Elisabeth Elliot, wife to Jim Elliot, who was killed by the Auca tribe of Eastern Ecuador, and later returned to share the gospel with them for the two years, once said:
“Having now spent more than forty-one years single, I have learned that it is indeed a gift. Not one I would choose. Not one many women would choose. But we do not choose our gifts, remember? We are given them by a divine Giver who knows the end from the beginning, and wants above all else to give us the gift of Himself.”
There are many things we can learn from Elisabeth, but one of the most important things she can teach us is that singleness is indeed a gift. There is so much hope and joy we can find in our seasons of singleness that women who are married or dating can’t experience. We can leave and go to the ends of the earth at the drop of a hat because we have no one we are committed to. We can relate and share our hearts with other single ladies who need comfort and encouragement in this time. We can focus on bettering ourselves for the Kingdom and let Jesus reveal Himself to us in a whole different way.
In a time when you feel like this friend has a boyfriend, that friend just got engaged, and your other friend is getting married, you can feel completely alone and left out. You begin to convince yourself that no one wants to be with you or you’re not welcomed to all the “couple” related events. The enemy eventually has you convinced that you are not good enough for anything or anyone.
So is accepting the gift of singleness easy? Well, not exactly. But it is a time we should cherish and find joy and contentment in because during this time, Christ is trying to teach us a lot. In this, we can have “undistracted devotion to the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 7:35]. When the enemy tries to creep into our lives and make us feel like we are alone or in discontentment, we learn how to fight the good fight. Christ is teaching us a dependency that relies solely on Him; a dependency where we learn how to choose joy in all circumstances, seek His face during loneliness, write His truths upon our hearts, and gain strength through the trials.
While everyone is getting married young, the pressures of dating get harder and harder; the stakes are raised to hurry up and find someone before there is no one left or all the good ones are taken. I mean seriously- we actually believe this? I think this is a time where we should end the array of unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Let’s make this a time of rejoicing and gladness in knowing that God is going to use you in extravagant ways because you have let yourself be singled out for the Kingdom’s work- you have chosen your wild calling from Christ over sadness in being “alone” or in an ungodly relationship.
You are not alone.
You are not missing out.
You have so much in store for you before finding “the one.”
There is “fullness of joy in Christ.” [Psalm 16:11] The NIV version saying: “you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” There is so much to be accounted for in Christ while you are single. He didn’t say we would have the fullness of joy in marriage, but in Him. Don’t let yourself miss out on those gifts because you are sulking in societies pressures of dating or getting married; don’t let yourself believe that life will get better on the way once you’re married. Live for now and follow the path Christ has put you on, not the path that He has given to others. He is faithful and not blind for one second towards your heart’s desires. Those desires will be fulfilled once you have found your greatest delight is in Christ Jesus. [Psalm 37:4].
Elisabeth Elliot finishes with:
“it is within the sphere of circumstances He chooses for us- single, married, widowed- that we receive Him. It is there and nowhere else that He makes Himself known to us. It is there we are allowed to serve Him.”
Let Him continue his work in you until the day of completion has come. Receive with open arms and joyful hearts the gift the Giver is giving you today.
photo: Bryson Eller