Even in a family-oriented church, being single is nothing to be ashamed of.
Published on: 06-01-2020
Singleness can be a blessing even if it may sometimes feel like a curse. Before my husband and I began dating, my singleness had been a real roller coaster.
Here’s why the experience of being a single young adult was trying. I listened to everyone and anyone about how I should live my life. I was in my mid-20s with a good job and living on my own. That’s a fair amount of accomplishment, actually. But if you grew up in the church, you can imagine what every “aunty” had to say: “When are you getting married? Do you like being single? Why can’t you find a husband? You know, if you would just travel to other churches, you’d find a husband.” Hearing all this made me miserable because I actually yearned to be married. Added to that was the pressure I felt to form a marriage alliance with anyone, as if just anyone would do. I even started contemplating marrying a nonbeliever. If there were any that I wanted to date, I would make him “the one.”
My immediate family was loving and supportive, but the extended family always had something to say. Though no one outwardly told me I was edging up in marriageable years, I felt that pressure. There was also an undertone to certain statements that didn’t help anything. “Aww, there’s someone out there for everyone. Just be patient. Wait on God.” Or that one aunty whom I hadn’t seen for a few years asking, “How old are you now? And you’re working, living on your own? So, what’s the problem?” Those comments stung. First, because I never asked for their opinion on my life; and second, because I was somehow convinced that God enjoyed seeing me miserable and lonely.
During this time, communing with God was just a formality. There was nothing meaningful to it. I read my Bible every morning, prayed before I set off to work—that was it. God seemed so distant to me. Feeling apathetic, I started thinking, “If God really loved me, I’d be married and happy by now.” I blamed God for my singleness instead of realizing that He is the provider of all my needs—even my love needs. I was at my lowest point spiritually.
Somehow I got the idea that I needed to remind God of the good things I’d done. I’d pray, “God, I’ve helped the poor. I’ve taken time out to go on mission trips around the world. Why aren’t you helping me with my situation? Weren’t my good works enough? Is there more that I should be doing?” My attitude became very negative about everything. If you’ve ever been single, miserable, and surrounded by people in love, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I would say things like, “Oh, they won’t last long. How did they meet? They’re not that cute together. She can do better. Goodness, what was he thinking?” Don’t get me wrong, I would never say these things out loud; such thoughts existed only in my head. But they weren’t kind and Christlike thoughts at all.
Thankfully, this unpleasant season of my life was not forever. I finally realized that God loved me and wanted to take care of all my needs—even those very love needs deep in my heart. Getting to this point in my life was not easy. There were ebbs and flows of being best buds with God followed by low points where spending time with God just lacked my total heart, and I continued to blame Him for being single. But in His grace, He brought me through that; so that even before I eventually met my husband, I actually had a good season of enjoying being single.
Proverbs 3:5, 6 invites us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV).* What an encouragement it is to know that if we put all our trust in God, He will direct our paths. It might be tempting to think God doesn’t understand relationships in our times, but He does, and He wants you to trust Him with your whole heart.
When I surrendered all to God, things really changed. Seeking God in everything does result in His granting the desires of your heart. I thank God that I learned to trust Him in my singleness and stopped looking at it as a curse. The sooner I believed that God does want to make me happy, the quicker I gave up the silly notion that I was cursed. He who created you knows exactly what you need, when you need it. Remember that.
*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ã 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.