So, you’re single and sometimes wish you weren’t.
You desire marriage, kids, and a family. You believe God has placed this desire on your heart, but for some reason, it hasn’t happened yet. Like one Psalmist, you keep asking, “How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1).
Can you relate?
I’m in my twenties and I’ve been single my entire life. By no means do I have all the answers to singleness, but I am well aware of the struggles and difficulties and blessings that singleness brings. The road can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be joyless.
I’m sure many of us who are single want to use this season wisely—but how? How can we enjoy our singleness without wasting it?
Over the years, I’ve learned that there are 11 things every single Christian should know:
1. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Thriving in singleness happens by fixing your eyes on the One who is sinless. Look to Jesus to be your source of joy, hope, purpose, and meaning. Only God can give you what you actually want, and what you really need.
2. Beware of the idolatry in your heart. A significant other is a good thing, but it becomes a bad thing when you turn it into a god thing.1 Making anything more important to you than God is idolatry and I’ve seen many Christians make an idol of their boyfriend or girlfriend once they start dating. Check your heart now so that you can avoid that pitfall later. Is your desire to be with someone healthy or idolatrous?
3. Guard your heart. The Bible tells us to guard our heart, not to follow our heart. Firmly guard your heart from worldliness, idols, and desiring a spouse too badly, but you can still be open to who the Lord may have for you in your life, even right now. So guard your heart, but don’t close your eyes.
4. Train yourself for godliness. Being single, you probably have more free time right now than you will ever have in any other season of life. Don’t waste this time. Instead, use it wisely by spending intentional time in Scripture and prayer, serving your Church and community, growing in your career, learning new trades, reading books, building healthy friendships, and potentially serving in overseas missions. You’ll still be able to do those things if and when you get married, but you just won’t be as flexible as you are right now. So steward this time wisely.
5. Be aware of grumbling. Grumbling is not going to suddenly bring Prince Charming (or, as in my case, Princess Jasmine) to your side. Plus, grumbling leads to bitterness, which is unattractive. Instead of grumbling that you are single and wish you weren’t, make it a habit to recount the blessings the Lord has bestowed on you, all of which are undeserved.
6. Make a list for you, not for a spouse. Instead of making a list of what you want in a spouse, make a list of you need to be in a spouse. In other words, don’t focus on finding the right person; focus on being the right person. The kind of person you desire in your twenties may not be the same kind of person you need in your fifties.
7. Don’t place your ultimate hope in marriage. If you have a deep desire to be married one day you will probably get married . . . or you may not. The big wedding day, honeymoon, and family that you envision for your life may come . . . or it may not. You have no idea what’s going to happen to you tomorrow let alone your future. Instead of placing your ultimate hope in a spouse, place your ultimate hope in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of our Savior.
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8. Remember that you are in this season for a reason. As S. Lewis wisely said, “God would not have anyone waiting unless he saw it was good for them to wait.”1 You’re not waiting on accident. Your singleness is not God’s way of depriving you; it’s God’s way of changing you. The suffering servant was single, and God is using this time to make you more like him.
9. Don’t hyper-spiritualize dating. We Christians are so awkward with dating advice, aren’t we? If you find someone who loves Jesus and his church, and you are attracted to her—and she is actually attracted to you — and your friends and family think it’s a good idea, then what are you waiting for?
10. Seek advice regularly. Seek biblical counsel and wisdom from other married Christians. Ask the hard questions. Give them permission to speak into your life to help you grow as a single Christian and potentially as a married one. Ask others to keep you accountable and to point out your blind spots. Be coachable. In short, ask for wisdom from fellow wise Christians to help you thrive during singleness, and help prepare you for marriage.
11. Trust God. This might sound obvious, but we all could use a reminder. We forget this often so we need to be reminded daily. Friend, God knows exactly what he’s doing. In fact, your desire to be married is not incidental. Doesn’t God already know the future of your life? Isn’t he working all things out in your life for your good and his glory? Isn’t his timing alwaysperfect? Trust God’s providence and that his purposes will come to pass in your life.
Singleness might be a waiting season, but it doesn’t need to be a wasted season. Many singles are discouraged and despondent, but friends, it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s so much joy and treasure and wisdom and memories and experiences to be had. So don’t waste this time, but use it well for what will last. Because as C.T. Studd once said, “Only one life; ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
This article was originally published at gospelrelevance.com. Used with permission.
Publication date: July 28, 2016