Written by J Koon, Malaysia
While having lunch with a girl friend one day, we touched on our favorite topic as single girls: relationships.
Contrary to what many romantic drama serials and movies portray, the life of a single professional woman (especially if she is a Christian) is far from one of romance and constant social activity. It is instead constantly plagued by worry and questions about what God has in store for her as far as relationships are concerned—and this is amid her usual concerns about career advancement and financial stability.
Among my single friends, I often hear laments like:
“There are no single Christian guys left.”
“I have prayed but God doesn’t seem to be hearing my prayers.”
“I have been holding out for a Christian guy for so many years. Maybe it is time that I consider anyone who comes my way, no matter what his beliefs are.”
Having experienced a break-up a year ago, I can empathize with these thoughts. It is easy for us as singles to slide into a despondent mood and wonder if we’d ever find someone. It becomes all the more difficult as we watch people around us get attached, married, and eventually, have families of their own.
Regular social media updates of our friends’ married or family lives don’t make it any easier. They can even trigger a mild sense of panic as they constantly remind us of our ticking biological clocks. With no partner in sight, we may sometimes even wonder if there’s anything wrong with us.
It is probably because of this mindset among singles that the apostle Paul wrote this in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8: “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.”
Isn’t it intriguing that Paul uses “gift” as well as “good” to describe those who are single? Paul would have known how it felt, being single himself! But why don’t we feel that way about singleness? Why do singles feel stressed to get attached as well?
Perhaps we’ve allowed society’s expectations to get to us. Perhaps we’ve been building our identities on what others think of us and we’ve allowed our worth to be determined by whether or not we have a partner who loves us. So what if we don’t have these things? Does it mean we lose our identity and worth? Who or what do we find our worth in?
When people ask about my love life, I’m often tempted to reply, “What love life?” But truth be told, I do have a love story, I do have a love life. I remind myself that the greatest love story was not of Romeo and Juliet, or of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, or even that of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. The greatest love story was when God sent Jesus to come into our world to live among us and sacrifice His life for us on the cross. The greatest love story happened when God offered us forgiveness for our sins and gave us new lives as His children.
Remembering my identity as a precious child of God brings such worries and problems in my life into perspective. When I’m depressed and lonely, the thought of being a daughter of God reminds me of my identity in Christ. I have the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that enables me to be confident of my worth and in God’s perfect plans over my life.
I still hope that I will get married one day. But I know that even if that does not happen, God is an ever-loving Father who has my best interests at heart and I needn’t fear the future.