Is it a Sin to be Single?

Got your attention, didn’t I? I would know. See, I didn’t make the title up. It was an honest-to-goodness question I read on someone else’s blog – a question that nearly knocked me out of my chair.

Of course not! That’s preposterous! But this was the question that inspired a whole blog post (two posts, if you want to count mine). Is it a sin to be single? Our culture would like to think so. I got on yahoo this morning and saw a headline that read: “Top cities for single women to live”. Even yahoo is playing matchmaker these days.

But there I was, browsing this blog about singleness when I read the question: “Does the single fact that I am not married mean I am not following in the footsteps of God?”

In case that’s something you’re honestly pondering, let me put your mind at ease… No, no, and more no. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.  I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 7:34-35

According to Paul, it’s the single women who seem to have it together. Singleness is not a curse; it’s a calling. Just as marriage is a calling.

No, it’s not a sin to be single. So release your fears, release your frustrations, release your concerns with the affairs of this world and let yourself live in undivided devotion to the Lord.

It’s Really Okay to be Single

One of my coworkers recently told me about seeing the new X-men movie. “So, uh, what movies have you seen lately?” he asked upon finishing his summary of the movie.

I shrugged. “I haven’t seen anything since Tangled came out.”

“So, no dates then?”

I love how subtle my coworkers are/aren’t about digging into my personal life.

Apparently most people find it shocking to find that a young woman actually enjoys being single. I especially love the slack-jawed stare from middle schoolers (who seem to think that twenty is ridiculously old). “You’ve never had a boyfriend?”

“Nope. Never.”

“You’re weird.” (Usually it’s only the boys who say that. The girls tend to be a little more subtle, though in the end, it’s the same message.)

Okay, I’m not weird (am I?), I’m just stubborn to a fault. Personally, I blame the genetics. When my dad was in high school, he was the self-declared king of the He-man Woman Haters Club. Though that was a joke (I think), he honestly did believe that God had called him to remain single… Then he met my mom. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I have a one-up on my dad. I have every intention of getting married someday. I just don’t feel like that day has to be in the very near future (although time seems to pass quickly these days). I don’t understand what the rush is. I don’t understand why people are all too eager to “help” set me up.

Though my coworkers don’t seem too convinced, I’m honestly not looking. I don’t feel like it’s my job to search for Prince Charming (and it’s most assuredly not their job either). God has called me to live the journey and embrace the moments. I can’t do that when I’m constantly on the lookout for “the one”.

So, no, I’ve never had a boyfriend. And, no, I’m not ashamed of that fact. Although you might think it sounds totally cliché, I’m perfectly happy with having Jesus be the only man in my life right now. Contrary to popular belief, it’s really okay to be single.

I’m Not Really Single

I’ve been reading Ali Smith’s Entrusting the Key, and found something in there that really touched me. She ended one of her chapters with the words, “If only they knew… I’m not really single.”

I giggled. What a beautifully conveyed truth. It’s like my little secret, just between me and Jesus. To the world, I am a single young woman; but God and I know that I’m His beloved. The Prince of the fairytales and Fulfiller of dreams is mine.

Perhaps I’m simply in a fairytale mood, but I don’t care if the critics say that God is not a substitute for a romantic relationship. Maybe He’s not. And perhaps He wasn’t meant to be. But He is enough.

I realize that today marks six months from the day I began my Beyond Waiting blogging journey. Which means it’s been about eight months since Jesus invited me into this dance (though I feel that I was dancing to this music long before I knew its name). How freeing it is to be Beyond Waiting for Prince Charming, satisfied that Jesus is all I need. Forever. And ever. Like a true fairytale.

Just like in the fairytales, I’ve been enchanted by a Prince who is out of this world. And when my coworkers start talking to me about men and dating, I simply smile because I know something they don’t know…

I’m not really single.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, please go away!

I was sitting at the lunch table when one of my coworkers voiced, “I know this guy…”

Sometimes I really tire of working at Advancing Native “Marriages.” Strike one. It’s a set-up.

“He’s from Missouri,” my coworker explained.

Strike two. 450 miles from home is far enough, thank you very much.

“He’s a youth pastor, and he needs a wife to straighten him out.”

Strike three, and you’re out! Sorry, slugger, but it appears that baseball is not your sport.

As much as I like the musical Guys and Dolls, I’m not a fan of “marrying the man today and changing his ways tomorrow.” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. So if you tell me that this potential match needs “straightened out”… See ya. (Oh, and P.S… If the only kind of guy you can come up with needs that much work, please keep your suggestions to yourself.)

People don’t fix people; only God can do that. Even if I was remotely interested in meeting this guy, there is no way I would be able to “straighten him out.” And my guess is that trying to do so would probably result in a pretty miserable relationship.

