So, my last post was about what to do when you’re tired of being single. Today, I want to look at singleness from a different angle. What if we saw singleness not as a burden, but a blessing? Not a lack, but an opportunity?
Listen, girls, my married friends tell me that they look back on their single years and miss them, wish they’d enjoyed them more and seen them as the gift and opportunities they were. I know some of them regret how they spent their single years.
I don’t want to look back with regret. I want to look back and know that I lived fully and loved fully and glorified God fully with these years. I want to cherish the moments and seize the opportunities. You, too?
Let’s look at that piece of Scripture that every single just loves: 1 Corinthians 7
“But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35
No, Paul is not putting down marriage, and neither should we. Paul elsewhere talks about marriage as a good thing and even tells young widows in 1 Timothy 5 to marry. You can certainly serve and please the Lord as a married person. BUT, this is still a good principle. Marriage brings different responsibilities and cares than singleness does. Singleness allows for serving God in a different, and, according to Paul, less distracted way than marriage does.
If you currently find yourself in a season of singleness, you are in a season of opportunity. You are in a season to care about the things of God. You are in a season to be holy both in body and in spirit. You are in a season to serve the Lord without distraction. And those are all GOOD things!
At the same time, many singles miss out on the opportunities. Many choose to waste their time, grow selfish, wallow in self-pity, idolize marriage, avoid inconvenience, live in their comfort zone, not go deep in relationships, turn to porn or other forms of sexual sin, mismanage their time, live for pleasure, “float” and not really invest in anything or anyone, grow bitter, be irresponsible, pursue hobbies to excess, etc. You get the picture.
If you’re reading this, though, I’m guessing that you don’t want that picture. So what are the opportunities that we have? Let’s explore a few:
- Relationship with God. If you struggle to find time for God now, it’ll only be harder with a spouse and kids. Use this time of “less distractions” to spend more time with God. Go deep with God. Funnel your loneliness into building intimacy with God; only God can truly fulfill you anyway. Marriage is wonderful, but becoming one with another person and merging lives can add layers and complexities to the special relationship that’s 100% between you and God right now. Enjoy it, and build a firm foundation now.
- Volunteer. Your job may or may not be full time, and either way, your weekends & evenings are often available. You can probably find some time to volunteer somewhere, be it at your church, kids ministry, homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, after-school club, pregnancy centers, fundraising for local ministries, etc.
- Mentorship. This is a two part thing. First, find a mentor or mentors who you respect, look up to, and would like to learn from. You will always need mentors, but it’s easier now, and it’s a good pattern to establish. Surround yourself with people who will call you up and encourage you. Secondly, mentor others. Again, this is something you will always need to do, but you have more time and flexibility for it now. Find people to invest in, encourage, and build up.
- Invest in the local church. It’s easy to slack off on church attendance as a single. Don’t give in to the temptation. No church will be perfect, but being part of a local church is still a Scriptural command. Show up, regularly. Join a Bible study or small group. Help out. Join the worship team. Teach Sunday School. Seek out multi-generational friendships. It’s time for us to stop waiting for the church to “become more appealing to singles”, and focus on how we can serve, not just how we can be served.
- Friendships. You’re not meant to do life alone. Please don’t try. Build real, solid friendships with people that go deeper than discussing the latest movie. Find accountability. Live in community. Use the opportunities you have to go deep with people, and learn to stick by someone even when it’s hard. Be the friend that someone calls when they’re in desperate need, the friend who’s not afraid to touch the ugly stuff, the friend who sees the best in everyone.
- Time Management. This may seem silly, but it’s not. If you don’t manage your time well, you’ll never be able to take advantage of all the opportunities of singleness, and it certainly won’t make transitioning to marriage easy. Learn how to schedule, plan meals, keep appointments and commitments, be punctual, exercise self control, stop binge-watching movies or playing video games for 12 hours straight, balance hobbies, plan ahead, etc. Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a spouse become an excuse to slack off or get lazy about this.
- Identity & Purpose. How has God made you? What are your God-given strengths and gifts? What are your weaknesses and struggles? What are your long-term dreams? Take the opportunity to learn who God made you and embrace it, learn what areas you need to work on, and ground your identity firmly in Christ. Have a vision for life bigger than your plans for the weekend. Knowing this can guide you as you seek what specific opportunities to pursue.
- Serve Big. The opportunities are endless, you see? Now’s your chance to do the wild and crazy things for God that others long to do but perhaps can’t do. Go on mission trips. Move to another country. Say yes to that job that’s big on heart and short on cash, like working at a non-profit. Take big leaps of faith. If God is in it, it doesn’t matter how risky it seems. Honestly, the risk is easier to take, because you don’t have a spouse or kids and the ties that come with them involved. There is freedom in singleness, so use that freedom to be a servant of God and glorify Him in every aspect of your life, redeeming the time.
What are some specific opportunities that you have found as a single? Or if you’re not single, what are some recommendations that you have for us, either from things you did or wish you’d done? I’d love to hear!