That word seems to have the power to cause dread in any young (and not-so-young) adult's life. Being labeled as "single" is often perceived as being a failure, rejected, or unloved. We are so quick to determine our value by others' opinion of us, and the reminder that we don't have that "special someone" is just another jab in the side.
But why does being "single" always have to have a negative connotation?
What if we decided to change our perspective? If we saw this unique period in our life as it is - unique?
There are millions of ways that you can utilize your single years to their greatest potential, but here are just a few suggestions on how you can challenge your mindset:
Find Contentment in God and His Goodness
"for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
- Philippians 4:11a-13
- Philippians 4:11a-13
I'm not going to say otherwise: it can be hard being single - probably more-so for those who have experienced a relationship in the past. Knowing what it was like to have someone caring for you in that special way, and then no longer having that care in your life is difficult to adjust to, and it is so easy to get frustrated, angry, and even bitter at God due to the loss of that relationship.
One of the greatest game-changers in this area of my life was a phrase said to me by a dear, middle-aged, single friend of mine during a conversation shortly after my breakup - a phrase so profound that I have never forgetten her words:
"You only have to be content for today."
God doesn't ask me to stare into the depths of time and space and assume that I will still be in the exact same situation of life that I am right now. Instead, He asks me to trust Him with my future and thank Him for what He has allowed.
What if - maybe - God hasn't allowed for you to be in a relationship at this point in your life, because being in a relationship isn't what is presently best for you?
Prepare Yourself for the Rest of Your Life
When musing over potential relationships, we often consider others' strengths, weaknesses, good points and failures. We study various individuals and decide whether we are interested, depending on their character.
While we are often diligent to observe others, how often to probe into our own lives?
Reflect on yourself. Are you patient? Do you show gentleness and compassion to others? Are you willing to receive and consider counsel and rebuke? Do you listen to what the other person is saying? Are you proud? Lazy? Greedy? Deceitful? Unforgiving? Harsh? Insensitive? Selfish?
It can be emotionally difficult to evaluate yourself truthfully, but if you are willing to be brutally honest, identify areas to improve, and seek God's grace and strength as you strive to change - you can change and grow in godliness.
These years are our training grounds. Unless we are diligent in striving to be more like Christ and consist in developing a godly character, we will not grow spiritually. Who we are today in character will not magically improve tomorrow if we are not willing to put the necessary work into it.
Pursue Opportunities for Christ
One thing I have been noticing as I've been getting older is the multitude of opportunities I have in my life. As a single young adult, I am at a position where I am not constrained in my activities by a spouse or children. I have more available time and energy now than I probably will for the rest of my life - more of myself to commit solely to Christ.
Realizing this is instrumental in shaping how we use our single years. Instead of squaddering them away, we can capture these day and weeks and years and utilize them for God's glory.
Read those books. Study and memorize God's Word. Get actively involved in your local church. Make connections with the people in your neighbour and community. Start a Bible study with friends. Reach out to the younger generation and be conscious of the role model you are to them. Volunteer at various ministries and outreaches. Counsel or help at camp. Get to know people in your church above and below your age range. Go overseas to aid missionaries or ministries you and your local church support.
Seek to serve Christ in whatever capacity He allows you, and you will not regret your single years.
Conclusion: Don't Waste Your Singleness
It's tempting to compare our single years as a landfill instead of the gold field that it truly is. We so often fail to recognize these years as exploding with more time, energy, and flexibility than we will ever have left.
If God allows you the blessing of a meaningful relationship and marriage, praise God for it. But if God has not yet allowed you that relationship, live your life with passion and zeal for God's glory, and praise Him for the blessing of your singleness.