2017 was supposed to be the year.
Long ago, when my current age seemed fathomless years away and positively ancient, I determined 2017 would be the perfect time to meet my future husband.
I had it all planned. We’d meet early in the year, fall madly in love, and end the year beautifully with a proposal on my birthday at the end of December. Which would obviously give me the perfect amount of time to plan a spring wedding.
But none of this actually happened.
As much as I never really expected my childish dreams to come true, I still remembered them. Several times throughout the year, I wondered what my life would be like if they had, and felt a slight pang of disappointment that everything wasn’t going according to plan.
Whether you’re a girl who’s dreamed up a dozen scenarios for potential relationships, or a single guy who would never admit to such a thing, I think we all have pre-defined expectations of what we think our relationship status should be and when. And I’ll be the first to admit it’s disappointing when it doesn’t turn out that way, or on our timetable.
But here’s my radical thought: even though I want to get married, I’m grateful for my current “still single” status—and here’s why.
1. It’s God’s will
Elisabeth Elliot wrote in her book Quest for Love “If you’re single today, the portion assigned to you today is singleness.” For me, that’s a very comforting thought. I may not be able to know when it’s God’s will for me to marry. I may not be able to know how long it’s God’s will for me to be single.
But I can know, without a doubt, it’s God’s will for me today. I can rest in the fact that I’m exactly where He wants me, because I’m daily living the evidence that He hasn’t led me into a relationship yet. And while I still long for marriage, I long to be in the will of God more, and that gives me greater joy than even a relationship could.
2. It teaches me trust and surrender
I do struggle with singleness, don’t get me wrong. I sometimes wonder if marriage will ever be God’s will for me. But, along with realizing today’s singleness is from God, I also have to surrender tomorrow’s uncertainty and trust that His plan is perfect. Even on the hardest days, I’d be content if I knew that tomorrow I would meet my future husband. But I can’t know.
That’s where trust comes in. Daily, constant, complete, unconditional trust and surrender.
And I’m thankful for these lessons of trust, because I know throughout my entire life, married or single, I’ll need to fall back on this foundation I’ve laid.
I’ll need to trust when the checking account isn’t lining up with the bills. I’ll need to trust when unexpected sickness comes, or a tragedy knocks me off my feet and has me questioning God’s goodness. I’ll need to trust constantly throughout my life, for more reasons than just my relationship status. And I’ve learned that a day in which my faith is stretched is never a day without purpose.
3. It teaches me present joy and contentment
Be honest. Have you ever thought, “I’ll be happy when (blank) happens”?
But when that thing does happen, are you immediately content and happy like you imagined you would be? Or do you move on to the next “I’ll be happy when…”?
I know I’m guilty of that. But to give anything–a relationship, a person, an object–the power of being the one thing we think will satisfy us is elevating that thing into the place of God. In short, we’re making it our idol.To give anything the power of being the one thing we think will satisfy us is elevating that thing into the place of God. Click To Tweet
There’s only one thing that can be the antidote we’re seeking–Jesus. He’s the only One who can daily fill us with joy. The One through whom we can say, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
With Jesus, we can say, “In marriage or in singleness, I’m content. In sickness or health, I’m content. In abundance or need, I’m content.” We can say this because joy and contentment isn’t found in the depths of an object, but the unfathomably deep wellspring of love daily offered us by our High King of Glory.
4. Each day prepares me for marriage
Near the end of 2016, as I thought and prayed about the New Year, God laid two things on my heart. The first—preparation.
I’d dreamed of 2017 being a year of fulfillment. God meant it as preparation.
I see it now, as I look back and glimpse the big picture—all He’s led me to do, and all the ways He’s molded and refined me this year. And I am so thankful God led me down a different path than the one I’d planned.
Today is still another day of preparation, and if God deems tomorrow, the next day, even the whole year to be the same, I’m thankful. Because I wouldn’t trade the plan God has for me for any other. Because I know every day is one in which He’s leading me into His beautiful purpose and preparing me for the next season.I know every day is one in which He’s leading me into His beautiful purpose and preparing me for the next season. Click To Tweet
5. It helps me fix my eyes on Jesus
The second thing God laid on my heart for 2017 was “get lost”. To utterly lose myself in His love and go deeper in my relationship with Him. I was struck with the thought that when I’m single, I don’t have the distractions a relationship might bring, and that I want my time of singleness to be focused on Christ.
What’s more, my singleness actually helps me fix my eyes on Jesus. By not knowing the future, by battling discouragement or longing, I have to approach Him over and over again for help and hope. Choosing to trust when I’m doubting, praising Him for His plan, even when I can’t see it. It’s hard, but it’s beautiful, and it compels me ever toward the throne room.
