Singleness & the Myth of Scarcity

“I’ve never known a love like this.”

The refrain often found below posts of diamond rings and starry-eyed kisses. A declaration in the midst of thoughtful vows said in white dresses with peonies as far as the eye can see.

“I’ve never known a love like this.”

Printed on picture frames with tiny squishy baby fingers clasping onto their mother’s hand behind the glass. Spoken in awe as a mother’s heart continues to grow with each day, each footstep, each new word, each milestone.

“I’ve never known a love like this.”

These words are not mine to own. I have not earned the right to speak them. My life does not have the relationships deserving of this kind of love. 

I am not wife. 

I am not mother. 

These are the roles that expand our capacity to love and be loved. This kind of love is reserved for the lucky few.

I accepted this message for a long time. Resigned myself to a lower level of love and intimacy. Painfully embracing that, at least for now, my heart simply won’t swell to the size of my married and mothered counterparts. 

I pursued marriage at all and great cost. There was nothing for me besides marriage. Like a horse with blinders on, there was one goal, one prize, one love. And who could blame me? Don’t you want to know a deeper level of love in your life? Would you want to miss out on this “once in a lifetime” kind of love?

***

I don’t remember what happened that day about a month ago, how my friends showed up, what they did or said. They show up so often now, so intensely, so fully I can lose track of the love. But as I got ready for bed, my breath caught. I felt it. My heart about to burst, my soul at ease and secure, my heart fully known and loved.

“I’ve never known a love like this.”

I myself was shocked. This phrase, there in my mind, in my being, the thing that was not mine for the taking, it was there. Mine. Truth.

My road to this moment had been rocky at best and traumatic on the worst days. Friendship is hard, and we are so often ill-equipped to build these relationships well. I often wonder how much pain could have been avoided if my youth group had taken even half the time we spent talking about dating and instead seriously discussed friendship as an equal gift to cultivate and steward.

Our primal desire as humans to rate, rank and compete never ceases to surprise me, and the damage our competitive mindset causes, particularly in our relationships with each other, is larger than I think most of us can comprehend.

From a young age, culture and Church teach us the rank of relationships. Marriage the ultimate, motherhood in a close second and then, somewhere down that priority list, you should probably have some friends to have a “girls’ night” with every once in awhile.

By our teenage years we know, not only what is expected of us, but also what will bring supreme happiness. It’s just logical. There has to be some reason marriage is ultimate. It must be better, we think, more fulfilling, more intimate than anything else. There is a formula for love and singleness is nowhere to be found in that equation.

And so we throw ourselves into the rat race that is dating, again comparing and ranking and competing, deeply believing the lie that there is only so much love so we better gorge ourselves now before someone takes all that is left. 

“Do not be consumed by the kingdom of scarcity.”

This quote sits framed on my navy blue dresser, a gift from one of those friends who is continually cracking my heart wide, loving me in ways I thought I would never know outside of marriage.

“Do not be consumed by the kingdom of scarcity.” Those nine words slay me again and again. 

There is enough.

There is enough.

There is enough.

I say it over and over again, whispering it to my frantic, longing, fearful soul, hoping the truth will stick just a moment longer this time.

There is enough love. Enough worthiness. Enough intimacy. Enough presence. There is daily bread for our relationally desperate hearts. There is enough.

But we are scared, jealous, prideful, selfish, fallen. We are fully invested in the “kingdom of scarcity” and to divest would demand faith, humility, creativity and sacrifice. 

The most wonderful gift of my singleness is these friendships, because I know if I had married young, I would have missed this. I would have wrapped myself up so completely in the ultimate relationship, the ideal, the formula, that I would have had no capacity to see and be seen by these women.

However painfully unwanted this cracking open of singleness has been, it is in that open, tender, fragile heart that I have found the joy of deeply committed friendships, friendships that are in no way “second” to marriage or motherhood. Daily my dear friends and I are blowing up the false rankings, the black and white narratives, the competition that never needed to exist. We are standing up to the kingdom of scarcity, while being good wives, loving mothers, faithful singles, and screaming at the top of our lungs, “There is enough!’

Because this love. This knowing and being known. This presence. This commitment. And it’s not for the lucky few. It’s for us all.

Holly Stallcup

Founder & Executive Director at Rise
Holly is the founder and executive director of Rise, a nonprofit connecting and equipping people so that the Church would be a place where women thrive. People are her passion. Rest for her is hot tea, good books, painted nails & delicious food shared with good people. She lives with her beloved dog Jack in Fort Worth, Texas.
Holly Stallcup

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