Had an awesome opportunity to speak at my church in April as part of a panel of women. I answered two questions related to singleness. Those answers are below plus a bonus answer to a question we didn't get to on the panel.
As always, I'm not currently fielding negative public feedback - please direct those comments to the future if I am lucky enough there to have a PR team (or at least a person). Otherwise, go ahead and hold those comments in and try not to explode.
I’m waiting for God to bring me a husband. What does that look like?
If you are waiting for God to bring you a husband, I would say to stop doing that. Marriage is good and holy, but it is not required and it is not necessary. In Christ, you are complete just as you are.
The most important thing in my life is MY relationship with God, being fully surrendered to Him, trusting Him with my whole life – that I serve Him and love Him with my whole heart. This doesn’t require marriage – it doesn’t require anything except God, which is handy because He is the one thing that cannot be taken away.
Paul said he knew the secret of being content in any circumstance.
I think part of learning to be content in any circumstance is finding a way to be okay with that circumstance being permanent. So if you are struggling to be content in your singleness, a good place to start is figuring out a way to be content with the idea that you may be single permanently.
My advice to every Single Christian person, which no one has ever taken by the way, is to take a year off of even considering dating and marriage.
Take whatever stress/fantasies/concerns you have regarding marriage and just toss it into next year.
Don’t even look at a guy and think he’s cute or wonder what your kids would look like – seriously, shut it down.
Take the year to focus on 3 things
1. Your relationship with God.
2. Getting to know yourself and your unique gifts. During my year, I really examined some negative character traits I have and began working on those. I also started a list of things I like. As in, things I actually like outside of the influence of other people. It’s harder than it sounds, but also incredibly revealing.
3. Study marriage . Read books, listen to sermons, study scripture about being married, and be around married couples who are willing to be open, honest, and vulnerable around you.
Couple takeaways for me after studying marriage: 1. Marriage is an earthly institution and 2. It has eternal purposes - Your Holiness and God’s glory
Why study marriage?
1. Good perspective for going into marriage if that is in your future
2. Help you be a good support for your married friends even if you remain single – if you have the perspective that marriage is for God’s glory and for our holiness, you care about your friends’ marriage in a deeper way – you care about their marriage because you care about their holiness and you care about God’s glory.
I have never been in a serious relationship. However, I’m not pure. I’m worried God isn’t going to bring me someone because of my past, or that he will bring me someone pure and I will be undeserving of him. What does a healthy relationship look in this circumstance?
God wanted to be in relationship with you. But you were separated because you were impure, you were not righteous, you could not stand before God.
To fix that -
Jesus lowered Himself to take the form of a man, he endured the temptations we face in this skin and then he endured one of the most horrific deaths imaginable. He allowed himself to be captured, allowed his captors to whip him - He was mocked and spat on and finally hung naked for hours and hours while he slowly suffocated.
He did this to atone for your sin. So His righteousness could be your righteousness. So you could stand before God. So you could have a relationship with Him. So you could be pure.
He did this so you could be called redeemed, a child of God, a saint.
So if I'm wondering if my past is going to keep me from having a relationship with a human person, or how it is going to affect that future relationship- (a single-mom who has never been married - do that impurity math) – if I'm wondering this, I think I need to ask God to help me understand why I think I'm asking these questions. Why do I think this will be a barrier to me having a healthy marriage relationship? And if it were me, I think I would find one of 2 things:
1) I think I'll find some pain or sin that hasn't been fully dealt with.
2) I think I'll find there is something I am not believing about God's promises - something I'm not believing about my redeemed self. Something I’m not believing about what God has done for me.
So if I’m asking this type of question, I think where I would start is with reading about what Jesus did for me. Read about the betrayal and the mocking and the crucifiction and all the way through to the resurrection. Meditate on it. Think about why He did that.
He didn’t do it for you to remain captive to thoughts about how you’re still not good enough.
And then fill your head and your heart with truths about who you are:
A child of God: John 1:15
Justified and redeemed Romans 3:24
Not condemned Romans 8:1
and on and on . . but I would start with those.
What does it look like to be a single woman without a man being involved?
In general, single people have more freedom/flexibility/time (this is relative to life circumstances of course). We choose how we use the extra time. Just like in marriage, you have to choose to use the benefits of singleness to glorify God.
TIME: Singleness gives me a ton of alone time, should I choose it, which I love. Every night after bedtime there are 2-4 hours I have completely to myself.
FREEDOM & FLEXIBILITY: A few years ago, I was able to spend two weeks in Iraq. I’m going again in the Fall of this year (if all goes as planned). I will travel as often and to wherever God opens doors for me and being single gives me the freedom and flexibility to do this. Not that married people couldn’t do the same thing, but it’s a little more complicated within a marriage because you have another person’s plans/schedules/desires to take into consideration. I have a child who loves spending a couple of weeks here and there with Grandma for now, and will hopefully love to join me on trips as he gets older.
I also think being single makes my relationship with God easier. Since a spouse is an important and close relationship, there is a lot of time and energy that goes into maintaining and improving that relationship. So the time and energy I would have spent on a marriage relationship, I have available (still have to choose to use it!) to me to spend on my relationship with God.
This is an observation in my own life, from my experiences, but it’s also what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:34.
"The unmarried woman is concerned about the work of the Lord, how she can be holy in both body and spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world, how she can please her husband.…"
There are benefits to both marriage and singleness, both are of God, both are good, both breed holiness, both can bring God glory – this idea of having more time/energy/freedom for a relationship with God is simply a benefit of being single and I, for one, embrace it and find joy in it.