Singleness is something I haven’t really written about. . .ever. My silence on that topic to date has probably been mostly due to pride; I don’t want to be seen as desperate (I’m not) or defective (I am, but that’s more about sin and less about singleness); I’ve consequently allowed the few judgmental or insensitive comments I’ve gotten regarding the fact that I’m not married to silence me on the subject.
Some people might say I’m not really old enough to be thinking about singleness, but I’ve got my eye on the mission field, which narrows my options and changes my time line (God’s is holding firm) considerably. I understand, have always understood, that the road down which I’m headed is more than likely going to be one of singleness. It’s not necessarily my first choice–I would definitely love to be a wife and mother, and in dead honesty, I’m scared to go to the field without social support–but if I can’t have missions and marriage, then missions alone it is. I can’t explain the drive. Perhaps this is what people mean when they speak of calling. For me, it’s just a certainty; everything in me cries out to serve where needs are most apparent. The details are fuzzy, but the purpose is clear.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve really accepted the fact of my singleness graciously. I’ve treated it lightly at best, using it as an excuse for self-gratification and far-too-in-depth self-exploration. At worst, I’ve been whiny and petulant about it, refusing to accept it as a gift and instead demanding Awesome Boy, Exhibit A.
How frustrating and heartbreaking that must be for God, to have carefully and excitedly selected something as a gift for his beloved child, only to have that spoiled speciman throw it back in his face and tell Him, in essence, that He’s a lousy Giver. Yikes.
My preparation for my last semester at CIU (I’m not quite checked out of this semester, but pretty close) has entailed a lot of history-studying, looking back at my time here to figure out what changes need to be made. And. . .oy vey. What a careless steward of singleness I’ve been. I’ve allowed myself to become undisciplined, to live in unchecked selfishness and pride and whim-following, covered by a thin layer of social niceties to keep judgment at bay. I spent a portion of my time the last few years putting more emotional energy and focus into a certain relationship than that relationship warranted; as a result, I was ‘tunnel-visioned’ and frequently oblivious to the needs and people right in front of me. I haven’t consistently practiced the art of contentment, and for that reason alone I’m very glad not to be married just yet–if I refuse to be content now, you can bet that actual marriage to an actual sinner won’t give me reason to be.
Ashamed though I may be of my lurid past (more pathetic than lurid, but lurid flows better), I’m so grateful that God has both broken and wooed me to a place of wanting to redeem it, wanting to take advantage of every door open to me and opportunity given to me because I’m single. What an incredible opportunity I’ve been given to get to know Him and His provision intimately and practically.
Slowly, painfully, I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s not that I’m single because I’m not loved, but because I am; it doesn’t always make sense to me, but thankfully, God is bigger than my ability to make sense of Him.
I’ve committed myself to the following principles to guide me in my singleness stewardship:
1) I will be joyful–I refuse to indulge in self-pity or petulant comparisons. This is how God is choosing to love me today, and therefore, this is what He will give me the grace to joyfully accept.
2) I will be diligent–I’ve been pretty lazy and self-gratifying with my singleness, choosing to serve on my terms and only in ways I enjoyed. That’s over. I want to take advantage of my singleness to serve in ways/areas married people may find more difficult.
3) I will be content–Contentment is a choice; rather than striving to get married or worrying about whether or not I’m “doing enough” to get noticed, I’ll just do and let any noticing that happens come in God’s timing and at the dude’s initiation. To paraphrase Beyoncé’s eloquence, if he likes it then he’ll have to put a ring on it. Emphasis on him. I will not manipulate, flatter, or eye-bat to try to attract attention.
As hard as it may be, I desperately want to look back on my time as a single person, whether it’s a few-years-long thing or a lifelong thing, and know that I wrung that time dry of opportunities to serve, to sacrifice, to love, to trust this great and beautiful God of mine. The time is so short; I want to redeem every moment.