I once attended a wedding celebration in Taiwan that included a bountiful, 13-course meal. The food just kept coming—noodles, dumplings, stir-fry, soups. My cup was never empty, and I delighted in the diversity of each dish that graced the middle of the table, savoring each new taste and experience.
In the US we tend to start a meal with an appetizer or salad, something small that makes us hungry for what we know is coming as the main dish. Let’s just skip right along to the next thing, shall we?
I often treat my life less like a 13-course banquet and more like a little salad with boring dressing, minus the croutons. I want the next thing, the next season, the answer to my hopes and dreams to finally come true. It will be better when I move out of this location and am closer to teammates and grocery stores. If I get married, then I won’t be lonely anymore. Once I can get through this stage of re-entry, everything will be more stable and I’ll actually be able to feel more settled.
I view my singleness as a precursor to whatever the main thing is that is yet to come. But this season is not merely the filler while I wait for something more.
No, this season is rich and full and delightful. There are gifts to savor, signs of God’s faithfulness right here and now. I don’t want to waste it constantly straining for the next thing.
I long for children of my own, but right here and now I am a trustworthy and safe adult to whatever kiddos the Father puts in my life. My nieces and nephews (and the ones who call me auntie who are not blood relation) will never run out of books and I can help grow in them a love for Jesus and good chocolate. I can open up my heart and home to the kids who desperately need to know they are loved.
Right now I have the gift of time. I long for a spouse to dive deep in conversation with while lingering over a cup of coffee, but I also have control over my schedule and freedom to choose what my evenings look like. I have a choice over how to use this time and space in this season.
While I learn to delight in this season, savoring means paying attention. I am on the lookout for the ways courage rises up out of the unlikely places of living a single life in my 30s—not the plan, not the hope, but the right-now life I am living.
When the next course comes, I don’t want to look at a plate grown cold that I forgot to enjoy because I was looking ahead or looking back.
Does this feel like a season to rush through in order to get to the next thing? How might you slow and savor what God has for you here, right now?
Do you want a place to talk about the mingling of joy and sorrow in singleness? Join us for the very first Singles Gathering, a unique virtual event coming in June! Hear encouraging teaching, and chat in small groups with other women living out a courageous single life in cross-cultural work. Click on the button below to learn more!