Hans’ note: The author of this post, Katie Brown, is an amazing young woman who i have a lot of respect for. She oversees all Resolved’s social media and is one of the most switched on people I know. I hope this blog challenges you. Follow Katie on Twitter and see what great work she does as you follow Resolved on Twitter and Facebook
I think that there is an assumption in life that all singles (whether male or female) deeply wish that they weren’t. I thought it would be helpful to start this post by asking you to throw that assumption away for a minute, because I actually don’t believe it to be true – but I also want to challenge you that perhaps this is an unbiblical way of thinking.
I don’t know what your circumstance is but I’m almost positive that if you’re single you’ve been on the receiving end of someone who is married taking pity on you in some way (I don’t believe that this is ever intentional). Most people argue that it is the world’s media & culture that has caused us to feel that being single is a type of incompleteness – which is definitely true, but I also think that the church has been involved… controversial I know! Let me explain: over the last few years there has been a really strong & exciting resurgence of young men being encouraged & mentored into strong leaders & church planters with a large focus on telling these “boys” to buck up and be “men” – get out of their parents’ basement, put away the video games, get a job & get a wife! While some of this rebuke is probably necessary, what an unbelievably scary pressure for a young man to all of a sudden feel a desperate need to find a wife in order to assume a position of manliness & leadership within their ministry & Christian life. As a woman I have felt a deep compassion for so many of these young men who will watch all of their young friends marry while they still have not met “the one” and wonder what this means for their future in ministry or perhaps feel disheartened & inadequate as a “man”. I think as a result, there has been a strong focus within the church to encourage all single members to be married or to at least be doing their best to move in that direction (I need to be clear that this is merely my experience, and not everyone’s!). And we wonder why Christians struggle with singleness…
The wonderful & God breathed bible says that marriage is indeed a good thing (Gen 2:18) but by no means does it say that is it the only thing; singleness is a prominent option presented. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says that “each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him [/her] and to which God has called him [/her]” – this verse says that whatever your relationship status may be, God has assigned & called you to be just that. It is for this reason that I am most content in my singleness when I am regularly reflecting on God’s sovereignty and allowing His Spirit to teach me to trust Him in everything, not just in relationships but in work, money, church… everything. I take great comfort in Acts 17:24-28 which says…
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
As I reflect on this passage I am reminded that what is most important is that I am seeking the Lord & learning how to live for Him and Him alone. What a privilege that God has allowed us to take part in His plans! To suggest we know better is outrageous.
I could now talk about how singleness is a gift, but I think that this is an area well covered by many people much wiser than I and I also think that it is a difficult point for singles to hear because they don’t feel that it is a gift at all & therefore feel guilty for thinking so. I will however say that as a single Christian I am able to do far more things with my time than I ever would as a married person (particularly with regards to ministry) & I do truly see that as a precious gift! (*Read 1 Corinthians 7 for Paul’s very clear [& controversial] thoughts on singleness & it’s importance within the church)
I will finish on a final myth that singleness somehow equals “aloneness”. Something I find really fascinating about this idea is the high number of married friends I hear talking about how lonely they now feel since they are now more committed to one person & see far less of their other friends – so I don’t think that loneliness is something felt only by singles. That being said, single people do struggle with loneliness & a way that I attempt to combat this is SUPER simple (but of course far easier said than done!): spending time with God in his word & communicating with him every day! I find that the more time I spend reading the word, praying & meeting in fellowship with others at church the more I feel content & completely loved. If we are in an active relationship with the loving Father who sent his very own beloved son to die a brutal death, take on the punishment we deserve & then rise to life again – all so that we could be in a right relationship with Him… how can we possibly feel alone?!
I’ll let Paul (who remained single) conclude on this topic… “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13
Some resources for further reading:
A pastor from The Village Church in Texas named Paul Matthies has preached some sermons on singleness & loneliness which have been an immense joy & help to me – I would highly recommend you listening to them no matter your circumstance.
Just go to http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/sermons & search for sermons by Paul Matthies & you will see his talks “Only the Lonely” and “Single-Minded”.
I also have loved the wisdom from Barbara Hughes in her book “Disciplines of a Godly Woman” which I am sure you can order online or at Koorong.
Recently my brother in law recommended Nancy Wilson’s new book called “Why Isn’t a Pretty Girl Like You Married?” which I have not read but since it is written by Nancy I am sure it would be helpful, if you have read it please comment?