The other day, I was out shopping and found myself in the middle a wedding show at Sears. It really was quite by accident. I noticed a friend of mine who has a bakery had a table set up, and I was headed over to try a piece of the free cake she was giving out. She makes REALLY good cake, and it was chocolate. As I looked around, I noticed flowers, limo service, and a rack with really nice dresses hanging on it, that were mostly white. Oh oh... WEDDING stuff, and I was right in the middle of it! Of course, I was asked the question, "Are you getting married?" To which I hastily replied, "NO, I'm just here for the food." Classic... I know eh? Why else would a single person be in the middle of a wedding show if not for the food? I said thank you for the cake, and made a quick exit as the bakery table was in high demand by all the happy couples flooding the aisle, and not being engaged (or even dating for that matter!) I felt a little bit like I was trespassing. Awkward.
I generally avoid the topic of my present (and seemingly continual) state of singlehood. Basically, because I figure it's really no body's business. After all, why should anyone care about me being single? It has absolutely NO effect on their lives whatsoever. So, why am I going to blog about being single? I'm not exactly sure, but maybe I'll figure it out by the time I finish writing this :P.
There are some things about being single that bother me. You've probably already jumped to at least ten conclusions in your head about what those are, but I can almost guarantee you you're wrong. That is unless you know me, and then maybe you've guessed correctly :). Just to dispel all the false assumptions, I'll share some of those things with you. I really dislike pumping gas, and if I were married, that would become entirely my husband's responsibility (guys, you have now been warned). However, I don't mind shovelling snow or cutting grass, so we can share those things :).
The other thing that bothers me is THE QUESTION. You know the one, "Why aren't you married yet? What are you waiting for?" I used to get that one a lot more when I was younger (HA!). Now that I'm "older" I think everyone's mostly given up asking me. Or, maybe they actually believed me when I said I was holding out for the millionaire (Just Kidding!! :). Or, they've finally realized that I'm perfectly happy being single. That's another thing that bothers me. No one ever believes you when you tell them you're happy being single. They always prod and pry to try and uncover the secret desire in the depths of your heart to be married. Sorry, that secret, hidden longing isn't there, and yes I am perfectly HAPPY being single!
I better clarify at this point. Just because I'm happy being single doesn't mean I'm against marriage, or that I don't wish to be married. It's not like that at all. I would love to be married and have a family, but I'm not going to waste my life worrying about it. It's more like Philippians 4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Paul is speaking about poverty and material possessions in the context of this passage, but I wonder if he applied this to the fact that he was single too? I'm sure he did. Whatsoever state means whatsoever state! I'm satisfied with whatever state God has for me. I rest in His promises and His goodness. I am content... no matter what.
I wasn't always content being single. At one time, I GREATLY desired to be married; to be loved by a man and share my life with him. The problem with that desire is that it eats away at you. It makes you very discontent, depressed, and emotionally a complete wreck, because usually the guy you are focusing all that desire on doesn't like you back. We've all been there. Being single (or married) is a something that I've given over to God. It's in His hands, and like Paul I'll be content with whatsoever God sees fit to give me. After all, He's God. He knows me better than anyone, and He will give me the absolute BEST for my life. It's this thought that has given me great peace. I KNOW He cares.
The discontent single people spend much of their time focusing on what they don't have. I like to focus on what I DO have and the blessings of being single. Being single IS a blessing! On the material side, everything I have is mine. I don't have to share my house, my car, my food, etc. I know maybe that sounds selfish, but it'll make more sense later on. Another blessing is that my only responsibility is myself. A husband and children are added responsibility. They are not a bad thing, it just means more responsibility and a different focus in life. That's something I don't have, and in many ways it's a blessing. I am free to come and go as I please. If I want to go visit someone, I go. If I want to travel, I travel. If I want to go to bed early, I go to bed early. If I want to stay up late (that hardly ever happens :), I stay up late. You get the idea. When you have a family all this changes because the priorities change. Neither one is bad, they are just different, and can be blessings in different ways.
Because what I have is mine, because I have fewer responsibilities, and because I have more freedom, I have opportunities to serve the Lord that those with a spouse and family will never have. I am completely free to devote my life and my possessions whole heartedly to serving God. This IS a blessing, and sometimes I don't think we single people realize just how great this opportunity is. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. (I Corinthians 7:34-35). As an unmarried woman I do have a great responsibility. One that is just as vital and important as a wife caring for her family. My responsibility or my calling, if you would, is to care for the things of the Lord. I am to be holy both in my body and spirit. This is something that I try to take seriously.
The Bible speaks much about marriage, and sometimes I think we single people feel like we're missing out on some of God's blessings because we're not married. We need to stop this kind of thinking ourselves, and we need to stop believing it when other people tell us this. I don't know about you, but I've experienced the supposed "kindness" of the married people pitying me because I don't have the "blessing" of being married. Ugh... that just turns my stomach. God cares and blesses me just as much as He does someone who is married. Don't buy into the lie that you are missing something because you're not married. We singles have the awesome privilege of caring for the things of the Lord! How cool is that?! :). Honestly, it puts a huge smile on my face, and joy in my heart! Lately, I've been trying to fulfill this responsibility even more in my life, by re-focusing on the Lord. There's so many simple, practical ways to do that. One way is by being involved in church, and finding more ways to serve. Another way is honouring the Lord with my finances, and giving more to His work. As singles we are very prone to get selfish, at least I know I am. We have no one else to focus on but ourselves, and making ourselves happy. That makes the admonition in I Corinthians 7 even more important for us. If we are focusing our time, energy, and effort on the Lord, we'll avoid that sin of selfishness.
I know I'm kind of rambling on now, so I'll try to bring things to a close. Let's go back to Philippians 4:11. No matter if your single or married, God wants us all to be content. He wants us all to live for Him and serve Him. I think THAT is far more important than whether or not you are married or single.