I do not want to be single. I never have. I’m a hopeless romantic, and I’m 100% convinced that I was made to one day be a husband and start a family. There’s a deep desire for it in my soul, and though I can distract myself from it temporarily, I can’t completely ignore it. It’s there, and I’m certain it will always be there.
And yet, I am single.
Sometimes I have to convince myself that that’s okay. Four or five years ago, it may not have been so bad, but now that I’m connected to a community that has married off pair after pair of lovebirds every few months or so, it’s especially difficult not to feel at least a little bitter. Most of me recognizes the things that God is doing in my life and the lessons He’s taught me, and is therefore able to accept His timing graciously. But there’s still a part of me that wonders and sighs.
Being honest, though, the wondering and the questioning are intrinsically a bit selfish. I’m seeing myself as some sort of victim of singleness, eyeing others jealously and asking, “Why can’t I have that? When will it be my turn? Will it ever?” My joy for others then comes with an unhealthy heap of discontent. That isn’t right, and that encourages me to seek a shift in perspective. If I stop for a moment and look past my own eyelids, I can gimpse an important truth: being single isn’t an affliction. It’s an opportunity.
I do not have the “gift of singleness” (1 Corintians 7:7-9). There may be a few people out there that do not “burn with passion”, but I don’t think I’ve met any of them. Just like most everyone I know, I plan on getting married one day, whether sooner or later. But the “gift of singleness” doesn’t just refer to the ability to remain single– it also refers to the state of singleness itself. I may not be single forever, but while I am, that singleness is a gift. As long as I’m single, I have more time to be used however God wants to use me– for me, that tends to look more like investing in friendships for the goal of discipleship; to others, it may be something different. Either way, there are opportunities afforded by being single that would either be largely diminished or outright impossible otherwise.
I’ll admit that I often fall short of what I could be accomplishing as a single person, and so I’d like to use my roommate as an example. He just traded in his car in order to get a large pickup truck. He could have chosen any vehicle he wanted, but he settled on a truck for the sole purpose of using it to help people with moving or hauling– things that take time and availability. He is able and willing to give that time because, as a single person, he can. And he isn’t the only one. Several of my other single friends are similarly involved, providing help and filling roles whenever they’re needed. The ways in which they are able to affect the lives of others are both meaningful and numerous, simply because they have hearts to serve and the capacity to do it. That’s a great gift.
Whenever I lose sight of that gift, I look at my life and realize that I am extremely blessed. I have everything I need, and (due to the fact that I’m not much of a materialist) basically everything I want. I have wonderful friends and family, and though there are definitely hard times, the joys easily outweigh the sorrows. The truth is, with Christ at the center, my life is complete as it is, regardless of my relationship status. I know this, and in that there is contentment.
If you’re single, I hope you can find contentment in that, too.