That’s what my Facebook profile says. Like a large banner stamped across my homepage: I. Am. Single. The holidays are just around the corner with February soon following. It’s the time of the year when even shopping heightens my awareness to the fact that I am single. Now, the end of the year approaches and still brings with it an idea that something is missing from my life.
But is it?
The Lord has done His work in my life in this area and true heart-contentment has finally settled my heart, but even still, I find there are twinges of dissatisfaction that tell me I’m still without. When those feelings arise, I must remember what the Lord taught me. There are 4 myths in regards to singleness that, even in my 30’s, I’m still having to adjust in my heart.
MYTH #1: I’ll be happy if I’m married because I won’t be alone anymore. I used to think that marriage would be the cure-all for the loneliness blues. The life of the Samaritan woman in John 4 taught me that marriage does not equal happiness. This woman had been married five times already and she wasn’t any closer to happiness than she was before. This temporary happiness was why she again found herself in another senseless relationship. Then she met Jesus, a man who cared for her, not just for what she could do for him. How often have we dated someone or been in a relationship with someone solely based on how it made us feel? But the truth is that our fulfillment and true happiness comes through our relationship with Christ. Just like the Samaritan woman I will never be truly happy with my life, no matter the status, unless I am happy in my relationship with Christ.
MYTH #2: I’ll feel complete if I’m married. I’ll have accomplished something with my life. Can women accomplish something great in life single? What about Ruth? She is the model of the Proverbs 31 woman, and yet the crux of her written story covers the time in her life when she wasn’t married. Consider “modern day” single women like Amy Carmichael, Lottie Moon, Sophie Muller, Carolyn McCulley, and Nancy Leigh De Moss. When God calls a woman to do something, He equips her to do His calling, regardless of her marital status. The truth is that completeness is found only in Christ! Ephesians 1 tells us that God has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Christ (vs. 3). Even before Creation, He chose me to be holy and blameless and He lavishes me with grace (vs. 4, 8).
MYTH #3: It must be God’s will for me to get married because I want it so badly. I believed this one for years! I kept praying and praying, expecting God to take that desire for marriage away. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that the Lord really hit me over the head with this truth: In light of eternity, it doesn’t matter if I enter Heaven married or single. The only thing that will matter is what I’ve done for Christ! Scripture contains scores of verses talking about God’s will. In almost every circumstance (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 6:6; 1 Thess. 4:3, 5:18; 1 Peter 2:15, 4:2) God’s will is about my character not my marital status; God is more concerned about who I should be than who I should be with.
MYTH #4: If I never get married, it must be a punishment of some kind. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve confessed sins to God in hopes that my singleness wasn’t a punishment for them. I’ve questioned God’s love for me because He wouldn’t give me what I wanted. I have seen the root of jealousy grow within my deceived heart because God was fulfilling the dreams of friends around me while I stood there – single! Like a child throwing a tantrum, I have watched myself clutching onto relationships that God was weeding from my life. But the truth is, if you delight yourself in the Lord, your desires will change – or at least be put in perspective! Psalm 37:4’s promise to “Delight yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” can often be misused. It’s not a magical equation for getting what we want. But it is the key to being truly fulfilled as I find my satisfaction in God and in my relationship with Him. As I delight myself in Him, my desires change to God’s desires and what He wants for my life.
If you are like me, these truths are going to be something that you need to work through, to process. It’s not just going to happen overnight. And just when you think you’ve got it, February will show up on your calendar. Don’t be discouraged. I know the process; but I also know the peace. Allow God to lead you through both.
Thanks to Donna Erickson, SMORE board member, for sending this article to me.