A Blog About Being Single
A word that is rarely used in a positive light. A term that nobody likes to be labeled as. A definition that no one wants to be defined by. A status of who we are in society.
Over the past few years, I have been pondering on this word.
I’ve mulled over how the world views it.
I’ve thought about how the church responds to it.
I’ve looked at what my friends and family say about it.
I read a blog some years ago that promoted the idea that “singleness is not a curse.” While I happen to agree, unfortunately, our culture tends to respond to singleness as a problem that needs to be fixed. We don’t want to admit it, but it shows in our actions towards singles and how we regard them.
We talk about marriage as a good gift, which it is. However, we need to define singleness as an equally good gift, too. Otherwise, many singles end up blaming God, unintentionally, assuming He has saved the best gift for a select portion of the population, that the rest of humanity misses out on….
But this doesn’t fit in with the character of God. That’s not in His nature. He doesn’t play favorites.
What if being single is His good gift for you?
A gift is for enjoyment! A thing meant to benefit and bless the recipient, not something to hold begrudgingly.
So how do we go about enjoying this gift the world tells us to be ashamed of?
Being single is, quite frankly, amazing! I get to decorate how I like, cook what I want, make trips without having to see if my partner wants to go along and coordinate our schedules. I can watch whatever show I want to at night and binge it for as long as I wish. On Saturdays I can sleep in until 10 o’clock without being awoken by the pitter patter of children’s feet on the floor, and when a decision needs to be made, I can make that call for myself. Some may see these things as selfish, but I consider them a part of the gift of singleness…and I wouldn’t trade these years for anything!
Without a spouse I am not lacking relationship. It simply means that my focus isn’t on a partnership with my husband, but rather on my own needs as well as the needs of friends and family. Thoughtful, and diligent in multiple other relationships without divided attention.
Paul’s famous quote on singleness and marriage is found in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”
In reality, the gift of being single provides blessings that go beyond Paul’s words.
As a single you must get to a place of being content with where you are in life.
We can’t spend our days wallowing, feeling as though we are half missing, a victim to our status. We can’t view ourselves as incomplete, as it will lead us to a place unnecessary sadness and bitterness.
Instead, we must recognize have been invited to go on a journey of finding peace with God! A journey in being thankful for who we are, who He is, and how our lives are in the moment.
Singleness provides an opportunity to experience contentment in a distinctive way. And with this comes a deep level of confidence.
Thriving as a single requires boldness.
There is something formidable about a single woman in her 30’s, who carries herself with grace, contentment, and patience. She is living out of that unique confidence she has with the Lord. I don’t see it done well some of the time but there are other women in my life who do this with absolute class.
Truth be told, there is breathtaking beauty to be found in singleness.
Why do some people choose to become nuns or monks? Because their hearts are dedicated to being one with God. As a child I thought that was the worst idea in the world, but as I have gotten older, I kind of understand. There is a wholesome fulfillment that these men and women have discovered by setting their lives aside for God alone.
I am in an amazing missions organization that treats me beautifully as a single. I am loved. I am cherished for who I am, not my marital status. I am given leadership opportunities based on character, leadership skills, and integrity.
However, I am often hit with the realization that this is rare in the world.
It seems that in all levels of society, married individuals are often stationed higher than singles. Life experience, years on the job, training, wisdom…these all seem to be secondary qualities to consider after marital status.
And my question to this is, “why?”
Why do we do this? Why do we put marriage on a pedestal?
I know it is a sacred thing, a beautiful thing, the joining together of a man and woman before God to declare their love for Him and one another for the rest of their days. This is incredible and worth celebration.
However, we have a problem when we create a culture that sets marriage as the standard and expectation. Our society silently considers marriage by 30 a coveted success.
I am 31. I have noticed over the past year that suddenly the topic of marriage is more readily avoided. It would seem that 30 is the threshold that shouldn’t be crossed as a single. We think that people probably won’t find anyone now that they’re in their 30’s.
