To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose (being dateless) under heaven [Ecclesiastes 3:1, parenthesis added].
Dateless? Well, isn’t that just special. Here’s another article highlighting singleness and at a particularly vulnerable season, no less. Thank you for that.
I get it, believe me. That was me for ten long years. Each holiday season, I fervently asked God to make this the last one without someone “special” in my life. I prayed myself into a tizzy bargaining with God. God, You know how much more effective I could be in life and ministry by upgrading my relationship status from “single” to “couple.” How I longed to exchange “dateless” to “someone meaningful.”
When those spiritual antics didn’t work, I convinced myself I didn’t need anyone “special.” I was okay with my life as it was. Yes, I was content to remain single until I died or until Christ returned. I had a good life; I could do what I want when I wanted to do it. Why would I complicate it by bringing someone else into it?
Oh, and let’s not forget those spiritual warfare thoughts about how there must be something wrong with me. God must have been punishing me for previous poor choices in life. Then, the best one yet. God wasn’t finished making me perfect for that perfect partner awaiting me. You know, the lonely lady…somewhere…baring her heart to God…wondering where I am…
Okay, snap back to reality.
Relational Status is Not Identity
Newsflash – being dateless is a relational status, not your personal definition. Singleness is a season of life, not your identification. You are not “single.” You’re a unique person who God created marvelously for a specific purpose only you can fulfill. Whether single, married, with children or not, you are who you are.
I talk with many singles in churches or at conferences, retreats, and small group studies. Based on those interactions, I’ve found very few who honestly say, “I’m okay being dateless. I’m happy with my life as it is.” If they were, I suspect they’d stop announcing it to the world. Being truly content as a single wouldn’t be such a sensitive topic. They wouldn’t dwell on it, would smile and honestly answer those who ask about it, and would fit in comfortably in any Bible study, Church Life Group, or Sunday School class. Guess what? It’s okay to occasionally be unhappy with your life. Married people also face improvements or changes they would like to make in their lives. True inner contentment does not depend on relational status.
A perfectly content single man would have no need for the dating scene or local hang-out spots. Equally, a perfectly content single woman would kindly refuse if a prospective partner invited her to get coffee or lunch to get to “know each other better.” If someone was perfectly content with his singleness, he would embrace life in all aspects, fulfill the purpose God intended for his life, and integrate into society with ease. He would be perfectly okay being completely alone…in a quiet house…just him and God…without a house full of pets…without an over-booked social calendar…without 160-hour work weeks…
I Can Relate
I’ve been dateless too. Behind the spiritual mask (you know the one we wear to tell everyone we’re okay?), behind the busy calendar, behind the energy-drink fueled workweek, there remained a longing. An intrinsic longing for companionship. Deep within my heart, mind and soul there existed a desire to know and be known. Intimately, not merely sexually. No, not known intimately just by God – by another human being. Someone I could touch and who could touch me back. A life companion. My spouse. It was probably this same longing Adam had when God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” [Genesis 2:18].
Yes, it’s okay to have a relational longing for another human being. That is how God created us. However, like any other passionate desires, they shouldn’t control us. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). There’s a big difference between a desire for relational companionship and allowing that desire to consume us.
Again, I understand the pain. Until recently, I was single too. In God’s time, He orchestrated the events and timeline that brought my wife into my life. But that didn’t change my life’s purpose, my gifts, or talents. Nor did it change my relationship with God. Because God previously revealed who He created me to be, it was a smooth and natural transition when my “compatible companion” finally arrived.
As we approach this holiday season and New Year, let’s commit to something new. Let’s with refreshed eyes, with renewed minds, with transformed outlooks. Ask God to show you who He created you to be. Identify the gifts and talents He’s given you. Invest in yourself – take a personality test, spiritual gifts test, and emotional age test. Determine your love language, then learn all you can about it. Discover your passion, preferences, life pursuits, and areas of improvement. Get a 3-D vision of yourself spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. Then develop a personal strategy to work on your weaknesses and enhance your strengths. Instead of looking for “someone special,” introduce yourself to the really special and unique you!
May these reminders motivate your journey of self-discovery.
- God knew you before you were born [Jeremiah 1:5].
- He handmade you marvelously and miraculously [Psalm 139:13-16].
- God knows you by name [Isaiah 45:3].
- He knows the number of hairs on your head [Matthew 10:30].
- God has a plan / purpose for you [Jeremiah 29:11].
- He is working all things for His purpose [Romans 8:28], calling and equipping you as an active participant!
- Jesus died and rose again to enable a personal relationship with you [John 18 – 20].
- As your Advocate, Jesus is in your corner [1 John 2:1].
- Jesus intercedes for you before God the Father [Hebrews 7:25].
- Best news of all: Jesus is coming back for you! [John 14:1-3].
- Peter’s identity was affirmed only after he recognized / admitted who Jesus is [Matthew 16:13-18].
- Only in Jesus do you find:
- Identity – who you are.
- Purpose – what you were created to do.
- Fulfillment – contentment & satisfaction in both.