Singlehood isn’t often a choice. It isn’t something we control. I think the biggest fear/dread is that we will be called to a lifetime of singleness. But I do think we are called perhaps for a season. How would our approach to singleness change if we viewed it as a calling and embraced it that way?
How do we treat a calling? A calling is revered. We speak about it in hushed tones and awe. We feel privileged to participate. We feel singled out, pardon the pun, but in a good way. We have been chosen, so we are special. What can we accomplish as single people that married people cannot. I think we can even divide single people into various categories. As a single person, who has never been married and has no kids, how I am free to give to others in ways that I would not be able to if I had to care for a family.
I think we’ve all heard this argument before, Paul even says to be single like him and only marry if you have to. I’m not against marriage but I think there are too many singles that aren’t intentional about how they live their lives. We slide from life stage to life stage without stopping to think about what we’re doing in between.
Singleness is a time for preparation, training, growing and learning in ways you simply cannot when we are with someone either in marriage or a dating relationship. It’s about establishing your identity as a person and in God. When we know who we are then in relationship we won’t be smothered or lost. What are my hopes and dreams now? I think my friend Erika lived her singleness the best I’ve ever seen. She sucked every ounce of life out of it as possible. Why do I sometimes feel like I have cement shoes on and the water is getting higher? How do I get unstuck?
I confess that I relied on grad school to set my intention for me. I thought when I was done God would have magically revealed himself to me and I would have a grand calling. Now that I’m done I’ve been floundering and have become bored. In my boredom I’ve allowed myself to become distracted by entertainment and drama.
I confess that I watch way too much tv. I heard a lecture tonight from Dallas Willard that says the key to curing boredom is to become actively involved in something valuable and good. That is why I went to seminary and yet I still wonder what God is going to do with me. Maybe he’s wondering when I’m going to get involved where he is already working. God’s calling never comes in the package we expect it. I suppose that is why I need to listen for the still, small voice because the loud one is usually mine.
Ouch! This boils down to how I view my life and purpose on this planet. Why do I need the distraction? Am I hiding from something. Why haven’t I discovered how God wants to use me? Is it a question of faith? Or is it really just a matter of intention? I realize that God is more concerned with my heart. He wants it to be pure and from that place true love can radiate to those around me and impact there lives in ways I can’t even imagine. He wants me to use the passions and interests he created me with for his glory.
So how am I treating this calling in my life. Do I resent it or am I embracing it? I want my life to mean something. I want to be sure of my identity in Christ and the power of life he gives me to live my day to day existance for his purposes. That happens now as I learn to become more and more like him. I need to look for ways to be used today, where I am and within the calling he has on my life as a single person.
It’s not easy. But at least I know I’m not floundering. I’m not in a perpetual waiting room waiting for my number to be called so I can pick up my husband. I take it to mean that I am free to go where I feel can can grow, serve and be my best single self. I’m not bound to one particular location and that is a benefit of being single.