Living Single

Today I want to unpack a little more what I meant when I said yesterday, "Do not limit yourself to work minimum wage jobs 'waiting on the Lord to bring the man of your dreams.' What are your dreams for today? What is God putting in your heart today? Do that! Pursue that wildly and confidently." I think about this a lot because I have spent a very good portion of my life "saving myself and preparing myself" for marriage. This is not to say that I sat home making potholders and pining away for all the ways in which I could be a good wife and mother. No. I mean to say that I wrote lists of what I wanted in a husband when I was 15 and was disappointed to find that at age 19, there were still no prospects around. By age 24, I'd given up hope of being married and just decided to pursue a life of radical singleness, which, for me, meant I spent a lot of years yearning for contentment in the way I understood it at that point.

I got my college degree (two in fact!), spent a chuck of life in Central America, traveled a lot, budgeted to the penny, served my church, tried desperately to be the sort of undistracted single person that Paul says is possible. I describe those years of my life as years with blinders on. I was determined to keep myself undistracted from the siren call of marriage and motherhood.

When my pastor preached a sermon including a biblical definition of contentment, I felt that my world was about to be radically changed and the old radical was nothing more a wannabe. He described contentment like this: Doing what you're able to do with what you have available to do it. Until that point, blinders on, I'd just done what I was able to do. Just put my hand to the plow, kept my eyes on the goal (being undistracted), determined, resolute. After that definition I realized that though I was doing what I thought I was able to do, I was not using all of what was available to me!

Unpacking that first statement above, I want to talk about what we single women tend to say and the way in which we can tend to walk. Here's what we ask often: How can we do everything that we want to do in life and not become too good for any possible prospective spouse?

First, let's look at Sarah. The Bible says she did what was right in the sight of the Lord without any fear. In the same way we do the right thing without fear that we're shortchanging or outdoing what God has planned for us. That is our radical calling! To find a woman who is living a life free from fear is to find a happy, content, vibrant woman. She is radical in the sense that she is a rarity. This is undistractedness according to Paul (I Corinthians 7)!

Second, instead of thinking of all the ways you're limiting the pool of men who won't be scared off by your wisdom, knowledge, and college degrees, instead think of the limitless God you are serving. Do not pursue wisdom for the sake of wisdom, pursue it for the sake of the gospel. In the same way, do not continue in ignorance, skirting issues and feigning stupidity, because you are afraid that a guy won't be attracted to someone who equals or surpasses him intellectually. The gospel has the power to change us and we should never limit the ways in which it will change us. Desire after wisdom. Dig deeply for it.

Thirdly, in a practical sense, it is tempting to do one of two things,

1. Gather everything you think you will need for the rest of your life so that you can live a comfortable, middle class American lifestyle (career, house, dog, car, savings account, etc.) as a single person


2. Put off everything you want in life in hopes of a marriage someday (dishes, home, job, etc.).

In the first you are over-prepared for the life you now lead, single and unattached! Let yourself be unattached! Untie yourself from the pride of life that says if you do not have these things you are unstable and uncared-for. Live risky and flexible, and let the Lord surprise you in the ways in which He will provide for you.

In the second, you are placing your hope so securely in marriage that you are missing the opportunity to serve and practice hospitality today. Visit a thrift store and buy some plates. Make whatever place you inhabit a home, inviting and warm. Are you working a job you hate in hopes that someday you'll be rescued by a customer who turns out to be the man of your dreams? No. Search your heart and find out what desires you have that can be fulfilled today and then walk through every open door in your path until a door closes.

Too often we all are too concerned that we are going to fudge this master plan of God's if we misstep or take a risk, but God is so sovereign and so good. He isn't waiting for you to walk through the wrong door so he can slap your wrist and send you right back out of it. All things work together for good for those who love God.

So love God! Love Him and love what He's doing in your life today! Instead of being so preoccupied with lining your ducks up, prepare yourself for the surprise of His love toward you in unexpected places and ways.


Want to share this on Twitter or Facebook? Consider using this copy: Are you waiting for marriage to begin living? Thoughts on singleness for the long haul by @loreferguson