I’m single. I’ve never been in a relationship, and it doesn’t look like I will be anytime soon. I don’t have any of the responsibilities or benefits associated with a dating or marriage relationship. It’s just me.
There are days when I am excited about all the opportunities that singleness affords me -- and days when the future looks really lonely.
There are days when I’m willing to wait -- and days when I want God to at least promise me that it will happen eventually.
There are days when I am objectively excited for the people around me who are dating, engaged, or married -- and there are days when I am just plain jealous.
There are days when I appreciate my independence -- and there are days when I couldn't care less about it.
There are days when I know that singleness is a gift from God, just like marriage is a gift -- and days when I wonder.
From our culture’s perspective, singleness is the interim. It’s the dreaded time before or between relationships. It’s something to be dealt with or made the most of, if it can’t be avoided altogether. Satan loves to take any opportunity to tell us as humans that we’re less than, that we’re not valuable, that we don’t matter as much. He lies to us about singleness like he does about anything else. Our own hearts desire fulfillment in a relationship; the only person that can meet that desire for fulfillment is Jesus. But because we are sinful, we lose focus and think that a romantic relationship can provide that fulfillment.
So, basically, every voice around us is telling us that we need to find that person. That we have failed if we don’t. That the single life is subpar, boring, lonely, and lame. Except God. God doesn’t say that. He tells us that we can live full lives to his glory and still be single. He tells us that he values us, even when we haven’t managed to find the person. He tells us that singleness isn’t a curse; it’s a gift.
Singleness is a gift, whether we believe it on any given day or not. Practically speaking, we’re independent. We can make our own plans and chart our own course without reference to another person. We don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. We don’t have to share our finances with anyone else. We don’t have the added stress of trying to determine if we could live with someone for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to deal with the extra pressure when there is a miscommunication or an argument. I know that most couples in a relationship would say that it is worth it, but it isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s just plain difficult. We as singles don’t have the benefits of being in a relationship, but it’s important for us to realize that those benefits don’t come without a lot of hard work.
But it’s deeper than that. Singleness is an opportunity to give of our time, our resources and our abilities in such a way and to such an extent that wouldn’t be possible if we had a full-time commitment to another person. God uses single and married people alike to further his kingdom; he values both and has equipped both uniquely. It may sound too vague or too far removed from the here and now, but it makes a difference. It makes a difference knowing that wherever I am in life, God has a plan. It makes a difference knowing that I’m not dysfunctional or a failure. It makes a difference knowing that singleness is a valid option, just like marriage is a valid option. What’s important is not so much the situation we’re in, but what we do about it and our attitude toward it. I know a number of single people of all ages who have been a huge inspiration to me because they’re not afraid to be single. They embrace it and live their lives to the fullest because they are more focused on glorifying God where they’re at than on wanting to be somewhere else. For them, singleness isn’t a shame; it’s a chance. And that’s what I want my perspective to be.