As a result of the beautiful God-given gift of marriage, we forget to appreciate the single individual. Ironically, I think atheists do a better job at appreciating God’s gift of singleness better than Christians. I think part of that is due to the lasting effects of the harmful and explicitly unbiblical purity culture, but I think even among those who have a healthy understanding of biblical marriage, we still overlook the incredible gift of singleness.
From my experience, it seems like we accept the season of singleness, but we do not see it as a gift. We see it as a temporary or possibly lifelong way of life, but I do not think we truly appreciate the benefits of being single. How often is the following question, “Are you looking to date?” asked the moment you hear someone is single.
My husband has been in Georgia since mid-February, and before your mind goes to the worst, it’s because he is in the army. Since he’s been gone, I’ve had to transition into this new lifestyle which calls for new experiences. I am learning how to take on our budget which includes resisting the urge to not buy new protein powder each month. I am learning how to make dinner, clean the bathroom, and practice my work presentation all at the same time, seemingly. I am learning that maybe it was not my groom who kept taking the blanket at night…but maybe it was me.
It is my first time living by myself, and it’s kind of weird. In college, I lived with 40+ other Christians. It’s a wild transition as the food I buy from the grocery store is whatever I want to eat. I never noticed the noise from the space heater before. The person who keeps forgetting to replace the toilet paper roll is me. There’s equally more responsibility yet not enough as I find myself getting 9.5 hours of sleep at least a couple of times a week.
In this season, as we are figuring out how to do this long-distance marriage, I am baffled by the sheer amount of free time I have gained. I have oddly compared myself to Alexander Hamilton based on the musical. The song “Nonstop” would play in my head as I wrote blog posts or attempted to record and edit a podcast episode in under two hours. The lyrics read, “How do you write like you’re running out of time?” To do what I feel called to do on top of working full-time and being a wife, I was rushing to post as if time was running out. But now, in this season, I resonate more with Eliza Hamilton, Alexander’s wife. The Lord, in His kindness, He has given me more time, as reflected in the lyrics of “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” I know it all sounds so dramatic and cheesy because it is, but bear with me I’m almost at my realization.
With the hours before work and the little bit of time after, I have way more time to devote to The Lord. Even with weekends, my three plans consist of spending time with a loved one, FaceTiming my husband, and going to church on Sunday. Besides that, The Lord has given me so much more to build this ministry. I research, write, record, and edit without thinking I would run out of time. I’ve already recorded and edited podcast episodes for this next month and more. I just have more time.
My unmarried friend, you have all the time in the world to build God’s kingdom, and admittedly I envy you at times. Pray as God continues to work on my heart. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 7, where the Apostle Paul talks to the unmarried, married, and widowed about their unique roles in God’s eyes. After he gives instructions on marriage, he says this, “But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind to another.” The Holy Spirit worked in Paul, author of most New Testament books. The work done was phenomenal. As that passage emphasizes, an unmarried individual can spend more time doing The Lord’s work, but a married individual has to also think about their earthly responsibilities, including pleasing their spouse. Married people have divided attention whereas the unmarried do not, as written. Each of these roles serves its unique purpose in God’s kingdom. We ought to recognize the beauty within the gift of singleness. You have so much more time to dedicate to The Lord.
As the Church, we need to better admire the gift of singleness. I see my friend, Jordon, disciple University of Central Florida freshmen through the RUF ministry. I see my friend, Tanner, travel the United States to speak and attend Christian conferences and prayer events. I see my friend, Sarah, blessed with the opportunity to serve full-time at a church summer camp. The Holy Spirit works in and through people in crazy ways. I only chose to name three unmarried friends. When you do not have to worry about a spouse or family, you have all the time in the world to serve God according to your gifts and calling. That’s amazing. Do not get me wrong, marriage is awesome, but so is singleness. Both are needed. Some will serve The Lord as a married couple and others will serve The Lord as single individuals. Our callings are part of the marvelous diversity seen in the Church.
Now I want to be careful as I think it’s easy to presume that because the unmarried have more time, they should be involved in every ministry within the Church. I see the same conversation between married couples with kids and newlyweds. The party that believes they are busier thinks the latter should do more for the Church. Here are my thoughts. Everyone is busy. Most think they are busier than the next person. At the end of the day we are not saved based on what we do for Jesus, but rather what Jesus has done for us. If your takeaway is that you should feel guilty for not dedicating more time to The Lord, I have failed in communicating God’s love for us. We are not saved by our good works but by our faith in Jesus alone.
All I am saying is that as the Church, we should encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to serve in the way God has called them to. Sometimes that looks like moving to Hawaii for 12-weeks to teach kids how to read the Bible. Other times that looks like praying daily for your neighbor who you know does not know Jesus. Sometimes that looks like serving as part of your church tech team every 4-weeks. Other times that looks like just being a mom who fears The Lord and looks to raise her kids with a heart that longs for Jesus. Sometimes that looks like getting involved in that Christian campus ministry. Other times it means you mention going to church when your boss asks about the weekend. It all serves a purpose in God’s Kingdom. We are called to share the gospel and make disciples. Fulfilling one’s ministry looks different depending on the individual, season in life, and distinct God-given gifts. That is something we should praise God for! Thank Jesus for diversity within His Church. You are important to His Kingdom and may we seek to glorify Jesus in all that we do.