If my life played out according to the plan designed by my childhood dreams, I would be married by now with a couple of kids, a car big enough to transport everyone to the beach, and a mortgage on a cute little Craftsman home.
Instead, I’m single. I have several plants, drive a little Hyundai, and share an apartment with two friends.
I love the life God has given me, even though my circumstances are pretty much the opposite of what I thought they’d be.
But because our God is faithful and kind, He doesn’t lead us through seasons without teaching us lessons of eternal significance along the way. I don’t know all of the reasons behind His design, but I do know that He is using my singleness to direct my affections toward Him.
Here are five things He is teaching me through singleness:
1. Holy longing. My desire for companionship pushes me further into the arms of Jesus, the only One who brings lasting joy and contentment. I long to know His love more. Nothing will ever separate me from the love I have in Christ Jesus.
2. Relational intentionality. I don’t have a built-in teammate in a spouse, so I must be intentional in pursuing relationships and accountability with other believers. I have rich and deep friendships because I want to engage the relationships I do have and serve the people around me. I want to learn to love well.
3. Reverent submission. I may not have a husband, but I live under the leadership of my Lord. I learn to submit to His good plan for my life and to trust Him more. I learn to offer my single life as an offering of praise.
4. Abiding joy. Joy is not circumstantial. If I base my happiness in the things I don’t have, rather than celebrating the God who gives the good gifts I do have, I miss out. Singleness teaches me to live with a heart of thanksgiving.
5. Eager expectation. Not for the hypothetical day God brings a husband into my life, but for a day in the future when loneliness and wondering will exist no more. A day when I am face-to-face with the Lover of my soul, worshipping and adoring Him forever.
To be heart-level honest, I need the Lord to remind me of these often. I have in no way mastered it all, and some days it’s like I’m starting over. But I trust that if God has ordained I live the single life today, then that is what brings Him the most glory. I (and you) are loved by the King of all kings. Not because of who we are, but because of all that He is. And though some of us may be single, we are never alone.
Singles, what do you think? Pastors, what are your churches doing to support singles?
This article originally appeared here.