Guest post: Singleness is a gift, have you unwrapped it?

Guest post: Singleness is a gift, have you unwrapped it? February 14, 2015

Today is Valentines Day.

In honor of the many faithful godly single people I know, I wanted to share a guest post that is of relevance to all of us, but especially those who face today without a partner.

This article was written by someone who I am going to call Phoebe:

from pixabay believed to be free for commercial use“Singleness is a gift.”

“Yes I’m sure it is Lord, for a few special (probably slightly odd) people but I’m not one of those chosen ones, no thank you.”

I had read 1 Corinthians 7:71 and I knew that the bible declares that singleness is a gift. But as the conversation above shows, I did not believe it for myself. I did not want to believe it. And I didn’t hear it confirmed in any sermon so I just buried that scripture and moved on. I did however, have a strong leading that God wanted me to learn contentment in Him before I would meet my husband.

I remember being in my early 20s and standing in an altar call at a women’s conference. I don’t remember the exact details but the calling to me that day was to believe and trust that He is enough. That Jesus is the most perfect relationship that I will ever have and that he is more than enough to satisfy all my needs. Every emotional and physical longing and practical desire to be looked after. That day I stood because I knew that although I wanted to believe that, I didn’t yet. And in that moment I knew that until I could believe and declare it that God wouldn’t bring me my husband.

The next 6, 7, 8 years God was teaching me this truth. And slowly by slowly, like a glow becoming and flicker and a flame starting to burn brighter and brighter that prayer was answered. Until I realised one day that I could honestly say that I was satisfied in Him. That he is all that I need. That Jesus Truly is Enough.

How did he teach me this? It’s difficult to put into words. It’s difficult to analyze. Yet I can say that some things have been key. Firstly I have been learning to declare the truth of His Word. Writing up verses of truth around the house and in my journal and praying them out. Like “I have learned how to be content in all circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). Speak it until you feel it. Believe it until it becomes a reality.

woman-591576_640

Just as Jacob wrestled with God2 don’t let go until you have the blessing of feeling it catching up with the truth of it. It’s true when you first declare it but it takes time for our feelings to catch up. This is much like forgiveness. We have to decide that we forgive someone and then declare that until we feel it. The promises of contentment in the bible are true. We just need to speak them until our souls catch them.

He has been teaching me to dwell and soak in the Holy Spirit in times of extended worship, filling up and listening to the truth in songs like those from Jesus Culture and the like.   Praying in tongues and resting in His Presence. And realising that this is the only place in this world where I experience true peace and contentment. If you’re a Christian and haven’t experienced his Presence like this yet ask him to reveal himself to you in this way. Press in and wait. In our consumerist world we haven’t learnt how to wait. As the healing preacher Smith Wigglesworth described we have to wait:

“we had a special meeting…after waiting about 2 hours the presence of God came in a wonderful way”3.

Clear a whole morning or a whole evening to worship him with Holy Spirit filled songs. Ask him to give you his gift of speaking in tongues. This is power that we don’t truly comprehend but it is there to enable us to commune with him, Spirit to Spirit. Just as Jackie Pullinger4 realised, if He gives a gift it is there for a reason. We need to use it.

I have also been helped by reading some great books on relationships and how the mind works. I recommend Every Woman’s Battle5 and Battlefield of the Mind6. I realized that if I had read these 10 years earlier in my teens then maybe I could have avoided some of the mistakes along the way. I pray that teenagers reading this will find freedom much younger than I did!

jesussingle

So as I entered my 31st year I realized that for the first time in my life I thanked God for my singleness and then this prayer shocked me into apologizing that it had taken me that long to get to this place. I had learnt contentment but I was still waiting. I would still catch myself wondering about a new guy at church or wondering if a friendship with a Christian guy would develop into anything more. I knew that God wanted me to see my male friends as brothers7 but I couldn’t help wondering. Because I was still waiting. Waiting with contentment but still waiting.

And then a few months later God spoke really vividly. He gave me a picture and a revelation that changed my outlook totally and has brought so much freedom. Brothers and sisters I pray that you would know that freedom!

I was listening to a preach from Elevation Church8 on 1 Corinthians 7. I was delighted to finally hear a pastor giving pulpit time to the value and regard that the bible puts on singleness. And not only as people who are waiting to be married. Single people are whole and complete as they are.

