A word that should be embraced but instead is seen as a curse.
This topic of “singleness” is frowned upon because, based on society, to be successful, you have to go to college, graduate, find a job, and get married—all in one breath.
Unfortunately, many people today do not fall into this bracket. But, is it really unfortunate?
This time table of “where and when our lives should be” doesn’t always follow according to plan, let alone expectations. Life happens, which at times, does alter our decisions and choices. Does that mean we’ve failed? I don’t think so. It just means that our journeys are different and that the Lord will work in each of us in the way that is fitting to His will.
It has been discouraged in the Christian community; there is this sense of desperation and a rush to be in a relationship, as if that is what being a Christian is all about—as if that is what life is all about. If only we could see singleness as a blessing and enjoy the benefits that come along with it. If only we could be reminded that singleness is actually an opportunity to grow and learn about oneself rather than falling for the pressure and lie that we need to identify ourselves with a certain status.
If only singleness can be seen as a time of healing rather than a time of bitterness and envy. If only singleness can be seen as a time of patience rather than a time of frustration.
Don’t get me wrong here; I would love to be in a relationship. However, that is just not where I am. Know, that I do not write out of bitterness or frustration of not being in a relationship. I am simply saying that there are so many ways to see the good sides of singleness.
Here are a few thoughts:
Singleness allows us the space to grow more in our relationship with God. There are always going to be competing factors that will try to take the place of God in our hearts. It is nothing different from human relationships. However, how can we expect to get it right (growth, love, intimacy) for the potential mate, if we haven’t strived for that in our personal walk with God through Jesus?
Learn about yourself. There are many people that still struggle with their identity. Lack of identity can often cause confusion. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll easily conform yourself to who people want you to be.
Do what you love. Learning about yourself gives you opportunities to explore: finish (or start!) school or take up a hobby. I’ve seen this before where people stop doing what they love to do when they meet someone. Life does not begin when you get married; it began when we were formed in the womb. Marriage, and even dating, are simply the continuation of a journey that already began and is still in process. So, learn what your “likes” and “dislikes” are. Travel and see the world. Plug into a small group. Meet new people. Join a band. Volunteer at a community center or soup kitchen. Read that book.
Grow in commitment. This is an opportunity to learn how to commit to thing…in our relationships, work, and/or goals. Singleness gives us that time and space to hone in and/or change bad habits we have. We are all not perfect, by no means. But, if we take the time to establish certain things in our lives, who knows how that will prepare for adding on a person to the equation?
Over the years, for sometime now, I’ve been single. It’s been about 6-7 years since I’ve been in a relationship. After breaking up from an unhealthy relationship, I struggled with my self-worth. During the healing stages, the Lord had reminded me of who I am in Him. I realized afterwards, I’ve allowed my standards to be diluted in order to please my boyfriend (at that time) instead of who God called me to be.
Being single challenged my views on what healthy relationships look like. It challenged me to see beyond what society sees and to value singleness as an opportunity to develop my own character, desires, purpose/career, and, most importantly, my relationship with Christ. It was through time spent with Christ that he revealed to me the insecurities, shortcomings, and pride that have prevented me from living a total surrendered life. I quickly learned that being in a relationship goes beyond status or being a “good girlfriend.” It is about being who God has called me to be for HIS purpose rather than my own.
Everyone’s story is different. I know that mine is not and cannot be like yours. So, share—where do you stand with singleness today? How has the journey been, or how is it for you right now? Whether you are single or not, do you love yourself? Do you love God?
[Writing by Nathalie Alcime]