Singleness: The dreaded gift.
People joke all the time, “If singleness is a gift, what’s the return policy?” I’ve thought about this for fifteen years. One summer I read the entire single living section of the Christian bookstore where I worked. I’ve heard authors for years tell me that singleness could be a blessing. But I often scoffed. I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage and the desire to be seen and known lately and I’ve been feeling that singleness is an unwanted calling in my life.
But this week I believed in the beauty of singleness in a new way.
But there are advantages and I was reminded of those last week. I was able to re-arrange my schedule to spend some time with some very dear friends. I accompanied them to Wycliffe and Legoland, enjoyed their children’s excitement and ingenuity surrounded by their beloved Lego bricks and mini figs. My friend, Abby, called me after they got home and said, “Kelly, thank you for using your singleness to bless us last week. I loved being able to bring you into our plans and enjoy lots of time with you. Your singleness is a gift to me.”
Those were the words which changed my mind. My singleness is not just about me. It’s not just what I long for or feel denied. I can use my time, energy, and resources to bless other people. My more flexible schedule blessed my friends last week. And I was immensely blessed in return to be a part of their family for a week. Moments and realizations like this make me appreciate where God has me in life right now even as I remain earnest in my hope for my own family someday.
What is an unwanted gift in your life? How have you been able to use it for good?
How can you encourage someone else this week in their current station in life?
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I remember that feeling when I was your age. I did eventually marry and had children, but divorced and have been contentedly single for 21 years. In fact, as I was married for only 12 of my 61 years, I think it’s fair to say that singleness is my natural state. There is a freedom to being single that you can’t properly appreciate until you have had to subjugate your dreams and activities to someone else’s (and don’t kid yourself…women are still expected to do that). It’s easy to look at married couples wistfully. What you don’t see is the hard work and sacrifice that goes into maintaining a good relationship. As far as having a family, I have loved every stage of my children, but they grow up and leave and you’re back to square one as far as how you deal with “alone” time.
I used to think that Paul must have been a cranky old bachelor when he wished that everyone could stay single as he was. The older I get, the wiser Paul sounds.
Yes singleness does have it’s rewards. I am glad that you were able to have fun with Abby and her family. Having been single most of my life I am quite content to be single. But I have had the blessing of having had children and then grandchildren. But ultimately you will be alone when children grow up and leave. I have found much satisfaction in being able to devote a lot of time to serving God in mission trips, and in teaching. That joy has far surpassed any satisfaction I felt in marriage. You are fortunate to have godly parents who have given you a picture of how marriage should be. And you are blessed to have a dad who loves to spend time with you. I know I would not have had the travel opportunities if I had been married my whole life. So I will pray for you to find purpose and contentment until God chooses to bring His choice in your life. And if His choice is for you to remain single, I am praying that you will see the joy in that as well.