I remember the first time I heard the word “Surplus”. It was said by my mom when she arrived one day at our home with one set of encyclopedias that she bought from someone who is selling Surplus products. I was 10 that time and without even enough reason, I imagined them as products shipped from other countries because they’re not needed there anymore. Fast forward to High School and College, I realized that our trade is somehow affected by it that too much surplus products can actually bring imbalance to our economy.
But here I am today with a new definition of “Surplus” – Me.
I wish our local churches have encouraged a separate Ministry for Single Young Adults who are struggling over decisions on having relationships. I wish there are more books that equip us to truly love singleness even without conditions of marriage at the end of it, than having books that want us to love singleness yet make us hope more on marrying the right person in the end.
Marriages on earth that have been ordained by God are beautiful. But sometimes putting too much hope on getting one may cloud us to think that without it, we are worthless, and singleness is an ugly fate for those who have no other choice.
But the Bible showed us that both gifts are beautiful, and any comparison will always mislead us to think that one outweighs the other. If we value Marriage more than Single-blessedness, we will come to think that the latter is for the “Surplus” products in the Dating Market. But they are both precious gifts. Nothing is higher. Both recipients taste eternal life. Both have their unique roles in molding God’s people.
Just few hours ago, before typing this, I was crying while chatting with two of my closest friends about what I am battling inside. Being 24 years old, still single, and never even been into a relationship, people will constantly pressure you to find a partner as soon as possible. They will remind you that you are not getting any younger and further comment that maybe I was too focus on succeeding that I miss the ‘go’ signal.
Since I am in Medical School, I know the risks or disadvantages of having your first pregnancy during your 30s. I know and I freak out sometimes because I only have 5 years left before I become a part of the”high risk” bracket in pregnancy.
All the knowledge I learned eventually put too much weight on the values of marriage and motherhood.
They’ve become more exciting than finding the right diagnosis or giving the right treatment.
It eventually became my desire.
But we can neither choose our circumstances nor fulfill all our desires. You cannot instruct the Potter what shape of pot you want yourself to become. I didn’t choose this for myself. As a Christian, and being raised by a Christian couple, I know the essence of having a family. And with that ideals on my mind, to live as a single only to please myself will be the least thing that I will ever do. Single or not, I want to live with a purpose. I want to live my life for the Lord.
But together with my desire to get married, my battles against insecurities and doubts regarding my worth resurfaced.
And every time those thoughts come to my mind, I cry in despair for not being someone’s first choice and being someone that is not worth pursuing.
I learned to think of myself as a part of the the “Surplus” products of the Dating Market.
I learned to dwell on my weaknesses and not on my virtues because even men inside our churches think highly of outside appearances that they sometimes hurt their sisters in Christ for making them feel that they are not good enough for any godly men.
I learned to see myself as an ugly one – someone that is not wanted by anybody.
These are the struggles that no romantic or “waiting for the right one” Christian books ever warned me, yet these struggles are real and keep on haunting me before going to sleep.
We even tend to judge singles who feel these things to be not so founded on their faith that’s why they cannot fix their eyes on Jesus.
But that is not what is really happening inside us.
Most of us deeply desire God. Some even want to honor Him in their future relationships that’s why they don’t quickly jump into someone’s arms to find a temporary shelter for their emotions.
But even if singles look not distracted, independent or very strong-willed, that doesn’t erase the fact that we struggle with so many things too.
We have local churches that encourage marriage and purity among young people and to wait for the right person, but how about us?
How do you make us love singleness in light of what is important for the Ministry?
How do you make someone love singleness without getting marriage as a constant condition at the end of it?
When will those judging eyes inside our church stop from thinking that those who remain single are “too choosy” to settle down?
We rarely address singles to just simply love singleness as it is. That it is just as precious as marriage.
Why do we always emphasize to hope or wait for the right person when we all know that marriage is not a gift for all?
You constantly encourage us, singles, to love this season yet taught us to hunger for the next. That’s why it’s hard to struggle if you’re single because many people will think that you are only on a temporary season.
But what if this season will stay for good?
Will you encourage to love singleness or push them to hope for a little more every time they cry out in despair and frustration that no one came?
It’s so hard to stand when no one truly understands. It’s hard when you consider single blessedness as your end yet people will go mocking you in the end because they see you as too selfish and too scared which is sometimes not.
When will churches ever consider teaching us how to love singleness without conditions? That singleness may not just be just a season but a lifetime, and to hope for Christ alone and no one else?
Teach us that we are not “Surplus” Products that no one wants, and the economy will still be balanced even when we’re around.
Teach us to value this gift like how others value marriage.
Teach us to fearlessly face the judging eyes of the world that see our worth as nothing but excess goods that no one wants.
I don’t know what’s ahead of me. Maybe I’ll marry or maybe not. I cannot actually decide yet which one really is for me.
But I hope all Christians will be helpful enough to encourage singles because it’s just too hard to handle when you see your friends get married and already have kids yet you are still there thinking maybe marriage is not for you but still hope that maybe it is for you. You sometimes doubt your worth and even check all you flaws once more and see which one to improve. It feels like I am standing in the borderline of these gifts and waiting what and when to choose.
To all the singles out there just like me,
I know all the pain that those longings sometimes give. I know how your flesh tries to make you feel that you are a reject and no one wants to be with you. I know how it feels to hope and not to hope and be stuck in that crazy cycle of which is the right one to feel. I know exactly how it hurts deep inside as we try all our best to fix our eyes on Jesus even if we are hurting because this is not what we have always wanted ourselves to become – to feel alone, unwanted and left out.
But I want you to realize that singleness is sometimes not just a season but a lifetime itself. Even if it’s painful, do not think of it as a burden, but a gift.
When we constantly think it is actually a season, we anticipate for the next one. But if we think that, “this is it…this is where God wants me to be”, we will learn to focus on the duties He has given us today. And whether we end up getting married or not, we can look back on our past fulfilled because we did not waste this time. We did not waste our singleness.
Cheer up and never fix your eyes on the world’s view of you as a “surplus” product that no one wants. Make use of your singleness to please Christ because in the end, we will all face God and His judgement. And may that moment be not a shameful one for you because you can look back on your life with joy and satisfaction that you have lived every single day with your hope only fixed towards Jesus Christ.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12: 1-3
Sharing to you all the song that taught me to still praise Him in this moment of my life:
Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise You
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise You
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise