(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Giving Thanks in All Circumstances
4 Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Singleness
By Brittney Perez
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Singleness. The word that can typically have a negative connotation. There are two different types of people: those that embrace singleness and those who do not. Among many youth and young adults today, singleness is looked at as a negative thing. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to give thanks in ALL circumstances—not just the ones that are joyous, but even in those that are difficult and trying. The verse goes on to say that this is God’s WILL for you in Christ Jesus (emphasis added).
With that being said, we should give thanks to God for the season He has us in whether that be temporary or forever. In light of what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, I am thankful to God for this season of singleness for various reasons.
– I am thankful for singleness because it’s a time to get closer to God.
There’s something about being single, I’ve found, that allows you that time to draw closer to God if you choose. For one, there isn’t another person competing for your attention. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for relationships and desire one in the future greatly, but there’s nothing like just having time for you and God. I once heard a pastor say that singleness may be “most important time in your life” because it allows you that intimate time with the Lord unlike any other. The more I thought about that statement, the more I realized how true it is. When you’re single there are many things you can do that may not be so easily accomplished when in a relationship. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife…” While you are single, you get to be concerned about the Lord’s affairs and how you can please the Lord, and not so much the affairs of this world i.e. a spouse, kids, etc. (though those are great things). In other words, there isn’t any other person to be concerned about so to speak. You have the time to give to God through His Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers; you can pick up and go on a missions trip if the Lord calls you! It’s a beautiful thing; that intimacy with God where it’s just you and Him, no one else. I can honestly say that is something the Lord has shown me recently and something I am thankful to Him for. Though I desire a relationship in the future, I cherish these precious moments I get to have with the Lord where it’s just me and Him, no “concerns about the affairs of this world”, as Paul would say. I can give Him my time, and, in turn, He will grow me and my character during this time of singleness.
– I am thankful for singleness because it’s a time to figure out what you desire in a future relationship/marriage.
It’s funny how we can have so many ideas of what we want in a desired partner. I can honestly say that what I desire in a future relationship is a LOT different than what I would have said when I was a teen/young adult (praise God!). Some key things have not changed, but overall a lot has. Earlier this year I had someone who gives me counsel mention making a list of what I would want in a future husband and, at first, I thought it was odd. Make a list? That sounded silly or childish even, almost like you’re trying to build the “perfect person”, if you will; but despite what I felt about it at the time, I chose to do it. I can honestly say it was a great idea. I didn’t make a list so that I can hold a man up to it and “critique” him to see if he made the cut, but rather, so that I could truly write down the desires of my heart and character traits I feel are important in a potential spouse. It was like a prayer almost. I took time to really think about what I truly desired in a future husband and I wrote all those things down and prayed over them. It was a great experience and from time to time I still look at that list. In saying that, it was during this season of singleness that allowed me to do this very thing. To be honest, I haven’t dated much. I’ve only ever been in two relationships (and the first wasn’t even really a relationship at all), but I truly learned a lot during those different seasons. I learned some of what I desire in someone in the future and what I don’t desire. I believe it’s important to start thinking about these things first before a relationship. By doing so it can really help you figure out not only what is important to you, but what God desires for you. God wants what’s best for you and sometimes what we think we desire may not be God’s best! By taking the time to think about what you would want in a future relationship, it can also save you the potential heartache of “dating” to try and figure out what you want or don’t want. By having an idea already, you will be prepared for when you start getting to know people. Remember, you don’t need to date someone in order to figure out their character or who they are. It will just show in being around them, so by coming to understand your desires in a potential partner you will be able, with the help and guidance of God, to make various discernments. With that being said, I am thankful that during this time of singleness I have been able to really ponder these things and have God show me what is important for a godly relationship.
– I am thankful for singleness because it’s a time to enjoy the life God has given you before a relationship/marriage.
Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in desiring a relationship that you can quickly forget some of the benefits to singleness. One of these benefits is the ability to simply enjoy your life during this season of singleness that God has given you. I won’t forget during a season I had of feeling lonely, someone told me to just enjoy life. It was said to me so simply. They reminded me of the benefits to being single and it caused me to see my current life in a different perspective. Remember, it’s okay to have the desire to be married, but if you’re desire is taking over your thoughts and almost preventing you from spending time with the Lord during your season of singleness, then the desire may have started to become an idol in your life. This can keep you from truly seeing what God wants to do in your life during this time. As mentioned earlier, singleness is a great time to cultivate an intimate relationship with God. This person reminded me of that and reminded me of all the things that one can readily do in life as a single person. For example, being single can allow you to go wherever God calls you and use your time however to bring God glory. That’s not to say you can’t do God’s will in a marriage per se, of course you can, but it’s totally different. You wouldn’t just pick up and leave your spouse to go on a mission’s trip or continue to live your life separate from your spouse once married! No, you would consult them before making big decisions. As a single person, you don’t have anyone to consult but the Lord. This is something I have come to appreciate and am thankful for during this season. That’s not to say I still don’t desire marriage in the future or that you won’t either, but I’m learning to be content with this season God has me in for now. It’s truly a beautiful season and something I am grateful for.
– I am thankful for singleness because it’s a time to figure out who you are in Christ and a time to realize that loving yourself first is so important before entering into a relationship.
Singleness, as mentioned, is a time to really figure out who you are in Christ before a relationship. Months ago, I listened to a study sent to me on this topic of singleness and I found it to be very enlightening. One thing the pastor mentioned that I found intriguing was, “People end up getting into marriage and then try to figure out their singleness because they never took the time to be single…” He went on to say, “You can’t figure how to love somebody else in a relationship if you have not figured out how to love yourself in singleness.” These words really stood out to me because it’s so true. If you’re not rooted in Christ and have learned to love yourself first while single, being in a relationship is not going to solve the problem. Sometimes we can believe the lie that if we finally are in a relationship life will be bliss, but if you have not realized how much you are loved by Christ, how to love yourself, or have come to understand your worth, bringing someone else into the picture isn’t going to accomplish these things for you. A person will not be able to meet your expectations, only Christ can do that. In the study mentioned the pastor went on to say, “Until you learn to love God and yourself, you will always be looking for fulfillment in a relationship that will never come from a relationship.” What he is saying is that fulfillment will not come from a relationship with another person—you need to find your fulfillment in Christ because only He can truly satisfy your heart’s desire. People will always fail you, whether it’s your family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, but God will not. The pastor best explained it as this, “God wants you to know who you are without a person.” In other words, find out who you are in Christ before seeking out a relationship. You will be so thankful that you did, and so will your future spouse! This is something I have come to understand during this season of singleness and I am so thankful for it.
As you read my thankful story of singleness, my hope is that you take the time to truly spend that intimate time with Jesus. He has so much He wants to show you that another person won’t be able to show you! Singleness is an excellent time to really ponder who you are in Christ, what you desire in a future relationship, and just simply enjoy the life God has given you while allowing Him to mold and shape you. God knows your desires, and if you truly desire to be married, know that God sees that. But remember, He has things He wants to show you first. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). While we may desire a relationship with another person, God longs for a relationship with US! Let us give Him our time both now in this season and forever.