And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17 MSG
“Are you dating someone?” That is one of the most frequent questions people ask me when they know that I am in my early 30’s and single. Yes, that’s right. I am 30, Latino, and single. People, especially within the Church tend to believe that something’s wrong with me. I’ve heard a lot of: “When I was your age, I was raising two kids”, “How come you’re still single?”, “Is there any potential Ms. in the radar?” At first, I laughed at those comments, but as time passed that laugh evolved into despair, as all my friends around my age started to get married despair brought along her pain, eventually pain thought the party could be better if she invited bitterness. When I realized the “single party” was filled with a stew of raw emotions that did nothing good for me.
As a single man, I decided that I would ask some ladies out. I probably just did that to keep people bothering me with the same lame question, also I just wanted them to leave me alone. Still, every single date felt wrong. I knew the lady in turn sitting in front of me at the restaurant was not God’s best for my life. This phase of randomly dating Christian Women ended. I realized that I was just dating any female that claimed to be Christian because I had believed the lie that, church people, society, and the devil, make me believe: my worth as a man, my identity as a male, and my esteem as a godly servant rested upon whether I was single or not. It took me a long time, a humongous amount of regret, and many tears to finally rest in the fact that there was nothing wrong with me, that my esteem, worth, and identity does not rest on if I have or not a ring in my hand. My value as a man is found in no-one else but Jesus. My worth was given through the blood of the Lamb and His sacrifice. My identity rest in the perfect work of Jesus Christ. I know, that doesn’t get to change my marital status. But what it does bring is confidence in the fact and reality that I am living and flourishing where God placed me. My confidence and security do not relay in my status but in God’s perfect will for my life.
As the years went by, the desire to get married and start a family just grew deeper. Somehow, I came up with this list of qualities and requirements that I was looking for in a lady. I will not go into the details of that list. Sufficient to say that there was not, and will never ever be, a girl that fulfilled all those requirements. The thing is that I had allowed myself to believe that it was okay if I didn’t get to share myself with someone. That is selfish. What’s worse, it is a lie. We were created to be in a relationship, with God, and with another human being. That’s what we learn from Genesis. In the Beginning, Adam had a perfect relationship with his Creator, then we are told that “but for Adam, there was not found a helper [that was] suitable (a companion) for him (Genesis 2:20 AMP).” So God decides to get into action, “…the Lord God…made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man (Genesis 2:21 AMP).” So entering into a special bonding relationship is something that was designed by God since the beginning of time. I can’t remember exactly when, but one day I decided that I was not going to allow people’s constant reminder of my singleness to affect the way how I saw myself, nor my esteem, much less my dignity. I had to intentionally cloth myself with esteem and dignity. It is something deliberate, intentional, and a huge responsibility I needed to work on daily as every single day a comment or question regarding my marital status arose.
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else…
There’s something about the weekends that makes us feel miserable when Friday finally arrives. A late night trip to the store to get some ice-cream in pyjamas is not the ideal plan for the night when you consider that most of the guys your age are having a wonderful dinner date with their significant other, while you are in line waiting to pay for those unwanted, but happy maker calories you are about to indulge with when you get home. Let’s be honest, there comes a time in the life of us singles when most of our friends are either dating or married. As singles, we yearn to be in a relationship. I’ve been yearning to date someone for more than 10 years! I’m so grateful God protected from me the few godly ladies I dated in the past. As singles, we yearn to be in a relationship.
Today I want to tell you that God will not send a partner to rescue you from your self-imposed misery, not to rescue you from the social pressure you are experiencing. He will send a partner when your heart is in the right place and ready to love and be loved in exchange. If you allow those hard, painful, and lame comments affect you to the point of ripping your joy, peace, and contentment; then your heart might not be ready. Stop worrying about what you don’t have, stop desiring what others do have (oh, by the way, the Bible calls it covet. Read Dt. 5:21), and embrace your own here and now. I’ve come to learn that where I am is where God wants me to be, and if He is allowing me to navigate this season is for a reason, there’s a lesson I need to still learn, my character needs to be polished before He leads me to the next season. You can not walk into College before graduating from High School.
Then, one day, I had a moment of illumination and realized that my attitude towards the single situation should shift. Instead of becoming bitter each day, I turned around and decided to be thankful for what, of course, was not a pleasant situation. You, too, can change the way you perceive your current condition. Instead of allowing that ruthless standpoint to steal your joy, peace, and tranquility by lamenting and feeling sorry for yourself for stacking up destructive emotions, be brave, and courageously decide to praise and thank God for this season you are facing right now. No matter how painful being single might be, it will never be like the pain that Jesus experienced on the cross, which He did so that we can place our burdens on Him today (Mt 11: 28-29) and experience a wave of peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4: 7).
Where you are right now is God’s place for you….
As a single guy, I found myself constantly thinking, “one day when… then I…” That was perhaps the most dangerous place I’ve ever been emotional, the reason is that I neglected my now and here. God was given me a beautiful today to enjoy and make the best out of it. Instead, I was feeling petty for not being married, rather than embracing my current reality, serving those people I could bless with during this tough season, in place of taking up the challenges life was presenting me in order to grow and mature as a man, all I cloud think of was “one day when I’m married then I will be complete.” Living in the “one day when… then I…” fantasy land is more harmful than you can even think. This way of thinking is evidence that my heart is not trusting God, it is a declaration of us not having faith in both God’s will and purpose for our lives. If you are single, and over 25+ you can’t afford the luxury of living in the fantasy land of “one day when… then I…” Let’s be candid here, living by that premise is foolish. It is despising the reality that God in his perfect will allowed us to live single for a time, living like this is to dislike the season we are in, is to abhor the learning process our “now” requires for us to be carried into our God-ordained and God-given future.
