Singleness. The word that seems like the four-letter word to some. It's like that cousin that you don't want around. Or maybe that one fear you want to shake so badly. It seems like it's the worst thing to some people. But is it really that bad?
While in my singleness, I at first had this strong longing for a relationship. I would see everyone else around me and start thinking "Why don't I have someone? What's up with me?", or sometimes I'd think that no one likes me or ever will. I attended a college that never really discussed contentment, and if they did, contentment in singleness and joy in Christ were never in the list. In fact, they pushed "Ring By Spring" heavily. Then I got into a relationship and later on realized I wasn't ready for marriage, nor could I handle it with where I was at the time. All of these things brought me to where I am now.....single.
It's crazy because you think you know the direction of your life and where you would like for it to go, when in reality sometimes the direction of life is based on envy, the fact that everyone else has something, or someone, that you don't. That's been me before. I can't count the number of things I've idolized over things while forgetting about Christ.
The problem is that whether we have that joy in Christ or not will determine our perspective on satisfaction and contentment in him. Of course, because of the fall we are all prone to forget and seek our own heart's desires. Many times those desires aren't sinful. Yet sometimes they are. For me, it wasn't that being in a relationship or having a goal of marriage was wrong, more than it was about my thinking it was the best thing and the pinnacle of being a believer, when in reality, God wants me to be holy. I remember one time stopping, repenting, and asking the Lord to help me focus on him while I was thinking so strongly about being in a relationship.
The world, and sometimes Christians, will push marriage so strongly that you feel singleness is sinful. And not only that, but they will usually run to the scripture "he that finds a wife finds a good thing", as if marriage is a guarantee for every Christian. It's not though. As I learned from John Piper, there are only a few things in scripture that are promises from the Lord, and others that are commands. We take the other scripture and try to make it a mandate, a promise, for every believer, when God might just call others to follow him with no one by their side but him. And you know what? That's EVERYTHING! To be in Christ is the best place to be. Not easy, but still good and the best thing.
I believe Paul said it best when he said that "I have learned in whatever state I'm in to be content." We must keep praying to be content, whether when pursuing and seeking marriage or if single until death. You are not sinning by doing either. In fact, in your singleness you may have greater opportunity to reach those around you with the Gospel since you might have more time on your hands. Let no one push but God, by his spirit, pressure you into anything. At this time ring by spring isn't a thing I'm living by, and I'm okay with that! God is still doing a thing in those he loves. His love for you and the sacrifice Christ made on the cross has never been contingent on if you get married or not. The sacrifice was for you to be reconciled to him, and as you keep knowing him, you can keep being encouraged that "He that began a good work in you will carry it to completion" whether you have a boo or not.
At this time I am where God has me, and I'm learning that Christ is still who he has been to me before the foundation of the world, and that his election of me won't change. I can never be plucked from his hand. And so I'm taking advantage of my singleness. This time of my life is giving me an opportunity to serve my family more freely, as well as reach out to more friends and church members. It allows me to see holiness differently, because I'm learning to run to Jesus and how I can be complete there. I'm seeing his sovereign hand in a myriad of things. And when he's ready, if it's his will, he will bless me with someone. But for now, I rest and chill in him, stay on the grind, and pray for the grace to keep my eyes on things above. I confess that sometimes it sucks, it really does. But at the same time it's all good. I have a completely different perspective on singleness and it's all thanks to God.
I'm beginning the writing process for a new music single called "Single", which will address a lot of these things. I'm also attending a singles conference at the end of the month that is Gospel-centered and will encourage believers in their calling and living for the Lord in an oversexualized culture. I wanted to address some of these things in my song because it's vital for us as believers to find our rest in the Lord, and not try to find it in being married, just losing weight, just (you fill in the blank). Jesus plus nothing equals everything. And while that's hard to always believe it doesn't change that it's true.
Be encouraged, saints, whether sick or healthy, rich or poor, married or single, pray to learn that in whatever state you're in to be content. Draw near to the father, delight in him, and he will give you the desires of your heart, which will be his desires in your life. Anything that we take pleasure in that doesn't lead us to him but instead only leads us to more of our flesh and idolatry, is no real joy at all. True joy comes from Christ. As our world changes and our society grows, I pray that we be the people of God, and that the world will see us reflect Christ in how we serve in our marriages and how we serve in our singleness. " A man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps."
Scriptures: Proverbs 18:22; Philippians 4:11; Psalm 16:9
A few ways to glorify God in your singleness:
- Connect with other Christian singles. Single friends doesn't mean you have to date them.
- Enjoy the physical and spiritual rest that God provides you with.
- Enjoy God in that rest and learn from his word.
- Find ways to serve your family and your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and your church.
- Seek discipleship opportunities; both where you're being discipled and discipling someone.
- Take a trip with family or friends or alone!
- Pray to be directed the way the Lord would call you to be.
- Live by example of the scriptures, both to believers and non-believers.
- Pursue a skill, craft , or passion, and finds ways to enjoy God in enjoying what you pursue.
- Connect to a local church and grow.
- Remind yourself of the Gospel daily.
Any other ideas or thoughts? Feel free to share below.