Going it Alone
There is a problem with our isolation and depression, though. While nearly all singles have bought into the idea that a spouse would complete them, no man or woman on earth can fulfill all our needs and desires. Oh, we know that in our mind, but try explaining that to us when we have a sunburn and can't quite reach our back to slather on the aloe. When we just can't get the bracelet fastened. Simply enough, we have our fantasy of marital perfection, and even though we know it won't be perfect, oh, it'd be so nice!
We aren't buffeted by thr gloomy statistics of divorce because our relationship will be different; it won't apply to us. Then we start looking around at our married friends, family members, and neighbors and pick out things we would never do to our spouses. We comprehend and oftentimes bear witness to the fact that, unfortunately, the number of unhappy marriages seemingly far outweighs the number of happy ones, but we're sure it'll be different for us.
It's during those magical moments in ministry, when I see the Lord change hearts and lives right in front of my eyes, that I so badly want to be more like Mary (Luke 10:39-42) and consciously choose the better part. I have so many opportunities to utilize this season of life that fall through my hands because, sometimes, quite honestly, my pity party gets in the way. Deep down I know that I need to be active about His work, single-minded at the task. I have the "gift" (grumble and sneer), after all, but that doesn't lessen the pain of too many lonely days and longing for someone to hold me in the quiet hours of the dark night.
Trust me, I know the scenario! Sometimes we have been alone for what seems like forever, and we are desperate for someone to love and to love us back, and when someone shows up, well ... at least they are here. I understand why people get to the proverbial "end of the singleness rope" and marry for companionship as opposed to love.
You may be able to relate to the concept of "Well, they aren't so bad." But I want more for my life. Don't you want more for yours? It comes down to the fact that we have to truly want to experience God's best for us and shoose to strive for nothing less.
I know it's not easy. But, I do know that His best for us is not you or me sitting in a house with a complete stranger, wondering what might have been. It is not us reading smutty romance novels or mindlessly watching soap operas, wishing the fantasy world that appears before us will soon be ours. I can also safely assume that God's best plan for our lives does not entail our sitting in a cold courtroom with a lawyer at our side fighting for us to get some kind of divorce settlement, because we couldn't handle the pressure of the man we had chosen to "settle for."
Nearly all of us have friends or family that find themselves single again (or you might be yourself), and they can tell us the cold, hard truth as no one else can. They have been there and done that and, sadly, if they had to do it over again, they would have made a better choice. They would have walked a different path.
Catching The Vision
I think the key is to choose this minute to avoid situations that could develop into such scenarios - because there's too much to do, too many places to go, too much riding on what God needs to accomplish. We need to catch the vision of what our purpose really is. Being single can, of course, be hard, depressing, and even unpleasant at times, but there are so many incredible blessings and opportunities as well. We have to learn to see the glass half full. I've discovered that while finding a helpmeet is important to me, it really is not the primary reason for my existence.
The biggest torment to me is that I regularly find Christian singles who occupy themselves with treasure hunts and bowling parties but rarely utilize their single status to turn the world upside down like those before us. How many Peters or Pauls or Marys and Marthas do you know? You know what I mean, the ones that really are on fire for Christ.
These days, we run from activity to activity, which is supposed to count as our reasonable act of "service." I'm guilty of it, too . . . so don't assume I am just pointing my finger without the accusation bouncing back. But when push comes to shove, I want to be about His business! The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and how often do we assume our good intensions will somehow count for rewards in the end? At what point do we recklessly abandon our lives to His call?
So for those just stepping out into adulthood, and those who have chosen singleness on purpose, as well as those who have found it without looking for it, open your hearts and your minds to embrace Christ through it all. Because what I hae learned is that the fragrance of singleness is not actually rotten sneakers. It's a bottle of perfume valued at a year's worth of wages poured out on the feet of Jesus. It's the love that surrounds us but so often gets displaced by our fast pace and overwhelming obligations. Although it appears to be a cross to bear, we all are called to pick up our cross and follow Christ daily . . . married or single.
The comfort in this is that the Lord promises that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. So when singleness becomes too heavy to bear, reflect on the point that perhaps you are carrying a load not intended for you. Stop. Lay it down, and reach for the arms of the Lord. The pleasure in basking in the Lord's presence is indisputable. When you can do it with singleness of heart, the fragrance is sweet, and all the bitterness of life fades away.
Reprinted by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. from the book If Singleness is a Gift, What's the Return Policy? copyright date 2003 by Holly Virden and Michelle McKinney Hammond. All rights reserved.