When I was younger, I was terrified of roller coasters and any ride that resembled a roller coaster. Just about every summer, our family would go to a huge amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, called “Cedar Point.” My parents knew that I was deathly afraid of roller coasters but each time we went, I’d always tell them “I’m getting on a roller coaster today!” Eager to see me conquer my fears, my parents would always indulge in my excitement and respond with encouragement.
“Okay Erika, we’ll ride with you!”
Next, they’d begin by making a plan to help me conquer my fears. The plan was to build up my confidence until I felt brave enough to get on a roller coaster.
First, they’d begin by taking me on all of the small rides like the Merry-Go-Round and the Bumper Cars. Then they’d take it up a notch by escorting me on a few rides like the Crazy Dance and other rides where the carts lifted the passengers a few feet above ground. Next, they’d take me on rides that were a bit higher in altitude– rides that swung the passengers around in the air. Once we finished those rides, there were always two rides to go—the Pirate Ship and then the Roller Coaster. The Pirate Ship was always second to last because it was the second scariest ride to me.
The Pirate Ship was this HUGE, ginormous ship (like a gondola swinging in the air) that swayed back and forth in the air. Each time, I exited that Pirate Ship, I’d walk over to the Roller Coaster with an anxiously slow pace. My dad would hold my hand tightly during the walk until we arrived to the waiting line. Once we approached the line for the roller coaster, I’d drop his hand to prepare myself to conquer my fear. Just as we’d approach the front of the line, I’d turn to my parents and say “mmmm…I don’t think I’m going this time. I want to get out of the line.” I’d feel so bad about changing my mind at the last minute but each time, my parents would look at me and say “It’s okay. We can wave to everyone when the roller coaster gets to the top.”
This cycle went on for years, and I never conquered my fear of roller coasters until I was 25 years old while at a large County Fair in Miami, Florida.
When, I think about my experience with Roller Coasters, it reminds me of our journey as singles. In the same way that my parents took their time to pace my preparation for the roller coaster, God also paces and prepares us for the roller coaster called marriage. As singles, we go on a variety of rides prior to marriage—Lust, Jealousy, Pride, Power Trips, Broken Hearts, Relationships, Break-ups, Money Management, Faithfulness, Character Building, Honesty, New Jobs, Promotions, Home Ownership, Eviction, Foreclosure, Debt…etc. At times, we are scared out of our minds during these experiences but God never leaves our side. He walks with us through every event and He uses them to help us grow and mature. God uses the break-ups to teach us how to guard our hearts and to love unconditionally. He uses the ups and downs of career exploration to reveal our purpose and calling. He uses the valleys of low cash flow to teach us responsibility and accountability.
These pains and the challenges associated with singleness are often frustrating so, like me standing in that long line, we get overwhelmed and decide to stop waiting on God. We exit the line of faith and begin to walk in impatience.
“Oh God, not another Christmas as a single, c’mon Jesus!”
If you’ve been therefore and if you’re there now, I want to encourage you to stop the cycle of doubt and worry. Set aside those concerns related to your singlehood and simply enjoy the journey.
How much more could we accomplish if we weren’t consumed with worry and frustration regarding our singlehood?
How much more could God accomplish in us if we were able to place our faith in His hands?
Begin to explore and do new things. Begin to see the joy in each day of your singlehood. Rather than moping around and feeling sad because “everyone” around you is getting married, begin to feel encouraged because it means that God is in your neighborhood…which means at some point, He’s going to reach you.
Though you may not see God working in your life, He is using this time to develop and refine you.
Use your time as a single to do the things on your bucket list or create a bucket list. Apply for your passport, travel to a foreign country, take a road trip, go to a dance class, start a social group, join a run club, write a book, buy a dog, learn how to ski…hop on a roller coaster. Begin doing the things that will create an intriguing and exciting conversation when you finally go on your first date with your future spouse. Conquer your fears.
You’re still single because God is using this time to prepare you for something that’s greater than anything you could ever imagine.
Prayer: Dear God, today I bring my gratitude instead of my concerns. I give you my heart and I submit my desires to you. Open my eyes to recognize your handiwork. Make me moldable to be used by you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.