Chandler Grace Mann/The Collective
My Dallas community is filled with some incredible people. I'm lucky that Chandler is one of them. Chandler and I have known of each other for years, but we only became friends a few months ago. People said we would love each other and click, and boy were they right. We haven't stopped hanging out since the first night we met (I'm not kidding we are probably together 5/7 days a week lol) Excessive? Maybe, but somehow we never run out of things to talk about, to dream, and scheme about. (and if you know us you know we are both talkers soo yup! we can chat for hours on end) She is a creator, a dreamer, a loyal friend, and insanely talented. She is the creative details behind this blog, and the person who helped me press "go" on this whole thing. She knows how to love and celebrate the heck out of her friends ( I swear, this girl is helping a friend/celebrating the small things with them every.single.day.) But, my favorite thing about Chandler is her heart for the Lord, which in turn, channels her heart to love and serve people so well. She is bold, and consistent in challenging herself and others to be better. She is my Dallas "blonde to my brunette", and I could not be more excited to feature her as the first person in the Single Society Collective.
"Singleness. A word that holds so much weight but can lack clarity in its purpose and design. For the majority of us we are conditioned to believe marriage is the ultimate arrival, the prize, the goal..I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as second best when it comes to singleness.
If you would have asked me even 5 short years ago how I would feel about my current state as a single in her late twenties, I would have been sick to my stomach. I wish I was kidding with you, but this news would have been absolute WORST case scenario to me. Some kind of unwanted purgatory that I would be desperately trying to claw my way out of. By the grace of God I’ve been able to thrive in singleness not because I have it all figured out, but because I have a savior that does.
Let me start out by telling you I do have a desire to be married. Sometimes when I speak on Singleness or write about it people automatically assume I’m called to it for life or that I don’t want to be married, this could not be farther from the truth. I do have a desire to be a wife, but I refuse to sit at an empty table every night wishing my single life away. I’m writing this because I wish someone would have helped me navigate this season or at the very least pointed me to truth and spurred me on towards the purpose behind it.
Growing up I was always the girl with a boyfriend. I found my identity in it rather than in Jesus and you can only imagine how that turned out. When things were good in my relationships I was good, when things were bad, I was an emotional wreck. Living on a constant rollercoaster I thought being a wife was the goal, the end all be all so I exhausted myself in this role. I believed that, you go to college, fall in love and TADAH here comes the perfect Godly man right as you begin senior year, or if you’re lucky even earlier. I was left unprepared, insecure and searching for worth when this wasn’t my story.
How do we combat the assumption that singleness is second best? We learn the purpose and fix our eyes on the creator.
Know the purpose for singleness
I’ve heard it all, “God will give you a husband when you’re not looking,” “your time will come “ “ Why are you still single?” etc etc. I have mixed responses to these humbling remarks. First and foremost it truly saddens me that there is a lack of knowledge about this season of life. Although this is not something I necessarily chose for myself it is the sweetest gift that i’ve been entrusted with. A Gift. Just as marriage is a gift, so is singleness. It is a gift of God’s grace to us. Learning the purpose behind it made my perspective change. Most of us have a general understanding of marriage, It is God’s loving gift to mankind, a symbol of a God ordained permanent union between His Son and the Church. How could singleness not feel second best to that?! The good news is we aren’t. Scripture shows us that Jesus is the bridegroom who will return to take his bride, the church, to be with him forever in eternity. Is this not the best news ever?! Regardless of if we marry this side of heaven, we will not be single forever. If you are single right now, you’ve been entrusted with time, treasure and flexibility to serve the Kingdom of God. I have been able to serve more, disciple more, steward more, live more than I ever thought possible. I wasn’t sitting back wishing it away or dwelling on what could’ve been. I have been able to pour myself and my gifts out for the church. Although our finite minds seem to have a hard time with singleness, scripture is very clear about it’s purpose. ( 1 Cor 7:8 )
Keep your Eyes Fixed on Jesus not yourself
I’ve spent a whole lot of wasted time with my eyes on myself and my current circumstances and not enough time on the creator of the universe. It is easy to take my eyes off of Him to compare my life and my season of singleness to everyone around me. There are so many hard things I’ve been able to work out with the Lord without attaching another person to them and sinking them in the process. I’m not going to paint singleness as the most glamorous thing in the world. I was the maid of honor in four weddings in the past three years and now three of those friends have babies. At times It can feel like everyone in this world is moving on without you, but once again that’s the result of looking parallel and not fixing our gaze above. Let’s be honest, just because we know the purpose and are stewarding singleness well that doesn’t mean all the loneliness will go away. One thing I do know is Marriage isn’t going to satisfy only Jesus can do that. Marriage isn’t going to fix all problems and it would be foolish to sit through singleness believing that lie. However, we do know one day all suffering and difficulty with disappear even those associated with singleness ( Rev. 7:17 ; 19: 7 ).
Knowing scripture and keeping my eyes fixed above have been the two tools I have used to fight discontentment in singleness. I preach these words above to myself all the time. It is a refining process and I wouldn’t change it for anything! At the end of the day, check your heart’s intention. If you want out of this season because you think it’s going to fill a void, it’s not. I beg you to ask the Lord to reveal himself in a deeper way than you’ve ever imagined. There is a God in Heaven that desperately loves you and wants to be on the throne of your heart. Please don’t make this an idol like I once did because it only leads to destruction and wasted time. Singleness is the sweetest gift, my prayer is that we see it as such."
My hope is that Chandler's story in singleness encourages you to "refuse to sit at an empty table every night wishing your single life away.” We challenge you to view singleness not as "second best", but as a season, for opportunity, and as a gift.