It happened on a Sunday, a week after my 31st birthday. I was at a friend’s wedding minding my own business and from NOWHERE I found myself sharing with the guests on my table (most of whom I’d only just met) that it didn’t bother me that I was 31 and single (huh?!). The worst part was, even I didn’t believe myself.
“I’m ok about it”. These were words I’d found myself saying a lot lately to reassure well intended family and friends who are concerned about my singleness. In the past, I’d said these words with the kind of ease that had the ability to quickly allay their fears and allow us to peacefully move onto more lighthearted conversation. In the past, I had meant every word.
However, on that fateful day in May, as I shared with the 3 deliriously happy couples how ok I was with my singleness, fear grabbed me by the throat, slammed me on the table and mercilessly strangled me. I choked and coughed. “No, I genuinely mean it”.
I spat and splattered. “I’m completely content with my life”.
I was drowning in envy and all around the table, the happy couples watched in horror gripping each other all the more tightly. Eventually, they couldn’t bear it any longer and someone threw me the lifebuoy of humiliation and they safely hauled me in. I was shocked, naked and drenched in their pity. Pity is the worst.
Later as I walked away from the wedding venue, I felt Him grip my hand more tightly “Jesus what happened back there? When did I stop being ok with my singleness?” I asked. “I do not want to be one of those 30 year olds”, I cried out close to tears. Turns out, I was a late bloomer and unlike many singles approaching the 30 year mark, 31 was my “eek” age! Thankfully, God is pretty cool and over the last few months, He has been showing me how to do life as a Christian single. I wanted to share this with you guys:
Recognise the season you are in.
The bible says “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastics 3:1. It’s important for us to recognize what season we are in. God is very intentional with the way He directs our lives. This means if I am fully committing my life to Jesus daily, then I believe I am exactly where He wants me, surrounded by the people He wants in my life. He is responsible for me and He knows what I need (see Matthew 6:25-34 and Genesis 2:18). What I now need to discern is why I am here with these specific people.
For me, I believe I am currently in a season of going deeper with God. I enjoy quiet times with Him and listen out for His voice. Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. This is also an important season for me to give of myself and love the people God has put in my life. God willing, there will come a time in my life, when parenting a howling toddler will supersede me spending half a day with my niece, eating too many lollies in one sitting and instilling The Word in her tender receptive heart. The very thought of this precious season drawing to a close is so bitter sweet, it makes me want to postpone the next season so I can soak in this for a little while longer.
What season are you in? What does God have in store for you here? One of my greatest fears is to miss what God is doing to refine my character because I ran ahead of Him in search of His blessings.
So I think we all agree that the Proverbs 31 woman is kinda special. Heck, even I could (almost) marry her! In this chapter, there are a lot of attributes of a Godly woman, many of which I don’t think are my calling – I refer to the dressmaking in vs 19! Now, I’m not sure I could ever be as perfect as she is, but there is a lot I’d love to learn from her. So, my character is under construction. I’m learning not to take myself too seriously and laugh more. I’m learning to be kinder, tidier, more generous and to be wise with my words. If I want God’s finest, then I too need to make sure mygame is equally on point. There’s a lot in there to keep me very busy!
The cold truth is, not everyone who wants to get married will be married. It sucks – I know. However, James 4:14 says ours lives are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. We are only on earth for a teeny weeny while. So, if you end up living life as a spinster (or bachelor) with 10 cats, you will be a God-fearing cat lady/man (with an exceptionally sound mind). BUT, only for a little while. I know it sounds like you are being short changed but, I encourage you to dwell on those moments when you spend time with the Holy Spirit and you get to taste in this life what heaven will be like. Be of good courage 🙂 and learn to be content – Philippians 4:12-13
SOUND MINDED Cat Lady Starter Kit 😉
Be still and know that He is God.
The thing is, despite the occasional woe is me moments, I know that no man can ever complete me. It is only in God’s presence that I am completely whole. Only His peace which surpasses all understanding has the flawless ability to engulf my fears completely. He promised to keep my mind in perfect peace because I love and trust him Isaiah 26:3.
This was a game I used to play as a little girl growing up in Zimbabwe. We would sit in a circle and sing this song which warned “Stay inside, the lion devours”. Meanwhile, another little girl playing the role of the lion, would prowl around the circle in search of a victim. Once “the lion” had decided on his prey, a chase would ensue invariably accompanied by the fear-laced squeals of little children playing in the African sun.
Although most of us had never seen a lion, it was very clear in our 6 year old minds that lions were dangerous and that this favourite childhood game would look very different in the wild.
I guess Walter Palmer and Theo Bronkhost knew this too when they lured Cecil out of the protected national park area and cruelly shot him probably hiding behind a bush like cowards, surreptitiously salivating at the thought of killing the king of jungle. It’s easy to feel powerful with a bow and arrow in your hand.
As a Zimbabwean, 2 things have struck me about the story of Cecil the lion:
1. His name
Cecil is named after the Imperialist diamond digger Cecil John Rhodes who according to Wikipedia “was the founder of the southern African territory of Rhodesia” and therefore it was named after him… I won’t dwell on this too long but frankly, I didn’t realise we were still honouring him by naming lions after him.
2. The Outrage
The world is pretty mad about Cecil’s brutal murder. Jimmy Kimmel broke down on his TV show in front of an audience of 1 million. Richard Branson referred to the death of Cecil as tragic and senseless and Piers Morgan said “I’d love to go hunting for killer dentist Dr Walter Palmer, so I can stuff & mount him for MY office wall”. In summary, I think it’s fair to say the world is foaming at mouth about Cecil.
I must say, although it was moving to see the world so impassioned about matters to do with my country, the reality is, the average Zimbabwean doesn’t know who Cecil is or was. People I’ve spoken to are slightly bemused by the matter but on the whole, their world hasn’t stopped. University graduates are still selling mobile phone top-up cards on the streets of Harare, people are still cooking by fire during power cuts and those who can, are still buying (occasionally contaminated) tanks of water because the council water is scarce or unsafe.
As the old Shona proverb goes “Nhamo yemumwe, hairambirwe Sadza” which in essence means “Another man’s problems don’t stop me from eating my dinner“. In other words, life goes on.
If I had only $10 million, I’d buy 202 Zimbabwean lions, kill them and skin them. I’d give 1 skin to Itai Dzamara, the Zimbabwean political activist who mysteriously disappeared in March 2015 after speaking out about the country’s political environment. I’d give 200 skins to the 200 Chibok girls who were kidnapped whilst taking their end of year Physics exam by Boko Haram, the terrorist group in Nigeria. I’d give 1 skin to the nameless 2 year old boy in Sierra Leone who is thought to have been the first person to contract and die of Ebola in the outbreak which started in 2014 and to date has taken over 10,000 lives.
Perhaps if these precious lives had like Cecil been clothed in the beautiful garments of a lion’s mane, they too would have been worth the hashtags, the media attention, the tears and ultimately the action.