I keep saying I’m going to stop writing about about singleness and truthfully, this probably will be my last article on the topic. Because after I get to the point of this very short post, I don’t think there is more say on the topic.
I’ve seen so many articles that are meant to be encouragement to Christian singles. It goes something like this. You struggle in singleness, here’s how not to struggle. Typically these articles offer good points about contentment, eternal perspective and so forth. But where so many of these articles lose me rests on this one point – you’re not supposed to struggle in singleness.
The formulas offered are pretty common so that single people can remove the ache their singleness causes;
The problem is you’re not busy enough for the Lord
Marriage is idolatry
If the church valued singleness, then singles would be content
All these formulas have one thing in common in that they treat pangs in singleness like some kind of disease that needs to be cured. Implicit in theses prescriptions is the idea that if you suffer from any kind of discontentment, the problem is you and your lack of spirituality. Or the church is not enough to value singles. These common formulas emphasize that if you are discontent in singleness and a longing for partnership, there’s some kind of magic bullet that if you can just get it, you will no longer struggle. The implication of course, is that you really aren’t supposed to struggle.
I wonder what that says the God who made woman from man and said “it is not good for man to be alone.” Since the creation of time, God created an intimate union to be shared between a man and a woman. And let’s be completely honest, that union involves a level of intimacy that cannot be shared with friends or members of the body of Christ. God created marriage. Why do we try to undermine and dismiss these longings?
And this gets to my point about the one thing I wish we’d stop doing in singleness – stop acting like there’s something wrong with the struggle. I hate to say but that’s what the lion share of Christian articles and encouragement imply about singleness. But what if we just acknowledge that the ache is there for a reason and it’s perfectly normal.
Truthfully, I admire those for whom this isn’t an issue. I appreciate the ones who can honestly say they love their singleness. But let’s be real, that’s not the majority of folks who desire marriage. And one thing I’ve discovered, that we can spend a significant amount of energy to rid ourselves of these pesky desires.
But here’s a thought. Instead of making singles feel like there is something wrong with them or that they are deficient Christians for having aches of singleness, how about we acknowledge it for what it is. Instead of dismissing it as some kind of deficient spirituality as if Jesus is not enough, how about we encourage those who long for singleness to place their ache at the feet of Christ. It’s where we acknowledge that singleness can be a thorn in our side but there is a sufficient grace that is greater. And one thing I’ve learned in my own Christian life, it relieves the burden of trying to get rid of something that won’t go away but instead, perpetually drives me to the Savior.
Sorry, but I’ve grown so weary of the endless trope of sanitized singleness where we pretend like it’s not supposed to bother us. For many it does and for good reason. Where the desire is unfulfilled, certainly the Lord uses that for the purposes of sanctification and encouragement to the body of Christ. He has his reasons and those reasons are good, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.
But let’s just be honest about it. Shall we?