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June 05, 2010

let your single years not be a wasteland

singleness
In recent years I have spent a lot of time with single people (surprising, I know, since I am also single). Observing this subset of our Christian culture, I began to notice that some singles seem to allow those years of their lives, whether five, ten or fifteen years, to fall into an abyss of wasted time. This concerns me, because while our culture may teach us to while away our youth, this is not God's attitude toward time. As I've read, lived and observed my own attitudes and those of some I know, there are a few areas (with some overlap) where we would do well to learn while we are still single.

Roles: Learn what it means to be a woman and operate within your role even as a single. Kick the feminist attitudes that are so common in our culture and learn the Bible's view of woman. The Bible indicates that your role will be more home-related than your husband's. Your single years are probably years with less home responsibility, but it is also a good time to learn to serve. My brother and I live together and I think we could say it is "fair" that all tasks in our home be divided up 50/50, just like the rent. Even so, I realize that some ways of serving come much more naturally to me than to a man, and at times I've purposely tried to serve in ways that aren't necessarily expected or required in a situation like our own...simply because I am a woman.

Relationships: Singleness can teach an independent and calloused "I-don't-need-a-man" attitude. Living on your own can be too convenient, too controlled, too your-way...which is not good preparation for service or for living in close quarters with anyone! Learn to expose yourself to people with whom you don't see eye-to-eye and people who rub you the wrong way. Padding your life with people who think exactly as you do might seem comfortable but it short-changes you by giving you less opportunity for growth.

Reality: Our single years can be rich in that they prepare us with a deeper grounding in reality about ourselves, the opposite sex, marriage and God. In relation to ourselves, God can prepare our hearts to have an attitude of utter humility --"I am the worst sinner I know." Often single women have wrong views of marriage and men. Pining for marriage, which God hasn't given to you yet, can sometimes be put to rest by spending a few days with your friends' sick toddlers. Or, try turning your head a few degrees and you'll probably find a divorcee, a widow or an infertile friend. In a sinful world, life at any stage is not without its struggles, and marriage is no fix-all. Lastly, as singles we have time to get to know God on a deep level. God is our ultimate reality and in knowing Him we find hope for the reality about everything else.

Responsibility: Singles shouldn't shirk responsibility, but learn to shoulder it, grown-up style. Our single years allow us to serve our church, community or family in ways that may not be possible when we have other responsibilities. Also, it is easy for young singles to fall into a luxurious "me-first" spending mentality, and it is important to learn to be responsible in money management. Even among Christians, I find that singles are almost "allowed" to be a bit immature or irresponsible. This isn't God's allowance.

As Christian singles contemplate marriage, we often set our spouse ideals fairly high, and rightly so. But as we redeem our single years, we can let them not be a wasteland, but years spent becoming a person who would be ideal, as well. Set the bar for yourself higher than your culture, even your Christian culture, sets it. Try "be ye holy, as I am holy." That should keep you busy for the rest of your life!

And should the Lord never give us any marriage but to Himself? We will bless Him still. Our time will not be wasted, either way.

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