Contentment in Singleness


As a young child, I could hardly wait for my twelve torturous years of school to be over. I would count down the days until I would no longer be chained down by paper and pen. I would finish each school day with the exciting thought that someday soon I would graduate. I would be an adult, and this tiresome time of lessons and homework would all be over.

Yet now that kindergarten through sixth grade, junior high, and even high school are all behind me, I can’t help but wish with a sigh that I had better enjoyed my childhood years. My mother warned me not to let my thoughts rush to the future. She told me that adult life had many responsibilities that as a child I didn’t have to think about. She told me that I would grow up fast enough. She was certainly right. I didn’t realize that in the blink of an eye I would no longer be a child. I was too busy wishing for what I didn’t yet have.

You would think that I would’ve learned my lesson. You would think I would now understand the importance of being content, yet I still often find myself wishing away this season of my life for one that I hope to be soon in coming. Instead of enjoying my years of singleness, I look anxiously towards the future—hoping that marriage will be included.

Oftentimes I am too quick to think “the grass is so much greener over there.” Though, usually, it sounds a bit more like: “Oh, if only Prince Charming would come right now, I just know I would be happy forever.” We rush through the now—the season of life God has purposely placed us in—for our then. And soon, we’ve reached our pasture of paradise—FINALLY! But . . . wait a minute . . . it’s not quite as green as we thought it was. So we either look back with tears in our eyes as we wish that we hadn’t wasted those years that are now behind us or we spy a new plot of land where the grass is definitely so much greener this time around.

If we can’t find joy in doing our own laundry, why do we expect to find joy in doing a load double the size? If a 9 to 5 job is too much to bear, what about when the children are sick or cranky and the dishes are piling up and your husband’s out of town on a business trip? If we are not happy where God has put us now, why do we expect to be happy with what we think we want for our future? God wants us to fight this giant of discontentment in our life. He wants us to realize that He put us in this exact time, this exact place, and these exact circumstances for a specific purpose.

I believe discontentment—this greener grass mentality—is a problem that the majority of women struggle with. Perhaps it is evident in your life when you compare yourself to your closest friend, and then just because you don’t have her looks, personality, prestige, or money, you believe that there is something wrong with you. Or maybe you’re refusing to enjoy this stage of life because you are too anxious to hop onto the next.

Discontentment poisons our effectiveness for the season of life that God has placed us in. If we weren’t so busy daydreaming about Prince Charming, we’d have more time to serve others. If we weren’t constantly wondering when our knight in shining armor will appear, we’d be able to grow closer to God and trust wholeheartedly in His plans for us. If we weren’t so busy worrying about the what ifs of our future, we’d have more time to talk to God.

Remember, this season of singleness is profiting you profoundly, whether or not you ever get married. However, let’s go ahead and presume that you will someday be someone’s wife—after all, the majority of us will most likely one day be married. Think of your single years as practice for your married ones. You won’t be found anxiously waiting—wondering if (and hoping that) your hubby will get that big promotion. Instead, you will know the secret of patiently waiting on God. You won’t sigh despondently as you compare your tiny two bedroom home with the mansions of your friends, for you will already understand how to be truly content in everything. You won’t be overwhelmed with despair when your husband returns home one evening without a job. After all, you will know from experience that God works all things out for His good, even though it may be hard to see it at the moment.

You won’t be left wondering when God will bless you with children or if you’re destined to be barren for eternity. Instead, you will be able to trust that His timing is ALWAYS best. When your children are getting on your nerves almost constantly, you will know how to breathe deeply and let the peace of God fill you. You will have practiced patience so often during your single years that now at this most opportune time it is second nature to you. After all, patience is perfected through trials and troubles and tests (Romans 5:3). Your nerves will not control you or your actions . . . only God will. When your husband is not the perfect, angelic being that you thought he was (or your children do not turn out to be innocent cherubs), it will not ruin your life because you will already know that only Jesus can fulfill you, not the preconceived ideas that you dreamed up for your future. The hardships of singleness can grow you and prepare you for your future. Will you let them?

So many women live with the misconception that they are only discontent because their dreams have not yet come true (whether it is marriage, a pay raise, or a specific career path). They believe that as soon as they have their desires fulfilled that their discontentment will disappear with a snap of their fingers.

