EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness, please click here to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I am 28 years old and have never been asked out. I have been set up on one blind date before, but never a date that is initiated by a guy. I am starting to ask myself, "What's wrong with me?" I try to be pleasant and smile. I understand that the guy should do the pursuing, but what does it mean when "no one" is pursuing? I would just like to know what I'm doing wrong.
HE SAID: First of all, there is nothing wrong with you. You are thoughtfully and wonderfully made in God's image. I understand hearing this may not bring you any solace, but he knows about and appreciates your desires, he loves you and wants the absolute best for you, and you are not alone.
There are over 100 million single women in the world and I can surmise there may be thousands who have not been asked out on a date before, of which I know a few. This too may not relieve the hurt and emptiness you may be experiencing, however God does understand what you are going through.
You ask, "What does it mean when 'no one' is pursuing?"
There may be a number of possibilities—the guys you meet may not want to date at this time (as per 1 Corinthians 1:27), they may be afraid to ask you out (which happens frequently), they may not be attracted to you (which isn't necessarily a reflection upon you), you may not have made yourself available enough (by getting out and meeting people) or God may be protecting you (both emotionally and physically).
I don't have the answer for and won't make any excuses why guys aren't taking the initiative to ask you out nor can I understand why there are so many fantastic godly women who go "un-dated." However, there is only one thing you have control over in a relationship (or desired relationship)—yourself.
You can seek areas in your life that need attention and ways to better prepare yourself for a relationship when the time comes. Pursue interests, endeavors and activities that you won't have the opportunity to do if you were in a relationship. Reach out to others and serve their needs rather than focusing on your own. Through this you may discover something about yourself and in the process be brought alongside a man who shares your interests. God does have our best interest in mind.
"I will make him a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18).
Oftentimes, when it seems as if nothing I do, plan or want seems to work (according to my desires), I realize my time with God has diminished or I am not focusing enough on him and his desires for me. God may just be trying to get your attention because he wants "more" of you in this season of your life.
There are so many lessons we can learn each day when we open ourselves up to him and to those things he wants to teach us. Rarely does a day go by when I don't experience one of those "only could have been God" moments in my life, but I have to purposely and deliberately be looking and listening in order to do so.
Our human perspective of life is often flawed. We view it from a fallen world and rarely understand and are unable to comprehend how God is using each event and person in our lives to piece together who we are to become and thus who would be best for us.
We may never know why a person we are attracted to isn't attracted to us, why when everything seems to be perfect with a relationship it isn't, or why somebody else always seems to have all of the dates. Nor should we be consumed with the thought. If our attention is on who or what we want rather than on God's desire for us, we will miss out on hearing his best for us.
Pursue God and he will provide someone he created you for who will pursue you.
SHE SAID: Oh, my heart goes out to you—as I'm sure do those of many of our female readers. We have all experienced feelings like this of insecurity, of discouragement, of loneliness and of frustration when no one chooses us or seems to take notice.
Whether we like it or not, as women, our sense of worth seems to come primarily from the men in our lives. Right or wrong (mostly wrong!), we look to them for validation that we are lovely. And even if you're not dating anyone or being pursued by someone, you can identify via your relationship with your earthly father. Were you or are you adored by him? If not, perhaps there is another paternal male figure (an older brother, uncle, pastor, teacher, etc.) in your life who has taken interest in you and shown you his care, concern or love for you. How did it make you feel?
When you are cherished and desired—when you feel like someone has stamped you with "You are special to me!"—then you glow. You just do. Who doesn't want to feel like the object of someone's eye? Who doesn't want to know that they hold a special place in another's heart? Who doesn't want to feel that kind of security? I know I do.
But back to your question. ... My short and honest answer is this: I don't know what it means that you're not being asked out, I don't know what you're doing wrong and I'm not going to speculate. Believe me, I've asked myself this question many times before. In a dry season—whether it be short or life-long—it is difficult not to pin our self-worth on who or what is in our lives. And it is difficult to keep our eyes on the unseen instead of on what we can see.
Since we don't have all of the answers (nor do we always ever get them), I think the best and most strategic question that we (females who aren't being pursued) should really be asking is this: What is God asking of me right now in my life and what is he trying to teach me?
And this leads to the issue of trust: trusting that God has a purpose and a plan for your life, beyond your momentary, undesirable circumstances. Beyond you not having dates. Beyond you not being asked out by the cute guy in your Sunday School class. Beyond you not getting noticed because of your godly character or the way you help others. Beyond this ... beyond that ... beyond anything!
When we are stuck in the mire of "why?", we shift our focus and we are not seeing where God wants to take us. We are missing where he wants to lead us so that we can serve him and experience the joy that comes from a heart with desires in tune with God's. We are missing out on the truth that we are already loved and as believers and children of the King we are already special and chosen and precious in God's sight (Psalms 139:13).
This may not be what you want to hear right now, and I promise I'm not trying to just throw Scripture your way to band-aid over your frustration and pain. But it really is true. During the times when no one has noticed me, when all of my friends have gotten married and had babies and achieved what I perceived to be "normal" milestones in their lives, when I have seen myself be the last single standing amongst my childhood girlfriends, when I have privately wept in the late hours of the night because of my circumstances, I have had to cling to the promises and Truth found in God's Word. Not the "truth" that the world conveys: that you're nothing if you don't have the affection and attention of a man.
Our confidence and our hope should come from who we are in Christ—first and foremost. It's what you and I simply must cling to, so that we are not living in despair and so that our lives (hearts and minds) will be open and free to be available for what God wants to do in and through our lives.
I know it is hard. I am there right now, too. But I must tell you that in this dry season, long though it may be, I have grown closer in my walk with the Lord. And he has worked in my life to correct and to change, to push me out of my comfort zone and to help others. What a source of comfort and hope he is to me in times when I am weak and feel unloved! I am thankful for how he has blessed my life and drawn me closer to him during this time period.
Whether or not you are being pursued, whether or not you have a boyfriend, whether or not you are on the track to getting married, it does not define who you are or your value or what your purpose is here on earth. Remember that. Remember that you are created in God's image. I'll say it again: He made you in his image (Genesis 1:26). He sent his Son to earth for you (John 1:1). He has pursued you since the beginning of time and continues to constantly pursue YOU and wants relationship with you and desires to show you his love (Zephaniah 3:17).
Believe that. Savor it. Hold on to it each and every time you feel frustrated and dejected as a single woman.
God loves you, he has a plan for you (even when you don't understand—Ecclesiastes 11:5) and he is working it out for his good so that he may be glorified in you. Let his light shine in your life, and I promise you that you will most definitely feel loved and will certainly glow.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … laura maccorkle, Senior Editor at Crosswalk.com. She loves God, her family and her friends. Singleness has taught her patience, deepened her walk with the Lord and afforded her countless (who's counting anyway?) opportunities to whip up an amazing three-course meal for one.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the 21st century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to living the single life, please submit here (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that He Said-She Said will be an encouragement to you.
**This column first published on December 24, 2009.