What Being Single Taught Me
“Sarah Bolton is in a Relationship” was the first thing that popped up in my Facebook newsfeed that morning.
I held my breath in a dramatic moment of indecision. To like or not to like?
If I liked it, I would acknowledge that I had seen it and I was the last of my high school friends to not be married, engaged, or even in a serious relationship.
If I didn’t like it, she’d notice. She had told me about this guy over coffee the week before and how courteous and intentional he had been—unlike her last boyfriend. From the sparkle in her eye, I knew this guy was someone special.
I winced and I “liked” it. After all, I was happy before her. I just didn’t know what my own future held.
The women of my generation are making the transition from singleness to marriage later in life and this brings up questions we have not had to ponder quite so hard before. We are wondering what Christian womanhood looks like when we are not wives and mothers…and don’t know if we will ever be? Deep down, there is the unsettling truth that Prince Charming might never come. Does that mean God has forgotten about us?
I have had a string of related questions in my own mind the past couple of years as I graduated high school, moved to the big city, and was consistently disappointed when I didn’t find “the one.”
But I learned. Oh, how I have learned.
1. God is More Than Enough
The questions and doubts attached to singleness emerge from the innermost places of our heart. It is where some of our deepest passions and longings lie. So it should be no surprise that this is where Satan launches his most successful attacks.
If you are a single Christian committed to purity, you are under attack. The battle we are engaged in shows up when we face excruciating loneliness, insecurity, or lust. To any young (or old) women reading this, I can tell you that God is more than enough to banish any of those.
Longing for companionship is nothing to be ashamed of. Wanting to build and share a life with someone is good and godly and we should never try to hide it. But when those desires translates into fear or desperation (a willingness to “settle”), it is not of God. Satan never has raw materials, he can only distort what God has already made.
The best way to control our desires is to submit them to their Creator. Every time loneliness or lust rears its ugly head, give it to the Almighty. He made those desires, He knows what to do with them.
2. Don’t Take Singleness Too Seriously
“What if he’s the one?!” We text our BFF when the guy we’ve had our eye on for weeks/months finally makes a move and we have a date planned for Friday night. Or after a month or two of dating.
Word of advice: Don’t.
We can put a lot of pressure on dating and relationship. We spend our whole lives dreaming about a future with an unknown guy, a faceless Prince Charming, and sometimes we become desperate to discover who he is. We just don’t want to be single anymore.
This is where patience and discernment is going to be your best friend. Hopefully, any guy you go out with will treat you with kindness and respect, but don’t expect him to be Mr. Perfect and read your mind and quote The Notebook.
You need patience. You can’t tell if this guy has the character you would want in a husband in one evening (wouldn’t that be great though?!). Every good thing takes time. Time to observe, interact, and learn.
Discernment based on godly principles is going to help you out a lot. Is he slow to listen, but quick to speak? Is he always the first to leave when help is needed? You know what your standards are, does he meet them (or is he striving to)? If he isn’t the guy for you, don’t sweat it. If you are truly trusting God’s plan, you are not going to place your life’s happiness on one date or one guy.
3. Never Follow Just Your Heart
Let me tell you a story on why following your heart isn’t always a good idea.
His name was Will. When I first met him on a cold January afternoon, I was tongue-tied before I could even utter a hello (bless my heart). He was tall, good-looking, held my door, cooked the best meals, had an incredible wit and quoted C.S. Lewis to me when I was sad. Ah, to say I was head-over-heels would be an understatement!
By God’s grace, I eventually saw through Will’s good-looking facade. After a series of events, I learned that he was manipulative and that he had lied to me more than once. I was hurt and confused, but I didn’t react furiously and hope foolishly that I was somehow mistaken. I moved on.
This attitude wasn’t easy, but I was able to healthily separate facts from feelings because I trusted in God’s protection rather than the desires of my own heart. How difficult it is to act against your own flesh! Everything in you screams to act one way, but the Bible very clearly states the opposite. Do we act on truth or on feeling? That is our moment of decision.
These all have obtained a good report through faith, but they did not receive the promise. For God provided something better for us, so that with us they would be made perfect (Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV)
God doesn’t want us to be miserable, but He does want us to learn to abide in Him at all costs. Whether married or unmarried, dating or single, we all wrestle with discontent and unfulfilled desires.
Maybe He wants me to be like my mom and get married and have five kids. Maybe He plans on me living a life of singleness that is dedicated wholly to Him. So be it. Whatever He requires, I willingly oblige because I understand that I am His. Whether I am married or single, God always, always comes first.
By Payden Hall
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