Perhaps what you are reading is not the usual content you might come to expect from the weekly As Bold As Lions blog. I know it feels a bit “out of my wheel house” as they say and in full transparency, singleness, dating, and preparing for marriage aren’t topics I’m still closely familiar with. Even in mentioning this idea as a series to my wife, she reminded me that I’m long removed from my years in the dating scene. I’m a happily married guy, with 4 kids and another one on the way. I’ve left my single and dating years long behind! I’m getting old!
But God put a desire on my heart to speak into this topic. Even with my distance from being a “single looking to mingle,” I know the struggle is real for any single Christian guy or gal. I know because I hear from many of you who are on that path and looking for a godly mate. The culture is saying one thing, but God’s word says something completely different. It’s a constant battle. And I also have a desire for my own boys to experience the best God has for them in their single years and to prepare them for marriage in a way that is God-honoring.
My content here is original to my own thoughts on the matter, but informed from a Biblical-worldview. And my own experiences: scars, failures, and all are mixed in for inspiration! I believe God doesn’t let us go through anything without it being something that can be used for His glory. Along the path, we are learning and growing and being made more like Him. Who doesn’t want that in their Christian walk: to have the ability to grow as a single person, perhaps preparing one day for marriage.
So here we go. We’re diving in head-first this week about singleness itself. If you are single, please allow these thoughts to be taken with the grace that they are typed with on my keyboard. And if you are not single, please allow God to impress upon you someone who might be impacted by this series. If you feel led to share, please do so.
1. In your singleness, serve God
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your word. Psalm 119:9
One thing I wish I had done with more intentionality as a single guy was to let go of my expectations and preconceived notions. This came into play especially as I looked around me. We all feel pressure to date and not be single. We see our friends dating and developing relationships and we think that is what is expected of us. We put that pressure on ourselves to a degree where we often downplay and discourage being single. We often copy and paste someone else’s path on our own, thinking that’s our path too. But God has individual journeys outlined for each of us and He ultimately knows the future.
Being single is a great opportunity to serve God and put Him on full display in your life. The time you are single is not wasted. It should be used to glorify God in your decisions and to be counter-cultural. I love to see examples like Tim Tebow. He is a person that confounds society and popular culture. Tebow, 31, is an outspoken Christian and man of God. He is recently engaged as of this past January (sorry ladies!). But in his singleness, he could have had any girl he wanted. He could have hopped from relationship to relationship. But he didn’t go that route. He stayed pure and he waited for the right one. In doing this, his life has served as a testimony to God. His relationship with Christ is the reason he has not followed the normal route culture portrays. For more on Tebow’s decision to stay pure and serve God, here is a great read: Good Things Happen For Those Who Wait!
2. God cares more about your dreams than you do
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Probably the hardest part of being single is the waiting. Waiting to find that right person. Wondering if they’re out there. Wondering why God is taking so long to bring him or her through the door. I get the anxiety and apprehension. There’s a tendency to think: What if I never marry? What if I never find the right one? What about my dreams of raising kids and having a family? What about my plans? God knows all of those things. He created you. He wired you. But He also knows what’s best for you and what brings Him the most glory. In your singleness, you can glorify God. In these years of waiting, you can wait knowing that the One Who holds the moon, sun, and stars in place holds you too.
For a Biblical perspective, we need look no further than the Apostle Paul. Paul lived a life on mission that most dating, engaged, or married couples could not have. Why? Because he had nothing to tie him down…he could simply go without strings attached. His many missionary journeys, criss-crossing the known Greek and Roman world would have been so much harder with a spouse and family. Does that mean you are single so you can be a missionary? Not necessarily. But right now, you might be called to go somewhere that is most accessible for you during this phase of life. You need to embrace your singleness as a gift you won’t necessarily have later in life. Treat it as such and without disdain or even anxiety about God’s timetable. He knows best. He sees your life from beginning to end. He has a plan.
3. For some, singleness is lifelong and for others it is just a season
You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139:3
I have met people in my life who are happy and content in their singleness. And I have met people that are rocked by the fact they are unmarried…but looking to mingle! This last point is not something I offer as a Band-aid fix because for many, singleness is a struggle and a source of much pain. In reality, the struggle must be like anything else we deal with: we turn it over to God and allow Him to make something good and beautiful out of it. He is the Author; He is writing the story and He knows all the twists and turns, yet calls you to trust Him.
Will you be single forever? That is ultimately up to Him but as I’ve mentioned, whether the season is short or life-long, it still demands your holiness and purity before God. What I believe personally (this is not a theologically-backed up claim, just my opinion) is that God knows the desires of your heart. He knows your desire to marry and have kids. And in that, He is calling you to do one thing: trust Him. Those desires for marriage are innately placed for a reason. But be patient with God and be pure in the wait. For others, the desire to marry has never been as strong and that is ok. But everything still applies: stay pure and bring Him glory by being single.
I hope this helps as we begin this discussion over these next few weeks. I realize this may lead to more questions for those seeking answers and just wanting reassurance. Can I tell you that is one main reason I even endeavored to tackle this subject? Because I know we need each other and we need to help our brothers and sisters wrestling with this issue. Guys (I’m speaking to fellow men): I’d love to walk the road of accountability with you or at least point you in the right direction to find help. I know the struggles you face as you seek to bring God glory in your single years. Gals, I’d love to help put you in touch with resources that may be of assistance or support; even finding other female mentors who can walk alongside you. For everyone, my prayer is that God shines through us and ultimately His will is done. We do all of this for His glory and to display to an unbelieving world something that is different and worth taking note of.
This series is a progression of thought. The next two weeks we’ll be going into dating with more of a rapid-fire approach. You won’t want to miss it. After that, we’ll finish up with a column for all you engaged (or almost engaged) folks getting ready to go down the aisle.
As always, I love walking the journey with you.