- Thursday, January 29, 2004
"If I hear one more married person preach about singleness being a gift, I'm going to gag!" declared Brice, a 28-year-old single we met at a speaking event in Texas. Brice is more than ready for marriage. "Married people forget what it's like to be alone!"
Maybe married people don't forget-they just block out the memory of singleness because they don't want to relive it! Singleness is a lonely path. But does it have to be a form of hell on earth?
Brice has lived the past eight years of his life in misery. He is obsessed with finding the right girl and finally shedding the "curse" of singleness. In many ways, he has put his life on hold until the issue of getting married is resolved. He hasn't pursued finding out his life's calling or goals because he feels incomplete. He hasn't grown spiritually, and he hasn't prepared practically; he has just angrily cried out to God to send a wife to him ASAP! Brice has grown bitter and resentful. His greatest fear is dying before he finds someone to love.
Brice represents the plight of many singles in today's culture. As a Christian community, we have not acknowledged God's purpose for the season of singleness, and this is causing singles to feel devalued or "lesser-than."
Jen, a fun-loving and deeply spiritually senior in college, says that it seems everywhere she goes she is asked the same question: "So, are you dating anyone?"
"It's really hard to hear that question over and over," admits Jen, "because there is so much more to who I am than a relationship. I have school, ministry, and, most importantly, my relationship with the Lord. I hardly ever get asked about those other areas of my life; and if I do, it's only secondary to people wanting to find out about the relationship area. When the focus is so much on the relationship area, it's easy to start thinking that you need to have a relationship to be considered a 'whole person.' But that's not true. I am a whole person right now, even in this season of singleness."
The fact that Jen understands there is so much more to her life than just finding a relationship is truly amazing in a culture that puts so much emphasis on the importance of pairing up with someone. She has had just as much indirect pressure from Christians in her life to "find someone" as from non-Christians. She feels a lack of support from the Body of Christ in her commitment to trust God for her future spouse.
And countless other young women are "just waiting around" for their future spouse. They don't feel their life can really begin until they are married.
A joke often heard on college campuses is the saying, "Oh, she's here to go after a "M-r-s. degree." In other words, she could care less about college; she just wants to find a husband!
In spite of the temptation to wait for life to begin until after we find that special someone, there is more God has for us during a season of singleness than just learning the art of misery and impatience.
Krissy, my beautiful sister-in-law, is thirty-one and still single. She is the best example of purposeful singleness I have ever seen. When she was a teenager, Krissy made a choice to remain faithful to her future husband and to wait for him patiently until God chooses to bring him into her life. That was nearly eighteen years ago. Has Krissy's life been on hold since then? Quite the opposite. Krissy is not just content in her singleness...she is radiant in her singleness. Not that she is just tickled pink about being single. But she sees this season of her life as nothing less than a precious gift from God. She understands her singleness to be part of the ultimate plan for her life from her loving Creator.
In the past eighteen years, Krissy has devoted herself completely to the Lord. It is evident to everyone who knows her that she is passionately in love with Jesus Christ. She is joyful, fun-loving, and excited about living. She has been able to develop her God-given talents as a teacher, counselor, artist, and writer. She has energetically poured herself into serving others and enjoying friendships of all ages. Her life is indeed full.
When asked by her younger brother, Marky, one day, "Krissy, do you think you are called to singleness?" she paused, reflected a moment, then replied, "Today I am."
Wow! What a response! Today I am. Krissy doesn't see her singleness as an unending hill to climb. She allows God to lead her through this journey one day at a time. And as a result, she has discovered a joy in this season that few singles realize they can find.
It hasn't been easy for Krissy. She, like most other singles, has experienced many nights full of painful, lonely tears. She has felt the unquenchable longing for companionship, the agonizing ache for true love. But in those times, she has leaned all the harder upon her Savior. And He has been faithful each step of the way.
Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the "rests." They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.
If we sadly say to ourselves, "There is no music in a 'rest,'" let us not forget "there is the making of music in it." The making of music is often a slow and painful process in this life. How patiently God works to teach us!
How long He waits for us to learn the lesson!
Excerpted from When God Writes Your Love Story © 1999. 2004 by Winston and Brooks, Inc. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
**This excerpt first published on January 29, 2004.
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