I was never the little girl who dreamt of a white dress and a big wedding. Maybe partly because I did not grow up in a Christian home, or because I came from a broken one, but I did not “believe in marriage.” However, that all began to change in my 20’s — my goal was to be married by the age of 30. As the years went on and so did the failed relationships, I felt as if I were waiting for my life to begin. I felt I was incomplete and lacking purpose. Have you ever felt this way in your singleness?
Friend, if you’re unmarried and struggling with your singleness the good news is: singleness is a blessing!
Just like marriage is a blessing. God uses marriage to show us a picture of His love for and relationship with His bride, the church. But is there purpose in singleness? Culture tells us we are missing out if we’re not married and puts great emphasis on “finding the one.” Girl, the “one” we should be looking for first is Jesus. Contrary to what culture tells us, the purpose of the Christian woman is not to get married and have children. Marriage and children are good — God made them. However, the purpose of the Christian woman is to know Christ, make Him known, glorify Him and serve Him by serving others.
Maybe God can use me (and you) the most in our singleness.
In 1 Corinthians 7:32–35 Paul says that the unmarried woman is able to more fully devote herself to the Lord. For example, because He made me, He knows my gifts and talents as well as how and when they would be best used. Whatever your gifts may be, spiritual or otherwise, when you’re single you generally have more time to use those gifts to the best of your ability.
God has blessed me with the time to pursue my creative passions and use my gifts for the purposes of His kingdom by creating art that hopefully inspires others and points to Christ those who don’t know Him. This brings me much joy and glorifies Him, simply because I’m using something He has given me out of His vast kindness and generosity.
Of course this is not to say that married people cannot use their gifts or that they cannot use them well. They simply have different gifts. Paul puts it this way: “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.” (1 Corinthians 7:7) Here Paul is saying both marriage and singleness are gifts from God and that some people get one gift while other people get the other.
Another blessing of singleness is how it has changed my relationship with God.
I’ve had to trust and lean on God more. A married woman can look to her husband for leadership, protection, and provision. Being single however, I have to depend on the Lord solely and fully. I have to trust my needs will be met, and He will put people in my life that will be there for me. I also have to trust He has a good plan for me whether it involves marriage or not because He is my good Father. I know God is working in me, pruning my heart and refining me to look more like Jesus Christ.
I can look back on God’s faithfulness in keeping me from a bad or hurried marriage.
I trust in His sovereignty that His ways are higher than mine. Looking back on my more serious relationships, I believe that had we gotten married, it would have been a disaster because neither of us were ready for marriage. God saved me from that and perhaps He has saved you from that, too. As 2 Peter 3:9 says, the Lord does not delay. He shows us His patience, grace and kindness when He gives us a “no” or “not yet.” His timing is perfect, and He knows best. In singleness, God can prepare me for what’s to come rather than rushing into something which will not be fruitful.
It is better to not marry than to run the risk of a lifelong unhappy marriage
In Matthew 19:10 the disciples say to Jesus that it is better to not marry than to run the risk of a lifelong unhappy marriage ( Jesus has just told them only sexual immorality is grounds for divorce). Jesus does not disagree: “Not everyone can receive this saying but only those to whom it is given.” (Matthew 19:11)
Jesus goes on to say that aside from those without capacity for sexual relations (from a birth defect or otherwise) there are those who choose a life of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He adds: “Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (Matthew 19:12) Jesus is not saying that in order to serve His kingdom we must remain unmarried, but He is saying marriage is an option.
But what about me?
If you’re thinking: that’s great for those who want to remain single or those who can handle it, but that is not me! I am right there with you. So, what now? Well friend, God knows your heart — He knows you inside out and knows what you need. Go to Him. Approach His throne boldly and lay your requests at His feet. He is a good, good Father who likes to please His children.
I join you in going to our Heavenly Father and pouring our heart out to Him, asking for strength and endurance in running the race He has set before us.
Lord, I pray you would grant us peace and deep contentment in you. Father, change the desires of our heart to match your will. Amen.
I leave you with this: “And if not, He is still good.” (Daniel 3:18)
Though God may not answer our prayer for a husband, we are never more like our Savior than when we confess the goodness of God even in the suffering — in the wanting but not getting — of life. Just like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, we can be confident and utterly dependent on the Father’s good will for our lives, and we can remember that singleness is a blessing.