Does an entire category about singleness seem completely out of left field and totally unnecessary? Welcome to the club! I feel exactly the same way. I distinctly remember my first run in with this whole idea of categorizing out singles. I was at a women’s conference and there was a whole track on biblical singleness. I grumbled to my friends, “They put us all in a room like we’re diseased and tell us how to manage it until we’re cured through marriage. I’m not going.”
And here I am, doing exactly what I’ve always avoided. Not only do I go to the singleness track these days, I’m the one speaking. And I feel like the sharks in this scenario every time.
I’ve been skirting around blogging about this for awhile now. Partly, because as soon as you create a category on your blog for singleness, there are only two possible paths to travel after that. 1.) The path of “old now and abandoned all hope of marriage and just going to be that girl who beats that drum.” 2.) Or, “She’s single and she’s admitting it. Lets help! Everyone! Bring your brothers, sons, coworkers, friends, fixer-uppers and guys you met in the grocery store.” 😀
On the outset, I’ll just say that I’m somewhere in the middle of those two things. I’m deeply satisfied in Christ and also long for a forever companion/husband. It has been a journey for me and I hope that this series of posts will be helpful if you are on the journey as well. I will try to be as honest as possible so that the powerful work of Christ in a frail, human heart can be clearly seen. I am not an authority on this and the journey is fraught with pain and disappointment and distraction and questions. But there is a real and bigger satisfaction and I’ve tasted it. I pray this will be far more than rehearsing tired, memorized truths but that we will experience these truths in our actual lives.
But the main reason that I don’t talk about singleness much is because the bible doesn’t talk about it much. It’s not the main thing in the bible by any stretch of the imagination and we would do well to also not make it the main thing.
So why am I writing about it now? Because there seems to be several attitudes that have crept in that are not helpful. A view of singleness so large that it blurs and obstructs our view of anything else. And a view of singleness that is small and unbiblical and limiting and ultimately destructive to the joy that we are commanded to have in Christ.
I understand why there is so much teaching about marriage, and rightfully so, as we see biblical marriage and family dissolving. But, as a result of a good desire to keep marriage pure, we tend to place too much emphasis on our marital status, especially in the church.
I don’t intend to exalt singleness or vilify it. One stream of Christianity tends to promote the state of marriage too highly while other streams exalt the state of celibacy as more holy and desirable. Neither are helpful. The bible would teach that both are good, and both are simply a season of life in which we experience Christ and give Him away to a broken world.
The majority of honest conversation around singleness these days seems to refer to it as a season of suffering that we manage through our faith in Christ until the true blessing of marriage comes along. I’m simply here to tell a different story. To paint a different picture. To inspire a different vision. I’m writing because I want to encourage us to stop dreading and avoiding and medicating singleness and instead bear hug this stage of life with all of its blessings and challenges and use it up for Christ. Jesus is not safe, but He is satisfying and He says,”I am with you! Let’s go!”
If we grit our teeth and bear singleness, all while looking to marriage as deliverance, can I be bold enough to say that the glory of Christ is at stake? Thriving in singleness is serious business, first and foremost for the glory of God in our satisfaction of Him. But also for the world. Oh friends! The world is in such desperate need, and here we are with all our time and resources and we are navel gazing.
This is certainly counter culture to our nature and to our culture and we will need divine help. And here’s the good news. We are absolutely promised divine help – the life of Jesus Himself within us through the Spirit. We have an amazing opportunity to help change the conversation and culture around Christian singleness. Who’s in?!