In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:18
Perhaps as a single it can be easy to think and talk about all of the things we are lacking. For women, maybe it’s coming home and knowing you won’t have a shoulder to cry on or a warm body to hold you. Maybe it’s facing the struggles of routine house maintenance, making big decisions alone, or wondering if you’ll ever be able to have your own children. For men, maybe it’s knowing that when you get home there’s no warm meal or soft smile waiting for you on the other side of the door. Or not having someone to share your successes with or an encourager when you feel like a failure. Being single comes with its difficulties. Walking through life as a single is no easy or small thing.
I have sat down at countless tables in countless places with single women to talk about our unmet longings: for a husband, a best friend, a sense of belonging, and the ability to make a home with someone else. While expressing the desires of our hearts to the Lord can be good and healthy, we can’t just let our focus stay there. So when that sense of weariness or desperation begins to well up from deep within, and we’re tempted to ask God why, what can help us hold back the feelings of despair? Gratitude. The antidote to weariness and doubt is always gratitude.
As singles, I’m sure we’ve thought of a million different things we would be thankful for if we were married. But there are a lot of unique-to-us-singles things we can be thankful for in our present circumstances:
- The neighbor who helps us with that tricky thing our dad would always do, and that we thought our husband would (fixing water pumps, hanging heavy pictures, taking the car to the mechanic’s, etc.).
- The friend who’s always willing to grab coffee and listen to us cry as we tell the same breakup story for the thousandth time.
- The availability in our schedule to BE the friend mentioned above.
- Emotionally availability: because we only have to think of ourselves we have all of our capacity to love at our disposal. (Let’s be honest, romantic relationships are a lot of work and take up a lot of energy.)
- Financial freedom: clearly we are called to be good stewards. But covering living costs for one person is a lot easier than paying for two…or five.
- We have the ability to love and serve Christ with all of our time, money, and talents.
- You can listen to whatever music you want without earphones.
- No one wakes you up while you’re sleeping.
- You can have unplanned sleepovers with your friends and stay up late into the night having girl talk (or guy talk?).
- You can attempt to learn to play an instrument and no one will suffer from the awful sound of you ‘playing’ your favorite song over and over again.
- You can make big (and small) life decisions without having to consult someone else first.
- God truly is sufficient and you get to be a shining example of that!
Some of these things are serious, others a little more light-hearted. But truly, if anything has allowed me to change my heart from desperate and bitter to satisfied and content it’s thankfulness.
Singleness is not what I would choose for me. And maybe it isn’t your first choice either. But God has shown that he truly is good. And he has given each of us so very much to be thankful for! So when you’re tempted to think of all the good things you would have in marriage and all of the bad thing about being single, flip the switch! And remind yourself of all the great things life holds for you now.