Before Jesus died on the Cross something extraordinary took place. He and the disciples were celebrating Passover, they were all eating when suddenly Jesus stood up “took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him (Jn 13:4–5)”. It was Peter’s turn to have his feet washed, he understood that this was not his place, that it should be he the one washing the Messiah’s feet. Of course, he refused, then Jesus said something that continues to echo in my heart:
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” Jn 13:7 NLT
Jesus wanted to teach Peter a lesson, it was not the time nor the place for Peter to wash Jesus’ feet. The disciple was just where Jesus wanted him to be. I know it is hard, I know it is painful, I am aware of the frustration being single and everyone around you pointing it out brings. It is true, I do not understand why is it that I am 30 and single!! I honestly don’t know the exact reason as of why my weekends consist of movies and ice cream. Yet Jesus’ words bring peace: but someday you will (understand). As time goes by, I am able to see that there are areas in my life that need to be surrendered, changed and transformed before allowing someone in. It is not about you being good enough for someone. It is about you not being transformed by the Holy Spirit. It is about you walking in complete freedom. Christ gave His life so that I and you would experience freedom. If you are constantly stuck in the “one day when… then I…” fantasy land you are not living in freedom. You are, willingly, living a slave of the one thing you don’t have. Somehow we tend to believe that marriage is the promise land… I don’t doubt it is a marvelous place to be (the Bible is clear that marriage is beautiful). But where I am right now is God’s best for me. Some might say that that’s a lame excuse to try to bring contentment when single. I know your bitterness. I’ve been there. Want to know something? I gave it to God, that’s a monkey I don’t want nor need to have on my back. Surrender is the key. The key to walking in freedom, contentment, and gratefulness during singleness is understanding that where we are is God’s place for us to be. So let make the best out of it!! Let number our days that our heart may gain wisdom (Ps. 90:12).
Live and obey and love and believe right there…
“Okay, I am to remain single, I got it!” That was something I screamed once to God when I realize that the lady from Church I was kind of dating was not that godly as I was trying so hard to believe. I really can’t believe I actually was pursuing someone who had no call to ministry. The problem was not her, it was me. I was not living and enjoying my today. I am not implying that one should remain oblivious to dating. Paul’s instruction is to live right where we are. Living in freedom is marvelous, when you are not a slave of your need, of your desperation to finally get married, then you start to make the best out of each day because you realize that this is the day God has make and you will rejoice and be glad in it. This season has taught me one lesson: if I can’t obey God while I’m single how do I expect to lead my family in obedience? I need to learn how to love on people without seeking a personal benefit. I know it is hard, but we need to learn to love our singleness. We need to cherish and take care of ourselves during this particular time. We need to work in our inner and spiritual being.
Being single is not a death sentence. Being single is just a season where we are able to see and experience God in a much deeper and personal way. The Apostle also encourage the people to believe right where they are. As a single guy, I decided to believe that this was a season where I could grow as a man, as a leader, as a servant, and in every area of my life. Believe that singleness is just but the perfect occasion to experience God in a deeper way. It is a time to believe that this life is beautiful, believe that you’ve been given a purpose, believe that your journey can teach someone something. I want to encourage you right where you are to believe that God does have something in store for you, but also believe that your today is God’s best for you right now. Live a life that shouts God’s fame to the world, live your singleness in such a way that Christ be exalted through your decisions, live in such a way that it is evident that you are obeying God and waiting for God’s best for you. This is the season where you got to live a life characterized by holiness, purity, and obedience. If you can not be faithful to yourself and keep pure until the wedding night, then you will be able to be faithful to your spouse for the rest of your life. This is the time to believe that God’s not done with you, that he’s working out his perfect will in your life, this is the time to believe that you’ve single for a purpose higher than you, this is the time to believe that the best for you is yet to come. We need to trust in the fact that God knows what is best for us. We do not need to know the details as long as you believe that He is control and that he’s leading the way. Eventually, he’ll take us to our so longed destiny.
God, not your marital status, defines your life.
Married people sometimes make unhealthy and ungodly assumptions about us because we are still single. In my own personal journey I’ve come to a place where even though I long to become a husband, a daddy, a companion, the absence of a ring in my hand does not define who I am and what I can do for the Kingdom of God. The longing is still there. The need is real. The desire to be married is legit. I am not denying it. I am with you. Somehow we allowed our marital status define who we are and what we can do. That is a lie. Being single does not make you a second class person or a less spiritual Christian. Being single should not shut us out of the Church. On the contrary, it should open us doors to service, to extend compassion in a very tangible way.
I think that the struggle, longing, and the need to be in a relationship with a significant other is real. I struggled with it for a long time. When you hit the 30yr frontier and you’re still single, people start asking harmful questions, especially in the Church, the one place we as singles expect to find strength, encouragement, love, compassion, and guidance as we journey this season, ends up throwing us loaded questions that far from being encouraging become a huge burden that wounds not only our emotions but souls as well. Sadly the most dangerous and harmful place to be as a single man is the Church. People tend to place some sort of high expectation on you. They keep pressing on. What they don’t know is that instead of making us good, they hurt us. Their comments and questions sometimes just increase the feeling of loneliness.
As a single guy, I don’t need people reminding me of my singleness and encouraging me to be content, what I need if for the Body of Christ to come alongside me and value my singleness. Effectiveness and true impact in my service to the Lord are not based nor dependent on whether I have a ring or not. My status doesn’t define my love for God, my passion for his calling, my commitment to his service, nor who I am.