I am a single Christian woman. Let me rephrase that… I am a HAPPILY single Christian woman. It is a piece of my identity that I embrace and cherish. It is also a piece of my identity that doesn’t fit easily into most people’s views of Christianity.
I came to the realization several years ago that God intended me for a life of singleness, or, as my mom prefers, singleness in this phase of my life.
When my sister and I were little, we had clear visions of what our successful futures held. Successful and happy futures meant being married young and being done having kids by about 28. I am about 6 months from reaching that deadline. I am single. I am childless. I am happy. I am successful.
I firmly believe that God does not call everyone to be married. “…But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.” 1 Corinthians 7:7b This is such an important piece of scripture for me, my calling, my identity, and my acceptance of these. First, it clearly says that God calls some to a life of singleness, which validated what I believed God was telling me. This verse also says that this is a gift. It is not a curse, nor a punishment. It is not something to be fought against or avoided. It is just as much a gift as marriage.
However, my experience is that society does not feel this way about my way of life: secular or Christian. Secular society may initially applaud my individuality and refusal to need a man; however, they wouldn’t understand the sacrifice that this actually means. This does not mean I do whatever I want. It means a life of purity dedicated to God. I also usually feel misunderstood and even ostracized at times by fellow Christians and churches.
I have yet to be at a church that has a group that is truly a group for single adults. Many churches have no such bible/study group for any singles. Those that I have been to that do offer those types of groups are actually groups of single adults looking for a spouse. I understand there is a need for that, but I am continuously left wondering, “Where do I fit into this church, the Church, ANY church?” I almost always end up at the same answer, I must not.
Similarly,I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard that God has a man for me. When I respond that I don’t think that is in God’s plan for me, their response is always one of shock. They want to know how I can be a “good, Christian woman” without a husband or kids. Let me say this now for every woman, the ability of any woman to be a “good, Christian woman” is not only tied to her ability to be a good wife and mother. For many women, that is an element, but it is never the only element. For me and other women with similar callings, our determination to follow God’s will for our lives without a husband or children, is a step towards being a “good, Christian woman” – not away from it.
“In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” 1 Corinthians 7: 34b-35
Singleness helps me serve the Lord best. It is in that knowledge, that I not only accept singleness, but embrace it. It provides me different opportunities to give and live than others. I am just starting to explore what this means for me and my life, but I can confidently take steps on the path with the knowledge that this is where God is leading me. I can confidently declare, “I am happily single and chasing God’s plan for my life!”