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Singleness: A Character Builder?

Photo courtesy of Ruud Onos via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Ruud Onos via Flickr

During my 30s, I experienced a lot of hard single days. I’m talking about those days when singleness covered me like a blanket and seemed like the only thing that defined me. I prayed and prayed for many years, but still didn’t have that special relationship I desired.

At times, I struggled to hold on to hope. I wondered if God’s plan for me might not include marriage. I questioned whether my relationship with God would be enough. Through those dark times, I clung to my faith and wrestled with many questions for God.

When reading the Bible, we encounter a lot of people with struggles. We don’t read about many people in the Bible who cruised through life without trials. Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit, and he ended up in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. David was brutally honest with God about his questions and struggles throughout the Psalms. Paul was imprisoned more than once.

In Romans, Paul says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment” (Romans 5:3-4, NLT).

Am I asking you to rejoice over your singleness? Not exactly. If you’re able to find a place of joy in your singleness, I definitely commend and encourage that. But I’m challenging you to consider Paul’s words in Romans to view your singleness from a new perspective. This single period in your life is building strength of character. It may be deepening your relationship with God, teaching you to rely on him when things seem bleak.

When I was 37 years old, my prayers were finally answered. I met the man who is now my husband. Looking back, I see how my single years were such a sweet time with God while he prepared me for the days to come. I’m not glossing over the hard days just because I’m now married. Being single in my 30s was downright hard, some days more than others.

Now I can see how God brought me closer to Him through those hard days. When I struggled to cling to hope, He was building my trust in Him. The last part of Romans 5:4 (NLT) reads, “… this hope will not lead to disappointment.” God taught me that He is the only true source of hope, the One who will never disappoint.

I’m thankful God didn’t answer my prayers for marriage immediately. I needed to learn that a human relationship wouldn’t fill that place inside me, yearning for love. Only God can fill that void in us. He knows you fully and loves you completely. Even with this understanding of God’s vast love, you may still desire marriage, and that’s a good thing.

In the same way God uses marriage to teach couples more about Himself, he can use singleness to deepen our faith and trust in Him. Regardless of marital status, God has a plan for your life. Hope in Him with the knowledge that it will not lead to disappointment.

Do you view singleness as a character-building time? In what ways have you drawn closer to God through times of waiting?

About Allison K. Flexer

Allison K. Flexer is passionate about encouraging single women in their journeys of faith. Her first book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press, 2014), captures her experiences as a single woman as she fought lies and learned to replace them with God’s truth. The book includes quotes and stories from dozens of single women and even some advice from single men. Allison was a contributing writer for Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman (Zondervan, March 2014). Allison is also a licensed CPA who provides financial consulting services to clients. Recently married, Allison and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee.
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