I love Monday nights. And it has nothing to do with football.
I’m a facilitator for a sex addiction program called Pure Desires at my church. Every week men come and pour their hearts out as they dive deep into the issues that have manifested the bondage. My heart breaks with them as I hear many stories of abuse and abandonment—all of which have contributed to a large hole in their heart. They try to numb the pain with something … anything. And it often lands them in a bigger battle with sexual addiction.
At the beginning, it’s very hard for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their situation and the repercussions of their situation keeps them blinded so they don’t see any ounce of hope for their recovery. Yet the come back every week, and I am grateful to see them.
Out of the six facilitators for this program, I’m the only one who is single. At times I feel out of place because I can’t necessarily relate to them when they talk about their wives and their kids. They talk about hard days and good days with their family. This is on top of their everyday job plus ministry.
What I do on Monday nights has nothing to do with me being single; however, I have learned a lot about singleness through this ministry:
1. Singleness is not that big of a deal.
During these ministry sessions, nothing else matters. I could be having a rough day due to work, family, or whatever, but when we start the meeting, everything takes a back seat. It’s like the world has the volume turned down and all that matters is the person sharing their heart. I find that my problems of going home alone, not having a wife and purity struggles are petty in comparison. I walk away knowing that I’m fully satisfied and my cup is full.
2. I am more flexible to serve.
Because I’m single, I’m more mobile and able to serve than the married facilitators. I’m able to have lunches and dinners with the guys if they need it. I don’t have to coordinate with the kids or the wife. I also am able to handle emergencies in the middle of the night. I’ve helped people by providing a free place to stay until they get back on their feet. I just give them a key so they can come and go as they please. I am willing and able to do much more than someone who is married because I know when I get married my most important ministry will be to my wife and kids.
3. I’m unhindered to work on my own shortcomings.
A lot of the men I deal with are married. So when they talk about trying to recover while dealing with their wife, it only compounds the difficulty. I can’t relate because I go home to my couch and answer to no one. It makes me very grateful to be single (and not want to marry at times) because I can take the time to work out the areas where I fall short. I’d like to be as fully equipped and spiritually healthy as I can be when I get married.
4. I can take the time to choose my spouse.
Because some of the men are married, their brokenness directly affects their wife, which in turn reveals her brokenness. Sometimes I think, Wow, and you chose this woman to marry? Often I have to stop the rants about their wives so they can focus on themselves. Because of this, I’m able to see what best qualities I want in a wife, like patience, mercy and grace. And this really comes down to how much of the Gospel they really believe. Many people have surrendered their will to the Lord, but the depth of their belief varies.
5. Singleness is not a gift of the spirit but can be used as a gift.
I think single people worry too much about being single. They look at it at from single person’s perspective, not a servant’s perspective. That’s why they’re constantly wondering if they have the gift of “singleness.” Each of us is given a gift as outlined in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Singleness is not in any of those Scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul outlines that marriage divides your devotion from God, so he wishes everyone was like him. But we have to remember that this is a concession, not a command. The Bible does not explicitly call this “the gift of singleness,” but it does express that the ability to remain unmarried to serve God apart from marriage is a gift.
So what’s your perspective on things? Do you see them through a lens of singleness or being a servant?