I remember having a conversation with a dear friend, and she asked me, “If you were to write a letter to your 13-year-old self, what would you write?” Well, why she chose 13 of all other ages, I have no idea. I struggled with singlehood for a better part of my teenage life. I did not make the most out of it because I sort out intimacy and attention from romantic relationships, to feel significant. Oh, how I was keen to listen to motivational speakers and attend forums that addressed anything lady-like or those that tied to relationships and singlehood (PS: I am not insinuating that they are bad forums to attend). Looking back at lessons I took from such gatherings; I am confident to say that not all that was said was helpful for me and though I lived to pursue them. Today I sit wishing I knew better. However, we learn and grow as we progress. So today, if there was anything I would say to my 13-year old self and any young lady seeking counsel, here is what I would share:
TRY NOT TO GIVE IN TO THE “IN-WAITING” MYTHOLOGY.
Do not get me wrong; I know everyone who stands to speak about waiting always has the best intentions at heart. However, please hear me out for a moment. The reason I may seem to be against the ‘waiting’ idea, especially the one that is mostly advocated for in singles or youth-group forums has a way of convincing us into a sort of unhealthy theology. I say this because most teachers and even preachers will tend to share how we need to keep ourselves pure as we wait for ‘The One’ and then throw in how we need to keep submitting ourselves to God and serving Him so that ‘The One’ will find us in God. While they are not entirely wrong, they are not entirely right. See, the whole ‘Wait for The One’ idea is still in the picture. Even when told to submit yourselves to God and serve Him, which is a biblical call to all Christians (Romans 10:1-3, James 4:7), we still have the mind of ‘waiting.
The truth is, there is no place in scripture that God instructs us to wait for ‘The one.’ The Bible does instruct us to wait, but for whom/what are we waiting? It teaches us to wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14). This kind of waiting is the kind where we pray in hope and wait for the Lord to lead us into a path He desires for us. That then means, He may or may not answer as we wish, but we still rejoice in His sovereign doing regardless. That then takes our minds and hearts away from keeping in Faith just so that He can answer as we want Him to and directs us to submit to Him knowing well that whatever He brings our way is good because He works for good (Romans 8:28).
2. DESIRES ARE NOT BAD BUT DO NOT LET THEM CONSUME YOU.
Well, I agree, most times we want to ‘wait for The One’ because we have a desire to have that special person in our lives. Here is something encouraging, desiring is not a sin. God does not fault us when we go to Him in prayer, asking Him for what we desire. He invites us to do so (Mathew 7:7, 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:13, 1 John 5:14). However, if our desire consumes us, then our focus is taken away from what is important. He invites us to ask because in asking, we grow to trust Him more and even though He may not grant us everything we ask for, He still grows our trust in Him. Our desires should seem inferior to our Christ-exalting, God-glorifying desires. Not that we belittle our desires, but we hold them loosely and ask God for wisdom in how to pray for and desire them (James 4:3).
3. SINGLENESS IS A GIFT, JUST AS MARRIAGE.
Singleness is viewed by many as a curse and to others a blessing. Often it has been as a waiting room for marriage. Well, it is not because living a life of Singleness is just as Glorifying to God just as in a marriage covenant. Paul in 1 Cor. 7:7 does seem content with his single state and even says that everyone has his gift from God. What does that mean? Both Singleness and marriage are a gift from God. Jesus says that not everyone will receive the gift of marriage, and not everyone will receive the gift of Singleness (Mathew 19:10-12). However, regardless of the gift you receive, it is good and perfect because it is from Him who created you (James 1:17). There is a lot of struggles that come with Singleness. Our purity will be tried and tested, mainly because we are living in a fallen world where sexual immorality is the order of the day. However, God still calls us to a life of purity. Submit to God and resist the Devil, flee from all form of immorality (James 4:7). It is easier said than done, but, in Christ, it is possible. Delight yourself in God’s word (Psalm 1:2) and continue to meditate on His word and your mind will always be renewed. Find your comfort in the Lord’s Word to you in your Singleness and delight in Him.
4. HIS WILL, TIMING AND WAYS ARE PERFECT
As stated earlier, some are given the gift of Singleness and some the gift of marriage. However, there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What season are you in now? Maybe you are in High school or campus or your mid-twenties and occupied with schoolwork or a job Do not toil trying to find out whether He has willed marriage or Singleness for you, do what you know He needs you to do now. Glorify Him in what He has put in your hands now. Man has one purpose, to glorify His creator and to enjoy Him forever (Psalm 86:9, 1 Cor. 10:31, John 15:11, 1 John 1:4) thus our call is to pursue a relationship with Christ, and in Him, we find Joy, Peace and eternal life. If He grants you the gift of marriage, Praise God! If He gives the gift of Singleness, Praise God! Here and now, Praise Him! Serve Him! Honour Him! For that is the reason why you live today and to see another day.
Do not seek an emotive pursuit of Christ. Do not serve God with the thought of ‘The One’ coming after you and finding you in Christ. Seek to grow in the knowledge of Christ because Eternity is at stake. Pursue eternity, thus keep your mind focused on things above (Colossians 3:2). Seek first God’s Kingdom (Mathew 6:33), and He will render all other things, under His Perfect will and purpose.