Dateless? Well, isn’t that just special – another article highlighting singleness and at a particularly vulnerable season, no less. Thank you for that.
I get it, believe me. That was me for 10 long years. Each holiday season, I fervently asked God to make this the last one without someone “special” in my life. I prayed myself into a tizzy bargaining with God about how much more effective I could be in life and ministry by upgrading my relationship status from “single” to “couple.”
When those spiritual antics proved futile, I convinced myself I didn’t need anyone “special” in my life, that I was okay with my life as it was, that I was content to remain single until I died or until Christ returned. I had a good life; I could do what I want when I wanted to do it. Why would I complicate it by bringing someone else into it?
Oh, and let’s not forget those spiritual warfare thoughts about how there must be something wrong with me, that God is punishing me for previous poor choices in life, or that He hasn’t finished making me perfect for that perfect partner awaiting me … somewhere … laying her heart out before God … wondering where I am ….
Okay, snap back to reality.
Newsflash – singleness is a relational status, not your personal definition. It’s a season of life, not your identification. You are not “single” – you are a unique person whom God created marvelously for a specific purpose only you can fulfill. Whether single, married, with children or not, whatever – you are who you are.
In talking with many singles in churches or at conferences, retreats, and small group studies, I’ve found that not many are completely honest when they say, “I’m happy with my life as it is.” If they were, they’d stop announcing it to the world (as if they were trying to convince themselves). If they were truly content being single, it wouldn’t be such a sensitive topic, they wouldn’t dwell on it, would smile and honestly answer those who ask about it, and would fit in comfortably in any Bible study, church life group, or Sunday school class.
Guess what? It’s okay to occasionally be unhappy with your life. Married people also face improvements or changes they would like to make in their lives. True inner contentment is not dependent on relational status.
A perfectly content single man would have no need for singles groups, the dating scene, or the local hangout spots. A perfectly content single woman would kindly refuse if a prospective partner invited her to get coffee or lunch to get to “know each other better.” If someone was perfectly content with his singleness, he would embrace life in all aspects, fulfill the purpose God intended for his life, integrate into society with ease, and be perfectly okay with being completely alone … in a quiet house … just him and God … without a houseful of pets … without an over-booked social calendar … without 160-hour work weeks …
See? I’ve been there. Behind the spiritual mask (you know the one you wear to let everyone know you’re okay?), behind the busy calendar, behind the energy-drink fueled workweek, there remained a longing. An intrinsic longing for companionship. Deep within my heart, mind and soul there existed a desire to know and be known. Intimately, not merely sexually. No, not just by God – by another human being. Someone I could touch and who could touch me back. A life companion. A spouse. I believe it was this same longing Adam had when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIV).
It’s okay to have that relational longing for another human being. That is how God created us. However, like any other passionate longings (also called lusts), they shouldn’t control us. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). There’s a big difference between our heart’s desire for relational companionship and allowing that desire to consume our mindsets.
Again, I understand the pain. Until very recently, I was “single” too. In God’s time, He orchestrated the events and timelines that brought my wife into my life. But that didn’t change my life’s purpose, my gifts and talents, or my relationship with God. Because God previously revealed whom He created me to be, when my “compatible companion” arrived, it was a smooth and natural transition.
So as we approach this New Year, commit to something new. Look with refreshed eyes, with renewed minds, with transformed outlooks. Ask God to show you whom He created you to be. Identify the gifts and talents He has given you. Invest in yourself – take a personality test, a spiritual gifts test, an emotional age test. Determine what your love language is, then learn all you can about it. Discover your passion, preferences, life pursuits – and areas of improvement. Get a 3-D vision of yourself spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. Then develop a personal strategy to work on your weaknesses and enhance your strengths. Instead of looking for “someone special,” introduce yourself to the really special and unique you!
Here are a few reminders as you begin your journey of self-discovery:
- God knew you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5)
- God handmade you marvelously and miraculously (Psalm 139:13-16)
- God knows you by name (Isaiah 45:3)
- God knows the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7)
- God has a plan / purpose for you (Jeremiah 29:11)
- God is working all things for His purpose (Romans 8:28) – He calls and equips you as an active participant!
- Jesus died and came back to life to enable a personal relationship with you (John 18 – 20)
- Jesus, as your Advocate, is in your corner (I John 2:1)
- Jesus intercedes for you before God the Father (Hebrews 7:25)
- Jesus is coming back for you! (John 14:1-3)
- Peter’s identity was affirmed only after he recognized / admitted who Jesus is (Matthew 16:13-18). Only in Him do you find:
- Identity – who you are.
- Purpose – what you were created to do.
- Fulfillment – contentment & satisfaction in both.