Looking around the sanctuary, I felt the familiar twinge of loneliness — the husband gently rubbed the shoulders of his pregnant wife, an engaged couple exchanged loving glances, a mother hushed her restless toddler.
I’m the only single person here, I thought to myself as I took my seat. As if she could hear my thought, a newly married woman met my eye across the aisle and smiled. I detected a look of sympathy reflected back at me — a look that said, “Poor thing.”
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a single woman. On the edge of my 20s, no one else in my church community walks the path of singleness with me. Sure, there are divorcees with children, but our journeys are different. While they’ve tasted marriage and its splendor, I have not.
Being the only single person at church is not easy. To some, you become a problem that needs fixing, a source of sympathy for others. Many try to pass on their own marriage formulas like, “Just focus on you, and God will bring you someone before you know it.” Taking their words to heart, I’ve put the formula to use and still found myself single.
After years of singleness, I found that I no longer enjoyed socializing after church. On more than one occasion, I quietly excused myself from conversations swirling around marriage, lacking the energy to muster up enthusiasm.
My singleness became the lens I used to view myself. My self worth took a hit. No longer was I God’s chosen vessel of honor. Unanswered prayers for a mate, combined with the lack of singles in my church community, turned into a warped self-image. I was the exception. God answered the prayers of everyone but me. God gave everyone a mate but me.
I was convinced God also viewed me through the lens of my marital status, and my spiritual life was in shambles. I thought, Maybe He only answers the prayers of those who are married, only wants to bless the married. Maybe I don’t measure up. As one couple rejoiced over new jobs, yet my prayers for a man to come into my life still went unanswered, I was convinced God wouldn’t really bless me until I was married and operating on a deeper spiritual level.
Little did I know the Lord was about to move in my life in a special way. One Saturday afternoon, I felt God speaking to my heart. It came in the form of a simple question.
How do you view yourself?
Immediately I replied, “God, Your Word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Still, the question rang louder in my heart.
How do you view yourself?
The Lord was not satisfied with my answer. I was not being honest. Sure, I believed Scripture, but I believed in my own warped self-image more. I began to break before the Lord, and an indescribably sweet presence washed over me. The incredible power of God’s unconditional love surrounded me like a sea. As I dove deeper into His presence, I surfaced with hidden gems. In the eyes of God, the Ruler of time and creation, I am deeply cherished. The depth of His love for me is evidenced by the holes in His hands. My singleness cannot reverse that, and neither can yours.
I want to share something with you. That Saturday afternoon, God led me to Deuteronomy 14:2 (NLT), which says, “You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and He has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be His own special treasure.”
Do you know how lovely you are to God? Sometimes the enemy tricks singles into thinking God has given us the short end of the stick. But that just isn’t true; remember Satan is the father of lies. God has a handcrafted purpose for you while you’re single. The Lord needs chosen vessels to live a holy life.
We know the world has its own idea of how a single man or woman should behave, and it certainly does not align with God’s standards. In our desire-driven culture, you have been set apart. You can fulfill your purpose in this season by living your life as a chosen vessel of honor. Our Lord has not forgotten you in your singlehood; He has chosen you. You are the Most High’s own special treasure.
Serena Ruffin is 19 years old and radically in love with Jesus. A nutrition major, she enjoys teaching teen girls to live for God, running outdoors, and convincing her family and friends to change their eating habits.
If you would like to contribute a post to the Boundless blog, see “Writers Wanted” for more details.