In most conversations with single girls, their singleness comes up. She is nervous, she is convincing herself everything will be OK, she is making plans about her future because she “might as well.”
I’ve also noticed that in some Christian circles, a married woman is in a different class. Is she using her brain, her strength, her emotional and mental capacities to love the Lord? What are her spiritual gifts? It doesn’t really matter, because… Married.
And if she has a kid or two, then she is truly untouchable, because what else can you expect from women? (Whoops!) In this sense, married women are often neglected spiritually, reduced to their domestic roles.
I imagine guys face a similar struggle. If they aren’t married, it is assumed they are noncommittal or immature. If they are married, then they are the good guys, the Family Men. This does no justice to the incredible ways God is using single guys in His family.
Recently, a popular Roman Catholic pageboy hat-wearing blogger wrote a smug article about marriage that quickly made tracks in the Christian blogosphere.
This article essentially reprimanded the Peter Pans and Wendys of the 21st century and encouraged us to get our acts together and get married already because Marriage Is The Best Adventure Of Them All and being married young is a fruit of the Spirit.
The chapter that fell out of the Bible (apparently)
I would like to respectfully remind this blogger, and all of the people who couldn’t share his article fast enough, that 1 Corinthians 7 has not fallen out of our Bibles.
Singleness is not a form of embarrassed earthly purgatory. It is not a sign of God’s displeasure. It does not make you a different kind of Christian or require you to start your own separate Bible study with the other spiritual lepers.
We are actually in good company, those of us without joint bank accounts. Jesus, for example, would presumably be forced to join the singles study.
Don’t misunderstand me: Marriage is a gift. But it is a gift (Proverbs 19:14), meaning that it is God’s to give when He pleases. And it isn’t for everyone (singleness is also a gift).
We pay lip service to His sovereignty but collectively lose our minds when it comes to relationships. I read that 2 in 5 women suffer from a deep fear of being alone forever. But, I would like to gently remind you sweet sisters and brothers in Christ that fear isn’t OK — we are called to live fearlessly, boldly, trusting in the God who is good, who already gave His Son for us, and who will most certainly hold nothing we need back now (Romans 8:32).
Loneliness and uncertainty are not unique to singleness
On paper, singleness is the most uncertain period of life. But in reality all of life is uncertain. Your inability to be the boss is never going to abate. At no point are you going to be 100% positive about where you will be in five years or in five seconds.
Believing that singleness is the only period of life where you will battle loneliness or uncertainty or need to fight through the clamor in order to hear the voice of God and to follow His direction is truly setting yourself up for future discouragement.
Personally, I’m not “waiting” at all. This stage of life is not white noise or wasted space. It’s not the commercial break before the feature presentation. Every day is full of purpose and meaning, because this isn’t the intermission: this is my life.
To assume that everything is going to magically fall into place and you will find your purpose and fulfillment once you get married is wrong and in some cases a form of idolatry. As one of my Bible profs used to remind us, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29) — meaning they stay whether you are married or single.
Don’t wait around for an identity, you already have one
I think that when God brings that person into your life, he or she will be someone who helps you live out your gifts even more. And vice versa. It’s a mutual endeavor. It’s not looking at someone and saying, “Where have you been all my life? You complete me. You make me happy, you make me better.” No, it’s: “I love what God is doing in and through you. I want to be a part of that for the rest of my life. I want you to be used by God and I want to serve you so you can serve Him better.”
Husbands and wives are called to do this for each other (no, as a woman, you don’t “lose your identity” once you get married or some other mystical anti-gospel weirdness). And isn’t that more meaningful? To choose to join with someone when you are already a strong and secure person, already using your God-given gifts? You’re not clinging to someone out of desperation or fear or laziness. You’re not looking for an identity; you already have one. You are choosing to put your heart in their hands and to serve them selflessly and to worship God through joined lives of purpose.
Only boring people are bored, so start living
On a very basic level, I think the world is beautiful and fascinating. I love being around people who see this: that life is full of opportunities and joy and adrenaline and adventure. There is so much work to do, so many books to read, so many places to go, so many people who need to be loved on, so many stories to hear. So many opportunities for service and work and art and learning.
I firmly believe that only boring people are bored. I know plenty of guys and girls who are not only content in their singleness, but who have unstoppable joy. They trust in God courageously and take steps boldly and let nothing hold them back. They are excited for today and not just for tomorrow.
This isn’t the waiting room. I’m not biting my fingernails off and trying to figure out what to do “in the meantime.” There is no meantime. I have been bought with a price: this is God’s time. And so, I can rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross rather than looking for some external relationship (or anything else) to validate and affirm me and to give me meaning and an identity. That would mean putting a massive weight on some dude’s shoulders that he was never meant to carry.
So, brothers and sisters, THIS IS YOUR LIFE. As Mary Oliver said, it is a wild and precious thing. It is full of ups and downs and detours and traveling partners of various types but it is all one continuous road and ruling over it all is a God who is sovereign and who writes each story differently. And that is wonderful, because there is no greater adventure than the one God designed for you.
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