I’m fully convinced that a woman’s single years are not meant to be spent looking for a man to complete her; they are meant for her to take the time to realize how whole and alive she can be in Jesus. I believe that God gives us these years to learn to depend on Him alone so we can lean on Him throughout the rest of our lives.

I’ll leave it up to God to straighten out my coworker’s young friend. And since He is the only One who can fix the messes we’ve made of our lives, I’ll leave Him to be the only Matchmaker in my love life.

Left Behind?

My friend had a baby yesterday, and while I’m excited for her, I’m also kind of wondering when I got old enough to have friends with children.

Weddings used to be simple. At first I attended the weddings of relatives, then I watched some of my friends’ older siblings get married. The fact that they were all much older than me made those weddings seem normal. But when I started watching my friends walk down the aisle, I got a little weirded out. I guess I missed the moment I “grew up” because sometimes it floors me to think that Amber is going to be a mom and Megan’s a wife. What does that make me? Well, right now it makes me the only one of the three cousins my age who isn’t pregnant. I always feel weird when I think of that.

It’s not like all my friends are married. In fact, most of them are still single. Still, somehow I feel a little left behind. And while I’m really not anxious to get married right now, I can’t help but wonder when it’s going to happen and who it’s going to be. Some days I think it would be nice to have a husband and kids, but most days I’m perfectly content with the freedom that comes in being single.

Our problem doesn’t lie in our relationship status; it lies in our perspective. If you’re looking at the situation as if you’re being left behind, then that’s what you’ll be. You might be tempted to give up your other dreams and settle for the next guy who comes along… Or you can focus on the blessings of singleness.

As for me, I’m taking my time, living the journey, and waiting for the day God taps me on the shoulder and points out the man He intended for me to marry. Let all my friends tag “Mrs.” on their names; I kind of like being Miss Rebekah for now.

What’s the Rush?

I want to know what the world has against being single. I honestly want to know why it seems like everywhere I turn, someone is encouraging me to get married. Why is it that people look at you as if you are somewhat less of a person because you don’t have a spouse? What’s wrong with being single? Why is there such a big push to get married? Don’t get me wrong. I definitely want to be married someday. I simply don’t understand why people act as if I have to get married right now.  

William Booth wrote: “Don’t instill, or allow anybody else to instill into the hearts of your girls the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don’t be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across.”

William Booth died in 1912 and I guess his words died with him because this is exactly what I see in our society today. It would appear that people think the purpose of a single girl is to find a husband. The single girls feel this way because the rest of the world is all too eager to play the matchmaker. And because of this mentality that has been instilled in our hearts, we are settling far too easily.

I’ve seen many girls give their hearts away to “empty, useless fools.” Somehow, they don’t see that the man is, indeed, a fool. You know the old saying, “Love is blind”? I think the more proper wording would be “Desire is denial.” We’re willing to overlook serious character flaws simply because we so badly want something to work out. I think that accounts for the ridiculously high divorce rate in our country. Denial only lasts for so long. There comes a day when you tire of lying to yourself. And instead of living with their mistake, most people call it quits.

So ladies, don’t let anyone instill in your hearts that marriage is the chief end of life. This isn’t a race to marry before “so-and-so” does. There’s no rush to find Mr. Right. Our season of singleness is meant for so much more than finding a future husband. I’d love to be able to tell you what that purpose is, but the details are something only God knows. Your purpose will be different from mine. Our callings may vary greatly. But you are called to something in this moment. Right now. Please don’t miss that calling because you’re too busy looking for a guy. Mr. Right will come in God’s perfect timing. You must first fulfill the purpose God has for you right now.

A Time To…

I think the one thing that is most harmful to single women who hope to be married one day is that horrible word called “timing.” We rush into unhealthy relationships because we don’t want to wait, or because we think we are ready, when in truth, we are not. I’ve come to learn that even good things can be bad things when done in the wrong timing.

I recently finished the book Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Aside from revealing some hurtful lies in a candid, compassionate manner, this book made me question something I had never really thought about before. Nancy and Dannah surmised that the tree that caused mankind’s downfall was probably meant for good… if Adam and Eve would have waited for God’s timing to enjoy the fruit. But they didn’t wait. And instead of enjoying the blessing that could have been, mankind was faced with a terrible curse. That my friend, is what is happening to us. We’re rushing ahead of God’s timing and turning relationships (which are a good thing) into a bad thing.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that there is a time for everything – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… and so on. There is a time to be in a relationship and there is a time to embrace singleness. Don’t rush God’s timing. Don’t think that He is wrong. It may just be that He has a blessing beyond imagination waiting just around the corner. One day it will be time to dance with your husband, but until that day, enjoy the freedom of dancing to your own rhythm.

No matter what else may be eluding your grasp, there is one thing that never goes out of season… Now is the time to live.