Before reading this blog post, you may read through these links first:
- “Marriage is Not THE Goal”
- “The One Question You Should Ask Yourself To Know If You’re Really Ready For Courtship and Marriage”: Part 1 and Part 2
By the time you reach the age of 21, you’ll start to have social media accounts flooded by friends and acquaintances getting married and/or starting a family. That flood will rise as years pass and at one point (most likely, when you’re still single at the age of 25-30), you’ll unintentionally drown in it.
Receiving wedding and 1st birthday invitations will notch up when you’re around 28. Friends expecting their second or third child won’t be surprising by the time you’re 30.
Let’s be honest. Most days, it’s all fine but there are days when envy and doubt will creep in. You’ll shrug it off one day only to find out that your lingering on it again the next day. The kind of lingering that no “Don’t worry about being single” can aid. Maybe, just maybe, this is not true for you but as a 28-year old single Christian woman I am guilty of feeling this way sometimes.
Francis Chan, in a conference about two years ago, was asked this question by someone from the audience: “What advice would you give to a woman in her 20s who is desiring to be married?”
This is how he responded: “You know, we make a big, big deal about marriage and I just want us to be careful with that. When you read 1 Corinthians 7, it says let each person live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. I can’t find the verses but just read 1 Corinthians 7.”
And so I did. Some nights ago, I studied 1 Corinthians 7 for myself.
Verse 29 caught my attention. After Paul shares the specific godly principles of marriage and singlehood, he points out that “time is short”. Then continues, “For this world in its present form is passing away.” I understand this as Paul saying that we should be wise in what we pursue with our time thus we should not be preoccupied by pursuing a marital status or something that will just pass away. Marriage is temporary (read Matthew 22:30).
Paul is therefore implying that there is more to life than just being single or married. One is not inferior to the other because both aren’t purpose; just status. And so if God assigns you to be single, follow Jesus. If God assigns you to be married, follow Jesus. Life is only found in Jesus and can only be lived out if done with Him.
Easier said than done? Maybe. But verse 20 even encourages us to remain in the situation we are at when God called us.
What happens when a single Christian woman forgets, neglects or rejects these godly principles from 1 Corinthians 7?
First, she becomes manipulative.
Women can be manipulative. I once shared here an embarrassing story of me being manipulative. Women have subtle emotional or proximal strategies to get the attention of a guy and/or make him want what we want. Just like Eve, the first woman, we want to take control of situations and decisions — twisting the roles that God had already perfectly defined.
Eve had everything but when she saw that the fruit was good, it revealed how her heart wanted more. And what did she do after eating the fruit? She pulled her husband in with her. Eve knew how to get Adam to do just what she wanted him to do. God placed a desire for Adam to love Eve, but Eve used that desire to scheme. Genesis 3:16-19 details the beginning of the repercussions of this (decision to fall into) sin.
Then or simultaneously, she drowns in self-pity.
I have personally experienced being tormented by thoughts of being less worthy because I feel like no one’s going to choose me or desire for me. Like I felt unwanted and rejected and inferior, and in those moments, I felt like if I remain single, I won’t ever be satisfied. Lies. Lies. LIES!
Truth is: Our worth can never and should never be determined by a marital status. It can never be filled by yourself or by another person. Our worth is found in God alone. He values us so much to the extent that He would give His one and only Son to save us (John 3:16). There is nothing wrong with the need to feel loved and wanted but we have to receive that from the right source. Otherwise, we will just sulk and obsess over the discontent in our hearts selfishly. Otherwise, we will just drown in self-pity which is clearly a sin.
All believers, both married and single, are waiting. However, we are not waiting merely for an official seal to confirm what our marital status is. Instead, we are enduring and persevering for that day when we finally see Jesus face-to-face.
No longer do we need to run frustrated for we are running towards the blessed hope!