Monday, August 25, 2008

singleness, part 2

More thoughts on singleness . . . this time from January 2007. (FYI, the links don't work anymore.) Reading this again has been a good exercise for me.


Last night I rejoiced in my singleness. I wandered through my apartment, grateful that I live alone and wondering how on earth I could adjust to living with a man. I shopped for chick flicks on Amazon, grateful that I don't have to justify my purchases to anyone. I watched Gilmore Girls and The Lake House, grateful to have sole possession of the remote control.

I went to bed happy.

Then, somewhere around 5 a.m., I fell in love. It was wonderful. Until I woke up. Suddenly, my singleness didn't seem like something to rejoice in. It felt more like a curse.

I struggled with this all day, wondering how I could go from being completely content to utterly discontent.

On the way home from Awana, I turned on the radio. These were the first words I heard: "What's worse than being single and wanting to be married and not but having hope and trust and faith is to be lonely in a marriage and have no hope because you married a person based on the accoutrements and not on their character." The sentence construction is horrible, but you get the drift. When I got home, I ran in and found the broadcast on the internet. The whole message is great--exactly what I needed to hear tonight. If you want to listen, you can get it

I also came across an article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's a portion of it:

The Scripture teaches that both marriage and singleness, like children, are gifts from God. To some, He gives the gift of marriage; to others, He gives the gift of singleness. Either way, we are to receive our marital status as a gift. This gift does not come from some distant relative who has no idea what we really need; it comes from a gracious God who loves us and gives the very best gifts to any of His children who leave the choice with Him.

In the will of God, marriage is an incredible gift, to be received with joy and thanksgiving, and to be used for the glory of God. Likewise, in the will of God, singleness is an incredible gift, to be received with gratitude, and to be used equally for the glory of God.

In his classic chapter on marriage, the Apostle Paul cautions against striving for a gift or a calling other than that which God has entrusted to us. He exhorts us not to seek to escape from binding circumstances or to insist on having a gift God has not chosen for us. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" (1 Corinthians 7:20). The issue is not our martial status or station in life but rather choosing to live in that state in union with God: "Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God" (1 Corinthians 7:24, emphasis mine).

Throughout this chapter, Paul sets forth the principle that what matters most is not whether or not we are married but rather the will of God. What state has He called us to? What gift has He given us? "Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that" (1 Corinthians 7:7 New International Version). Jesus Himself referred to singleness as a special gift from God (Matthew 19:11, 12).

I am not single by accident. I am not single because the "right man" has never asked me to marry him. I am not single because I have made up my mind not to marry. Rather, I am single because God has chosen for me the gift of singleness. I believe that I am single according to the perfect will and purpose of God. I have no way of knowing how long He will give me this gift or whether He will ever choose to give me the gift of marriage. I do not know whether it will be His will for me to be single in five years. But I do know that it has been His will to this point in my life.

I must set my heart to respond to this and every area of my life with the words of the virgin Mary when her world was turned upside down by an angelic messenger: "I am the Lord's servant…. May it be to me as You have said" (Luke 1:38 NIV).

Certainly there are times when I whimper and long for something God has not provided. But over and over again, He brings me back to that wonderful place of trust and surrender that says, "Oh, Lord, if it pleases You, it pleases me." We tend to think that what is really good is the fulfillment of our desires. But, in reality, the highest good in the universe is whatever God chooses for our lives.

The question is not "What do I want for myself?" but "What does God want for me?" What will please Him and bring Him the greatest glory? What will best fulfill His purpose here on this earth?

(You can read the rest at Family Life Today's website.)

And now, I'm again rejoicing in my singleness.


  1. Sorry to rain on your parade, but there's no such thing as "the gift of singleness".

    As a matter of fact, there's no such thing as the "gift of singleness" in the Bible (no gift of marriage, either). It's a term which came about because of an out of date mistranslation of 1 Cor 7:7 in the Living Bible which used to read:

    …”But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the GIFT OF MARRIAGE, and to others the GIFT OF SINGLENESS.”

    …but now reads: “But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.”

    The current editors of the Liiving Bible (now called the New Living Translation) and also the Message recently changed it due to complaints that the earlier translation was not only inaccurate in comparison to the original Greek, but also gave the false impression that Paul was saying that if you are single, then you have “the gift of singleness”. Paul was more likely referring to his innate gift of sexual self control that made it feasible for him to choose to remain single for the sake of the kingdom (just like the third type of eunuch mentioned in Matthew 19:10-11).

    Unfortunately, the old Living Bible (now the NLT) gave people the erroneous idea that all singles should see their singleness as a gift whether it's wanted or not. But this is disingenuous and patronizing. We don't expect infertile couples to think of themselves as having "the gift of infertility", even if God is sovereign. All you have to do is get a concordance and see what the Bible does and does not refer to as a gift. The epidemic of protracted singleness we see today is more likely God allowing this generation to experience the consequences of their individual and collective choices, rather than a special "gift" to us.

    Nancy Leigh Demoss is a millionaire heiress who regularly flies around in her family's corporate jet. Her wealth spares her many of the consequences of singleness and allows her to regard marriage as a frill she can choose to live without. Previous generations of Christians took a woman's need (yes, NEED) for marriage much more seriously.

  2. Awesome Blog Post! I know you wrote it a long time ago, but it makes me happy to read that you have the right view about singleness and marriage. You are complete as a single person and God will probably surprise you someday with the right guy for you, when you are least expecting it. Hang in there sister!

    1. Awwww ... thanks! (And I sincerely hope He does!)


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