I’ve been on a podcast binge lately. This comes and goes depending on how tired I get from listening to nothing but Springsteen for a week straight. And working on Sundays has me diving into the podcast marketplace even more often as I search for sermons to get me through the week. I downloaded a couple of episodes of a podcast aimed at single Christians in their 20s and 30s. Two of the three focused on marriage. How to find that special someone; how to know when you’re in love; how to overcome feelings of inadequacy when you are single, stuff like that. Now that last one I can understand being an issue needing to be addressed but most of what I heard only added to my wondering if there is anything out there for single Christians that was not advice on how to get married.
A while back I picked up the wonderfully titled book, Single And Content but what I got was four single Christians talking about their dating mistakes and again, how to meet potential spouses. These people seemed far from content with their singleness. While the book did offer some practical advice on saving money, cooking for one, the pros and cons of having roommates, and whether to rent or buy a home most of it bordered on common sense and wasn’t the kind of stuff I was looking for. What I wanted was purpose but all I found were people looking to get married as soon as possible. Now I have no problems with marriage. In fact, I would absolutely love to find that woman to share my life with but I also realize that fixating on the fact that I am not married isn’t going to move me any closer to marriage.
As I have been writing more and more these past few months I’ve found myself reaching out for little bits to help me along when I’m stuck on a story or blog post. For one, which is a story about growing up, I asked what are some important life lessons you have learned since you’ve reached adulthood or what is something you wish you knew then that you know now? And I got some pretty good responses but there was one that was exactly what both of my characters needed to hear in their different situations, “No one is going to step in and take charge of your life.”
What I have are two characters, one who is trying to relive the past and thinks of what could have been and not focusing on what she is currently doing now and the other whose thoughts and imagination are so far focused on the future that he he isn’t thinking about what he can do in the present to get him there. These are two people who I used to be and one piece of advice I wish I had heard so many years ago. And its something many people still need to hear today. Stop focusing on why you aren’t yet married and start doing things that you won’t be able to do once you are. Here’s a genius quote from a sermon by Rick McKinley called The Sacredness of Singleness & The Sacredness of Sex:
“But you have this time of freedom and the question is, ‘what will you do with it?’ Will you simply use it to create an idol out of marriage and sort of wait, and wait, and be frustrated or will you actually just give that time, give that space, give that fear and anxiety to the Lord and say, ‘I want to live a life undivided for You and I have the space to do it.'”
I’ve realized that there is so much room for me to grow in God right now that may not be there if I were married.
One of the appealing things about marriage to me is that you can be alone yet have someone there at the same time. I enjoy paradoxes like that. Yet, although this is a true statement, I should realize that the same can be said about my relationship with God. I can be alone and He is with me. What I need is for this statement to proceed the same thought involving a wife because how will I measure up as a husband if I’m not focused on God and His ways. To provide for a family, spiritually, God must come first, not my thoughts and dreams. So instead of my prayers being a longing for a relationship that could lead to marriage I must, instead, pray that God shows me the way to becoming a Godly husband and the drive to move myself further into His will, whether that involves marriage now or in the distant future.
I think the point of all of that is that instead of focusing on why we are single we should be moving forward in our lives. Driving them to a point where marriage could be a possibility all the while fulfilling God’s purpose because, despite what we desire, that should be our true goal.
And for those of you still weary in your singleness or worried that you may be called to singleness, here is an excerpt from Lauren Winner’s book, Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, which I may never stop recommending,
“Perhaps we ought not fixate on the call to lifelong singleness. Some people, of course, are called to lifelong singleness, but most of us are called to singleness for a spell, if even a very long spell. Often, our task is to discern a call to singleness for right now, and that’s not so difficult. If you are single right now, you are called, right now, to be single – called to live single life as robustly, and gospel-conformingly, as you possibly can. The problem comes when the assumption that these are lifelong callings creeps in – panicked single folks think they must discern, at some given age on some given date, whether or not they are called to singleness forever. Again, consider professional callings. We are often called to certain vocational or professional paths for periods of time – one is called to be a doctor or a teacher or a waitress, but to discern a call to go to dental school at age twenty-four is not to assume that one will be called to work as a dentist forever. Perhaps at thirty-five, one will be called to stay home with small children. Perhaps at forty, one will be called to open a stationary store. Perhaps at sixty-three, one will be called to retire. Indeed, even calls to marriage are often not lifelong – not because of divorce, but because of death. Jane may be called to be married to Peter right now, but if Peter dies, she will find herself called, for a season, to singleness – to widowhood.”
Also, Rick McKinley’s entire Love, Sex, & God series has regular rotation in my sermon queue. Definitely something you should check out.
Relationships, Both Romantic And Whatever You Call The Other Kind
Oops, I Went On A Rant
Singleness For A Spell