When I was in youth group and we went to those True Love Waits themed conferences or heard those messages, the speaker would somehow always bring up the “gift of singleness” or that some people are called to be single…forever.
What?! Single forever?! Please don’t let that be me God! Please! Please! PLEASE! I don’t want that calling or that gift!
Then the speaker (who always seemed to be married) would go on to give us reasons why singleness is a good gift. The two below are the ones that stood out to me the most.
- We’d have a heart fully devoted to God.
- We’d have more freedom and time to serve God
Those are great things, but when I was so consumed and afraid of the idea that God had given me the gift of singleness, my heart wasn’t fully devoted to God. It was fully devoted to the worry that I would be alone forever.
I battled this fear though high school and college–through that summer where all my friends and even my little sister got married.
I prayed earnestly that God would begin to change my heart because I knew that this obsession with wanting to be married was getting in the way of my relationship with him.
At a the Passion Conference in 2010, I remember talking to one of my friends (I had worked youth camp with her a few summers back so we didn’t see each other too often) and somehow we got on the subject of singleness. She said she was perfectly content in her singleness. I didn’t really believe that was even possible.
The only people before her that I had met who said they had found a way to be content with singleness were now married. It’s not that I didn’t believe that they were thankful for their time of singleness, but they were married now. I mean I feel like it’s easier to say, “Yeah, I was content in my singleness.”
But I had finally meet someone who had no prospects on the horizon and could still say, “I’m content and happy being single.” That gave me hope.
God made that hope grow inside my heart and slowly changed the way I viewed my singleness.
I think somehow we’ve come to the conclusion that marriage is better than singleness. Marriage is put on this lovely pedestal and singleness is this sub-par, thoughtless gift–like getting socks (the boring white ones) Christmas morning.
And I’m sure–actually I’m really hoping–marriage is great, but just because marriage is wonderful doesn’t mean singleness is bad. I just think we focus way too much on the gift and forget the giver.
When I was in Africa a few years ago, I met some of the most joyful Christians ever, and they had nothing. They lived surrounded by heaps of trash, and yet they loved God so much.
Their eyes weren’t focused on God’s hand and what he could give them. Their eyes were fixed on God’s face, and they were satisfied and filled with joy just to be known and loved by him.
I know that I sometimes focus way to much on what God can give me. Why can’t I have this? Or why did you give her a husband and not me?
But when I gaze into his face and study his character, I realize he has given me way more than I deserve. He’s given me himself, and that is more than enough.
Now, I haven’t mastered this, but God has brought me so far. There are still days that I struggle–I bring my gift of singleness to God and say, “How about we exchange this for the gift of marriage?”
God just gently reminds me that he is more than enough to satisfy all my needs in all the seasons of my life. It’s not about the gift; it’s about the giver.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presences there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~ Psalm 16:11