She’s wearing a ring.
I just met her today at the coffeeshop and now we’re splitting Ben & Jerry’s in the Walmart parking lot. The Florida sun wages warfare on our shoulders.
I point my plastic spoon at her wedding ring and say:
“How do you do it?”
“What do you mean?” she says.
“How do you stay committed?” I ask her.
Because, you see, I enjoy being single.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being in a relationship. I love the commitment and the security. It was a tear-jerking experience when, last year, my boyfriend and I broke up.
But there are some perks to being single.
Let’s start with the surface-level things.
I can mingle and flirt with new guys. I can get my ego stroked. If a guy texts me, I can text him back seventy-two hours later. Or just not text back at all.
I can be possessive of my time. If I want to spend the weekend writing and not talking to anyone, I can do that. If I want to over-commit to a helluva lot of parties and volunteer opportunities, I can do that too. Because after all, to use Kesha’s words, I’m a motherf*cking woman.
Okay. Now the not-so-surfacey things.
I can focus on being a better Christian.
Not that I couldn’t do that when I was in a relationship. But, to echo the Apostle Paul’s words, my interests are not divided. When you read the Bible, you see that it never underestimates the value of being single.
A woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:34 NLT.
Being sans a significant other means one less thing to devote time and energy into. That’s great news for me.
Except that, I have a confession: I’ve been indulging in the surface-level things more. The not-so-surface-level things? The Christian growing stuff? It hasn’t exactly been my focus. Not until recently.
I think back to when I first had, I would call it, a ‘spiritual breakthrough.’ I was at uni and I would amble into church, hungover and desperate for love. Thanks to a few trials and tribulations, God grew me up and I had a real wake-up call.
After that, I became fixated on being a better Christian. I read the Bible more. I took notes during sermons. I prayed with my friends. I actively avoided situations that could lead me to compromise my convictions.
Was that all false? Because I’m not that way now. Not that that’s a problem—God never promises a 24/7 spiritual high. But what about me has changed since then?
As I share Cherry Garcia ice cream with this married girl, I say:
“It’s just that I love being single. How do you not feel tempted to…?”
The girl laughs and says:
“You just keep choosing him.”
She pinches her ring. “It’s not like I never feel tempted. I could just take this off and…you know. But I don’t. I choose my husband. Daily.
She continues, “I said I do—so what? We keep pursuing each other.”
My pastor in uni would always say that Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship. And like all relationships, it’s a commitment.
As much as I cringe at Christianese jargon like ‘your walk with God’ or ‘choose God,’ faith IS a relational experience. It involves, for lack of better phrasing, ‘pursuing’ God.
I’ve realized that even though I’ve had points of being super Christian, that doesn’t mean I go complacent. That doesn’t mean I stop reading the Bible or praying. Or stop questioning the kinds of influences I expose myself to.
Choosing a life that glorifies God is a daily practice.
In every micro-moment, I choose Him.