Singleness, enjoyed or endured?

Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

Recently I was out with some friends, and the conversation made its way to dating, types, set ups, dating advice, and dating activity etc… (insert space for awkward silence… no, not really). Being a single 36-year-old female and a pastor I get lots of questions around dating and singleness, including questions like, “are you like a female priest?” To which I laugh out loud and say, “most definitely not!” But usually the question is, “why are you still single?” Some people can’t believe it, and others wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Others asked if I have ever been married, to which my answer is, “no.” Then others go on to ask, “are you putting yourself out there? Are you out meeting people? Are you online?” and many other questions. Plenty advocate internet dating,  which I don’t personally feel comfortable with – maybe I am old school.

However, I have travelled parts of the world, interact with plenty of people and been on dates but not yet found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Some might say, “come on, seriously? You have been single for 18 years!” Others say surely its time to settle, or maybe what you’re looking for is just unavailable.

Let me say the path I have walked is not for everyone, but it is my journey and it is not for the faint hearted. I have seen two seasons of my single friends and family get married and have children and now the last of the third season of friends heading towards relationships and marriage now. This is not an unusual, uncomfortable or disappointing conversation. I am well accustomed to these conversations as I have navigated this season over 18 years and I feel like I have something valid to say. I have been exceptionally blessed over the season of singleness. I have many abundant friendships that have brought multiple blessings to my life, learnt how to build great friendships and I know what it means to be a friend. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself, and believe it has been in preparation for a great relationship and marriage to come. I believe that I am still single because of God’s timing and purpose. This belief is a liberating one and sets you free to live life to the full, learning to navigate and embrace every season.

Here are five points I think can help you navigate the journey of singleness however long or short your season might be.

  1. Enjoy singleness. You often here this from married people, but I am telling you, embrace this season – there is more to be enjoyed in your single years however long or short. It’s a precious time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.”  Don’t endure it but enjoy it and embrace the purpose of it. Serve God while you can with the time you will never have once you’re married!
  2. Be a great friend. I encourage you to develop healthy friendships with existing and new friends.   This prepares you for great relationships as being a good friend is essential. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must show himself friendly.”  Learn what it is to be friendly, how to be selfless, what it means to be generous, how to resolve conflict and be a forgiving person. This is a great platform for a healthy relationship and marriage.
  3. Don’t settle. Compromising and settling leads to disappointment. Patience and faith are rewarded. Trust me, I have seen it. Do coffees, dinners and meet and connect with people.  Remember dating is not a commitment to marriage, it is an opportunity for you discover more than just chemistry.
  4. Pray. Pray for your future partner, for their character, integrity and for your family to come. Don’t cease praying.
  5. Stay in pursuit of Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Run towards God and as you both do, your paths will collide. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.” The word “find” in this text means to stumble across, not hunt down, or search like you’re looking for lost keys, but to stumble. In God’s perfect time, season and purpose you will stumble across each other, but stay in pursuit of Jesus and obtain favour.

The season of singleness is different for everyone. Just remember, it’s a journey, so learn to enjoy and find satisfaction in relationships with the people around you. Remember singleness is to be enjoyed, not endured.