Have you been afraid to ask God this question?
When I think about asking God if He wants me single, I envision a scene from a horror movie where a girl stands in front of the door unsure of what is on the other side. The tense music causes your heart to race and you squeeze your eyes shut to avoid what’s behind it. It’s sad to say but I’ve felt this way asking God whether He wants me to be permanently single.
Having written blog posts like 30 & Single and (Almost) 35 & Still Single have been points in my life where I was getting older and wanted to cling to hope. Going through another birthday this summer still being single made this question come to mind more and more.
How do we know if we’re called to be single?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:12,
“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
There were times when someone was born with physical deformities or lack of desire that made them permanently single. Male eunuchs were used in biblical times to guard women of stature like in the story of Queen Esther. All of the disciples were well aware of these kind of eunuchs but in Matthew, Jesus is introducing a new kind of man who would willing give up the social expectation of marriage to be focused on serving God.
Fearing the Call
The stories of men and women in history who have given their lives for the cause of Christ are certainly inspirational but they almost seem like the exception rather than the rule. They saw the need for change and stepped into the gap. We love reading about them and being encouraged by their stories but if called to surrender the dreams we’ve clung to, I wonder if we would.
I think there are many women out there who can’t accept the thought of life-long singleness…myself included. We may have some similar reasons like the Hollywood portrayal love being so ingrained in our heads or growing up with the fantasy of a handsome prince coming to our rescue. For others marriage means an end to loneliness, the desire to start a family begun, a hope once deferred now fulfilled. How can we accept singleness when it means sacrificing so many of our dreams?
Search My Heart, Lord
During my single years, I’ve learned I am not in control of it. Because of that, fear immediately and overwhelmingly arises.
What if I never get married?
That question brings up a slew of emotions and one of them is that singleness is a glaring reflection of my brokenness. It means that I’m not good enough to get married or be loved. Like a scarlet “S” upon my chest, it brands me unwanted, forgotten, alone.
Fear is in complete opposition to trusting God. When I lose control of my thoughts and they spiral inward into worry and depression, I’m trying to regain the illusion of control that I’ve never had. And that’s what we all do. We try to take the semblance of control into our hands thinking that God does not care for us. That He won’t move on our behalf and yet bless our Instagram friends with relationships and babies. We’re afraid we’ll get the short end of the stick and the crumbs from the banquet.
That isn’t who God is and when we think so little of Him, we give Him a false identity: powerless, uncaring, vindictive, human.
The truth is, it’s not God who needs to change but our own hearts.
5 Lessons to Encourage You
Worried about being permanently single? Here’s 5 lessons I’ve been learning:
- Change what you can and leave the rest to God. Singleness does not give us the license to stop caring about ourselves or those around us. If you’ve been struggling with your thoughts, emotions, your sense of self in God, this is the time to do the work. Our problems don’t disappear when we enter a relationship, they’ll only intensify. While you can’t change your relationship status, you can change your habits and your heart.
- Be present. Life is lived in relationship with God. He created you with a purpose and He has a divine plan for your life. Enjoy what God is doing in your life despite the struggles or tears. He is walking with you every step of the way.
- Stay committed. Remember why you entered into a relationship with Jesus. It’s about what He did for you 2,000 years ago not what you want Him to do today. Trust in His plans and His character.
- Keep sowing. Don’t let go of the spiritual practices needed to help live a victorious life. Pray, read the Word, surround yourself with godly people who will help you stay accountable. You may not see what harvest your sowing will bring but God will reward your patience.
- Focus on what is true. When we take our eyes off of God, we sink into the turbulent waters just like Peter did. When our eyes focus on Jesus we can walk without fear no matter the circumstances around us.
I can’t answer whether you’re called to be permanently single. But I can say that no matter what age you are or however long you’ve been waiting, what you think is impossible for God, He uses as the perfect opportunity to show Himself off.
God is able and He loves you.