If you read my last entry, you know I touched briefly on what it means to be ready for marriage. In this post, I want to elaborate on what it means to be SINGLE and why it is the most important thing to anyone who desires to one day build a godly home with a spouse.
I once heard a quote on marriage that was so profound and so SIMPLE, it changed my entire outlook on relationships, and it is this – “you can’t be married until you’re SINGLE”. Now reading those words flippantly, one might be tempted to respond with a big “well DUH!”. But pause for a minute…
Let’s look at the meaning of the word SINGLE.
Single – adj; not married [okay, no surprises there]; frank, honest [hmmmm, interesting that the definition of SINGLE will relate to character. Let’s keep going] ; unbroken, undivided [DING DING DING!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!].
So, one of the definitions of what it means to be SINGLE is UNBROKEN or UNDIVIDED – in other words, WHOLE! How many broken people do you know out here looking for a relationship? Many people are anxiously waiting for marriage while still broken from the pain of their past. If you’re broken, you’re not SINGLE and you can’t be married until you’re single (even the laws of the land will tell you that).
So, how does one become SINGLE or walk in purposeful and godly singleness? Well for me, that question was answered in a two step process.
Step 1 – CUT OFF every tie (relationship, friendship, habits, what have you) that DIVIDES my loyalty between itself and God.
Step 2 – RUN into God’s waiting arms and STAY THERE!
Step 1 was vitally important for me because when I began my journey into being SINGLE, I was already in a committed relationship that was headed for marriage. I knew that my relationship had been built on an improper foundation (see “anything other than Christ”, even good things like good looks and common interests) so therefore the Demolition Company was called in (d/b/a Holy Spirit). I gave God free reign to completely dismantle that relationship. If it was God’s will for us to go forward together, I trusted that He would rebuild the relationship on SOLID foundation (aka the Solid Rock).
Now, even before I became a real Christian (not that lukewarm mess I was in for years), I have been a PRO at Step 1. If the guy I was with wasn’t treating me right, I cut him off! If a friend started acting trifling, I cut them off. If an acquaintance stepped out of line, I cut them OFF! I was good at cutting people off.
Now, STEP 2 though….that was a different story all together.
Of course I would run into the arms of Jesus for comfort and safety every time my heart was broken but staying there was a different matter all together. This time was RADICALLY DIFFERENT though.
Not only did God call me out of my sinful relationship, but because He finally had my attention, He began to LAVISH me with a love like I had NEVER know in LIFE. Every day, He would point me to the love letters He had written for me in the book of Psalms or Songs of Solomon or Matthew or John or Revelation or even Genesis. Moment by moment He would explain to me how precious and beautiful and priceless I was in His eyes. He would give glimpses of the GLORIOUS future He has prepared for me. It was nothing like I had ever experienced in my life. I was completely LOVE STRUCK!
Now with my loyalty clearly UNDIVIDED and utterly fixed on Christ alone, I began an 18 month journey of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS (no crushes, no dates, no guy friends, “special” or otherwise, NO NOTHING). It was just me and Christ. In that time period as God continued to groom me and teach me to find joy and completeness in Him alone, I started asking Him questions. I finally understood just how the idolatrous nature of my past relationships had doomed them from the start. And trust me it was idolatry. Side note – anyone you are willing to disobey God for, IS your god (idolatry at its finest).
Previously when I met a guy that I connected with, I would commence with making him the center of my universe. If i needed counsel, answers, advice, or comfort – no need to pray – just ask Mr Boyfriend Man. I would pour out all of my affection and love into the relationship while completely neglecting anything else, even my relationship with God.
Well, enter Deut 12:3-4
” And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”
So now that my idols (inordinate affection for romance/relationships) had been smashed to pieces, I was in EXCELLENT position to fulfill God’s purpose for my singleness. In this time of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS, God began to pour into me. He taught me how DISGUSTING sin looks to Him. How my years of lukewarmness both nauseated Him and broke His heart. He taught me that LOVE was not a feeling but a PERSON (JESUS CHRIST, patient, kind, not seeking His own, the very embodiment of 1 Corinthians 13). He taught me how EXPENSIVE grace was for Him despite that it’s free to us.
God began to expose me to me. He showed me that my tendency to “people please” would always put me at odds with His will for my life if I continued. He taught me how to STOP LYING to avoid negative consequences. He taught me to PRAY for people even when I wanted to hate them. He taught me to LOVE others without expectation. God did a lot. He also taught me what a godly, Christ-focused, Heaven approved relationship looked like from His perspective. The Holy Spirit literally filled me up with knowledge about marriage and relationship at a time when I was totally without prospects.
Well, after one year and six months of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS, the Holy Spirit in His infinite wisdom and mercy had broken every bad relationship habit I had acquired over 26 years of life (and trust me, I was a hot mess!). In that same time period, I blossomed joyfully in His presence, bearing fruit that I had long waited to see in my own life. Instead of being double-minded and hypocritical, God removed the shame of my past and granted me a precious gift – the gift of transparency (lol, it is a JOY to be able to speak the whole truth after years of hiding in the shadows of sin’s shame). I call it a gift because not everyone has it, not even all Christians have it. In my time of ABSOLUTE singleness, God gave me insight into what my destiny looks like from His eyes. He granted me the privilege and honor to pour into the lives of the younger generations behind me, especially teenage girls. He equipped me with the grace to share my heart wholly and truthfully with them, helping them to navigate the choppy waters of young adulthood and avoid the traps that the enemy has lying in wait for them.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my season of ABSOLUTE SINGLENESS yielded much fruit. I am still single because I am not married yet, but as a woman engaged to one of God’s precious and valiant sons, this season is not of absolute singleness. This season of my life is about transitioning to be a WIFE AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART (props to the book by Elizabeth George by the same title – I am re-reading it for the 3rd time and it is BLOWING ME AWAY!).
So, if you are still broken about your past and in need of healing, go to God – GET WHOLE! GET SINGLE! If you are currently unmarried and you desire to build a home and family under that sacred covenant between you, your spouse and God, I suggest you GET SINGLE. Because we all know, you can’t be married until you’re single.
I pray this blesses your life and your journey with Christ! I pray you find purpose and joy in singleness. May it be a time of EXPONENTIAL growth in Christ rather than drudgery to you. Love you guys!
(if you have any questions or want me to pray along with you on anything you’ve read here please reach out to me on Twitter @attorney_of_luv or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment with your contact info).