Being Single on Valentine’s Day…

I’m taking a break from Facebook for a while. No, it’s not like I’m deleting my Facebook and then coming back several months later; I’m just not going to log in for a bit. For one thing, I need a break. I’ve gotten into the habit of spending a large amount of time checking old statuses from years past, browsing through my newsfeed to see what everyone’s been up to (without directly asking them), and basically wasting time from other important things like cleaning my room and doing my taxes. For another thing, next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, which means countless Facebook updates leading up to and through then.

V-Day frustrates me. For the couples out there, it’s the one day you’re supposed to do something for your loved one. But the way I see it, if you’re in any kind of committed relationship, you ought to be doing something every day for your loved one – you know, to build for the long-haul of the relationship? And for the singles like me, it’s the day you’re supposed to take some sort of “leap of faith” and get your crush some flowers and candy in the hopes of winning her over. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.

And yet neither of these reasons is the cause of my Facebook vacation. I’m taking a break because I don’t really want to be reminded that I’m still single. I know, I’m supposed to be content with being single – and that’s exactly why I’m trying to avoid the reminders. For some reason, I’m just not happy about the fact that I’m still single.

You see, about a year ago I wrote a post entitled “Season of Solitude.” When I wrote it, I sincerely believed that I’d be close to dating somebody within the next year. But ever since writing that post, I’ve been challenged with the idea of living out my days without ever marrying.

And please, don’t jump to say, “You’ll find somebody eventually; just hang in there.” That doesn’t help either. That’s not what I’m getting at. My challenge isn’t just to “hang in there”; it’s to live my life as if marriage wasn’t even an option. It’s like God’s asking me, “Can you see yourself being 50, 60, or maybe even 70 years old, single and content?”

Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Given my deep desire to find a woman to spend the rest of my days with, this is a tough passage to swallow. What is says to me (and maybe I’m wrong for thinking this) is that I’m not quite content with God. You see, I have a disagreement with God when marriage gets brought up. If God were to audibly tell me that it’s not His plan for me to marry, I’d probably walk away. And I know for a fact that’s not how my heart is supposed to be.

If I was truly content with God, then wouldn’t I be content? Wouldn’t I be saying the words, “I shall not want” and really mean them? Perhaps I’m wrong; maybe the desire to marry comes from walking with God. But I don’t think that’s true for me: I’ve wanted a wife long before I started following God. When all the things that this world has to offer are considered, finding a wife is probably the only thing I care about. After reading through the tough passages in Scripture, I find that I cannot be okay with this.

When I listen to the prominent pastors of our Christian society, I actually don’t hear very much about celibacy and how one could glorify God through that lifestyle. And yet I have no doubt that any one of them would say you certainly could and should glorify God through a life of solitude. But even so, they don’t write books about it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They write books about marriage instead.

I point this out because I often think that celibacy – devoting one’s life solely to God and the work that He has commanded them – gets cast in a negative light. People might start thinking you’re trying to be a Catholic priest or a nun and Lord knows He doesn’t want His Protestants doing that… (sarcasm).

In all seriousness, though, I don’t hear much talk about living an entire life single. At best I’ve heard about people getting married “late,” like in their 40s or 50s, but they’re still getting married. They didn’t die a bachelor. And yet Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 should not be overlooked: “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife,” (26-27). That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Yes, I understand Paul also says it’s better to marry than to burn with passion. But I don’t want to overlook what’s being said about celibacy because he brings up a very clear point: One’s priorities are divided if married – especially raising a family. I’m not saying it’s not the same for singles; just pointing out that a married man has more to focus on than an unmarried man – usually. And given that Paul, Jesus, and plenty of other Biblical characters lived and died as single men, it’s probably best that I don’t ignore celibacy as an option.

Truth be told, I don’t want to die a single man. But the closer I grow with God, the more I realize life isn’t about what I want. It’s about what He wants. And if we genuinely trust Him as a loving Father (says a fatherless kid who clearly has some trust issues), then we are compelled to believe that no matter what the circumstances may be, God always wants the best for us – even if we don’t.

I wrote this a week before V-Day because I wanted to encourage my single brothers and sisters to think this thing through. I know that I need to make some changes in my heart about how I approach the subject of marriage. But what do you think about being single for the rest of your life? Do you think you can do it? Or are you like me, a little resistant to possibly letting go of the desire to marry?

