There is probably no other stage of life that is wished away more than the stage of singleness. For many, it is a time defined by longings, desires, hopes and dreams for the future. For some, it is a season that is marked by loneliness, pain, and isolation.

No matter what kind of feelings the stage of singleness may trigger within you, there is no doubt about it that we live in a society that seems to cater to couples and families - many times at the expense of those who are single. It’s not always easy to navigate through this stage while keeping your self-esteem, value and self-worth intact- particularly while immersed in a society that fools you into believing that you are incomplete without a mate. Words like soul-mate and other-half innately declare that there is something missing until you find that special someone.

I am a huge fan of relationships and healthy marriage - but with that said I am here to proclaim that your value has nothing to do with your relationship status, and everything to do with a God who has made you whole, complete, and lacking nothing…all while standing alone. 

Yet with that out on the table, I remember so vividly the struggles of singleness - the days of navigating through life, extremely aware of, and sometimes fed up with my aloneness. For those of you who are struggling in this stage of life, find peace in the fact that it is a stage that is indeed, at times, marked by struggle.

But with struggle, there is always the opportunity for growth, for faith, and for healing. No matter where you are on your journey of singleness, here is an age by age reminder of some things to get help get you through.

Teens: Dear Teenager, I hate to be so blunt about this but this is a time in your life in which you were meant to be single. I know, I know, that sounds so old fashion. But here’s the thing, what’s actually old fashion is being in a committed relationship while in your teens! My grandmother was engaged to be married at 14, and then married with her first child on the way at 15. It’s old fashion to seek out relationships at this young age because it forces you to believe that your main purpose in life is to find someone to love you, when really, this stage of life should be all about learning to love yourself.

Don’t wish this time away, but use it to focus on the things that really matter and maybe even begin to catch a glimpse of the things that God is calling you to. Develop your strengths and know your weaknesses, but most importantly - have a lot of fun. Relationships will always be a part of your life, but friends and family won’t. Use this time to enjoy the people around you- not for what they have to offer you, but for what you have to offer them. Embracing your singleness doesn’t mean that you give up the desire to find true love, but that you learn to enjoy the ride.

Twenties: I used to think of the 20s as the guaranteed time in life to snag a mate. But that was before I was aware of the fact that you have no idea who you are when you enter into your 20s. If the teens taught me self-centeredness, the 20s showed me that I really have no concept of who my actual self is at all. Looking back, this was definitely the time in my life where I changed, developed, evolved and matured in so many ways. The seeds of interest, passions, and talents were planted in my teens, but they grew into significance within my 20s.

With that said, it’s easy to get stuck on singleness when you’re in your twenties. It seems like everyone around you is immersed in love and romance, and you somehow begin to feel incomplete and alone. Don’t give into those lies, and rather see this as a chance to invest in the relationship that will one day encompass your life. The better you know yourself, and more you understand who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going- the better your future relationship will one day be. Don’t fixate on finding the one, because while you are doing that, you will find that you have lost yourself. It is dangerous to lose yourself in this stage of life, because these are the years that begin shaping and defining who you are. Commit to the pursuit of yourself, and know that with each step you are investing in the future of a healthy, mature, and vigorous love.