Does being single bother you?
It does bother me. At times.
I feel slightly embarrassed when asked to raise my hand if I am single. Multiply that feeling when the raised hands are few, simply because everyone else is attached. Will people think that I have some unresolved issues or unrealistic expectations? Will they think I am not as attractive, or simply not good enough?
Or maybe they will start pitying me because they believe I must be lonely?
In fact, I catch myself wondering the same about other singles. “She has such a heart for God and people, why is she still not married?”
Instead of being concerned about their spiritual or emotional well-being, I wonder about their marital status. Like it or not, I admitted to myself that I’ve bought into the world’s thinking that singles are incomplete without a partner, that there probably is something wrong with us.
These insecurities come a questioning spirit. Why has God not blessed me with something I desire? Has He forgotten me? Lord, I don’t understand!
After years of struggling, I have come to realise that the only way to not be bothered by my singleness is to surrender these negative thoughts and feelings to God and remind myself of His truths. Over and over again.
Clinging on to God’s truths
When I am tempted to think that singleness is a lesser state, I remind myself that the Lord loves me just as much as my married friends. Nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39), not even singleness. I am complete in Him alone (Colossians 2:10).
When I am tempted to think that the Lord has short-changed me, I remind myself that singleness is a gift that the Lord has wisely and lovingly apportioned out for me in this season of my life. He has a plan and purpose for everything that happens (Jeremiah 29:11).
“Singleness is a gift that the Lord has wisely and lovingly apportioned out for me in this season of my life.”
One analogy that comes to mind was this instance when my dog watched me as I ate some grapes. She looked at me with such endearing eyes, almost begging me to let her taste some of that juicy goodness. Knowing that grapes are toxic to dogs, I lovingly refrained from giving her any, but it occurred to me that she will never understand why.
Similarly, I may never comprehend why the Lord withholds something I desire, but it must be because He knows something I don’t – perhaps I am just not prepared for marriage at this point in my life (not that marriage in itself is bad!). It is such an assurance to know that He works for my good; His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are far greater than my thoughts (Romans 8:28, Isaiah 55:9).
I need not be ashamed of being single, and must not allow the lies of the world to deceive me into thinking that I am less desirable, less worthy, and forgotten by God. I still struggle, but I struggle less with each reminder and gentle rebuke from the Lord.
“I must not allow the lies of the world to deceive me into thinking that I am less desirable, less worthy, and forgotten by God.”
Having said that, being contented and thankful for my singleness (most of the time) doesn't mean that I give up all hope of finding my life partner. It also doesn't mean I sit here and wait for someone to appear. I can be open and intentional in my search.
Recently, another single friend and I were invited to a barbeque organised by a Young Adults group. I wondered, “Isn’t it embarrassing to go with the intention of meeting someone there? What are the odds it will happen?”
My friend, on the other hand, had other thoughts. She felt that not accepting the invitation meant pushing away an opportunity to meet other singles. Though nothing may happen, there was still a chance. Indeed, how many times have we lamented that there aren’t any opportunities to meet new people? And by turning up, we can begin to challenge the thinking that being intentional in meeting new people is something to be shy about.
When she said that, somehow something changed within me. Where I had previously baulked at the idea of attending a singles event, I actually began to not mind the idea. Where I had previously thought I seemed desperate attending such events (and what if the people I meet there are desperate too!), I now think it is a great way to meet individuals who are also looking for a life partner.
Just as there is nothing lesser about being a single, there is nothing to be ashamed of attending singles events or being set up on dates. As we wait upon the Lord and pray for our future life partner, we can also do something. As my wise friend says, each time we make an effort, we are planting a seed. We may need to get out of our comfort zone to plant these seeds, but who knows, one day we may actually see the fruit.
In a Whole Life Inventory survey (2016) of around 1,500 Christian young adults who are singles, 46% said they would like support from their church for Christian matchmaking. That is almost half of the singles asking for help to meet other singles! Perhaps churches can create safe spaces for meaningful interactions among singles (hint hint)?
Nothing blossomed out of the gathering we attended, but I am glad we went, even if it is just so we could encourage others to do the same. If I ever doubt my value as a single, or refuse to attend a singles event, remind me of what I have written here, would you?
© 2017 Whole Life. All rights reserved.
Whole Life. (2016). [Whole Life Inventory]. Unpublished raw data.