I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 MSG)
I have read several books on dating, relationships, and being single. Most of them taught lessons on how to date and not date as a Christian. Some with worldly advice and some with biblical principles. After reading them all the best way I could sum them up is dating is like a game of chess. From the female perspective it’s about planning your next move by waiting to see what the other player in the game will do. It involves some strategizing and trying to figure out what the man’s next move will and will not be based on the moves I make or don’t make. After reading, some of the books were good reads, however, I recall thinking “this is just too much!” My ultimate conclusion is that rather than relying on these various principles by different authors I should seek God for wisdom going forward so that dating won’t feel like a strategic game of chess.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NKJV)
As I begun to seek God I recalled how so many people have spoken over my life many times with those famous prophetic words, “your mate is just around the corner.” Since there is no date attached to “just around the corner” I needed to know what to do in the right now. The reality is I could be single for another year, five years or forever, so what do I do instead of playing a game of dating chess? What do I do when I am not dating or involved with anyone at all? What do I do when my phone is not ringing with a man that is interested in me on the other end? What do I do to avoid dwelling on what I don’t have? After careful thought and prayer to those questions I found myself being single by choice. Several friends wanted me to date online or to fix me up but deep down inside I knew I wasn’t ready and was honest with myself. There were some personal areas I wanted to work on and some hurts I wanted healed before moving on. I decided to choose me for a season. I reflected on the mistakes I have made and my own faults in the relationship department and I just wanted God to work on me. I set a year timeline for myself and this was my time to allow God to work on me without the distraction of a relationship or new friendships. It was not an easy journey and it had its share of struggles but I made it past the one year date for myself. I didn’t know what was going to lie on the other end of that anniversary date but my hope and expectation was a new and improved me.
In order for this journey to begin I needed to know what to do. After reading so many books I was led back to the original book, the Bible, written by the best relationship expert ever, God. I begin to meditate more and more on 1Corinthians 7:34. This has been the scripture that has brought me to a place of contentment as I embraced this place of singleness while waiting and trusting God for my mate.
There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. (I Corinthians 7:34 NKJV)
I love the Message translation which is the opening scripture as Paul gave single people words of encouragement and wisdom while we are in the “unmarried” phase of our life:
– When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.
– The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.
– All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
The following are some of the principles I have learned over the past year.
1) Seek God first.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
Paul is encouraging singles to seek God, to dwell in God, to devote to God, and to spend more time with God. We are to seek after God and seek after His righteousness. As we spend more time with God we get so connected to Him that His desires become our desires. We want what God wants. If it’s God’s desire then we can trust it shall come to pass. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:4-5 NKJV).
I think of some of my married friends and even more the married ones with children. I have often heard some of them say how they don’t have as much time to spend with God because of family obligations. Paul said in the message translation “The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.” As I reflected on this I was quickly reminded of the advantage that I have as a single which is more time with my Heavenly Father! I do hope and pray that one day I will be married. However, in the interim I look at the brighter side, more time to spend with God. I try to spend a much time as I can now as a single woman in devotion knowing one day I may not have as much time to spend when I become a Mrs.
2) Singleness is a time of consecration.
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. (Psalms 4:3 NKJV)
Consecration- the act of consecrating; to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicate to the service of a deity; to devote or dedicate to some purpose. (Dictionary.com)
Singleness is a time to devote yourself to God and to seek Him for your purpose and calling. God truly wants all of you before sharing you with a special someone. Paul says “you are free to concentrate on pleasing the Master.” What does pleasing the Master look like for you? Is God commanding you to do something ministry related? Is He calling you to read the Bible more? Pray more? Attend church more? Give more? What do you need to do more of to draw closer to God? Are there some things God wants you to change about yourself? Habits and behaviors to break? Whatever it is for you this is your time to focus completely on living a life that is pleasing to God by acting in a place of obedience.
3) Singleness is a time for construction.
Paul said in the Message translation “The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.” To be Holy means to be set apart.
