the ache of being an only one.

let us explore
the ache of being an only one

what is this ache,
i hear you say

what is this ache,
where you find in yourself this longing
that turns out to be a form of loneliness
a deep-seated fear of being alone

what is this only one,
this certain type of rejection
at the root of singleness
the searing emptiness
of being
“only one”
when we are sold the solution
to desire is
“the one”
we are told this “one”
will fill the void
will complete
will fulfil this need

as I learn the ache of being an only one
there is the temptation to idolise relationship
or to turn to other idols to feel complete

but what if One is all we need
what if being an only one
is to be free
free to love
free to serve
f r e e

so today, let’s talk about singleness:
1. let’s wrestle with the raw and the real
2. let’s translate longings into learnings
3. let’s consider strategies and boundaries
4. let’s equip with resources and scripture

the raw and the real
i’m super excited to share this blog today as it is
a collaborative, co-created and inspired work
the reflection below is from a fellow sister and poetic heart:
::  E S T H E R  ::  W O N G  ::
{ read/see more of her lovely creativity @sunshine_to_shadows }

as I enter the empty spaces,
I remember One whose presence

surrounds me.

as I stumble in the gaps of broken dreams,
I remember One who restores beauty in
His time.

as I learn the ache of being an only one
the yearning for comfort, connection,
someone to know, someone to cherish 

I remember
One who left His throne for me
One who was betrayed, broken-hearted,
One who was abandoned to bear
the wrath of His Father:
He, too, was an Only One
despised and rejected by all
that I may never be forsaken

for through His loneliness
His Comfort has become mine – 
my ever-present Lover
my Defender and my King
Whose embrace satisfies me
in the desolate places
Whose arm strengthens me for every battle

and I remember
I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine;
nothing can seperate us;
for though I am an only one

I am one with Him.

translating longings into learnings
last week i wrote some things
from my heart to yours

part one
singleness is a small, tender mercy from God –
the act of being open, available, ready
we are all the more prepared for the new things God has in store
for the new depths of sorrow and grief –
an ache that can spur a deeper commitment to fellowship of the body
a softer heart surrendered in worship
a stronger faith tied to the belief that God’s goodness and provision and love and protection is enough to sustain us
no matter our season or life stage or relationship status

part two
singleness is a gift –
a gift of time, to be spent and invested in service
a gift of vulnerability, for Jesus to meet us in the deep places
– because he is familiar with suffering, and has sent his spirit as our advocate –
a gift of family, as we are welcomed into an intimacy beyond blood and bone, beyond flesh and carnal
– as the Spirit of adoption cries out within us to our Father –
our Father who hears our longings, who knows our hearts, and whose heart is for us

part three
singleness is sacred –
to be set apart, to be holy
to be so dependent, so reliant on relationship with Jesus
that nothing else can be set up as an idol
that nothing else can steal that place in our hearts
the secret gate to our hearts deepest desire to be loved and to love
to devote this depth to God and only God alone is a journey, not a destination
it is not a one time decision to surrender
it is a daily suffering, of opening up the heart that threatens to seal over and close
with fear and shame and despair and lies and insecurity and aching
it is the act of inviting Jesus to minister to this place
to enter into our desires
and to so fill and satisfy us
that we can confidently claim to be content no matter the circumstances

part four

strategies and boundaries
another reason i am excited to explore
the topic of singleness
is because we don’t often address the ache
the ache of being an only one
and today i want us to walk away with some strategies
for when we feel this way

we need to identify what triggers the ache
notice your emotions and thoughts
these are effects that can be traced to cause

create strategies to combat the triggers
these might address the cause and/or effect
these aren’t intended to be legalistic rules, but more like
personal boundaries to prevent the perpetuation of the ache
when the longing can lead to a loneliness
which can speedily descend to sadness and darkness

when emotional despair surfaces:
express and reflect
articulate the ache
put it into words, into song, into art
make something from the sadness
see the beauty in your suffering
look for new learnings
be raw and real
{ with yourself, with others, with God }

imagine these strategies almost like notes to self:
+ soak in the psalms
+ do not watch rom coms when alone
+ seek counsel
+ speak scripture over your heart
+ get outside of your head and heart and go for a walk
+ listen to worship music
+ block that cute boy from instagram
+ write a new taylor swift album to your “non-existent lovers”
+ spend time in fellowship with others
+ call your mum
+ journal
+ pray (and ask others to pray)

set boundaries to guard your heart
we read in song of songs (2:7):
“do not awaken love before it is ready”
and we read in proverbs (4:2):
“above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”

when Israel read this proverb {see this helpful article}
their understanding of the heart was that is was who they are
there was a sense of wholeheartedness

it is almost like there is a protective core to who we are
and if we are not careful, we can invite others in the ache
we can push God away, allowing other things to enter our hearts

perhaps an unguarded heart is one that is:
too open, too revealing, too easily receiving of that which won’t bring filling or healing

and perhaps to guard our hearts is to:
allow ourselves to be fully and truly known by God and God alone
where we allow Him to reveal His heart to us
as we are:
 guarded in His love
safe and secure in Him
whole because He is whole

if we’re not careful with our hearts,
lies can creep in
lies that we’re not loved
b u t
when we know Whose we are
a n d
invite Him into the ache
then He Whispers
a new name to our ache


for in Him
is where love and truth reigns

translate the temporal ache into an eternal praise

resources and scripture
i want to encourage you, whether you’re single or not: you’re not alone
we all share the same ache
and we can help one another in our aching and groaning for the new creation
however, to embrace our ache and enter into the ache of another: we need to equip ourselves

so here are some resources i have found helpful over the last few years
{please comment below what you have found helpful!}

barneys bible talks:
+ singleness and the marriage to come
+ on contentment
+ three perspectives on marriage
+ singleness

other bible talks:
+ tranformation church series: relationship goals
+ particularly from the above series, talk two: single, not alone
{there are many more, but these are my recommendations}

bible verses:
+  1 Corinthians 7:32-35
+ Hosea 2:19-20
1 Corinthians 7:17
Psalm 34:18

the meaning of marriage, by tim keller
+ the sacred romance, by john eldredge
+ redeeming love, by francine rivers

there is so much more to be said
but this is a start
so let us keep exploring and learning

the ache of being an only one

but even more
let us keep bringing and surrendering

the ache of being
to the Only One
who can satisfy our need
and love us deep


Respond from the Heart