Single Is Not A Bad Word
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Last week I realized that Valentine’s Day is known for some as “Single Awareness Day.” That bothers me because Valentine’s Day can be extremely difficult for those who desire to be in a relationship. It’s easy for people to feel like they are hopeless romantics. They think that if they aren’t in a relationship, then they aren’t fulfilled in life.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “Seth, you’re married. You have no room to talk.” It is true that I’m a happily married man; it is also true that I’ve been in your shoes before.
I always thought I would find my wife in college. When college ended, I went on to grad school and thought I would find her in grad school. The problem was, the school I went to was primarily men (Seminary), so my options were few and far between. During my college and graduate school years, there were times when I felt alone. I can’t tell you how many weddings I attended where I was the single guy. It seemed like everyone around me was married and had kids. Unfortunately I often let my singleness define me and negatively impact my life. I thought single was a bad word.
The reality is that single is not a bad word.
The Bible actually says that singleness is a gift from God (I Corinthians 7:7). In I Corinthians 7, Paul is not saying that he doesn’t have any desire for marriage, but he is saying that being single is a gift that you can use to build others up.
Tim Keller describes it this way:
“The ‘giftness’ of being single for Paul lay in the freedom it gave him to concentrate on ministry in ways that a married man could not (see I Corinthians 7:32-35)…Consider, then, that the ‘single calling’ Paul speaks of is neither a condition without any struggle nor on the other hand an experience of misery. When you have this gift, there may indeed be struggles, but the main thing is that God is helping you to grow spiritually and be fruitful in the lives of others despite them (see I Corinthians 7:1, 6-8, 32-35).” - The Meaning of Marriage
It’s obviously normal to desire to date and be married. The problem I had when I was single was that I would often let it consume my thoughts. There were times when I would ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?”
Most of the time in my single days, I didn’t view it as a gift where I could spend more of my time and effort ministering to others. I viewed it as a curse.
It’s easy to think the following when you’re single…
- “There’s something wrong with me.” – If that's the case, no one would get married because we all have flaws.
- “I’m too picky.” – Don’t settle! If you settle, you'll get in a situation where you'll be left with disappointment and discouragement.
- “Before I can marry someone wonderful, the Lord has to make me someone wonderful.” – Although it is important to spend as much time with the Lord as you can, to be perfect is not God's standard for marriage.
A better way to view singleness is the following by Paige Benton Brown (quoted in Keller's Meaning of Marriage)…
“I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is His best for me.”
If you’re single right now, that is exactly where God wants you. If you are where He wants you, that is a good thing.