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:14-16 NKJV)
Take time to self reflect and allow God to work on you. In my personal experience I have had a time of self reflection and identified many areas that I needed God to work on. There were some area that needed healing, refining, and correcting. I am grateful I was able to get to a place where I could understand why I had certain behaviors and thoughts that did not line up with God. When God shows you the real you be prepared, because you are not always as pretty and all together as you think. God gave me the strength to accept my own truths and the grace to sustain me as I walked through the refiners fire.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV)
During the construction period it’s not a time to hop from one relationship to the next. What ends up happening is we pack our hurt, pains, insecurities, and baggage on to the next without having gone through the proper healing process. We build up walls and all of the junk is carried over and the next person has to deal with it. God is a healer and if we allow Him to perform surgery on our souls He will mold us into the woman and men of God and future wife or husband he created us to be. This is also a time to allow God to fill voids in your life. Rather than seeking the world, seek God.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (II Peter 1:5-7 NKJV)
4) Singleness is a time to remember who you are to God, to know your worth, and to remember you deserve God’s best!
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Peter 2:9 NKJV)
– You are chosen by God. (I Peter 2:9)
– You are royalty. (I Peter 2:9)
– You are Holy. (I Peter 2:9)
– You are special. (I Peter 2:9)
– You are the apple of God’s eye. (Zechariah 2:8)
– You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
– You are God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
– God desires His best for you. (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 3:20)
5) Know that you are not alone.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)
One of the biggest challenges of singleness is the thought and fear of being alone and the desire for companionship. With God we are never alone and He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Once I stopped looking at what I didn’t have, a companion, and focused on what I did have my perspective changed and peace set in. I became content with this season of singleness. For me what I have is a closer relationship with God, a deeper walk with Him, my family, and a host of amazing friends. After counting my blessings this single phase is not so bad after all!
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)
Now I know as some of you read this you may be thinking it’s easier said than done, and that is true. However, the fact is it can be done. I know because I have walked through this journey. This is my story of transformation. This was not easy or an overnight process. It was a hard process full of many tears and questioning God on His timing in my life. I have had my season where my friends were getting engaged. On one hand I was genuinely happy for them yet on the other hand crying out to God wondering why I wasn’t even dating or at least a new friendship. I have had my season of crying because I was lonely and lacked male companionship. I have had my season of wondering why it’s taking so long for God to act in this area of my life. I have had plenty of single woman pity parties.
Once I started this journey and allowed God to transform me and my thinking I can testify that I am a lot stronger and content in my singleness today than I was a year ago. My desire is still there for marriage and the phases leading up to it (the companionship, dating, getting to know someone, and so forth), but until then I have learned to embrace where God has me and make the best of it until my status changes.
Today I am not claiming to be a relationship expert but just simply sharing what has worked for me. Am I still single and not dating? Yes. However the difference in today and a year ago is that I am OK and content. I am in a much better place mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5 NKJV)
Ultimately what Paul is encouraging us to do as singles is to take the same time and energy we will one day devote to our spouse and family and to put it all into abiding in God through devotion, prayer, and service. I love the quote “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” This means men and women should both be hidden in Christ….men so you will know where to find her and ladies so you are in the right place to be found!
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD. (Proverbs 18:22 NKJV)
Be Blessed and Encouraged!
Heavenly Father, I lift up every single person reading this right now to you. I pray that in their season of singleness they will draw into a deep and closer walk with you. I pray that this season will be a season of transformation and that they will grow more into the men and women of God you have called them to be. I pray that each one will come to know your purpose and will for their life and that they will walk in it. I pray that you will heal their hurts. Every hurt from childhood, past relationships, divorce, separation, and death we cast to you and ask that you perform a healing on our mind, will, and emotions. Lord, I pray you fill every void and meet every need as only you can. For those who struggle with loneliness help them to remember they are never alone. I pray that each person will grow to a place where they embrace their season of singleness until their relationship status change comes. Remove the worry and anxiety of your timing in our lives. Give us strength in our mind not to focus on what we lack or to worry about when you will bring a mate into our lives. Give us the strength to be still and to know that you are God. Lord, we stand on your word that as we delight ourselves in you that you will grant us the desires of our heart and we believe that our desires will come to pass in your timing. We trust that the wife or husband you have for us will be exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could have asked you for or imagined. In Jesus name, Amen.