One day, I hope to be married and I plan on rejoicing and thanking God for it. But today, I have a choice. And I choose to rejoice and thank God, knowing this season is just as much a gift as marriage.
To all you single young men and women, I know you may want to be in a relationship. I know you might not be where you think you should in life. Maybe it’s not even the area of relationships you’re struggling in, but something else you thought would have happened by now. Whatever it is, let me challenge you: Even if you’re not in the season you want, God has a purpose in it.
And His purpose is always perfect.
This was a great post! Thanks for writing, Sara. 🙂
Thank you so much, Emma! I’m so glad it blessed you!
Loved this article, Sara. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic and providing these great reasons for why its great to be single! 🙂
You’re so welcome, Chris! Thank you for reading it! 🙂
Beautiful article, Sara! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Thank YOU, Amanda! ❤
This was lovely, and spoke some serious truths in a gentle, non-judgmental way. Awesome job, Sara!
Thank you so very much, Maria! That brings joy to my heart! 💗 I’m blessed you enjoyed it!
Great post! This stuff has definitely been on my mind recently. Being 18 and in that awkward phase of “no longer a kid but not really a man,” I’ve been praying and struggling about whether now is the right time to pursue a very specific godly, 21-year-young woman. I didn’t hear directly from God, but the fact that it was causing me so much stress and distraction from my priorities has proven to be reason enough that now is not the time for me. And like you, I now see myself in a stage of spiritual preparation and physical training for my future, as well as seeing this situation as God teaching me to be joyful and content regardless of my relationship status (or lack thereof). Thanks for the encouragement, and I hope my situation can be an encouragement to anyone reading as well!
Thank you for sharing your story here, Grayson! Wow, I appreciate it so much! I’m so glad to hear that you’re seeking God regarding it and choosing joy and contentment as you wait and pray. Praying right now that God leads and guides you and gives you clarity over when the right timing is and how to grow and prepare for that time.
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’m so excited God used it to encourage you! Keep pursuing Jesus… 🙂
Thank you for sharing! I’m a similar situation. And I agree with you – I’m okay with singleness for now, and I desire to be fully in love with Jesus before beginning a romantic relationship. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalm 73:25-26
Hey Paige! Thanks for reading and sharing! I love that verse… it’s been a blessing and encouragement to me so many times. It brings me so much joy to hear your passion for Jesus and I pray God shows you His love in even greater ways! Thanks again! 🙂
I love this, Sara! So so true and so wise. I’m still single and feel to young to be pursuing a relationship, but I’ll save this post for when I do feel that way and things aren’t working out.
Thanks for this! 🙂
Day made! I’m thrilled you could relate to it and that it was a blessing! Thank you so very much for your sweet and encouraging words. You’re a blessing!
Aw, you’re very welcome. Thanks to you as well! 🙂
Hey Sara! Remember me? The despised missionary from Texas? We had a online conversation in May after your article on the Dutch student. It’s good to know you’re still desiring God.
My dad was 21 at his wedding, and so 21 became my dream wedding age too. But, as I told a friend this week, I’m very thankful that I didn’t get married at that age: there are many things the Lord taught me and changed in me in the few years after being 21 which I might have otherwise missed. Not having a wife also made it a lot easier for me to maintain a pretty intense preaching and outreach schedule.
But yeah; I hope it goes well with you and the youth you minister to. If I ever get lost in the woods of northern Michigan I’ll send you a smoke signal.
Hey Louis! Yes, I do remember you! Good to hear from you. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read this and reach out to share your thoughts. I’m excited you could relate to it and even more blessed to hear your story. God’s plans are so much better than ours–even if we can’t understand them at the moment.
Thanks for the well wishes! I hope and pray it goes well with you too and that God continues opening doors and using you to advance His kingdom. And you do that if you ever happen to find yourself lost up here. 😉 Thanks again! God bless!
I absolutely love this article Sara. I’ve been wrestling with the same thing and this article helped solidify where I am right now. Everyone around us throws relationships in our face like we have to be in one, but I’m realizing more and more that singleness is pretty cool too 😛 Thank you so much for you words, Sara <3
This made me smile! Thank you for your sweet words, Ashley! I’m humbled God would use this to bless you! I know what you mean, which is why I was excited to write this. And even more excited to hear from you! Keep pursuing Jesus, my friend! <3
Sara, I always love reading your posts. Thank you so much for this article! <3
You’re so welcome! Thank YOU, Savannah! <3
Thank you for your words!! They are truly a blessing.
Hearing that is a blessing to me, Cassidy! Thank YOU!
I love it! It’s very mature and I really resonate with it.
I am going to write some articles concerning some of the points you made. So thanks for the inspiration <3
Keep up the awesome work, and congratulations on your new role here 🙂
Thank you so much, Collins! I’m so glad this resonated with you and that you were inspired by it! That makes my day! 🙂