Finding my stride in singleness…

…even in singleness there is purpose… meaning… blessing… God has allowed it… for sure, He has a plan…

A friend recently loaned me his June copy Christianity Today magazine… As I skimmed the pages, my eye caught glimpse of an intriguing article reviewing a new book about singles and the church…

 

 

Within the first couple paragraphs, I was hooked as the reviewer, Joy Beth Smith, shared her experience…

 

 

“This was never the life I imagined… What boys did [I] pass up? What mistakes did [I] make? What routines did [I] neglect, leaving [me] sleeping alone while the ticking of [my] biological clock lulls [me] into fitful dreams? I don’t feel equipped for singleness. All the youth group dating advice was predicated on the idea that marriage was in my future, that if I made all the right choices, kept myself pure, and sought after God, he would reward me with a husband.” *
 
Wow. Yes. That’s it. Ever since college, I’ve wondered… What did I do wrong to be single for so long? What is wrong with me that I’m still single? Ever since sixth grade youth group, I’d been presumptuous… Follow God’s rules, be a good person, make the right choices, and God will give me a husband… more than that, God would owe me a husband…! Ugh…!

 

There’s been a battle within me… a wrestling that yearns for resolve… All that which I was primed for as a child – that one day I’d learn how to live life together with a husband and wake to the little pitter-patter of tiny feet – has yet to come to fruition. Yes, there is still time for that… but the fact remains, life hasn’t turned out as I’d expected…

 

Smith goes on, “Many churches are proudly family-centered, and while this purpose aligns well with the American dream, it does little to welcome those of us who don’t fit the same mold…. In the church, certain assumptions are made about older single people: They’re weird or lack emotional intelligence; they’ve been dating the wrong way; or they’re held back by character defects or unresolved sin… All these stereotypes…are inaccurate. Singleness is not the problem—inability to see God’s sovereignty in singleness is.” *

 

We’ve glorified marriage and family life in the church… As if to remain single, or even childless, is to be less than whole. Indeed, I’ve held the same view… To be single beyond your twenty’s must mean your life took a wrong turn, there’s something wrong with you, or in rare cases, God might have singled you out for a special, more noble purpose in life… caring for orphans like Mother Theresa…

 

Consequently, my heart’s ideals have collided with the reality of my day-in, day-out life… Opening up questions about the blessed life…

 

But, even in this, I have found resolve… Even in singleness there is purpose… meaning… blessing… God has allowed it, maybe even ordained it… For sure, He has a plan… “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” **

 

In speaking to God, King David reminds us that God, created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb… All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ***

 

And lastly, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ****

 

Paul could see God’s plans… Christ was creating His church so that it would function like our human body…

 

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body… If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them, just as he wanted them to be… As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” *****

 

So, I write this, not for pity… or even out of pride… Though it has been a difficult road for me, I’m not disappointed in what has transpired in my single life… I’ve had opportunity to do things I’ve always dreamed of – most of all travel – that I wouldn’t have done if I’d had a family in tow… I write this for the purpose of perspective…

 

To my single friends – don’t be ashamed of your current solo flight. God has meaning and purpose in it… Enjoy it… Discover who God made you to be… Serve wherever God has gifted or called you… Know you are deeply loved by Jesus…

 

To my married friends – remember your single friends. A simple phone call, text message, or card would be meaningful… Invite them to your son’s little league game, your daughter’s recital, or over for dinner… it doesn’t have to be extravagant, just being invited is enough to know we’re valued and haven’t been forgotten…

 

To the church – be more welcoming to singles. Don’t exploit their availability, appreciate it… Listen to their perspective… Walk beside them in their struggles… Invite them in… Let them know they are seen, heard, appreciated and loved… most of all, let them know they are not forgotten…

 

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

 

“…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ††

 

*“Flying Solo in a Family-Centered Church” by Joy Beth Smith, Christianity Today, June, 2017
**Jeremiah 29:11          ***Psalm 139:13 & 16b     ****Ephesians 2:10
*****1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 17-18, & 20
†1 Corinthians 12:27    ††John 13:34-35
 
Pc: Sarah Coffey

3 thoughts on “Finding my stride in singleness…

  1. Sarah, I love what you wrote and I don’t know if you read or are aware of the stance and an affirmed paper written by the body of the church you grew up with, but your writing is an amazing parallel of those articles!
    http://www.covchurch.org/who-we-are/beliefs/resolutions/1996-human-sexuality/
    http://www.covchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/Theology-of-Singleness.pdf
    You have a much earlier start than I did on recognizing that we, as singles, have extra time to devote to volunteering. And that time can be offered and used in ways not allowed by one who is married.
    Your journey with the World Race gave you great opportunity to see effort and results of some of those efforts. Other results may take a longer than we have time to see, but the scriptures give us hope for “the seed planted”.
    Keep up the good works you are involved in, and please continue to share your reflections on your journey.

    Like

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