Discovering Purpose in Singleness
Discovering Purpose in Singleness
Guest Blog by Benjamin Nugent
We so often want it all to fall right in our laps with very little effort. We want to believe that finding someone to spend the rest of our lives with is “just going to happen.” The question that remains though, is:
What are we doing in the interim?
Self-improvement is good, great even, but what if we could have an even broader perspective? One that not only acknowledges us as individuals, but who we want to be and how we want to lead in a family structure for our future spouse and children - who THEY will NEED us to be.
I don’t know what your background is, what your childhood experience was like or the details of your overall story to this point. But I do know that while all of our experiences in life play a part in shaping our overall world view - specifically in this instance regarding singleness, dating, and marriage - there is a power greater than us who has a blueprint for each season of our lives, including our singleness. If we’re serious with ourselves, no matter our current position in life, we can take real steps forward, right now, so that we’re as prepared as we can be for the steps to come.
Searching in the Mirror
When we think of the person we want to be with for the rest of our lives, the one that we’ve imagined so many times in our heart and mind, we often forget to go deeper than common interests, core values, future planning and of course, their appearance. These things are definitely important!
When we do this, what we’re actually doing without realizing it, is...
Projecting that laundry list of pros and cons back onto ourselves, through the eyes of the person we’re searching for.
Hmm, reading that back, it sounds like verbal gymnastics, so picture this. When I say, “I just want to find someone who loves the TV show ‘The Office’ as much as I do, who is a Jesus loving Christian, who wants to start a family, and who wants to build a forever home in this specific community that I want to live in,” what I’m actually doing is looking for a mirror image of myself, and that’s not particularly healthy.
Finding someone exactly like us often means finding someone who has the same issues as us. And if you both have the same problems, and neither of you resolve them or are willing to resolve them, then sure, you can cuddle up and watch your favorite show together, even go to church together, have kids together and build a beautiful home together.
But will you be able to love well, work through, and overcome all of the challenges that fall in between the cracks and crevices of our hearts?
What will the integrity of the marriage look like after three years? Five years? Fifteen years?
Will it look like a construction zone of two people continuously working together to selflessly become one?
Or will it look more like a demolition site of one, or even both individuals, rigging the foundation to blow?
Relationally speaking, singleness is a starting line, but marriage isn’t the finish line.
Please excuse me for sounding cheesy, but what marriage really is, is another starting line.
Discovering Your Purpose In Singleness
Recently I was reminded of a practical, but effective spiritual, mental, and emotional exercise. It’s as simple as sitting down, doing some critical, honest, self-reflective thinking coupled with prayer.
Begin by writing a letter to the spouse/children that don’t yet exist in your life, but God-ordained, one day will.
I can understand why an exercise like this might sound ridiculous, I did too. If you’re thinking that while reading this, ask yourself, what do you have to lose? I promise that if you take it serious enough, you might even find yourself balling your eyes out (speaking from experience) just thinking about the love you want to give to your future spouse, the life you want to provide for your future children, and the leader you want to be in your future family.
Think of where you’re at now, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even financially. Then begin writing out how you want to offer what you currently have to your future spouse/family.
Now, in an even more introspective way, think of how you want to change for your future family. How you need to change for them.
This is where the “critical, honest, self-reflective thinking” part comes into play. Contrary to popular belief, you and I aren’t as amazing as we think we are. That’s not to say that you and I don’t have some amazing qualities, we absolutely do! And there is much to offer, but there are also some not so amazing qualities lurking within our hearts that at one point or another, need to be examined and dealt with. This is where the “coupled with prayer” part comes in.
Ask the Lord to reveal things in your life that don’t belong. Things we have accumulated through past relationships that went awry, or just bad life experiences in general. Maybe these things are iniquities; issues passed down to us through our family, or maybe, just maybe, it’s flat out, open, unrepentant sin that we’ve let in and have been living with on our own accord.
Please trust me when I say it is incredibly important right now, in your singleness (where you are currently only responsible for you), to hand these matters over to the Lord. It will save you and your future spouse a lot of frustration.
Side effects of this exercise might be:
Motivation to break away from a state of apathy
Removal of unhealthy habits in your life
Becoming more aware of your finances and creating budgets
The want and drive to learn about things you never considered before
Increased confidence (not cockiness) in yourself when pursuing a relationship
A more well-defined lens by which you use to find someone who will run the race of life with you, for better or worse
And a greater realization that you need Jesus every minute, of every hour, of every day
After all, Jesus is who we’re ultimately chasing, right? We’re asking for His will, right? For His blessing in ALL that we do?
Yeah, we’re doing that… *crickets*.
Whether your answer to those questions was yes or no, here is a reminder that He is who we should be chasing, regardless of anything going on in our world. He is good, and He has your best interests at heart, not only to bless you, but for the greater purpose of His kingdom... even in your singleness.
At the end of the day, Jesus is enough. And if we’re truly running the race of life in pursuit of Christ, we will find ourselves aligned with other sprinters running the same race. And if you happen to take interest in one of them, or think they’re cute, you might just find someone to run the rest of the race with. My prayer for you today is that you find your stride, and finish well.
Guest Blogger: Benjamin Nugent is a son, brother, friend, teacher, coach, employee, learner of all things (or as much as possible) and follower of Jesus. He is deeply passionate about people as God has placed the desire to reach others with his witness and to build community with them. Other passions include, and in no specific order; poetry, music, sports, storytelling, writing, traveling, boating, apologetics, dogs, The Office quotes, video games, and food. He serves in his local church as a youth leader where he’s learned far more than he’s taught. Ben’s two favorite Bible verses are 2 Timothy 2:13 - “if we are faithless, he (God) remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself,” and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 but more specifically, the second half of verse 22: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”