Singleness. A stage of life that every person goes through. The question is not if you will be single, but when, and for how long? For some it lasts only up to their early adult years but for some it lasts much longer–even a life time. But the statement is still true: singleness is an unavoidable reality for all people.
And before you write this blog off because you are in a relationship or married, I want to encourage you to read on. While this is written from a single, 19 year-olds perspective, I hope it can be encouraging to anyone regardless of your relationship status.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. It’s the ultimate human relationship which God ordained for us to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and to be an image of Christ and His bride the Church (Revelation 19:7-9). I see this in Scripture, affirm it as truth and commend marriage for anyone whom God calls to it.
But marriage is not for everyone.
One of the biggest flaws I see in American Christianity (and in myself) is the idea that if you’re 25 and still single you’re doing something wrong. For whatever reason, it’s become culturally accepted that if you are a Christian, marriage is almost a necessity. If you’re single, people, and often ourselves, think “Why aren’t you married yet?” Why is that one of the first questions we ask? Do we value marriage more than our relationship with God or others?
Being single is a gift. The gift is not singleness itself but in the contentment to be single. We often view singleness as a miserable phase of life we just have to survive. But I don’t just want to survive in my singleness; I want to thrive.
I’ll be the first to admit that contentment with singleness has been something I have struggled with for years. Much of my high school years were filled with a longing to be in a relationship, but knowing that I wasn’t in a stage to pursue a serious relationship. But as I’ve wrestled over the years, God has taught me to find my identity in Him alone, not in having someone else by my side.
Singleness can be hard. I don’t want to minimize that–especially for those that have been for a longer period of time. The sting of loneliness can be painful. But if we think that all of our self-image, self-realization, and lonely struggles will disappear when that dream guy or girl comes into our lives, we are wrong.
If our identity is found in anything other than Christ, we are doing life wrong. If I am known by my singleness or if you are known for your relationship, then our priorities are wrong. Our identity is to be found completely in Christ and our relationship with Him.
So how can we use the time of our singleness to be fruitful? Here’s a few thoughts…
- Use your time of singleness to invest in others.
- See people of the opposite sex as brothers and sisters in Christ, not solely potential marriage candidates.
- Use your time of singleness to grow a dependency on Christ, not on a significant other.
- Embrace the stage of life you’re in whether you desire to be there or not knowing that God put you there for a reason.
For those of you that are single like me, are you using your singleness well? Read 1 Corinthians 7 and what Paul has to say about singleness (7:6-9, 32-35). Are you content to remain single as long as God might have you to be? Will you remain faithful in your singleness and use your singleness to serve in ways married people can’t? Until we find contentment in our singleness, I do not think we are ready to be in a relationship.
For those of you who are in a relationship or are married, where is your identity? Are you known by others for your relationship with your spouse or with your Savior? Is your love for your Savior as evident as your love for your partner? Loving your spouse is great, but idolizing them is a sin.
Ultimately, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24) both in singleness and marriage commitment. Embrace the stage of life God has you in and rely on Him to give you strength to find the beauty in singleness.