Each year, Forbes magazine comes out with its annual “Best Cities for Singles” edition.  Forbes is a financial magazine, yet I’m always curious to know what they think singles want and where they think is the best place to find it.

The methodology Forbes used in 2007 to establish the best city was as follows:

To determine the best city for singles, we ranked 40 of the largest continental U.S. urban areas in seven different categories: nightlife, culture, job growth, number of singles, cost of living alone, coolness and online dating.

Our proprietary Cost of Living Alone index is determined by the average cost of a metro area's apartment rent, a Pizza Hut pizza, a movie ticket and a six-pack of Heineken.

To determine coolness, market research company Harris Interactive conducted a poll of adults from across the U.S., each of whom was asked, "Among the following U.S. cities, which one do you think is the coolest?"

I could be out of touch with the “real world” since I don’t base my cost of living on any of the above items or worry about living where people think is “cool.”  Nightlife, number of singles and coolness may be important to some people, but should these factors be the most important and influential to Christian singles in determining where and how they live?

I conducted an unscientific survey asking a number of Christian singles, “What is important to you or what do you like about being single?”

The majority of responses had to do with the aspect of independence—the ability to have a flexible schedule/life, to spend money as desired, and to have time alone.  While their “independence” played an important role on the positive side, the people surveyed were also quick to mention a small degree of sadness associated with being autonomous. 

So, how can we, as singles, use what we enjoy most about our lives to honor God, to live radically for Christ, and to embrace life to the fullest?

 Seize the day, seize whatever you can
 ‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
 Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand
 Then nothing will stand in your way
 Seize the day

 — Carolyn Arends

In Our Schedule

I love being able to determine my own schedule.  I can do (or not do) whatever I want, when I want.  This may sound selfish—especially to those who have many more obligations to family, job, and church—but with this independence also comes spiritual responsibility.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7, “I would like you to be free from concern.  An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord” (vs. 32). “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs:  Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit” (vs. 34).

As a single, it’s easy to think solely about myself, but if I do I would not be abiding by God’s Word and not seeking ways to please the Lord.  I could try to argue with God (as I have at times) that I desire a relationship and have waited a long time, I deserve to have things that I’ve worked for, and I need “my” time.  However, these arguments are not convincing when talking to the Son of God.

While I was working in the corporate world, I chose to use my only two weeks of vacation time to lead church youth trips (which dumbfounded many of my non-Christian co-workers until I started including their kids on the trips).  Those trips brought me more personal joy and memories than if I had used that time only for myself.

A longtime single female friend, in her forties, has devoted the last 15 years of her life ministering to the youth in Eastern Europe.  She has the same desires as many women—to be a wife and mother—but until then she is devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit, and this pleases the Lord.