Well, when it comes to this topic we need to look a few different places, and then best interpret the definition in a way that we can understand, acknowledge, and embrace it. So, let’s start with the basic definition as found in the famous and world-wide Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Single – 1) not married; 2) of or relating to celibacy
(When referred to in an “individual” state of the word they note it as: consisting of a separate unique whole; exclusively attentive)
Sounds pretty straight forward, right? But how do we apply that to ourselves, our life, and our daily walk with God? Yes, we KNOW we aren’t married. Yes, we KNOW celibacy should be part of any state of singleness if we are walking in God’s ways. But isn’t there more? How does that define ME specifically? I’m glad you asked! Let’s take a look at another definition, by the same source, but as found in the Webster’s Revised Unabridged Version Dictionary:
Single – 1) The quality or state of being single or separate from all others; the opposite of doubleness, complication, or multiplicity; 2) Freedom from duplicity, or secondary and selfish ends; purity of mind or purpose; simplicity; sincerity
Okay, I don’t know if you are like me but when I read that new unabridged version of the word ‘single’, I wanted to shout for joy and was smiling ear to ear. Ladies—we are the opposite of complication! We are free from secondary and selfish ends. We are pure of mind and purpose. We are simple and sincere. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to leap up and click my heels! Now, let’s dig deeper into what this can mean for us in our season of singleness.
—We have minimized complication in our life because we are able to focus on our relationship with God without interference or distraction. Now does that mean that we have NO interference or distraction in our lives? Absolutely not! But it does mean that it is minimized without the distraction and demands that a relationship puts on a person. I am not saying relationships are bad here, and I am not at all against them. But anyone would be able to tell you that more people involved and more focus on emotional things leads to distraction and can pull us away from time with God and from seeking out who we truly are as we focus so deeply on the other person and the survival of the relationship. I have been married twice, so I know this wholeheartedly. We can have a tendency to lose ourselves in the silver linings of a romantic relationship.
—We are able to let go of some of our selfishness and our secondary desires that pull us away from our faithfulness to God, and to ourselves. When single we do not worry about how to please someone else, how to be sure we split ourselves into 10 different directions in order to keep both parties happy. We don’t focus on the desires and fleshly things in a relationship that tempts all humans. That is not to say you may not still have the aching and hope for normal human love, affection, and companionship; but you are in a current place where you are able to focus on yourself, your own faith walk, and redirect your fleshly weakness back to ways that are pleasing to God without worry of how it will affect a partner or perhaps someone who will be less than pleased to have the simple pleasures of this world taken away along with their needs, wants, or expectations.
—We have the ability to strongly focus on keeping our mind pure and living out our purpose. Without the distraction of duties and desires that come with being in a relationship, we are able to keep our minds more fixed on Jesus, to be able to have a clearer mind, more dedicated time, and lack of pull from someone around us to spend our time and attention on. Without the added distraction of the opposite sex around us at all times, we are more able to retain our purity and grow stronger in our relationship with God so that when our weak times come, we are more able to fight them and come out victorious. With undistracted time and a relationship involving only ourselves, we are able to push forward in our calling and our purpose. We are able to fervently seek what God has for us, where He is calling us, and what He wants us to achieve in this life. If you already know what that calling is, then singleness actually enables you to pour the maximum amount of your time, efforts, thoughts, and attention into pursuing your purpose with all that you have. Your full mind, your full heart; living for God and the life He has given you without feeling obligated to be living for someone else.
—We are able to have simpler lives and remain sincere in our pursuit of the Kingdom. I will not say our lives are less hectic, less busy, full of less struggle, or anything of the like. As a single mother and sole supporter of my family, I am DEFINITELY not saying that! But, it is still simpler at times without a second person with which to spilt your time and attention, and that you often need to compromise with. One is always simpler than two or a few, it is just common knowledge. I did not say one is always better than two, but it is indeed less complicated and tends to not drain our efforts as much in giving that extra hour to Bible study, that extra day of volunteering at that special event, that sacred time of morning coffee with Jesus. The sincere part kind of ties in hand-in-hand with the purity part; we are able to be truer to ourselves and not sacrifice our dignity or purity in order to fulfill something another person feels, needs, or desires. This in turn allows us to rely on God deeper for strength and perseverance in the trials and temptations of singleness, which draws us closer to Him and helps us to trust Him more.
Now, please know that I am not bashing marriage, relationships, or anything of the sort. I, myself, have been married before and know it can come with many blessings. But not everyone would prefer to be married, not everyone is in a good marriage, not everyone is called to be a Proverbs 31 wife, and not everyone has found their godly man yet. Approximately 75% of the women I know are married, and they are faithful and wonderful women of God who are richly blessed by their godly husbands. I have been in a season of singleness for almost 10 years; at first not by choice, in the middle years by lack of ability to find a decent partner/relationship, and now by complete choice of what makes me happiest and allows me to pursue Jesus, motherhood, and ministry unhindered. So I want to be sure you all know I am not saying you should stay single forever. I am not saying marriage is something you should not pray or hope for. I am not saying I know all and this is the way to go. I am simply speaking from where God has placed me for an extended time, and where He has given me a great new love and gratitude for. I am here WHILE you are in your season of singleness to encourage you, strengthen you, and hopefully help you grow closer to God while you embrace this gift of time to be God’s bride alone and wait for whatever He has in store for you as the years unfold. Because one thing is for sure—God will not provide a single woman with a partner until they are completely satisfied (and even thankful) with their singleness.
I would like to leave you with these Scriptures as a source of inspiration and to remind you to always keep your heads held high, keep your standards strong, and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus while giving God the glory for allowing you to experience this special season in life.
Matthew 22:30 (ERV) – “At the time when people rise from death, there will be no marriage. People will not be married to each other. Everyone will be like the angels in heaven.”
Isaiah 54:5 (NET) – “For your husband is the one who made you- the LORD who commands armies in his name. He is your protector, the Holy One of Israel. He is called “God of the entire earth.”
1 Corinthians 32-35 (ERV) – “I want you to be free from worry. A man who is not married is busy with the Lord’s work. He is trying to please the Lord. But a man who is married is busy with things of the world. He is trying to please his wife. He must think about two things—pleasing his wife and pleasing the Lord. A woman who is not married or a girl who has never been married is busy with the Lord’s work. She wants to give herself fully—body and spirit—to the Lord. But a married woman is busy with things of the world. She is trying to please her husband. I am saying this to help you. I am to trying to limit you, but I want you to live in the right way. And I want you to give yourselves fully to the Lord without giving your time to other things.”