Why Not | By Bethany Sousa
When you are single, ‘relationship’ can be such an ugly word. The kind of word that makes you feel gross inside. Like you ate too many nachos or something. Okay, maybe that’s too dramatic, but I’m sure you can relate. I’ve been single most of my life, and to be honest it’s been an emotionally challenging concept for me to understand. There’s nothing more annoying than meeting someone for the first time and them asking, “So, are you dating anyone?” my response of “nope” is always followed by the dreaded, “Why not?”. Sometimes I want to respond with something rude like “Gee-I don’t know. Why don’t you go figure it out for me ‘cause obviously I don’t know what I’m doing”. Sometimes I want to be bluntly honest and respond with “It’s because I have standards and apparently I can’t seem to find a man out there who’s not too lazy or self-centered to respect them”. Then there’s those times where I don’t even want to answer and would rather walk away. Most of the time I just respond with “I don’t know”, because I really don’t know. Because let’s face it, if I really knew, I’d probably fix it. It was uncomfortable having this question asked every time I met someone new, so I decided to face my frustration and dissect my discomfort and have an honest conversation with God about this why not question looming over me.
I’m a single woman, who hasn’t been on a date in over two years. Still holding the “V card”, and fearful of getting married late, or worse never! I’m not even a deep fan of online dating/apps because I still believe in the whole love at first sight gushy stuff. Now that I’m inching toward my 30th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on this “deal” I made with God about five years ago. I had just turned 25 and I was mourning over this lost identity that I had created for myself. It was this image (or to put it plainly, an expectation) of being married in my early 20’s, having a house, having kids, of being this ideal woman that I saw so many other ladies around me fulfilling with such poise. But on my 25th birthday, I realized God had something else in mind, and my “idea” wasn’t really meant for me. This didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt when none of these things happened, but I realized a valuable mistake had been made on my part. I had planned out my life according to what I thought was supposed to happen. Because of my social upbringing, I had planted that sucker deep into my souls’ identity. This really messed with my personal view on who I was as a woman both in life and in the Kingdom. While I watched so many of my friends get married and have kids while slowly drifting away from me and into their magical world of marriage, I couldn’t help but continue to hear this “why not” question on repeat. So I dug deeper with God. Spending a lot of time trying to understand what relationships are and what healthy expectations even look like. Through the last five years, I have gone through different seasons of mourning as well as expectations that were tried and tested. My theology was tested. My morals and values were tested. Even my character was tested, and I still came out asking “why not”.
My expectations became a vice instead of guidelines. I used to think boys didn’t ask me out because I wasn’t pretty enough, but I realized I probably didn’t notice when a guy was interested because I was so locked onto this idea of a man. Blind sided by myself – that let’s face it, wasn’t even real! It was a fantasy made up to keep me hopeful. I was taught by church to have this list of qualities I wanted in a man and that God would fulfill them. You can imagine how eager I was looking around, waiting patiently, anxiously tuning in to hear God say, “And now Bethany, here is your man!”. And then imagine the disappointment in my heart as I lived the following years trying to find him on my own – because apparently God was making me hunt him down. Yeeeaaahhh…that also didn’t go so well.
So, here I am today, and that question remains the same. However, I find myself responding differently now. You see, I realized my hearts mistake in trying to tell God what I was going to do with my life, while thinking I could also follow Him as a disciple. I recognized my disobedience, was willing to put in the time, effort, and willing to feel deep pains of correction that would realigned my heart with His to receive freedom. “Why not?” Well, maybe it’s because my story is different than my friends, my moms, even my siblings. Maybe it’s because my personal journey is going to speak to a specific person. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned to not let it loom over me like a cloud of fear and worry. But instead, I’ve learned to let it be a gift that gives me freedom and tenacity. I don’t know if I ever will get married, have the house, the kids, etc. But I do know that that isn’t my current reality. It is a dream that I pray becomes reality one day. I can hope and have faith for, but it is not my identity.
Time and time again I see such incredible women get stuck in life because of these expectations. I get it, we were made for and desire intimacy and companionship. As I began searching deeper in my heart, and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to me how I must move in a direction of fulfillment, it came down to some important personal perspectives that I, and I alone, had to change. One day at a time.
BETHANY is a singer/songwriter currently living in Nashville, TN. Her dream and desire is to partner with other artists collaboratively to help bring awareness to the audience an awakening of purpose. In today’s western culture, we have focused too music on selfish ego and not enough on the bigger picture–we’re all here for a purpose, and we all play an important role in achieving that goal in each other Art is such an intense expression and tool to use to help awaken peoples minds and souls of their own existence. Music heals us mentally and spiritually, and one of her main goals is to help bring that healing, one song at a time.