Lessons on Singleness
This July, I went to the Legacy Conference in Chicago with the expressed intent to avoid all things related to singleness and marriage. I was more interested in attending workshops on Eschatology, Ecclesiology and Theology.
As a woman closer to the age of 30 than 20, and as someone who has spent countless hours attending church seminars and small group meetings, I figured there wasn’t much else to learn about my current calling. Secondly, as a recent graduate, it seemed trivial to worry about my relationship status instead of the nobler search for my vocational purpose.
How could I spend time focusing on my relationship status when I have no clue what my next career steps are? Lastly, I was getting to a point where I was good with my singleness. If I got lonely, I’d call up the homies…I have community…I’m fine.
But, like always, God moved at the conference in ways I didn’t expect, especially in terms of my singleness. God exposed deep heart issues and strongholds. I am thankful my limited wisdom didn’t win, but instead my infinite, all-knowing heavenly Father who understands me in ways I will never see had his way with me. Here are three things I learned about singleness while at the Legacy Conference.
Single and Proud
God’s divine work was first evidenced in a random lunch meeting. I ran into a woman who I had a met at a vendor earlier, along with her friend. As we contemplated our next move, another man from Legacy told us about a great burger joint, and the four of us decided to get lunch there together. There we were: three single ladies and a married man. I kept thinking, “I do not want to be stuck at lunch with this man preaching on the joys of marriage.” However, it was far from that. It was an encouragement to hear the testimony of his relationship, and I was thankful for the wisdom he imparted.
I realized at that point I had developed pride surrounding my singleness. I felt as though I had enough wisdom. Wisdom is good and a gift from God, as it says in Proverbs: “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver” (Proverbs 16:16).
I will continue to use my time being single as a period of preparation, and I will welcome Godly wisdom concerning Godly relationships.
Not only did I realize the pride in my life, but I also realized I’ve exalted certain areas of my life, and deemed certain areas as more worthy of sacrifice to God. I’ve tried to compartmentalize and separate my vocation and relationship status, but I’ve actually been diminishing my singleness. In another not so random occurrence, I walked into a conversation about relationships versus singleness. I overheard someone say, “Whatever your calling in life is, that’s what will give God the most glory at the time. If you are single, that’s how you best glorify God. If you are married or have children, God has specifically ordained you for those callings to best glorify him.” That stuck with me.
Every aspect of my life is to bring glory to God, which is my eternal calling. We are told, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). My vocation is no more important than being single. In fact, it’s because I’m single I can carry out the work God has called me to, in a manner best glorifying him at this time.
Singleness is a Gift
I diminished my singleness and made it an afterthought. I prided myself in feeling my singleness no longer mattered and I could operate without any thought of it. However, as a group of us sat around and discussed our favorite workshops, someone mentioned Natalie Lauren’s workshop on singleness. They explained the point of the workshop was we should treat our singleness as a gift from God.
I was convicted. While I wasn’t thirsty or desperate for a man, I certainly was not treating my singleness as a gift. I was treating it more like a burden to bear. Yet God has given me this gift of singleness, and I am to offer myself as a living sacrifice in order to bring him glory. How foolish of me to think head knowledge and theology is more pleasing to God than being joyful in a way that makes God look good.
Glorifying God in my singleness is an eternal calling. I now have a renewed sense of joy and urgency to use every moment of this season to give back what God has given to me.
Time to Work
Not only did I learn the condition of my heart at Legacy Conference, but I learned much more. I now have a renewed sense of who I am in Christ in totality. As I seek to become a part of the people of God, I know my singleness is key to carrying out God’s work – a work that can only be carried out while I’m single. Just as I know if I am to marry, there will be a work for my husband and I that can only be done as a couple.
God is calling for me to focus only on him and be glad. I’m blessed I have the opportunity to live completely and fully for him.
How have your thoughts on pursuing Godly singleness evolved as you’ve grown in your relationship with him?