Most women who are pining for married life think that after marriage they will never again wish that their life is different, never again complain, never again have a sour attitude, never again experience anything but a sunshiny day. Yet, if you are comparing your life with all of those around you now, why do you assume that discontentment will never slosh about in your brain once you are married?

Perhaps you will no longer lament over the fact that you are always a bridesmaid and never a bride, but maybe instead you will bemoan the fact that your husband is not as attentive as Suzy’s. Perhaps you will have no more nights of solitary dining; maybe instead, you will whine that dinner’s now cold because John got stuck in traffic on his way home from work. Maybe you will no longer be found coveting your best friend’s marital position, but perhaps you will feel discontentment permeating your soul because Lucy has more children, her kids are better behaved, or her husband has a higher salary.

If you are fostering an attitude of discontentment now, if you are cultivating seeds of covetousness, you will find that instead of instantly being weeded out once you are married, these feelings will turn into an overgrown field of briars. Remember, if you do not grasp the secret of contentment now, then you can count on feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied in the future—even after you are married.

Fruitful Singleness



This season of singleness is growing us in patience and teaching us how to trust in God. 1 Corinthians 4:17-18 encourages us, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” We may temporarily be experiencing an uncomfortable season of loneliness and confusion. Of doubt and impatience. But this time is for our benefit.
In Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book, “When God Writes Your Love Story” (an amazing read, by the way), they share a story of Eric’s sister, Krissy. She is asked by her brother Mark if she is destined for singleness. Her answer is simply, “Today I am.” Such a simple answer, but so profound. Until we walk down the aisle on the arm of our daddy . . . until we are given away to the man we love . . . until we are actually married . . . we are destined for singleness. We do not know if God’s plan for us includes singleness forever, but until He brings someone, we should be serving Him and living for Him—and Him alone.
Does your life have purpose? Or are you sitting in your rocker with a book in your hand, staring out the window and waiting for Mr. Prince Charming to ride up on his horse? Paul hands us a deep truth in Philippians 4:11: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
You don’t know how long your season of singleness will be. Everyone’s is different. It could be a year, a decade, or, if it is God’s will, forever. We should not be sitting by the window moping and sighing until our future husband appears. Instead, we should be preparing. 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 tells us that “an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” Don’t waste your single years pining for your future husband; use this fruitful time, free of distractions, for your advantage.
Joshua Harris says in his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”: “Although we don’t sin when we look forward to marriage, we might be guilty of poor stewardship of our singleness when we allow a desire for something God obviously doesn’t have for us yet to rob our ability to enjoy and appreciate what He has given us.” He goes on to say: “Let’s live our todays for His kingdom and entrust our tomorrows to His providence.”
Ladies, I challenge all of you to use your singleness to its fullest potential. I encourage you to seek Christ, not marriage. Let me warn you, it will not always be easy. But why waste the time God has given us now just because we are impatiently looking toward that which He has not given us yet?
Is God calling you to the mission field? Are you hesitating because of a fear that says if you go you will never marry? Is God calling you to pursue a specific career that you’re putting off as you search for Prince Charming? Is He asking you to begin a ministry but your fear is causing you to hesitate? Are you being led to volunteer at a local hospital, homeless shelter, pregnancy care center, or nursing home? Is God calling you to Himself but you haven’t noticed because you are too busy planning your future wedding? If God is calling you to do something, DO IT.
Stop obsessing over an earthy prince and start obeying your Heavenly prince. Stop searching for romance and instead turn to the Lord. Stop looking to marriage or a dating relationship to fulfill you. Stop believing that only a boyfriend or husband can satisfy you; that only romance can erase your loneliness. Instead of chasing after what the world says will satisfy, seek God. He alone can fulfill us.
I have a few questions to ask you. What if you are not married for another five years? Or what if you have to wait another decade to be a wife? Would you really want to waste that abundance of time moping?
You may feel that the suspense of not knowing when or who or how is killing you. Yet, honestly consider the possibility that your married days may not even be remotely near. Instead of pining, we should be using our singleness to learn what it means to rely on God. We should be using these years to become the woman that God created for us to be. Instead of putting our life on hold as we wait for a man to come into our life, we should be using our singleness to serve God in ways that would not be possible if we were married. Instead of chasing after guys, we should be chasing after God.
The purpose of our life should be to glorify God wherever we are (2 Corinthians 5:9) and in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). I pray that you seek to glorify your Heavenly father wherever He has placed you—whether in the camp of marriage or singleness.