by Sarah Bubar
The holiday’s are upon us. And the chances of a single gal being cornered by well-meaning relatives and lovingly interrogated about the status of her love life are… about 100 percent!
- What happened to that last boy… what was his name?
- You aren’t getting any younger, sweetie.
- What are you doing with your life – I had three little boys by the time I was your age!
- One of my Bible Study ladies has a grandson about your age, should I get his phone number for you?
- You’re not one of those… uh…. lesbians, are you?
- I’m sure you don’t want that dessert! You need to watch your figure so you can attract a man.
Oh, relatives! First it was the Garfield panties that second cousin Tammy put in your stocking, then the doll from Granny Jane when you were too old for dolls, then the ugly Christmas sweater that wasn’t meant to be a joke … and now this: the constant relationship inquisition.
How’s a girl supposed to think about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas when all people want to talk about is your lack of a boyfriend or your lack of engagement to the boyfriend you have? It is so easy to respond by getting frustrated at the questions, angry at the intrusion, and discontented with your present situation. While I cannot tell you God’s specific plan for your love life, I can assure you that frustration, anger and discontentment are not his plan for your holiday season!
Tis Not the Season
Sadly, I don’t have the ability to make all of your relatives stop being nosy and start being a bit more thoughtful, but I do believe that the Lord will provide you with the tools–armor even–to help you resist fleshly reactions and enjoy a joyful holiday that focuses on the Savior’s birth.
1. Tis not the Season to be Snarky
While your relatives’ comments may come across as intrusive or condescending, you are called to respond in love (1 Peter 3:9). Chances are, your family is operating under a common assumption that life should be a certain way. Christian girls get married. That’s just what they do. Then they have babies. Two or three of them. It’s the other thing they do. And now you are grown, but don’t have a husband or children and they aren’t sure what to do with you, and don’t know what to talk about. Your life doesn’t fit with their experience or assumptions.
Perhaps this is the year to gently counter that assumption by opening the Bible to 1 Corinthians 7 and explaining that you rejoice in God’s plan for your time of singleness. Paul said it first. “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” (1 Cor. 7:6-8)
Part of the assumption is that you must be miserable, because most people don’t view singleness as a good gift from God. While many singles aren’t happy with their singleness, often their families are even less happy. But it is important to remember that singles are single because God has determined it to be this way. He’s either not brought someone into their lives or He’s kept the relationship with that last boyfriend from working out. This is HIS PLAN! It is not a mistake. It is not a punishment. He is good, and His plan is good, and your time of singleness is also good (Exodus 33:19, Psalms 31:19; 107:1, Romans 8:28-29, Matthew 7:11).
The holidays offer a singular opportunity to take your family on the journey of understanding biblical singleness and how you’ve learned to trust God with your relationship future.
2. Tis not the Season to be Discontent
While a relationship inquisition from rarely-seen relatives isn’t fun, it usually passes quickly. Especially when cousin Susie walks in with new baby Emma. But the thing that may last a lot longer is the underlying discontent and pain that their questions bring to the surface. What they see as a few questions about your current relationship status can be an open door for you to wallow in self-pity about your single state. Don’t walk through that door! Perhaps take a walk and listen to praise music or find a quiet corner and dig into Scripture instead. Remember the true reason you are single. It’s because this is exactly where God wants you to be. It is what is best for you now. It is what He wants to use in your life at this point in time to sanctify you and bring God glory.
Marriage, relationships and boys in general are not rewards handed out to good Christian girls for living in obedience and purity. There is a bigger plan and purpose at work in your singleness. God is not playing games with you. He’s trying to work His perfect will out through your life (Romans 8:28-29, John 10:10). God is not holding out on you, He is giving you – the daughter He dearly loves – the best thing for right now. You may not understand it–and you may not particularly like it– but you are asked to trust Him. Trust God. He is good and He gives good gifts to his children! (Psalm 84:11, Matthew 7:11)
3. Tis not the Season to Forget the Reason
The reason you are gathered with family in the cold of winter is to celebrate Jesus. Not your relationship status on facebook. Not your lack of a date to the Christmas Eve party. Not the handsome hunk who has turned your head. Not your current heart-throb or past heart-ache… the reason for the season is Jesus.
This year, don’t get distracted by nosy relatives or relationship inquisitions. Make this Christmas a year of Merry Single-mas by keeping your heart, mind, and spirit solidly fixed on the Prince of Peace.