In High School a lot of the social atmosphere is shaped around the opposite sex. Who is so and so dating? How many people has this person dated? This other person has never had a boyfriend and so on. We bring this same spirit with us into adulthood and project it on ourselves and others as adults. Our minds and emotions have been shaped into feeling that you only have status if you’re in a relationship.
As a Christian, our singleness is met with “fixes” in the church. We are asked awkwardly if we are single, and if we say “yes,” we are immediately invited into a circle of singles that simply feels like a matchmaking group hidden under the guise of a Bible study.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it focuses on the status of someone over anything else. I know these tactics are often used to get singles together, to combat loneliness…but I would much rather it be mixed groups of married people, singles, families, people in their 50’s, teens, and seniors altogether.
Why does civilization measure a woman (specifically) by her age? And why have we allowed that thinking to enter the church?
What if God’s ideal for a certain woman is for her to get married in her mid 50’s? Or what if (dare I say it) she’s called to a life of being single?
When a woman is single past 30, our first assumption is not that she has resisted compromise, fought for God’s best, refused to settle for less than God’s plan…No, we view her as past her prime, and get worried about her ability to make babies any longer. And if we are brutally honest, we wonder what’s wrong with them, what’s kept them from becoming someone’s partner.
Can we all get on the same page that being in our 30’s is just a number, not a time to get out the measuring stick of expectations?
As singles, the way we carry ourselves is important!
It is my responsibility to stand firmly in opposition to the lies that the enemy pours over my status. “You’re over the hill. You’re not good enough to have been chosen for marriage.”
As the church, it is our responsibility to stop reinforcing those lies!
We have made life all about marriage, being loved, having a special someone, being a parent, and growing old together.
In doing so, we have stolen so many lives from fulfillment outside of marriage.
What if we celebrated eternal love as much as temporary love? When was the last time that our relationship with God was celebrated? When do we congratulate someone when they’ve reached a whole new level of intimacy with Jesus?
If I never get married:
-I don’t want people continually thinking, “poor her”
-I don’t want people looking at me like I’m less than
-I don’t want people to assume that I am discontent
-I still choose to be the woman God has called me to be
-I still chose to find my peace and contentment and beauty as a woman in God
If I never get married… well, I never get married and that is ok.
At the end of each day, I rest knowing that God is the only one who completes me wholly and fully.
When we tell someone that their “spouse is out there somewhere”, we are communicating that they are incomplete, they must wait to be whole, or that a part of them is missing and must be acquired.
If you are in your late 20’s and married, please don’t tell single women (of any age) about how you were single until the age of 25 and that the season of singleness won’t last forever. It’s causing young singles to get their hopes wrapped up in an eventual possibility rather than celebrating singleness. It puts in people’s minds that this will have an end, when in reality you don’t know that. There is a lot of power in the words that we speak, and we should be extremely careful about proclaiming something that is life altering. What we say is held onto more than we imagine, and often intend.
Let us encourage each other in the ways of Jesus instead of prophesying what we think will be the path for everyone.
Some people really struggle with being single. It’s difficult at times, and some find themselves in a depressive state over it. While I believe that feeling is natural, I also believe we can stay in that state for too long, too consistently.
Everyone experiences loneliness, and as a single I am included. However, I know that if I were married, I would also have lonely days. That is why we must all learn how to bend into the Spirit during these times and let Him fill that void rather than thinking another person will be the answer to pain.
Recently God has been teaching me about thankfulness. How often do I express my thanks for being single? Do I take time to enjoy this season where I’m not “tied” to another? Not as much as I should. If I can’t be thankful now, how can I expect myself to be in that habit when/if I’m married?
I recognize that this is one side of the story.
My point is simply that we would start treating singles as complete, just as we do with married couples, because they are.
Ladies and gents, let’s embrace the single life in its entirety with open arms! When our hearts are open, we can behold the beauty of singleness and fully enjoy it for the gift that it is.
By Laura-Beth Rimmer, staff member at YWAM Asheville