1. Singleness has deepened my faith.
It’s true that some people love being single and have no strong desire to be married. I’m not one of those people. From as early as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be married. I’ve gone through seasons of loneliness and questioning God. There was one time in particular when I was struggling with singleness and I asked God not to bring me a husband, but to just answer the question once and for all: Will I one day get married? I was sure if the answer was no I could live with it. I was sure if the answer was yes I could live with it. But what I couldn’t seem to live with was not knowing the answer. But the answer that came that night wasn’t yes or no or even maybe. The answer was “Trust me.” I realized if God did answer that one question for me I would have a follow-up question: Will I ever have children? Will I realize another dream? Will I ____? And if God answered all the follow-up questions, why would I need faith? Those simple words “Trust me” taught me that faith wasn’t the ability to endure the future, it was simply trusting God day by day, without knowing the future.
2. Singleness has taught me to live with tension.
Just as I have had times of loneliness and questioning God, I have also come to find contentment and joy in singleness. There are some great benefits to being single. It didn’t come easily. I had some long conversations with God, filled with tears, begging, pleading, bargaining, and finally acceptance. I came to the point of surrender and told God I was okay with never being married. It wasn’t what I preferred, but I would accept it. At that moment a great peace came over me. The struggle was over.
Except that it wasn’t. A few years later I found myself struggling with discontent again. Bargaining with God once again. And wondering what had happened to this peace and contentment I had found. That’s when I discovered that a longing for marriage and a contentment with singleness were seasons I would continually go through, just as I continually seek God’s peace in the midst of the struggle. At first I would beat myself up every time I returned to the feeling of loneliness. Shouldn’t I be content all the time if I surrendered to God? But God didn’t take away my desires. I live with both a contentment and a discontentment. Neither feeling is wrong, so I’ve learned to live with the tension in my life. I found out it’s okay to not always be okay.
3. Singleness has taught me to form my own support systems.
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another person.” God has designed us to live in community. Our relationships with one another are where our spirituality is truly lived out. Marriage creates a place for that as two people have made a covenant to love one another through the ups and downs of life. As a single I have to seek out and maintain relationships that will feed me spiritually and emotionally. This includes mentors and mentees as well as peers my own age. This is not always easy for me, but God has given me the grace to find people who I can connect with, people who will challenge me to grow and people who comfort me in difficult times.
4. Singleness has taught me how to rely on God.
Living solo has its share of challenges and it seems like I am daily adding to the “list of reasons I need a husband.” I keep telling God about the list, but so far he hasn’t brought a husband into my life. Not even any good prospects. And so I’ve found that Jesus is my husband. I know it’s often said as a cliché, but when I say it I mean it honestly and not in a creepy way. I’ve had to become truly dependent on God in my life because I don’t have that spouse to fall back on.
5. Singleness has taught me the importance of family.
Being single does not mean being alone. I still need my family. Not living with family makes staying connected a challenge. It means taking time to call or visit. It means giving up vacation time for family events. But the benefit of being single is that I’m not tempted to limit my family only to people I live with.
We each form our faith in the context of our own life circumstances. It’s tempting to look at others and think have a spiritual edge because their life is better suited to growing spiritually. I’ve sometimes thought I could have such a greater impact on the world if I had a more magnetic personality or better musical skills or more money. And yes, sometimes I’ve wondered if I could be more spiritual if I were married. After all, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, as we are told at every wedding. However, I’ve discovered that God has molded me spiritually through my singleness. And that’s one reason to celebrate my singleness.
How about you? How has God used your singleness or marriage to shape your spiritual life?