God forgive us for being single

God forgive us for being single February 13, 2024

Black female wearing white shirt under bright orange suit with large earrings; very serious facial expression, arms crossed
Image by Etty Fidel on Unsplash

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for being single, for not getting married so I could submit myself to the authority of a man who would guide me and make decisions for me, even though I am quite capable of doing so myself.

Forgive me for not obeying your command to “go forth and multiply”, even though that command was given at a time when the earth wasn’t over-populated like it is now.

Forgive me for daring to have the audacity to get educated in a profession once dominated by men, and for daring to raise my voice on behalf of myself and others in the workplace.

 

Forgive me for having the freedom to come and go as I like, to choose where I live and work, and which goals to pursue.

Forgive me for investing time and resources in other people’s children when I could have been focusing on children of my own.

Forgive me for being there for friends – single, married and divorced, – for lending a listening ear and making the time to visit, when I could have been attending to my own family.

 

Forgive me for not getting married, despite being an obedient, hardworking girl, and doing what I was told at home, school and church.

Forgive me for being such a disappointment to those who have elevated marriage above all else.

Forgive me for allowing people to question whether I or not I can really be your child since I am single… if my being single caused their faith in you to waiver, please forgive me.

Forgive me for being content in my state of husbandlessness. (I know that’s not a word, so please forgive me for using a word that doesn’t exist in the English language).

Forgive me for pursuing my goals and dreams and encouraging others to do the same. Afterall, what use are professional accomplishments without a husband and children?

In the meantime, please could you remind those who inspired this write up that …. Jesus Christ, whom many of them claim to follow, was single. I guess he had a special purpose and didn’t need to get married, so we’ll give him a pass. How about Paul, the great Apostle? Not only was he single, he actually discouraged people from getting married! Why is that ignored by people who claim to believe the Bible?

And while you’re addressing all these folks, please forgive me if I’m being too harsh.

Your favorite daughter,

(I know you don’t have favorites, but can I claim this, or do I need forgiveness for asking?)

Post script:

This somewhat satirical prayer was written as a response to the prevailing attitudes in many church communities that marriage is somehow a requirement for fulfillment and the implication that there is something wrong with being single. I grew up around missionaries, several of whom were single women, so I knew from an early age that it was possible to live a life of service to God without getting married and having a traditional family. I find it rather concerning that some people seem to have a problem with the fact that I am content and living a fulfilling life, “despite” being single. My heart truly goes out to the others whose desire to have traditional families were unfulfilled and are facing various forms of discrimination within the faith community. It’s time for these communities to accept that not everyone follows the same path, and marriage and child rearing are not the sole paths to fulfillment, nor are they requirements for acceptance into God’s kingdom.

Happy Galentine’s Day…….Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate! And yes, I once heard a pastor say that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it wasn’t “of the Spirit of God”. Looking back on that statement now, I wish I could ask him if his iPad and cars are “of the Spirit of God”. I rest my case.

About Olapeju Simoyan, MD, MPH
Dr. Olapeju Simoyan is a physician, board certified in family medicine and addiction medicine, with a special interest in the connections between faith and health. She strongly believes that faith and critical thinking are not mutually exclusive. As a female physician, Dr. Simoyan is also interested in women's issues and writes about religious abuse and trauma, with a focus on how misinterpretations of biblical texts have led to the perpetration of abuse within church settings. She has combined her writing and photography in several books, including Living Foolproof, a devotional based on reflections from the book of Proverbs. Her latest book, Transformation and Recovery - Lessons from the Butterfly, is a workbook suitable for people in recovery from addictions and other behavioral disorders. You can read more about the author here.
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