The holidays are upon us – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. Last year, while with extended family, I was asked abruptly, “When you gonna have you some babies?”
I don’t remember what I said. But I remember not being startled by this. Why? Because the year before, a relative described me as “the sister with a career,” like for a conservative female in her *gasps in realization* late 20s, those things simply cannot coexist. (But they can.)
Honestly, over the years, I’ve heard so many platitudes. I’ve heard promises that there is someone out there for me. I’ve heard reassurances that I really am an amazing girl and people just can’t understand why I’m still single. Most recently, a friend quoted Emma Watson and, with good intent, called me “self-partnered.”
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Nothing makes me as happy as the lights and tassel and greenery that adorn the world during Christmas. And I’m convinced no one loves the idea of a fresh start – New Year’s Day – as much as I do. But, as I type this, sitting on the precipice of my 28th year of life, I’m super over holidays.
And that’s because I’m sick of singleness. And family-oriented holidays just magnify that.
But on the other hand, I’m also kind of sick of everyone, myself included, simply bemoaning their singleness.
What am I to do with this unwanted, hopefully temporary, sometimes lonely gift then?
The Apostle Paul, under Holy Spirit inspiration, has a few ideas about this in 1 Cor. 7. However, what could be his summary statement for the passage is what I’m taking away as my summary statement for this season (the single season and the holiday one):
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Cor. 7:17)
I’m choosing to focus on the life God has called me to – in the little and big ways.
God called me to be a daughter to my mom.
I don’t live near my family, so it’s a challenge to remember to bear the burden of an in-home daughter often. But December usually affords me the unique pleasure of hosting my mom in my apartment during that month. This December, I’m going to choose to bless her by intentionally spending time with her and not being so busy, being patient when I have to share space that I normally have to myself, and just learning to enjoy the little moments with her. I’m aware that I won’t have a momma forever.
God called me to my job
The holiday season is crazy. A week and a half of this month we get “off,” and the other time, it seems life is going on around us as we’re working away. I’m going to use the brain space that the break from church ministries has provided, and I’m going to pour myself into my work. I love telling stories of how God is working throughout the state. I plan on finishing out 2020 strong and doing my job well. That’s what God’s called me to today, after all.
God has called me to be studious
I’m finishing up a master’s degree in theology right now. That’s no easy feat – especially when you pile on the other things that God’s called me to currently. I’m going to take this holiday season, and instead of sulking about my non-existent husband and kids, and focus. Maybe I’ll get an A in my class that finishes up mid-December?
God has called me to serve others
This is literally what Paul is referring to when he speaks of singleness. I don’t have people who depend on me to exist. While my routine ministries are on pause for Christmas break, I’m purposing to take this time, and be present for friends in need. Maybe there’s a family that could use a hand with childcare while they Christmas shop? Maybe there’s a shut-in that could use a cheerful visit. Who better for the job than me?
God has called me to be thankful
Overall, the last year has been incredible. God moved me to a dream job. He put me in an awesome area of the country (yes, this Kentucky girl does in fact love Georgia). My church is amazing. My friends are great. I’ve seen my family a lot. I even have the world’s sweetest dog. I have a million other reasons that I am called to take this season and be thankful for my blessings. But I’m also called to be thankful for the frustrating realities.
After all, 1 Thess. 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”