I know in a lot of churches people really elevate the idea of being married. That was my experience for a long time. It’s like one day you are in the “singles level”, and the day after your wedding you are in this whole other level of maturity and spirituality. During my single years (which was longer than what I expected it to be) I was tired of this compartmentalized culture between married and unmarried young adults. After a broken engagement, and a missed chance to make it to the next level (LOL), I decided that I was going to make my single stage of life something that I was excited about, as opposed to something that I was waiting to be over with.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love to be married and I don’t deny that being married is a blessing. I just wish that our churches also taught us that our single years are also a huge blessing. And not only a blessing for ourselves, but also a blessing for the churches, the small groups and the community in general.
Just a disclaimer, I do not wish to discuss the gift of celibacy. I want to share my testimony with those who, like myself a few years ago, long to be married but are patiently waiting for God’s perfect time to come.
I want to start breaking this concept that being single is something inferior somehow. If you look up in the dictionary the word ‘single’ can mean lone or sole, but it can also mean unique and separated. Although we can go through some lonely days, I would like to encourage you to see this stage of your life as a unique season. After I decided that I would not be waiting around for my future husband to come, but rather make the most of my time during this stage, my attitude completely changed towards the unknown amount of time I still had in singleness.
The lonely moments will eventually happen, but we have to remember that we live in a fallen world and are facing the consequences of sin. The feeling of loneliness is something that I had to deal with too, but Psalm 139 affirms us that we are never alone. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says to His disciples that He will be with His Disciples “always, to the very end of the age.” How could we think that in the lonely moments in our bedroom God wouldn’t comfort us (2 Cor. 1:3-4)?
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?Psalm 139:7
Marriage is not the solution for loneliness. Even worldly self-help books acknowledge that we can’t expect another person to fulfill our happiness and all the missing parts of our life. As Christians, we know that the only one who can truly satisfy our souls is God, and He is also the answer for our lonely moments. Which, by the way, even married people have.
Feeling lonely is not a singleness problem. Feeling lonely just shows what is going on in our hearts. Many times we feel lonely because we are spending too much time thinking about the things we don’t have, instead of thinking about productive things. Philippians 4:8 tells us that we need to fill our minds with whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, and worthy of praise. The product of a mind filled with these things will not be loneliness, it will be encouragement in God.
God created all humans to live in community and fellowship with one another, and that includes married and unmarried people alike. Being part of a local church is not only a commandment but also part of a healthy Christian life. If you don’t have a fellowship group with whom you can live life together, I encourage you to find one. We all need one another, especially when we start to buy into the lies the devil wants us to. In moments like that, surrounding yourself with godly people that can speak truth into your life is crucial to win the battle with loneliness.
We can’t talk about singleness without talking about 1 Corinthians 7, when the apostle Paul addresses the married and unmarried ones and warns the unmarried that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Cor. 7:9). Although that is important, physical temptation was not my case. I wanted to be married, honestly, to serve the Lord through my own family; and one thing that I learned was that it is much easier to serve the Lord during your singleness.
Paul says that the married people are anxious about worldly things, like how to please their spouses, and their interests are divided. But the unmarried people are anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord, and how to be holy in body and spirit (1Cor. 7:32-35).
“And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.”1 Corinthians 7:34
Singleness is the best time to dive deep into the Word of God and use this time to become more like Jesus. I spent my last years of singleness reading my Bible, listening to sermons, serving my church, and reading some good books that made the whole difference in my life as a married woman now. I wouldn’t exchange this time of growth and undivided attention to the Lord for anything. I will admit that sometimes I wished I had my husband to serve alongside me at church. But you know what? Now that I do have that, it is a huge blessing, but it doesn’t make my single years any worse. We actually, even married, have many opportunities to serve separately, just because we have different gifts and talents to use towards different ministries.
With that in mind, being single is much more advantageous for the churches. The single people are the ones with undivided attention to serve and contribute to the growth of the ministries. They are the ones with time to spare on the weekends and late night bible studies, without the burden of putting their kids to bed at a certain time. Also, singles are available to go on missions trips in a heartbeat. That is the best opportunity to serve the Lord! In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our lives but to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the other things will be added to us. If I could give any advice to my single self I would say ‘Serve the Lord!’. And while you do that, God might bring your future spouse. But in the meantime, serve the Lord!
Lastly, Paul gives us an example to not only serve the Lord (even without a spouse), but also to be content in any situation of our life (Phil 4:11). He says, in that famous verse everybody likes to take out of context, that “ I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). The real meaning of this verse is that we can do all the things we don’t want to do, through the strength of Christ, even being content with singleness. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 he says “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Singleness is not a weakness, but if it seems that way for you, I challenge you to rest on the power of Christ to show you the beauty in this period. No stage of our life should be seen as less important. Psalm 139 says that all the days ordained for us were written in His book before not one of them existed. Although you might long to be married and establish a family, God is the One who knows when that day is going to be. In the meanwhile, He prepared all the other days leading to that moment, and they should not be waisted away. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Make the most of the days God prepared for you! He makes everything beautiful in its own time (Eccl. 3:11).
Ana Luiza Lupinetti is passionate about helping and serving people. As a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife, she loves using her gifts and talents to help ministries succeed.