In an attempt to encourage, people often like to share with singles the many “pros” to being single.
I’ll admit, there are pros to singleness. For example, we don’t get woken up in the middle of the night because our kid just wet the bed or threw up or both. We don’t have to split our holiday dinners between our family and our in-laws. We don’t have to share our chocolate, our Netflix queue or our comfy down comforter. There are definitely many opportunities to celebrate our singleness, and we do … sometimes.
One of the most popular arguments I’ve heard concerning the benefit of singleness is that singles aren’t distracted by a relationship and can use “all that free time to serve and be used by God.” They usually like to back this statement up by quoting 1 Corinthians 7:7-8. I mean, if Paul says it’s better to be single, then all us single people are living our best lives now! Sorry, marrieds, we are more spiritual than you.
Except that there is this one tiny problem. Singles may not be distracted by a romantic relationship, but we can certainly be distracted by not having one. Or by searching for one. Honestly, one of my hardest struggles as a single person is making sure that I keep God as the number one desire in my heart and not a marriage partner.
Let me backtrack a bit. Do I think there is anything wrong with desiring a relationship/spouse? Absolutely not! I believe God designed us for relationships — both romantic and platonic. It was in the garden, the perfect sinless garden, that God proclaimed that it was not good for man to be alone. The Gospels repeatedly show the emphasis that Jesus put on community. The Book of Acts tells us that followers of Jesus were devoted to fellowship (Acts 2:42).
But do I think that as singles we can put our godly desires before God?
You see, singleness can be just as much a distraction as a relationship. It boils downs to this: Where is your focus? Is your focus finding a godly mate or is it meeting daily with God our Father? Do you desire a spouse more than you desire God?
There are days — many in fact — that my desire for a husband (a bearded lumberjack-looking fella) has trumped my desire for God. I’ve spent hours reading through online profiles on dating websites, but have been “too tired” to crack open my Bible. I’ve sent countless emails or letters to guys I’ve had crushes on, but neglected to tell my Lord how much I loved Him.
I’ve spent all this time and energy looking for love when in reality, Love had already found me.
As a Christian, I have already found my greatest Love. No one can love me more or better than God. His love is perfect, generous and unconditional. What makes it even more beautiful, in my opinion, is the fact that how He loves me is never based on how well I love Him. He loves me the same today, yesterday and always. He loves me on my good days and on my sassy days. He loves me well. Better than I can even comprehend.
So, let me encourage you today. I know how lonely singleness can be. I know how your heart longs to be loved and desired by another human being. I get it. I believe you deserve love. I believe you deserve the very best love the world has to offer. Actually, I believe you deserve the very best love Heaven has to offer. God offers it freely and lavishly because that’s His character. That love is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It’s available to you the days all your married friends are out double dating and you’re home watching their kids. It’s available to you when you’re scrolling through the reality listings and your heart longs for a house and family of your own. It’s available to you now in your grief and it’ll be available to you in your celebration.
In all of this, let us keep our desires in proper priority. Love God. Love Others. And if along the way you find yourself getting distracted again, know that there is grace for you. Just refocus your gaze and let His love fill you again.