Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This is the post I've been putting off since the first day of Lent. It's the one I knew I would have to write when I agreed to do this. And it's the one I've chosen not to write every single day since Lent began. Out of all the things I wish people didn't know about me, this has got to be at the top of the list. I'm literally taking a deep breath before I type it.

I am lonely.

It looks so ugly and shameful there in plain text. My fingers actually felt a little icky typing it. But there it is. I know it seems shocking to you that an almost 30 year old woman might feel a little lonely sometimes (that's sarcasm for Sheldon's benefit). But believe it or not, it's shocking to me. I've always been quite content to be alone. I enjoy the freedom of it. I am an introvert, and I enjoy having space and quiet to myself. But recently, I've found myself wishing that there was a person who would like to sit on the couch with me and ask me about my day. I've realized that I'm a little bit tired of going to concerts by myself all the time. I've realized that there are days that I really need a hug and there's no one to give me one.

I'm terrified for you to know this about me. I don't want to look desperate, clingy, whiny, or weak. I don't want to be "one of those girls" that people assume are miserable because they're single. Because here's the deal - and hear me say this clearly - I am NOT miserable. I really like my life. I get to do lots of really cool things, hang out with really wonderful people, and go really awesome places whenever I want. It's just that I sometimes wonder if it would be fun to do those things with someone. And believe me, the thought has crossed my mind that it might NOT be fun to do those things with someone.

I guess the bottom line is I'm afraid that admitting I'm lonely means admitting that I feel undesirable. It's the same old thing... if I allow people the opportunity to look too closely, they will realize that there is a reason that I am single. They'll be like, "Oh... That makes sense." They'll assume I have a dozen cats when really I only have the one that I've spent the last three years trying to get rid of. But this is a journey of laying down pride, and this is what it all comes down to for me. Pride lures me into believing that I can do it all on my own. Vulnerability, then, is admitting that I cannot. Admitting that I cannot do life without God is easy. I know I rely on him. Admitting that I need friends is new for me, but God has worked deeply in my heart these last three years and has showed me how much I need my friends and how much better of a person I can be if I allow them to help me. It is not easy for me to rely on my friends, but through discipline and practice, it is becoming easier.

Maybe this is the next step. Maybe it's not. I have always said that the only reason I would ever get married is if the two of us glorify God more together than we do apart. My mission and purpose do not change. I am called to love as well as I can the people that God puts in my path. And if he deems me able to do that on my own, then I will thank him for such an honor. If he brings me a helper, I will thank him for his gift. But regardless of his plan, to deny my loneliness is to deny a part of how he has created me. I do not demand that it be fulfilled, but to deny it is dishonest. I offer it back to him as a gift of my scared and wounded heart. And I believe the tattered honesty of it will please him. So I guess it doesn't really matter if it pleases anyone else.

"Do not let your longing slay the appetite of your living." ~ Jim Eliot


Brandy said...

Thank you for sharing this. I know you held it in your heart for a long time, and it honors all of us as well for you to share it with us.

The truth is, I love David very much, and he is an amazing partner, lover, and friend. But it is also true that I am pretty lonely for other friends in a way that I never expected to feel as a 31 year old woman.

So thank you for being transparent.

Rachel said...

Thanks, Brandy.

Janna Barber said...

Sweet Rachel. I cannot think of a better reason for marriage than that, and a great picture of what it should look like as well. Thanks for the honesty and truth here. Being alone is not miserable, but pretending to never feel lonely would be false. Beautifully shared!

Phil B. said...

I was single until age 37 and then married and then divorced. I know what you're talking about, about feeling like people are thinking I'm weird because I'm in my late 30's and not married. Yep, that's a feeling I'm keenly in touch with.

I can also say with great assurance, however, that nothing in the world feels MORE lonely than being with someone and knowing that they don't love you anymore...that they're in the same room but in a much different place, right beside you in the bed but 10,000 miles away emotionally.

I say that not for sympathy, but to let you know that what you're feeling resonates deeply with me. I can also I'm almost to the other side of the end of my marriage relationship...that loneliness is just a feeling, that Jesus really is closer to us at those times than we imagine, that He does know what we're feeling and what we're going through, and that He knows that it's OK to put us through this if it means we'll draw even an inch closer to Him. He did that to me, except those inches were actually much closer to miles in the distance that I've covered to get to know Him better, and as much as it sucked, I can see now that it was a good thing, that it was a loving thing, and that I'm a better man for it.

You're going to be OK, Rachel. You really are. No one who knows you, even on the margins like me, has any doubt about that.

And one more thing...let's be honest here: A lot of guys in your age range are still boys and not men. It's a true epidemic, and the number of REAL men seems to grow more rare each day. Waiting to find the right one may truly take a while. If he's out there, he's going to be worth the wait, just as much as YOU'RE worth the wait. And you really are worth the wait. Of that I can be sure.

Rachel said...

I don't know what to say other than thank you, Phil. I truly appreciate your honest and vulnerability, as well as your encouragement and affirmation.

Laura Ward said...

Rachel, I know we don't really know each other; our worlds have overlapped a bit but we haven't had a chance to spend much time together. I have a feeling that if we did, I would find a kindred spirit in you. Your words in this post (and others) mirror my own thoughts and feelings. Your writing is honest, beautiful, and true. Thank you.