Lately, I have been thinking about what God is trying to teach me in my season of singleness. I’m not going to lie and say that singlehood is where it’s at one hundred percent of the time because it’s not. Although I am enjoying the single life, I still have my days of wanting somebody to call home (I am so quoting Anthony Evans, don’t know who he is? Check him out https://youtu.be/UG9PvagzpXs). Every month, my facebook page is flooded with friends beginning courtships, announcing engagements, posting wedding pictures/videos, and sharing the joys of finding the one whom their soul loves. Then, there’s me. 26 and single… Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for all of my friends who are happily dating and married; but I tend to wonder “When will it be my time?” I hear friends and family alike tell me “You’re time will come,” or “Don’t worry, you are worth the wait,” and other empowering cliches that I have heard since puberty. Hearing those words have the tendency to become mundane and annoying eventually. So after I whine and complain to God about the struggles of being a “young,” single woman in ministry, God had to explain to me by illustrating an object lesson using a dress. He had to remind me of my experiences of dress shopping.
The Dress Shopping struggle
One of the greatest highs and lows in a woman’s world is shopping for the right dress. Allow me to share with you a story about one of my interesting dress experiences.
Last year, one of my cousins were getting married and had asked me to be a hostess for the wedding (aka the glorified wedding greeter). Of course, I said “yes” because I love her dearly. She had informed me that the hostess dress color should be gray. At first, I didn’t worry about getting a dress at that moment because I thought I could easily find a gray dress in a flash. Two days before leaving for the wedding, I stood corrected with no gray dress to wear to the wedding. Finding a gray dress in the month of August was harder than I thought. Most of the gray dresses looked like something I would wear to an office job than a wedding while some of the other dresses looked too spicy or too AARP for my personal style. There were many shades of gray (not the movie) and various styles. I was going for a tea length dress since the theme of the wedding was vintage. There were some dresses I had a liking for, but the price was certainly not right.
So now you can see how picky I am when it comes to dress shopping. Back in the day, I would buy a dress for an event and not wear it again, now I find myself investing in formal dresses that I am able to wear at another function. The other issue I was facing was not having my mother and sister around to give me approval of the dresses. But thanks to modern technology, I was able to send them pictures of the dresses I was trying on. I remembered there was a dress I tried on but I wasn’t really feeling it. I took a “selfie” in the dress with a concerned face and sent it to mom. She asked why was I looking down and I simply said: “Because finding a dress is like finding a husband…. burdensome.” Now this was a situation that God mentioned concerning “Mr. Right.”
I have realized that the reason why it was hard for me to find the right dress was because I couldn’t find the right fit. I needed to find a dress that fits well on me, not too tight or loose, but just right. It has to compliment me- personality and style. I have to make sure that the dress has great coverage and not exposure.The material must be something with a strong wear and tear, not a lousy piece of fabric. I made sure to avoid buying a dress just to say that I bought a dress; if I wasn’t completely content with the dress, I wouldn’t even think of buying it. I rather leave a store empty handed than leaving a store with a dress and regretting it in the long run. This was when I realized that buying a dress was not a game, especially if I want the right one. This was what God had revealed to me and applied it to the dating topic.
Here are some reasons why finding a mate is similar to dress shopping:
- Intentionality– First things first, my ultimate goal of dress shopping is to buy a dress that is the right fit for me. One of the things that God has revealed to me is the importance of being intentional in my relationships. I need to know exactly what I want in a relationship, especially an exclusive relationship. I need to be clear on my expectations of what I am looking for in a mate. The overall goal for dating is to know who is worthy of changing my last name.
- Complimentary– I am learning the importance of balance. My future husband’s characteristics must be able to compliment mine. He doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of me, but he shouldn’t clash with my personality or it would be ugly. During my dress shopping adventures, I am able to identify types of colors that compliment my skin tone. The color and style of the dress must be able to enhance my natural beauty. The person I marry must be able to enhance me as a person, not to change me. This person must also be able to compliment with my calling in ministry. They must be able to compliment me as a pastor. When others see him, they must be able to say that he is taking the call of being the pastor’s spouse seriously. Proverbs 27: 17 tell us “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another person.” I am realizing that I need someone who must be able to help me grow physically, spiritually, mentally, financially, and socially.
- Coverage– It is important to find a mate that will not expose your weaknesses but covers them with prayer. Like some of the dresses I’ve tried on, they were nice looking but when I took the time to try them on, I felt uncomfortable wearing it in public because it exposed many areas of my body. I wanted a dress that made me feel comfortable without having to cover it with a shawl or a bolero. I wanted a dress to make me look good in public. I realized that it is mandatory to be covered by the prayers and faith of my future husband, especially in my line of work. As someone once mentioned, “Bae ain’t Bae, if Bae don’t pray.” (I know that the word “Bae” is the Danish word for “poop”, but I was just using the “urban dictionary” version of “Bae” meaning “Boo.”). Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 about the need for praying for one another consistently. Therefore, it is vital to date/marry someone who is able to pray for you.
- Patience– From experience, I found myself being quick to commit before taking the time to evaluate the pros and cons concerning the guys I’ve interacted with. It’s normally as a result of being desperate finding a temporary fix. Many of us are guilty of buying the first dress we lay our eyes on before trying it on and later on looking for the receipt to return it back to the store. From trying on dresses, I was able to learn the style of dresses that compliments my figure and the dresses that I would not desire to be caught dead wearing. As tiring as it is trying on dresses, I realized that it was worth it after finding the right one from hindsight. What God wanted to tell me in this season was to not settle for less than His best. ( I know, it’s a cliche, but it’s so true!) The Bible tells us in Psalm 27:14 “Wait patiently for the Lord, be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” I have to put this verse in my reminders app on my iPhone everyday to remind me of being patient. It’s not easy, but it pays to be patient because it saves us from heartbreak, drama, and regrets.
I remember talking to one of my friends about this topic and she mentioned that the man that God has for her has to be the perfect fit for her. I find it interesting that God was able to use my dress shopping experiences to help me understand the concept of waiting on the one. I realized that God has someone tailor-made just for me. Only God knows what I need in a help meet. Only He can give me discernment of the one who is the right fit, compliments, and covers me very well. So while I’m waiting, I’m just going to continue to enjoy singlehood until it’s the right time. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God makes all things beautiful in His time. What a great promise to remember. The good news is, God can do the same for you. He has someone tailor-made for you, just gotta wait for it! (Note the slight Hamilton quote)
Forever Naturally Adorned,
P.S. For those who were curious about the dress I wore to my cousin’s wedding, here’s a picture of me wearing it: