Why do people assume that all single adults are lonely and just sitting around waiting to get married? Last month, a friend sent me the “Single’s Guide To Surviving The Holidays.” I didn’t even bother reading it. Why would I need help “surviving” the holidays? Perhaps a better question would be, “why can’t I thrive during the holidays” or simply enjoy the time spent among family and friends?
As a single woman in my early thirties, I’ve heard most of the clichés and hollow reassurances that people offer. In high school, I was applauded for being picky and having high standards for what I wanted in a relationship. After graduation, I heard numerous friends and family say, “I met my spouse in college.” When I finished college, the phrase was, “God will bring him when you least expect it” or “as soon as I stopped looking for a spouse, I met my husband/wife.” The assumption has always been that marriage was in the plan. Friends have suggested that I ask someone to set me up, or even try online dating. And yes, there was a time when I thought I wanted to be married, but looking back it was for all the wrong reasons.
What I find interesting through all of this is the underlying assumption that single = waiting to get married. Not once has anyone assumed I *want* to be single, or that singleness could be God’s best for me. Singleness is portrayed as something to get through, as though it is an illness from which a person will eventually get cured. Yet, at this time, I would say that being single is God’s best for me. If this is where He has me, it must be for His glory and my good. He has given me multiple opportunities to serve and use my gifts to bless others. I have a passion to work with children. The Lord provided a full-time teaching job and I help coordinate children’s ministry at my church. He is showing me how to thrive as a single woman, how to use my gifts (which include singleness) to build up the body.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This doesn’t mean we follow God to get things from him, or that he owes us anything. Instead, as we delight ourselves in him, or desires begin to align with his and he is pleased to grant them. As I follow God daily, and draw closer to him, I start wanting what he wants. If I desire something for the wrong reason (seeking what I want above the Lord), then granting that desire would not be a good, loving thing for him to do. So he works in my heart to change that desire. For me, that’s what he did with marriage. I’m not single and waiting to be married. I’m not single and longing or looking for marriage. I’m not single and preparing for marriage. I’m not single and anything. I’m just single. This is where he has called me, and where he is using me to build his kingdom……as a single woman.