Whether it’s been at a birthday party, a holiday, or from a well-meaning friend, we’ve all received a gift that we haven’t wanted. Our loved one gives it to us with the best intentions and we awkwardly smile as our voice goes up in pitch and we say, “Aww thanks, I love it!” Meanwhile in our minds we’re planning how we can re-gift this to someone or we’re praying that the gift receipt is included in the box. We’ve all done it at some point in our lives, but have you ever thought about if you’ve done that with a gift that the Lord has given you?
I definitely have. The Lord has given me lots of gifts over my lifetime. He’s given me the gift of a career doing what I love, good friends and family, the spiritual gifts of encouragement and teaching, and so many more. But there’s one gift He’s given me that I’ve always tried to return.
The gift of singleness.
Now, if you are reading this and you are single, you probably just rolled your eyes. But, bear with me here. I was that girl for 23 years of my life and sometimes I still am. I’ve been single my whole entire life and I have only ever been on four or five dates in my little over two decades of living. That might not seem like a big deal, but I went to Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian university which has the unofficial slogan by some of “ring by spring or your money back.” In fact among my closest friends, one of them just got married, two of them are engaged, and four of them are in a relationship. So with so many of my friends and people I went to school with either dating, planning their marriage, or establishing families, it is hard to not have some fear of missing out.
For the longest time, I hated being single. I felt incomplete because I did not have a man to talk to or go on dates with. I felt like my life was missing something and that I was less than my friends who had significant others. Since I never had a boyfriend and had only been on a handful of dates, I began to feel worthless and like something was wrong with me. Was I too ugly? Was my personality too much? Was I too fat? If I changed _________, would boys find me more attractive? I tried to find love in all the wrong places and I was basing my worth on the complete wrong thing.
Every December, I pray and ask the Lord to give me a word that defines the year. The word that the Lord laid on my heart this year was contentment. In 2017, I wanted to be content with who I was, where the Lord had me, and His plans for my future. As I have been pursuing this goal over the last month I realized one of the biggest barriers to my contentment was my relationship status. One night, I was laying in bed feeling upset because this guy that I liked wasn’t interested in me, when I felt the Lord speak to me. I realized that there is a chance that I might not ever get married and I could not keep on living the way that I was. I did not want to be a bitter woman years down the road because I was not married. On that night, I gave up my desire to be married and instead decided to embrace the gift of this season of singleness that the Lord has given me.
In 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Paul writes “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided.” After deciding to embrace my gift of being single, I realized how much I can be used by God in this season. Since I’m single, I can spend more time serving my church in areas I’m passionate about. Since I’m a single teacher, I also have more time to devote to my students which is my biggest mission field. I can spend my evenings engaging in community with other Christians. Those weekend nights that I spend dateless, I can spend them spending time with the Lord through Bible study in prayer. That’s not to say that if you’re married you can’t be used by God, you totally can! But, us single girls need to start embracing our unique position to live on mission!
Do I still want to get married? Absolutely. But now instead of focusing on trying to find a boyfriend or wishing my life out of this season, I’ve chosen to embrace it. I’ve chosen to pursue Jesus who is the true lover of my soul. One of my favorite verses Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When you are living and delighting in the Lord by spending time with Him and pursuing Him, the Lord will bless your desires. This means that maybe one day God will bless me with my desire to be a wife or He will change my desires to match His desire for me. When we are delighting in Jesus, we are constantly being molded and shaped to conform to His vision of our life.
There are some days where I still struggle with being single. But I definitely can say that I’m living a more fuller life since I have decided to surrender my desires and pursue the Lord instead of boys. After all, the Lord will love me way more than any other earthly man. A man will never complete me, only Jesus can. If I’m not satisfied in Christ’s love now, I won’t be satisfied in Christ’s love when I’m married. If you are single and struggling, please know that your worth is found in Christ and not your relationship status. Your life is not worth less because you are single. Embrace this season and start living it out for Christ. You never know what He has for you, but I can promise that it is “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
As always, the Woven Together team is here for you. If you would like to contact us for prayer, encouragement, advice, or just someone to talk to, you can reach us on our Facebook, Instagram ( @_woventogether) or Twitter ( @_woventogether). You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org