Singleness. Is it the curse word of our generation?!? Haha, NO! But after talking to some people in your family, friend groups, and even church communities, you might think so huh? Since when did people start seeing singles as second hand citizens? Have you ever had grandma at the latest family gathering ask you, “When are you going to get married?”, or have been the fifth wheel on a Saturday night mini golf hangout, I assure you you’re not alone! The truth is, after years of wrestling and seeking God, I can confidently, for the first time, say that I can see singleness for what it really is: a gift!!
Let me rewind back a bit… I was always the girl who had a boyfriend in high school, so when I gave my life to Jesus, I assumed it was the same drill. Find a guy who likes you, flirt a little, go on some dates, decide if you want to be with him for “x amount of time.” Repeat.
It was quite a “shock to my system” when I realized that my process was not the Lord’s process or will. He had something so different in mind for my life but, unfortunately, it took years of me making mistakes and getting my heart broken to finally walk out His will. When I began to search out His Word, seek out wise counsel (Godly married couples), and really find out God’s heart on singleness, dating, and marriage it dawned on me: “I am set apart for the Lord, so why does my romantic life look so much like the world?” Don’t get me wrong, dating isn’t evil, but in my journey and walk with Jesus, I put a stake in the ground that day, I declared war, deciding I would be tenacious in my journey to let God in on my love story and stand for purity. I realized not only was I called to be SET APART for Jesus and His kingdom, but His plans for me in this season were greater than I could ever imagine. I wanted to share with you some of the habits I developed, and mindsets that were shifted, so you, my friend, can experience true freedom in your singleness.
1. Honor the desire of your heart and invite God into it!
Let’s be real. God knows your every thought, so there is no point in trying to hide from him (or lie to yourself) about how you are feeling towards a subject. If you are one whose heart longs to be married, talk to Him about it! I have received a lot of various counsel on how to walk out this season, but some advice that did NOT work for me was when people defined “surrender” as acting like you don’t even want it anymore! That’s baloney! Surrender is trusting God with it, but like any relationship, trust takes a friendship, and a friendship takes conversations. The more I’ve learned God’s heart for me, the more I’ve been able to have real conversations with Him, particularly about this subject. Some of my most beautiful moments have been when in the place of prayer, I have brought this to Him, and have been able to realize how much He cares. I’m gonna be real with you: some seasons I am driving in my car, windows down, solo and thanking God for this season. Other times, I am in my room, with tears full of frustration, expressing my desire to Him. At the end of the day, I’ve learned an important lesson: He cares. He really, simply, truly cares about how you are feeling and He is wanting to speak into this area of your life. In this place, you will find true peace!
2. Embrace your Single Season as the Gift that it is!
This is a season that once it’s over….you don’t get it back! I was out with two of my single girlfriends, I had literally called them up thirty minutes before and asked them to get a late night snack, and we got on the topic of singleness. We realized we couldn’t have imagined being married that day. We wouldn’t have just been able to spontaneously go hang out if we had a household to tend to. We didn’t have to ask anyone if we could spend that money. We didn’t have to ask the husband if it was OK. And we didn’t have to find a sitter for our kids.
That night, we all entered into a deeper appreciation of our season. Use this time wisely by going deeper with friends and with the Lord! Live it up with your friends and pursue them tenaciously! Remember too, this season is a time in your life where you can have UNDIVIDED attention for the one who created you! You have this time to dive into a relationship with God in such a unique way!! Don’t waste it away by making an idol out of your future spouse. 1 Corinthians talks about the true benefit of being single. This is a season you can give yourself FULLY to the Lord and fully to ministry, wherever that might be.
3. Become the Right Person!
I have an amazing couple who mentor me, and one day they told me “you should make a list of the qualities you want in a husband.” I looked at them confused and asked “Wait…haven’t you been telling me to not focus on guys, but on Jesus?” They quickly explained to me that once I make the list…focus on BECOMING that list. They made a good point. The FIRST thing I had on that list was “wise, yet faith filled.” At that moment I realized: WOW I am super negative sometimes and honestly don’t walk in a lot of faith. It was a good wake up call for me! I was praying for someone that had a trait that I have barely developed. This season is exciting for me as I am being molded and shaped to look more like Jesus! And guys…I REALLY like who Jesus is molding me into! I am learning to love myself in ways I never thought possible and becoming who the Lord has called me to be! Allow yourself to be pruned, and instead of looking for Mr./Mrs. Right, become that person!
4. Invest In Purity Now
Bottom line, if you are someone who scans a room now looking for your spouse or checking out others, what makes you think it will change once you meet “the one”? This is one of those “taking thoughts captive” moments. It’s natural to notice beauty around you, but it’s that second thought that can get you in trouble. There are always going to be attractive people around, but does that mean you are going to continue to admire them while you’re married!?
Lusting after another is an obvious sin, but I think we downplay other moments in our imagination. For example, I would meet a guy I liked, and within one hour in my head I had planned out our possible future together; kids, job, etc. I realized I was living in sin because that man was in fact not my husband, and I was not “loving the Lord with all my mind,” but focusing on foolish scenarios. Some of us may struggle with lust and having self control over sexual temptation, but the uncontrolled imagination of planning a life ahead of the one Jesus is actually giving you is just as dangerous and can lead to broken expectations and broken hearts. We have to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), and to do that we must guard our eyes as well (Luke 11:34). A trick I have learned is when a thought/temptation comes to mind I simply ask God “What am I actually desiring right now? Is this a counterfeit for what God has for me?” Now be encouraged, God is fighting this good fight with you!
5. Cultivate Your Calling
Let me go ahead and kill this lie now. Your life doesn’t begin at marriage, neither does your identity or purpose. 1 Corinthians 7 talks about how the married are anxious about world things and how to please their spouse, but the unmarried are anxious about things of the Lord. What better time to start your ministry?! The truth is, you will NEVER have more time in your life than you do now! You will only continue to take on more responsibilities as you build a family, so when you have 168 hours in a week to yourself, why not put that towards starting to walk out what you feel called to? If you want to be a missionary, sign up for a trip now! If you feel called to be the world’s best parent, offer to babysit for married couples in your church. If you want to start your own ministry, go serve in one now and learn from someone else! Also…on a very practical level, sitting in your room, only talking to Jesus won’t get you very far in finding a life partner; you are more likely to meet people you would want to do life with if you are engaging in what you enjoy doing! So get out there and advance the kingdom!!
So although everyone may not follow all these tips to a tee, I have taken this handful of advice to push me to my ultimate goal: to be closer to Jesus & plan for what He would have for me. I am so excited for the day that I will be married, but I am am not living with that being my ultimate goal. I CHALLENGE you: Does your love life look like the world? Are you asking yourself, “how close can I get to the line?” or “How far can I get from it?” Are you waiting to be married or are you living out the fullest life you can now? Do you despise your singleness or are you maximizing it? Bring your heart to the Lord. Get His perspective and walk out this season as the set apart, powerful disciple you are called to be!
“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him…I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” [1 Corinthians 7:32&35 NLT]