Jesus is the most perfect human that has ever walked this earth and he was single for his whole life. Paul was one of the most key apostles and he was single. There will be no marriage in heaven9.

As I listened God gave me a picture of a gift. The gift of singleness that he has given me but that I had left on the shelf unwrapped as I’ve been waiting for him to give me a different one. Yet every good gift comes down to us from the father of lights10. So why had I left it unopened?

Suddenly I realised that I needed to unwrap the gift that he has for me! I determined that I would live 2015 in the joy of the singleness that he has given. And since that moment I have experience a totally new level of freedom in each day. I am no longer waiting and wondering. I am living.

 

References:

 

  1. (The Apostle Paul Speaking) “But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust” 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 (NLT).
  2. Genesis 32:22-30.
  3. http://www.smithwigglesworth.com/life/bits.htm
  4. Jackie Pullinger; Andrew Quickie (1 Sep 1980). Chasing the Dragon. Hodder & Stoughton Religious.
  5. Shannon Ethridge, Stephen Arterburn (2009). Every Woman’s Battle with Workbook: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment. Random House.
  6. Joyce Meyer (2002). Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind. Warner Faith.
  7. 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
  8. https://elevationchurch.org/sermons/meant-to-be
  9. Matthew 22:30.
  10. James 1:17.
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  • steve burdan

    really good – but yet another column by a sister – are there no guy resources to access? The perspectives are not interchangeable – guys and gals will look at this issue from different angles…

    • Philippa Linton

      How so?

      • steve burdan

        please see my comment to your comment in Piper post. Per John Walters – people are single until they marry – for good or bad reasons – Jesus was perfect example of serving God and others, and not letting the stress and strain of life (e.g. marriage and family, good as they may be as Paul would admit) interfere with eternal Kingdom work…

        • Philippa Linton

          I agree: and Jesus has to be single because of His marriage to Israel/the Church. 😉 🙂

          I’m not seeing how single women would view that differently from single men though …

          • steve burdan

            Good – though I don’t think making the marriage metaphor the best one is a good choice – it is only one descriptor… plus the concept of marriage has evolved today in the West to include romance in a way much of history has not… Men and women can’t help but see things somewhat differently – by nature and upbringing… vive la difference!

          • Philippa Linton

            It’s Paul who brought in the marriage metaphor! 😀 And he of course was building on the creation narrative and he must have had in mind the theology in the Song of Songs: God’s mystical union with His redeemed people.

            Personally, I don’t regard Jesus as some kind of husband substitute and am uneasy about that kind of thinking. I’m all for spiritual intimacy, but think we also need to treat biblical erotic metaphors with great care. And I do wonder how being part of the Bride works out for men …! But it’s in Scripture: the marriage of the Lamb …

            As you say, there are other biblical descriptors. Rather than seeing Jesus as my heavenly boyfriend (ew), I prefer the idea of Him as my elder brother. The fatherhood of God is also a very powerful and effective descriptor (and also His mothering aspects – also there in Scripture).

          • steve burdan

            Lol – yes Paul did use it, among others, but he uses a lot more space talking about singles in community than he does the glories of marriage – keep in mind that early churches had far more singles in them, ie slaves, widows, than we Evan. do today. As CS Lewis said, sex is an appetite and particularly seen as such in ancient days, or pretty much any society outside of the modern West. My point is sex, romance, love, marriage, etc. all have their place within God’s parameters, but one great gift of the church to the world is Singleness status – you don’t have to be married to have worth, identity or a place in community – as was the standard situation in ancient days…

            My greater persistent concern though is the overfocus of Evan. churches on married with children – so much so that a “social pyramid” has been created a la James 2. Inclusivity is lost and the church loses any “single friendly ness.” Of course, this is more a modern issue – say last 40 years, or about the time of the start of the so-called “Culture Wars.”

  • John Walters

    Paul does not actually seem to be saying that singleness in itself is a gift but rather the ability to remain single. Not everyone has this ability, which seems to be the point of what he is saying in the Corinthians passage.

    • Nine

      Thanks for pointing this out. Last time I tried doing so on another blog the author straight out refused to acknowledge this point no matter how much depth I explained it with.

  • Chris Dagostino

    I was very depressed about being single a few short years ago, until I realized that I never really wanted kids and that I never had any overt desire to “make” kids, either.

    If one of your reasons for wanting to get married is to make your Facebook page look like your friends’, as they say, you’re doing it wrong.