On being single in quarantine
Eating alone. Exercising alone. Sleeping alone. Shopping alone. These are all things I’ve become accustomed to as a single person. Notice, I did not say these are ‘things I like.’ As a single 20-something, they just are true about my life currently.
But this season of coronavirus chaos has made a lot of things feel that much harder - and singleness has been no exception.
As I described to my counselor virtually: Everything just seems so much more … punctuated – like it all has a BIG exclamation point (!) during this season. Finding motivation and positivity amid the emotional exhaustion can feel daunting, especially alone.
Now, let’s not play the ‘hardship Olympics’ – I am not under the impression that singleness is THE toughest thing going on right now or the ONLY hard thing happening. We all know there are a host of hard things going on (I see it every day working at a food pantry with an ever-growing need).
But, like it or not, the struggle of the single life is part of my reality. And whereas most of the time, it feels manageable since it’s broken up by fun co-worker antics, food meetups with friends, and gathering for fellowship with my community group – those things are not happening.
And within this reality, my thoughts have run the gamut:
“Oh man, this is tough, but it’ll be short. I’m going to get stuff done by myself!”
“Why are all these married people complaining?! At least they have someone to be with - how annoying!”
“God, do You hear me? I promise not to take my people for granted - just bring them back!”
“Man, this feels really hard and I can’t even explain why. I am SO over this!”
“Ok. God, I don’t like this, but here I am - trying to trust You.”
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
But also - Joy. Purpose. Gratitude.
These are all words that have described my feelings during this season. I’m sure you can relate.
And so, amid all the emotional spiraling in my mind (some days from one moment to the next), I have been encouraged to think of it like a train - this negative thought spiral must be stopped before I even let the train leave the station.
I have to ask: What is true now in the dark that was true before in the light?
What is true about the world? About me? About God? About what He is doing?
My search for some peace to halt this thought-spin-cycle, or what I refer to as ‘the crazy train,’ recently led me to see afresh a phrase in Philippians. Tucked inside a popular verse, 1:6, Paul writes: “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Paul is reminding us here that it is God that carries us. He is the One who actively carries us. He carries us when we are tired, hurting, lonely, sad, and plain having a hard time.
According to the dictionary the word carry means “to bear the weight of, or to support from one place to another.” To me, this means that Jesus is kind enough AND King enough to help. He is not too busy, too tired, or too overwhelmed in this season.
Oh, to be carried by Jesus - in this season, and all seasons. You see, the Jesus I know and read about in Scripture is a kind King. He shows up. He carries His people. He is WITH them as they journey.
One of my Bible professors in seminary used to say that ‘If you remember these three things about God, then it will serve you well in life – that He is always sovereign, always good, and always wise.’ Practically trusting the goodness of God is what I struggle to rest in (especially in hard times), but I am continuing to learn in this season that He is kind – it is His nature, and therefore it cannot change. And because that is true, I can be kind to myself and others. I can feel my feelings and not let them define my life. I can keep choosing JOY amid the suffering.
He carries me. He is carrying the world. He is carrying the Church.
He is carrying you.
So, be in the Word. Pour over a good book. Take a peaceful nap. Go for a worship music drive. Walk around the block. Pray with a good friend. Do what you need to do to get your head and heart in the right place. But, man oh man, be kind to yourself – because Jesus is a kind King and He is carrying you!
Remember: You are not alone – your God is carrying you!