To be in a long-term, romantic relationship with man: That’s one desire I’ve sought from a prepubescent age – and that’s one desire I’ve never experienced. The longing for a relationship has plagued me for years, consuming my heart. Once I mixed this longing with a realization that society disproportionately praises marriage and relationships over singleness, a real problem arose: My desire to be in a relationship became idolatrous. Thankfully, praying and reading what the Bible has to say about relationships has decreased the urgency of my desire to be in one. Still, there are times when I lament being single and I willfully hop into a black hole of self pity and stay there for a few days.
So whenever I’m tempted to wallow in self-imposed sorrow, I’ll try to remind myself of the following five reasons why being single is such a blessing for me:
1) I have the opportunity to remove an idol from my life.
Though I’m now able to share my struggle with this form of idolatry on the interwebs, it took me quite some time to admit this struggle to myself. A few months ago, if someone were to accuse me of loving the idea of a romantic human relationship more than a relationship with God, I’d have vehemently denied the accusation. However, my actions speak differently. Sometimes when I like a guy, I become overwhelmed with undeserved affection for him. I think about him all the time, delighting in a concoction of ridiculous fantasies about our perfect-relationship-to-be. I don’t have to remind myself to respond to his texts or scour his Facebook page to learn as much information about him as possible (don’t judge me…we’ve all done it). However, I do have to remind myself to pray twice a day or read the Bible consistently.
Sometimes when romantic feelings enter the picture, my priorities can become askew. Being single gives me the opportunity to take romantic love off the pedestal that God deserves.
2) I have time to focus on the greatest commandment.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:36, 37 ESV)
Consequently, removing that idol can help me focus on the most important commandment: loving God and developing a relationship with Him. Loving God requires more than lofty sayings or vacant promises – loving God requires sincere devotion shown through consistently selfless actions fueled by the earnest desire to please Him. Loving God becomes increasingly difficult when I acquire more responsibilities and obligations on this earth that seem more important than serving God. This will especially be the case when I’m working toward a romantic relationship. Being single, with limited earthly responsibilities, is the perfect time for me to learn how to grow in my love for God. I think Paul sums up this idea perfectly when he writes: “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34 ESV).
3) Being in a relationship at this moment may not be a part of God’s plan for me.
Maybe it is a horrible idea for me to be involved right now. Maybe God is protecting me from the irrevocable heartache that comes from a failed relationship. I know I am broken up when I realize a guy doesn’t like me back. I can only imagine how painful it must be to breakup with someone with whom you’ve invested so much of your emotions and time. A good consequence of being single all my life is that I’ve never had to endure a traumatic breakup. I’m so thankful for that. Whatever the reason is that God has not allowed me to enter in the many relationships I’ve sought, I thank God that he cares about me enough to not allow me to derail His plan and give me over to my desires. I do know this: If he allowed me to be with the kind of men I was seeking years ago, I’m not sure I’d be a convicted Christian today.
4) I can learn to rely on God – not myself.
Sometimes I pray for something, but there is a shadow of doubt in my mind that God will provide a solution in a timely manner (or, on my time); so, I’ll try to find my own solution. This certainly describes the motivation behind my previous attempts at dating, which meant: online dating profiles, settling for noncommittal relationships with jerks, and everything in between. In a sense, I did exactly what we’re warned against in The Song of Solomon 2:7: “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” I did these things because I honestly did not have faith that God would answer my prayers for a relationship. Perhaps God is waiting for me to wait on Him so that when I do finally enter into a healthy relationship with a guy, I will know that relationship is the result of God’s plan and not my own plan.
5) I have the opportunity to work on my weaknesses before I’m put to the REAL test.
I recently read this really awesome article on the same topic, in which the author, a minister in California named John MacArthor, wrote, “Please, if you’re single, do not look at marriage as the solution to your trouble. It probably is the multiplication of it. Marriage intensifies human weakness because it puts you under such intimate scrutiny.” I don’t even need to be in a romantic relationship to understand his point; I’ve learned this by living with other females. Admittedly there have been occasions when a roommate got upset over a bad habit I continually exhibited. I would excuse myself from having to improve my behavior by saying, “Whatever she’s just high-strung and I don’t have to live with her forever.” This is frankly not an option with marriage, so it’s best to resolve my little quirks and weaknesses now before I’m really put to the lifelong test of marriage. Also, since I’m not convinced that I’m called to life of singleness and I have faith that God will provide a great man for me one day, I need to show my faith by preparing myself now.
If you’ve made this far in my post – thank you for reading a post entirely too long for Tumblr. Yes, one purpose of this post is to serve as reminder for myself. However, by baring my heart out on the Internet and exposing my oft-hidden secret, I’m hoping this post will reach the eyes of another single female out there who is wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Why has Godforsaken me? Will he ever answer my prayers?!” I encourage you to stop doubting God; stop doubting your beauty; and stop doubting yourself. Instead, I encourage you — just as I occasionally need to encourage myself — to consider that the single life may be God’s way of blessing you at this moment.