“Are you seeing anyone? Do you talk to boys? Are there even boys at your school?”
If I had a dollar for every time I am asked those questions, I’d be pretty rich. While such questions have good intentions, it is challenging and sometimes hurtful to be asked of my singleness (as though it is a disease).
In high school I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I developed an entitlement mentality that God would bring me a godly man who loved the Lord wholeheartedly — preferably when I was in college. Now, I am 21, and I have had one short-lived relationship and have gone through my collegiate career without a single date.
When I was a freshman, I thought it would be easy to meet someone. My parents met in college; my sister met her husband in college; and my oldest brother married his high school sweetheart, with whom he also went to college. While I approach my senior year at my university, I am quickly learning that the chances of meeting someone before I graduate are slim. My freshman self would have gawked at my current situation.
While I hope to someday date, get married and become a mom, I also know I have a lot of maturing to do. Whether I remain single for the rest of my life or if this is just a season, I believe that singleness, dating and marriage are all things that should be used to glorify the Lord.
As I near my last year of school, my view on my singleness has changed. Rather than demanding that God give me a boyfriend or a future husband, my prayer has changed to one of submission. Now I pray, “Lord, if it is Your will that I have a boyfriend or even get married someday, I know You will make it happen. If it is not Your will, change my heart to be content in my circumstances.”
I will be honest: Some days I love being single, and other days I do not. Either way, I cling to the promises that the Lord gives me in His Word. So, after sharing too much of my personal life, here are three lessons I have learned so that all my single friends can thrive where they are right now:
1. A dating relationship does not define you.
Being single or in a relationship does not declare your identity. Ultimately, our identity lies in Christ. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are a new creation, heirs of Christ, and our life view changes to an eternal perspective (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:17, Matthew 6:19-20).
2. You can still be happy for friends who are in relationships.
I believe there are two extremes that are both inappropriate when it comes to our response to friends dating: (1) We mope around wondering why God hasn’t given us someone, or (2) we rag on relationships by saying being single is so much better.
While you may feel that there are pros or cons to being single, it is unacceptable to make your friends in godly dating relationships feel guilty. Rather, be supportive and pray for your friends who are in relationships, whether that be dating, engaged or married.
The Bible tells us marriage is a good thing (Proverbs 18:22, Matthew 19:4-6). If you have friends that are married or headed toward marriage, encourage your friends to keep Christ at the center of their relationship.
3. Continue to grow in the Lord.
This is the most important piece of advice I can give: Whether single or in a relationship, it is always important to grow in our walk with the Lord. We need to actively pursue Jesus our whole life. Read your Bible daily, pray, get involved with a church, spur other believers on — these are just a few things you can do to grow.
Don’t view these things as a checklist, but rather, pray that God gives you the desire to grow and then take steps daily to become a mature Christian. I urge you to take the words of 1 Peter 2:2, 3 to heart: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Single or not, if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, I beg you to start one, because the most important relationship you will ever encounter on this earth is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
How have you used your single status as a time to grow in the Lord?
Copyright 2015 Kathryn Sill. All rights reserved.