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Sometimes it sucks to be single. Even if it is by choice, there is confusion and doubt. It often seems like everyone's "endgame" is to end up in a happy relationship, and in the meantime, we flounder around with endless directions we could go. Yet, according to many studies, the percentage of singles in our society is steadily rising. There are all kinds of single people, not just "career chasers" or "looking for love." No matter why you are single, I'm sure you have moments where you don't know where to turn. All too often, I hear the Bible quoted to say, "trust that God will provide" in answer to the struggles of single life. Well, there's nothing wrong with that statement, but it's not a fix-all to our discouragement. Especially in our hectic world, we need tangible examples of how to navigate life as single adults. A little-known fact is, the Bible holds exactly that! So without further ado, let's dive in.
If you've ever read the New Testament of the Bible, you've likely read words written by the Apostle Paul. Previously known as Saul of Tarsus, he was once a man who persecuted Christians. But Jesus chose to show Paul the truth of His resurrection. Faith moved in Paul, and he dedicated his life to creating disciples. With his eyes on God, he went from place to place to spread the word of grace. Paul changed countless lives through his complete devotion to God's will. Paul spoke passionately about his singleness. For him, it was a calling and gift from God. In his own words, "I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." - 1 Corinthians 7:7.
In society, we often veer toward a "conservative" or "progressive" view of singleness. The conservative view tells us that it is a stage we should learn from to prepare for the next step. The progressive view insists we should all stay single for as long as possible for the sake of freedom and experience. Paul fit into neither category. He was happily single because it brought him closer to God. When you lean into God, you find peace in where He leads. Maybe you feel called to stay single, and that is nothing to be ashamed of! Just look at how Paul’s life was filled with purpose. Or singleness may be a season you are in, and you can embrace the gift to seek God in this time. Either way, your identity is not in your relationship status but your relationship with Jesus. No matter what the world says, we should listen to His direction and see our lives change in ways we can't predict.
Ruth is a strong example of how we should live selflessly. Unlike what we know about Paul, Ruth was married at one point. However, amid terrible loss, she was content to do her best wherever God placed her in life. After she was widowed, Ruth gave up everything and chose to follow and serve her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth was loyal and humble toward Naomi and focused on loving those around her. When she met Boaz, he was attracted to her selfless qualities and treated her with compassion. You can read the story of Ruth and Boaz in Ruth 2-4. When you look at the details, this may not seem very "romantic," but it is a renowned love story. The reason is seen in the character of the two people who God brought together. Ruth and Boaz were fulfilled by how they reflected the same type of love, despite their different backgrounds.
When I look at Ruth's story, I see a lesson that we all need to remember: Be the kind of person you want in a spouse. Ruth didn't spend her time worrying about her status. She got things done on her own, and she was fully present in her non-romantic relationships. She kept her mind on what was in front of her and took action when the right person entered her life. Instead of searching for the "one," we can live in and enjoy the present while we follow Jesus and trust in His timing. God does not give us desires that oppose His plan. If you know you want to build a marriage, then you have that calling for a reason. When you draw close to God, He will guide you to take steps that will put you in place to meet someone who will grow in character with you. Single or not, our hearts should focus on helping people meet, know, and follow Jesus.
When many people think of the Bible, they don't think of independent women; but Lydia was a powerful example. The Bible doesn't tell us a lot about Lydia's personal life, but it never mentions her husband. And even if she was married, we can still learn the same lessons from her actions. If Lydia lived in modern times, she would be the owner of a successful start-up. She'd be that business owner you want to support because of their good in the community. The Bible describes her as "a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God." (Acts 16:14) Lydia was influential, and her faith led her entire household to get baptized. Lydia was a leader in many ways; she humbled herself to God and in service to others. She opened her home to the Apostle Paul and other followers of Jesus. Lydia prayed diligently and committed her attention to God.
Although we don't know a lot about Lydia, we know enough to see that she was a “do-er." As soon as she heard the Gospel, God entered her heart, and she immediately professed her faith. From that moment on, she pointed to Jesus through her actions, which is why Lydia is one of my favorite role models. As a single woman who doesn't see marriage in my immediate future, Lydia gives me a real-life picture of how to live intentionally. While I want to have a family of my own someday, my current aim is to build a foundation for myself to stand on and give from. When we are spiritually secure and confident in our life choices, we make connections for the right reasons. We move forward when we embrace the present with actions of faith.
When I think of single people, I usually don't think of Jesus. That is probably because His purpose was always to die for our sins, and His goals were beyond anything we picture in ourselves. But the truth is, He is the first place we should look to see how to live as singles. He spent time alone with God, in anguish, and felt the pain of betrayal. And He also embraced the joy of friends and worship. Yet, no matter what happened, He continued to offer His heart to the lost and hopeless. When we follow His lead, we can reach out to people even if we don't find our actions reciprocated. You don't need to form certain relationships to prove you belong; God loves the real you. Even when we feel lonely, we are never alone.
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Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.