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I don’t know what culture you grew up in, but I know that, for many conservative Christian girls, singleness is hard. We tend to hold up marriage as the ultimate prize, and all our hopes and dreams thus rely on that. When a relationship doesn’t come right away, it can feel like our lives are in stasis. I’ve certainly felt that way before.
But it’s not true.
Sure, marriage is important and certainly desirable for me, but that doesn’t mean that singleness has no purpose. I’ve been reading a lot of articles about being single lately, and I’m trying to train myself to think more purposefully about this time in my life.
The Single You Will Be the Married You
I read a fascinating article about this concept and, in fact, already shared it with you in a previous post. You can read the original article here. What it boils down to, though, is that marriage (or getting in a relationship of any kind) doesn’t automatically make you a good spouse (or girlfriend/boyfriend). Whoever you are before your relationship is the exact same person you’ll be after your relationship begins. There’s nothing magical about that first date or the wedding day in the sense of what it does to you personally.
So, think about it. All those flaws that you have now will still exist once you find your soulmate, and they’ll be magnified by the close presence of another person in your life. If you’re selfish, how are you supposed to put this other person’s needs before your own? If you have anger issues, you’ll be taking them out on your significant other. I certainly don’t want that. If we ignore our flaws, though, they’re not going away. I should be improving my character now, while I’m single.
This also applies to my skills. If I have no idea how to be a good housewife now, I won’t suddenly be proficient after I get married. So, I should be actively cultivating skills that will benefit me and my future family: cooking, budgets, time management, business transactions, etc. There’s so much I don’t know; do I really want to be thrust into a serious relationship and future marriage like this?
Singleness should be a season of preparing for the future, both in terms of character and skills.
God Has A Purpose in Singleness
I firmly believe that every season in our lives has a purpose. Sometimes the purpose is starkly clear: serving as a missionary, raising children, etc. Other times we’re placed into a season of waiting on the Lord. Singleness, for most people, is a season of waiting. That doesn’t mean that it’s a season of passivity, though. I love John Waller’s song “While I’m Waiting.” It describes exactly this concept: waiting can still be active. While we’re in a season of waiting, we can still worship and serve. God has many purposes in the midst of waiting.
It’s easy for me to push this aside for some reason, but college is a really important part of my life right now. God so clearly put me where I am, and I need to devote the focus it deserves. Being single, that’s a lot easier to do. I also have the time to sharpen my writing and develop a rhythm, which could be difficult if I was in a relationship. I can devote time to figuring out who I am and what I believe.
Sure, this is a season of waiting for me. But it’s an active waiting. There’s a purpose.
Courtesy of Pixabay
I Need to Stop Thinking About Me
Selfishness is human nature. It’s a particularly nasty aspect of human nature, in my opinion. It takes no work at all to cultivate selfishness, but to root it out is the work of a lifetime. Here’s the thing, though:
Selfishness is a relationship-killer.
I can think of no surer way to cause the death of any relationship than to exhibit selfishness. Now, of course, this really does fit into what we talked about earlier, using singleness to build character. I think it’s important enough to talk about on its own, though.
As children and young adults, we excel at being selfish. We want things and we want them right now. We don’t like to think of other people first. Yet how can I love someone else completely when I’m wrapped up in myself? And that’s what a healthy, headed-for-marriage relationship requires: loving and giving one-hundred percent to the relationship. Hard to do that when I’m me-focused.
Marriage is hard. It requires sacrifice and a willingness to give up your rights for someone else. It requires letting go of fairness and doing all that you can to lift someone else up. It’s not a fifty-fifty split. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. And it lasts forever. I know all of this intellectually.
I also know that I’m not ready for it.
I am entirely too selfish for that kind of relationship right now. I don’t want to be this way forever, though. So, while I have this time of singleness, I should be learning to love others like Jesus does (we should all be doing that anyway). With God’s help, I can consciously attack my selfishness when it rears its head, look for ways to put others first, and seek to love unconditionally.
Only as that selfishness recedes will I be anywhere ready for a relationship.
Courtesy of Pixabay
Singleness is a gift, though it rarely feels like it. The thing is, though, I believe God will bring the right guy along when we’re both ready. Singleness is, in some ways, a season of waiting. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be productive, though. I don’t know how long I’ll be on this earth; I would hate to get to heaven and realize I wasted my time here idly waiting. I want to be purposeful in my singleness - bettering my character and skills, fulfilling the purpose God has for me now, and learning to love selflessly. Those are all things more easily accomplished single than in a serious relationship.
I hope this post has been an encouragement to you; writing it was one to me. What do you think about being productive while single? What does that look like to you? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to chat about it!