Purposefully Single: What does that mean?

I know there are a lot of people who have a lot to say about being single and waiting on “the one”. There are lots of books and blogs and articles out there, and everyone has a lot of opinions about what it means to be a single Christian. Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out where you stand in the middle of all those ideas about how you should perceive this time in your life or what you should be doing as a single woman in Christ.

I’m obviously not the expert, especially because I’ve never been in a relationship. However, I have had the opportunity to observe and absorb information from those around me in relationships in addition to reading some of the usual suspects in Christian singles-oriented literature (Boy Meets Girl, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, The Five Love Languages for Singles, Lady in Waiting, etc.). I continue to read articles, blog posts, and basically anything I can get my hands on – all in the effort to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with this desire I have for marriage.

Let me place this caveat before I state one of the things I have truly come to believe – I do not believe that there is a requisite time period or amount of knowledge needed in order to pass some ambiguous test that will get you to the next level of “relationship”. That’s not at all what I’m saying. I do believe that whatever the reason, there is a purpose to your singleness no matter how long it lasts. That purpose doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to actually be single – I’m proof of that! And that purpose is not the same for everyone. Each individual in the kingdom of God has a unique niche to fill and part of that role corresponds to the so-called “stage of life” we’re in.

Personally, I feel I will never have this much time in my life to focus on building myself and my relationship with God because life only gets more complex and busy as the years pass. It’s a fact; regardless of our marital status. Life will move forward and you will have more to think about, more to get involved with, and there will just be more. (Of course, we should all strive to incorporate rest and  time set apart for just “you-and-me” time with God.)

So, I see this as an opportunity to become the woman I want to be and God wants me to be. I know there are those who have a problem with the idea of preparing yourself for your spouse. I don’t see anything wrong in it. For me, preparing myself for “prospective him” has everything to do with just becoming a better human being. I remember reading in one of those many books/articles/posts something about recognizing that the relationships you currently have can be practice for the marriage relationship you’re looking forward to. By becoming a better friend, daughter, mentor, youth leader, and coworker; aren’t we also improving our ability to empathize, communicate, and look beyond ourselves? Those are great qualities to nurture regardless of whether marriage is a part of your future or not.

Right now, I also get to be selfish. I don’t really have people depending on me to take care of them or to share in financial responsibilities. I don’t have to take kids to daycare or help my husband with yard work. There are less demands on me now than I anticipate in the future. And that corresponds beautifully with the ways in which I feel God has called me to use my “free time”. I’m a Sunday School teacher and a leader in my youth group – and I absolutely LOVE both roles. Recently I’ve also had the opportunity to share my faith on this blog and with a few friends. Would I have the time and drive to do this later in life? Perhaps. I believe God enables us to accomplish any task or fulfill any role he wants us in; I don’t doubt that I could do those things when I’m a girlfriend or wife. At the same time, I don’t have that additional person to divide my time with. I’m not worried about making time to work on our relationship or having to travel to meet up with “prospective him”. I’m not texting him throughout the day or spending two hours on the phone with him. I’m not planning a wedding or scheduling dinner with the in-laws.

As I said earlier, I believe that wherever you are in life, there is a purpose to it. As a single Christian woman, I believe I’m doing what God has called me to do. I’m investing in the incredibly important relationships in my life with friends and family and my youth group, and I can see how God is using me; it’s exciting! So while I truly ache to finally be introduced to “prospective him” and I get frustrated with waiting on God, I also see the blessings I’ve experienced because I haven’t met him yet. (Sigh…the irony of valuing life as a single and hating it at the same time.) So, my challenge to you is to ask God what it means to be single for you. What is his will for you during this current “status”?

I’d love to hear about the ways in which God has answered this question for you.

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