct opposition to the innate relational nature of our image-bearing design. To reiterate: to image God is to be relational, to be communal, to be celebratorily together.
But our relational purpose was not intended to be exclusively or ultimately met or lived out in one person–a spouse– it was intended to be met and lived out in one body–the church.
And I will forever and always have a bone to pick with the structures and belief systems that equate singleness with not-good-enough-ness and resultingly give fear the upper hand.
Before I did a whole ton of heart work with Jesus on the whole not getting married thing, I played this super fun game with myself every time I happened to not be in a relationship: “I’m probably single because [insert fear here].”
(Sometimes people are even kind enough to provide the reasons for you: “I mean you’d probably get asked out more if…” (Do not be those people. Seriously.)
“…because I’m too quiet.”
“…because my body isn’t small.”
“…because my backstory is messy.”
“…because I’m not good at [xyz].”
Translation: I’m afraid that I’m invisible. I’m afraid of what people assume about me. I’m afraid that once you know me I’ll be too much. I’m afraid that what I have to offer doesn’t make the cut.
Fear wins in those scenarios.
And we let it. We feed it. We help dig the lies down deeper every time we tie success or holiness to relationship status. But what happened when I started taking those fears to God instead of adding them to my list of why I’m not good enough? When I started asking what God thought about those fears and shutting up long enough to listen?
Friends. My heart. I heard things like…
“Kristyn, I SEE you. You’re not invisible. And you don’t need to be loud to be heard. I hear you too. And see all these people, these friends, these mentors, these co-laborers that I’ve placed in your life? They see you and hear you too.”
“Kristyn, be gentle with your body. It’s carried trauma, and effects of mental illness, and other pains that were too heavy for your heart to hold. And yet your body gives motion to your incarnational mission, daily. Take care of it. But have grace with it, too.”
“Kristyn, your story is fragile and complex and human and worth knowing. You are not too much. Persevere in inviting others in.”
Guess what? The roots of these fears and the lies that go with them have LITERALLY NOTHING to do with my singleness, nor can they be “solved” by becoming un-single.I just happen to be in a cultural space where I have had to unlearn that the ultimate indicator of my holiness is that a straight man wants to put a ring on my finger. God’s heart for us and purpose for our together-lived lives is SO MUCH BIGGER than that, friends.
So yeah, I’m scared of being alone. So are you, single or not, because that’s not what we were made for.
But don’t trade in faithfulness for fear. Fear doesn’t get that kind of power. Period.