I’m a Fundamental, Independent Baptist…and I’m single. In our circles, that’s akin to having leprosy. A woman, at my age, and still single…well! Let’s just say…there must be a reason. The idea that single is bad and married (to anyone) is infinitely preferable is a philosophy that has inundated the very fiber of Baptist culture. [Just to clarify…I’m not IFB. That really isn’t a thing, you know. And no one had ever heard that term until Dateline made up a story about it…just FYI.] But back to the topic at hand…
Saying, “I’m single” is sorta like saying, “I have cancer.” People look at you with pity. They pray for you, try to encourage you, and tell you stories of their second cousin Betty who was single until she was 43, then God miraculously “blessed her with a man.” They hope you won’t die from it, but they are resigned to the fact that if you’re too far gone, there really is no hope.
Being single – a single woman – in a Baptist church is an enigma. No one knows where you fit. You didn’t follow the plan. You broke the pattern.
Well, let me help you. “The truth will set you free,” and I’m about to lay a few truths on ya…
Being single doesn’t mean that I have no responsibilities…It also doesn’t mean that you can guilt me into signing up to help out with your “ministry.” I do not flounder in an abundance of free time.
Being single does not mean that I’m “boy crazy” if I talk about a guy, or that I’m a “man-hater” if I don’t.
Being single does not mean that I love to babysit. I do not want to “borrow your children” for the day…and please, don’t ask me to babysit for the Valentines Banquet. What’s wrong with you???
Being single does not mean that I’m one step above a teenager. It also does not mean that God is just waiting until I’m “a little more mature” until He “shows me His plan.” I’m not sitting around waiting for my life to start.
Being single does not mean that I’ve failed…at anything.
Being single does not mean that I have to be thrilled to pieces when you introduce me to your also-single friend from high school who is cross-eyed and balding. “What’s wrong with him?” you ask. Um, I dunno. Maybe the fact that he’s cross-eyed. And balding.
Being single does not mean that I have unlimited funds. Just because I don’t have children doesn’t mean I don’t have bills. Also, have you looked at a tax booklet lately?? Tax returns? I don’t get those.
Being single does not mean that I’m bitter, or depressed, or pining.
It does mean, however, that I am realistically frustrated with the narrow-minded thinking which promulgates the idea that a woman’s worth is measured by her ability to “catch” a husband and produce children…that anyone who does not fall into that ideal is somehow broken and worthy of patronizing pity.