“You're created to do something no one else can do. How are you going to find out that purpose? You’ve got to check in with your Creator…
"We may think we know what we’re good at. We all have these visions of what we want our lives to be like. But it’s not until we surrender and say, ‘All right God, I’ve done it enough on my own. It’s Your turn. Speak. Why did You create me? I need You. I cannot do this on my own’... It’s not until that point of brokenness that we hear from the Lord clearly, and then we begin to move in our purpose.
"When you’re moving in your purpose, you’re fine. Whether you’re single or married with 10 kids, you’re fine."
The Search for a Soulmate (part 1)
By Jennifer E. Jones
'All By Myself'
News flash: the majority of women sing “All By Myself.”
Earlier this year, America was surprised to learn that, based on a recent U.S. census, 51 percent of women are not married. Stats like this were not surprising to writer and TV producer Andrea Wiley. She walked away from a successful Hollywood career (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Jamie Foxx Show, The Parkers, etc.) to address the startling issue as it relates to the African American community. For two years, she conducted her own research and found shocking results.
- Seventy percent of all African American women are single.
- Nearly 45 percent of all African American women have never been married.
- Between the ages of 30 and 35, almost 50 percent of African American women have never been married compared to 16 percent of White women.
- African American women are five times more likely to be single at 40 than White women.
These findings and more are the fuel behind her latest DVD documentary, Soulmate. It’s an introspective look at singleness through the eyes of those who live it. In interviews with everyday singles, authors such as Michelle McKinney Hammond, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale, and many others, Wiley uncovers the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of finding Mr. Right.
I chatted with Wiley, who spoke candidly about the documentary from her home in Los Angeles, California.
'Why Are You Still Single?'
Wiley conducted many “man-on-the-street” interviews to capture how average singles felt about their search for love. She found both sexes lamenting how difficult it was to even date successfully. With men and women expressing concern for the lack of available options, it’s a wonder why they can’t find each other.
I posed the question to Wiley who said with a laugh, “That’s the million dollar question! The women are serious. They’re saying they’re out there. I do not know why both groups are saying they can’t find good people when you and I personally know that there are tons of great women out there. There are a lot of good men; there just are not as many.”
Wiley found that the ratio of college-aged Black men in college versus prison is only 2.6 to 1, whereas 28 to 1 for White men.
“That’s huge,” she exclaims. “Then you look at the fact that more and more Black women are going to college than Black men. That’s the time when women meet potential husbands. But for many women, they’re looking around and seeing more of themselves. You eliminate the men who are married, gay… There are less and less Black men who are available.”
Wiley says that high standards and impossible criteria could also attribute to the disconnect.
“They could have a great candidate under their noses, and they’re over looking them,” she explains. “They don’t make enough money; they don’t have enough education (or in the women’s case, they’re too educated); they’re too high-maintenance. And we’re not taking the time to just stop, communicate and find out the heart of a person.”
'Behind the Mask'
In the documentary, Wiley filmed roundtable discussions with singles on their hopes and fears in love.
During one emotional moment, 40-year-old celebrity makeup artist, Vanessa, confessed, “Because I believe there is no one for me, I’ve allowed ministry to take over my world… I say, ‘God, you’ve given me all these gifts… and when I come home and turn the key, there’s no one to share it with.’ Sometimes when I come home, it’s so devastating that I sit on that couch and I cry.”
Former singles pastor Donald Bell concurred that church can be both a haven and a lonely place. He said of his own singleness, “I dove into ministry, dove into being folks’ friends, and all the other things that look like I’m managing this thing well. What I did not realize -- and it’s the truth that I based the entire singles ministry on – was that I ain’t the only one. Feels like it, but I’m not the only one.”
So is it true that singles in the church are hiding their loneliness behind achievement and busyness?
“Absolutely, “Wiley says. “We are all born with a hole in our souls, and it’s a hole that we try to fill with money, sex, work, prestige, and status. People are still unfilled. It’s a hole I believe that God placed there, and it’s a God-sized hole that only He can fill. I think because of that void, we try to mask it, stuff it and deal with it in every way but how we should – and that’s completed surrender to the Lord and seeking Him for our purpose.”
Read part 2 of "The Search for a Soulmate".
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