Singleness. A word that can have a lot of connotations associated with it–both positive and negative.
I’ll be honest: my young adulthood looks a bit different than I had hoped or anticipated. I’ve hit that age where my friends and peers are getting into relationships, engaged, and married. It’s super exciting and fun to celebrate the season changes with others, especially those close to me, and praise God He’s worked on my heart a lot in terms of dealing with jealousy and cynicism towards my very much single status. But of course I still get lonely. I still have the desire to be in a relationship–to get married and have a family. And some days are really hard.
But you know what? God is teaching me so much through singleness, all to sanctify me and grow me closer to Him. That’s worth every *single* second.
(See what I did there? Ha!)
I know for a fact that there are a lot of you girls out there who relate, who want to thrive in singleness with Christ-saturated joy, deep contentment, and Gospel-led purpose. With Valentine’s Day this weekend–which is a holiday that can be a little bit tougher than usual to be single–I want to share 3 lessons the Lord has taught me about singleness. From one single girl to another.
1. God only satisfies.
The greatest temptation I’ve had in my singleness is to be discontent–to think that my life won’t be really full or meaningful unless I have a boyfriend, fiancé, or husband to share it with.
The desire for relationship and marriage is a good thing, and we singles shouldn’t be afraid to admit it to ourselves or others. God designed us humans to need community. He made Eve for Adam because “it is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). We find out later in the New Testament that marriage was actually designed by God to be a picture of the Gospel: a relationship of sacrifice and selfless love that gives and receives (Ephesians 5:31-32).
So it’s a good desire to have. But it can easily become our greatest desire–more than desiring God. And He doesn’t have marriage for everyone, and if He does, it might not be in the timing we’d like.
There’s a saying that goes, “It’s a good thing until it becomes a god thing.” Longings cross the line when we begin to think God owes us a relationship. Maybe we wouldn’t word it that way necessarily, but by our attitudes, sometimes that’s what our heart is really saying.
God, why would you make me have to be in singleness for this long? How many more “singleness lessons” do I need to learn until I’m ready?!
How come they get to be in a relationship instead of me? Will it ever be my turn?
You won’t let me be single forever, right?
What if I never get married? PLEASE don’t let that to be my story…
Suddenly our eyes are taken off of the Gospel–off of God and our mission to make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. All we’re living for, at least deep down in our hearts, is that longing: that idol of marriage.
But only God can satisfy.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.Psalm 16:11
Nothing and nobody else can satisfy us. We, as created beings made in the image of God, were meant to be sustained and satisfied by Almighty God, the Creator. No experience, no relationship, no career, no accomplishment, no heroic achievement will satisfy a heart made to crave and be filled by God alone. Only He fills that void.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.Psalm 145:19
We are needy, broken people. The God who saves His people from the eternal death and punishment will richly bless us in Christ as His beloved children. We’ve already been given infinitely more than we deserve, and He promises to give us all that we need (Philippians 4:19).
Which leads me to my second point:
2. Singleness is a gift.
The “gift of singleness” can feel like an ironic term because there are times that being single doesn’t feel like a gift in any way, shape, or form.
Is there a gift receipt?!
But I really do believe it is a gift. It’s not always fun–in fact it’s definitely uncomfortable and not fun sometimes–but if it’s how God wants to use me for His glory, who am I to question Him? Being used for His glory, for His perfect and good purposes, is an honor I can’t even comprehend.
As believers, we learn that anything God uses to bring us into closer intimacy with Him is worth even the deepest suffering.
Ellissa Baird (now Petrenko) filmed a video with her sister Bethany from GirlDefined Ministries called “How to Rock Valentine’s Day as a Single Girl,” and I kid you not, it radically impacted my view of singleness. She was honest about the ups and downs, but passionate to make the most of the season whether it was for a long time or a lifetime. She quoted James 1:17, which says,
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Singleness is not a curse. Paul talks all about the unique differences of singleness, engagement, and marriage in the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 7. Just like any other opportunity, God has put us in a particular situation and season for a purpose, according to His perfect will and good plan.
And as I’ve learned to trust God through this season (or lifetime) of singleness, He’s shown me it’s an opportunity to trust Him more deeply and genuinely.
Any opportunity to grow closer to God is a gift. Singleness is definitely that.
3. The Lord is trustworthy.
It’s okay to desire a relationship, but we need to keep our longings in submission to God’s will, timing, and call to holiness.
If we really trust that only God satisfies, the desperation of singleness is taken away. It doesn’t mean the desire is gone, but that we know His plan–even if it’s different than we hope for–is perfect and good because we know His character.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.Psalm 25:10
Every path He takes us down in our life is for a higher purpose: for His glory. Not only that, but He also uses everything we go through for our good (Romans 8:28).
He is trustworthy.
There is NO ONE more trustworthy than God–who saved us completely and loves us beyond our comprehension. That same God is the Author of our lives. And we can trust Him fully…with our souls, with our dreams, with our needs, and in our singleness.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
- What has God taught you in singleness (whether you’re single now or in the past)?
- Which of the three points is the hardest for you to embrace?
- What’s a verse that helps you remember that God is trustworthy in every aspect of your life?