As the Mountains officially turned two on April 5th! To celebrate– I asked my subscribers what I should write about. Singleness was requested.
I have not been single as long as some of my friends. However, I believe I have tasted some of the difficulty that often accompanies singleness. You’ve probably experienced it whether you are still in your teens or expected to be married a long time ago.
So, what have I learned about singleness? First a question for you– how do you view singleness?
- As a curse.
- Something to be fixed.
- Something to endure.
- A sign of God’s displeasure.
The Bible tells us that singleness is a gift, then explains why.
He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord–how he may please the Lord. … 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, 34-35
Rather than viewing singleness as a curse or a season to get through, feeling pressured to fix it or fearing it is a result of the Lord’s displeasure, we can accept it as a gift.
Single sisters, treasure this season! Accept singleness as a gift. It offers an opportunity to cultivate intimacy with Christ. We can seek and serve Him without distraction.
The Gift of Longing
Perhaps singleness without distraction isn’t what you are experiencing. Maybe the longing for marriage is itself a distraction. Maybe you are longing for someone rather than something and constantly battling your emotions.
I have learned that the longing and ache of singleness also offers an opportunity.
Yes, they can be a distraction. But what if, instead of fantasizing and allowing your thoughts to be consumed with marriage, you allow your distraction to push you to Jesus?
We choose how we handle our thoughts. As Martin Luther said “You cannot stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair.”
I may not be able to change how I feel, but I do choose how I handle my thoughts and emotions. I can turn them to Jesus.
A Greater Reality
Ultimately the longing for marriage points to a greater reality– my need for Jesus. I was created to be deeply known and loved. Marriage is simply a picture of this.
If marriage is meant to point to Jesus, then the desire for marriage can also point to Him.
When I am overwhelmed by distracting thoughts and emotions I can turn to Jesus.
God promises to draw near to those who draw near to Him. (James 4:8) And He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) This is true– regardless of whether I feel it is.
If the longing for marriage, no matter how painful, causes me to gain Christ, it isn’t a waste. It’s worth it. Any pain is worth it in light of who He is.
That’s why singleness is a gift. It is an opportunity to know Jesus more. Whether you feel like you are thriving or struggling through singleness, you have an opportunity to gain Christ.
It’s no use trying to measure suffering. What matters is the making right use of it, taking advantage of the sense of helplessness it brings to turn one’s thoughts to God. Trust is the lesson. Jesus loves me, this I know– not because He does just what I’d like, but because the Bible tells me so. Calvary proves it. He loved me and gave Himself for me.Elisabeth Elliot*
*Elliot, Elisabeth. Passion and Purity. Fleming H. Revell, 2002. pp. 87.
Read all my posts about singleness here.