(Facebook users please use the comment section on my blog; I may not be on for several weeks maybe even months, so I won’t see what comments you might make on the Facebook links. Thanks).

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Jeremy

Cherokee / Whovian / Sherlockian / Aspiring Auror / Lover of Jesus, Scripture, and creativity / MATS Student at George Fox Seminary.

4 thoughts on “Being Single on Valentine’s Day…”

  1. Hey, Jeremy.
    I know how you feel! What a great post. I feel for you man because I was where you are at. Let me give you a little testimony that may or may not encourage you.

    I wanted Jordan for so, so long. Before we actually started dating I invested about a year and a half into our friendship. I dated other girls in the mean time and found that although they caught my eye, they didn’t catch my heart. I kept pursuing Jordan and I kept getting shot down. I got to a place where I really considered celibacy. I don’t mean like one afternoon I thought “oh, it would be cool to be like Richard Bauckham and John Stott.” I mean that it was a daily thought for me. Then, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me Jordan was the girl. The Lord knows I couldn’t be single forever.

    So, I don’t say this to rub it in your face or to say you won’t be celibate. What I am saying is that God put that innate desire to have a woman for life in you for a reason (Gen 2). Whether he brings a girl or not, blessed be his name. But, unless I’m completely way off – I would just bet that the desire to marry is in you for a reason.

    Husbands love their wives as Christ has loved the church. In marriage, we experience the Gospel.

    Check out Tim Keller’s book “the Real meaning of marriage.”

    1. Thanks Daniel! It actually is encouraging to know I’m not alone in at least thinking about celibacy. And I really want to believe that I have this desire for a reason, but what I’m concerned about is who am I outside of this desire? Am I person who is happy with what God gives me? Or am I still wanting something? My desire to marry makes me feel as though I’m not really content with what God has given me, and I really think I need to work on that.
      Also, I’m finding it difficult to press on through all the “strike outs” I keep having. Nearly every time I’ve liked a girl, she’s either liked someone else or just didn’t like me in that way. It’s really made me wonder if there is going to be a girl who wants to take a chance on me in the same season I want to take a chance on her. Not saying I’m starting to feel bitter about it all – even though I have at times. I’m simply saying I feel mostly confused as to why I have this desire if nothing seems to come from it. I mean, it’s like I’m striking out before the pitcher even throws the ball.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though; it’s really helpful.

  2. (Purposely staying away from the seriousness here)

    Single?! Single?! Honey, you ain’t single until we’re divorced! And we’re not even married yet! Chhhhh. Now, go into the future and get me some really cool Vday stuff.

    -Sincerely,
    Your Future Ex-Wife.

    PS. Serious note? I’m glad I checked Google+ being that I actually read your blogs 😛

  3. I just came across this. I don’t know your age. I am a single man that is almost 25 years old. I am living in celibacy until that time should come when my God will give me a wife. I hope in Genesis 2:18 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” And Genesis 2:22-23 “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

    1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” Genesis 2:20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

    Adam had a need. It wasn’t just a want like when one wants the new electronic gadget. This was a need that God saw in Adam while Adam was living in paradise. If you were not meant to be married, I am pretty sure that God would take marriage off of your mind. Right now is the time to prepare for when marriage comes. Prepare for when you find your Eve.

    Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    I am writing this hoping to be of some encouragement. To be honest, I myself am not content right now. I don’t believe that Adam was content even though it was just him and God. If Adam was content, God wouldn’t of seen such a major lack in his life. I think that Adam appreciated Eve even more having known what being alone felt like than if they were created at the same time. Eve was God’s gift made especially for Adam out of Adam.

    I wait with utmost desire for the day that I meet the one who is mine. I pray that she is Godly, God-fearing, gorgeous in my eyes, loves God’s Word and loves me as her husband and best friend (second to God of course).

    1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

    However, nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that one must be perfectly content for a period of time before he gets a wife. When you find yourself desiring a wife, pray to God on behalf of who could be your future wife. An example: “God, please keep my future wife safe today and help her to grow closer to you.”

    Single, Male, in Christ,
    Zechariah

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