March 4, 2015

Single in the Schemes: Gift or Curse?

“Singleness is a gift from the Lord.”

Sometimes the way this phrase gets bandied around in churches is often glib and unhelpful for those of us who are single.

Of course, there are lots of benefits to being single, and we should enjoy the blessings that undoubtedly come our way. Now, I’m not saying that if I bump into a modern-day version of ‘Boaz’ tomorrow I’m not going to be interested in a coffee invitation because I’m‘basking in the blessing of my singleness’. But, I do think we single ladies need to recognise our identity in Christ more than our lack of marital status. It is really easy to look at being single and focus on the sometimes struggles instead of reminding ourselves of the always benefits and blessings.

As a single woman, I have a number of blessings and benefits:

  • More Time For God. I set my diary and organise my time. I decide what I read. I decide what book of the Bible I study. I (should) have more flexibility and time to spend with the Lord. As a single woman, it is easier to prioritise my time with God over and above all other considerations and spousal distractions. However, I have to be careful about procrastination and other things that can get in the way of my relationship with God.
  • More time for ministry. With different commitments and time restraints when we are single, we can sometimes have more time on our hands to serve church and community. Now that’s awesome. Too often my married friends have family commitments and find themselves frustrated because they want to serve and can’t do as much as they want to or in the way they want to. In this season of our lives, being single means we don’t have those same commitments to negotiate.

Is there:

  • A ministry in need of volunteers?
  • A couple needing a babysitter so they can go to the service together?
  • Someone needing a hand with the shopping/gardening/cooking/cleaning/something else?
  • A community group needing volunteers—an opportunity to be a witness?
  • A new Christian needing a mature friend and/or mentor?

Have we paused to look at the need in the congregation and how we can use some of our time to glorify God? Do we take full advantage of that and use our time wisely for the benefit of those around us?

  • Flexibility. If I want to work late, I can. I can go on holiday when I like. I can visit friends, cover the person who is sick, step in at the last moment and have the girlies round and chill anytime. The whole not having to check three diaries and school schedules to make sure no one needs anything before I can do something is immensely liberating.
  • Financial Independency. I choose what to spend my money on and who to give it to.
  • Every Day Choices. Should I get a pet? What to watch on TV? What’s for dinner? Shall I go to the cinema?
  • Invest in friendships. Ecclesiastes reminds us there is a time for everything, and when you are single with no kids you have the opportunity to really invest in your friendships. Good friends will remain (although when pals gets married they may have less time together because babies and spouses rightfully have our focus when we are married).

Being married is a good thing. It’s a blessing from The Lord. So is being single. If not being married is on God’s agenda for you for now, or ever, then that needs to be dealt with in a right manner. Is this mostly what you pray and think about? Has the hope of marriage become an idol of your heart? Then repent and put God firmly back where he belongs; at the centre of your life. Ask him to help you to be a man or woman of integrity. Preach, preach, preach the gospel to yourself daily. Pray and ask him to help you to be content and to trust in his goodness.

God is using this time to prepare you, work on your character, grow perseverance and faith that trusts him with all aspects of your life.

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