She walked into my office with her hip narrow glasses, pencil skirt, and bright red heels. As she sat down and started telling me her story, I watched as she fought back the tears. One managed to escape, and slowly made it’s way down her pink-blushed cheek.
She had come to see me that day in hopes of resolving the overwhelming emotions she was feeling regarding this one aching question: Does God want me to be single forever?
One of the greatest fears of young singles that I meet is the prospect of being single and “alone”, forever. It’s probably a thought that crosses the mind of every single at some point in their lives. I can recall wondering the same thing myself. Was there someone out there for me? Would I ever find a significant other? Did God have marriage woven into the fabric of His plan for my life? Or is it possible that I could be single forever?
The simple (and dreaded) answer to the prospect of lifelong singleness is this: yes, it is possible to remain single for the entirety of a person’s life.
But what it comes down to, is that though lifelong singleness is possible, statistically it’s not probable. An article I read reported that if you live in the U.S., there is an 86% chance you will get married before age 40 as a woman, and an 81% chance you’ll hit that milestone as a man. That’s the short answer, but there is so much more to this question than hopes, statistics, or probability. There is something so much deeper going on underneath the surface of the fear of lifelong singleness. The roots of this dreaded question come down to one basic component: our ability to trust God.
As a single woman in my young adult years, learning to trust God was a constant battle within my heart. One verse that was always an encouragement to me came from the book of Psalms. Chapter 37 verse 4 says this, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
For a time I interpreted this verse to mean that God will grant you what you want in life. Not a bad interpretation if you ask me! It would be easy to trust a God that gives you whatever you want, wouldn’t it?
My interpretation of that verse has changed over the years. Now that I am a mother, I believe that just as I delight in giving my daughter good things, our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to give his children what makes them happy. But I have come to believe that this verse holds so much more meaning than that.
What I believe this verse comes down to is that when you are intimately connected with God, everything in your life begins to change. Your hopes, your dreams, and your desires. Rather than just granting you what you want, he transforms you and brings you to a place where you want what He wants. Because what He wants…is always the absolute best.
The guarantee of this verse is that when you’re connected with Him, He will place desires within you. He will literally put them in your heart. That was a transformational thought for me. It was freeing because it meant that if I really took it to heart in delighting in God as the love of my life, He would arrange my desires to line up with His. When you really take joy in your relationship with God you will find that you know Him in a deeper way, and in turn, know what He wants for your life.
One of my favorite quotes explains that “God grants you what you would have asked Him for, if you knew what He knows.”
So much of eliminating the fear of singleness is rooted within the context of a trusting relationship with God. If you believe in a God who loves you unconditionally, you can bank on the fact that He will take your life in the way that is ultimately the best. Romans 12 explains that His ultimate will is good, pleasing and perfect. No matter what you could have thought up for your life, His plan is so much greater than your most creative imagination– because it’s a plan that not only takes your life into consideration, but the very out-workings of your soul.
When it comes to having a healthy life and a nourished soul, it’s a absolute myth to think that all joys will be fulfilled the moment you meet your future spouse.
Psalm 37 challenges us to delight in Him because there is unbelievable value in learning to find joy in the eternal. God wants us to take joy in Him because no matter where this life takes us on the journey of finding true love, everlasting joys can only be found in relationship with Him.
Fast forward 10 years from my days as a single young adult- I am now married to an incredible man. But I can tell you that there are days that he lets me down, and I guarantee you he’d say the same about me. Though we love each other, our ultimate joy doesn’t come from the love that we share- because it can’t.
The binding factor in our lives comes from the love we have for the Lord; a love that we delight in, live for, and bask in; a love that overflows into every part of our lives, including our relationship with each other.
To all the singles out there- it’s so important to know and understand the desires that God has placed in your heart, but you should never allow those desires to trump your longing for Him.
If you have a strong desire for marriage, trust God. If you have a strong desire for singleness, trust God. In the end, when you have really connected your heart to His, He will use your desires to lead you in the best direction for your life.
Just as I believe marriage is a calling, I believe singleness is a calling, one that God will equip you for if He calls you to it. For now, connect your heart to His, and then allow Him to lead your heart.
If He is really God then He can be trusted. If He is really God then He knows what is best for your life. If He is really God, then He will not let you down.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
*Post updated and revised from 2013*