The evening of pizza, a Hallmark movie, and talking about boys (or the lack thereof) was ripe for wallowing in loneliness and discontentment because of our single statuses. But my journaling later that night was the opposite.
I wondered why I enjoy peace after a decade of singleness unbroken by any serious relationships. I wondered why I didn’t want to swap my BS degree for an MRS degree. I wondered why I could be thankful for being twenty-eight and single when my lifelong dream of marriage and motherhood was not yet fulfilled. That night I had a growing sense of peace that caught me off guard, partly because it appeared to be abnormal among some of my peers.
As my friends and I find ourselves in a season of singleness that is unexpected and sometimes even unwanted, questions about singleness are prevalent. The questions seek to understand and then thrive in this uncharted and unplanned for environment. As I’ve considered this in the months since that evening of conversation and pizza, I’ve realized there is no magic formula for contentment or peace.
I can’t answer all of our questions. I don’t know if I have answers for all of mine yet. But I know Jesus is my faithful Friend and I know that I want to live for His glory. That’s what motivates me and grounds me when I flounder in the battle for peace in my not yet married state.
Here are some of the frank, if somewhat flawed, questions I’ve struggled with:
- How content do I need to be to be content enough for God to give me a husband?
- Why is she getting married when she’s younger than me or not as spiritually mature as I am?
- Am I less valuable because I’m not married? Or am I not married because I’m less valuable?
- I’ve married off 4 roommates, 3 siblings, and watched at least a dozen church weddings recently. Will it EVER be my turn?
- It’s been years since a man has expressed interest in me. What’s wrong with me?
Can you relate to any of these questions? What questions would you add to the list? Can you see where bitterness and untruths have encroached into these questions?
Unfulfilled dreams can easily turn into bitterness and disappointment. They can make us doubt God’s faithfulness and goodness. They can be disheartening.
Growing up, I assumed I would follow my parents’ example and get married when I graduated from college.
But graduation was seven years ago.
I’ve done everything “right” to find a godly husband. I went to a Christian college. I participated in singles group at my church since I graduated from high school. I jumped into various ministries at church. I even work in a male-dominated field.
In spite of all those “right” things, there have only been a small handful of men who have expressed interest in me and none that ever became a serious relationship. From talking with other single women, I know this type of story is not unique to me. Some others have stories with different twists and turns, but many of us are finding ourselves single much longer than we anticipated.
Even though my dream of being a wife and mother is not yet fulfilled, I have peace because God taught me to dream His dreams. He taught me to surrender, to trust, to pray big prayers and to watch Him answer.
Finding contentment where God has me didn’t just happen. It was intentional. I wrestled – and still wrestle at times – through the questions, the emotions, the sense of loss. As I cling to Jesus, He has transformed the doubts into trust. That’s what I want each of us to experience. I want each of us to know and love Jesus in this way that surpasses any relationship status. I want each of us to trust Jesus with our whole lives. I want Christ to be the greatest desire of my heart and yours. I want Christ-likeness to be goal of our lives.
And so how does a girl – how did I – move beyond the questions into thriving with Christ? As I attempted to make sense of the things God has taught me on this topic of singleness, I’ve written pages of questions, points, and stories to organize and filter my thoughts and experiences. I’ve been trying to figure out how God has worked to allow me to be peaceful and content in this season I didn’t anticipate.
The process stirred up all the questions and emotions of singleness with an unexpected force that challenged my confidence and contentment. But Truth remained solid even when doubts resurfaced in the midst of my reflection and writing.
Two main themes bubbled to the top of my scribblings: Love God and love others. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered with these words:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
These themes aren’t unique to singleness, but rather pervade all of the Christian life. They apply to each of our lives, and we can pull specific applications to this area of singleness.
In this series, I’ll share my thoughts and stories with you framed around this passage. Within the two “love” commands, I have found three main points for us to consider: Seek Christ (love God), seek community (love others), and seek service (love others).
I pray that through this series you will find answers for some of your questions as you find the peace of Christ growing in your heart.