If Singleness Calls, Tell Her I’m Not Home

Do you know what I’ve noticed? For a lot of my adult life, I have been made to feel like a bad Christian for something I feel powerless to control. I have been made to feel like I am failing to live in God’s will because I’m pursuing carnal desires. When I look at a Christian man and express interest, I am made to feel like a filthy, disgusting poor excuse for a Christian woman. But I’ve done some research. I’ve read books, blogs and most importantly, the Bible and I realised that my desires for a godly husband are far from carnal, in fact, they’re encouraged!

ImageLike with anything, we first need to evaluate the root of our desires. I’ll admit that I want to feel physical intimacy with a man. I want to be desired and looked upon as beautiful by a man. Does it shock you to read that, friend? Is it embarrassing to know that yes, I do dream of that moment when I can give myself completely to my husband? Until recently I would have been uncomfortable to tell you that. I definitely wouldn’t blame anyone for that reaction. As a Christian woman, I’ve been subtlety told that admitting such a desire makes me cheap and dirty, not at all the moral young lady I need to be. I’ve been told to ‘get my mind out of the gutter’ and that ‘God is not pleased to hear that’. So what’s a girl to do? I buried the desire. Blame it on hormones; blame it on the media’s over-sexualisation. I denied I ever had those ‘impure’ thoughts and put on a façade of Christian morality. But my façade is crumbling. If that is the measure of purity, then of course I will fail, indeed many of us will! I cannot eradicate those desires, no-one can. They have been written into our DNA by God!

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What? Hold up! Before I get hate mail claiming that I’m blaming God for my impure thoughts, I’ll just do some explaining. My thoughts are not impure. They are natural. I dream of having a husband and making a family with him. I long to have a friend who I can share every passionate and intimate moment with. That desire is completely wholesome. Additionally though, it’s not just pure by this world’s standards but it is in fact a command God gave us! In Genesis, God told us purely and simply to populate the world. Go and make babies. (See my previous blog, ‘The Pursuit Of Marriage’) What’s even more incredible is that He created our bodies specifically to enjoy the procreation act. That’s what sets us apart from the animal world. Humans (and dolphins) are the only creatures atop this earth that engage in sex for pleasure as well as reproduction. So yes, to all those people who have so blatantly told me that sex is a by-product of marriage and not a reason to enter one, I agree. But it is a fun addition, and God created it that way. So take it up with Him if you dare!

ImageSo now, where does my desire leave me, as a single woman? Well, amongst other things it leaves me with the label of ‘boy crazy’ in most Christian circles. As if to comfort me in my apparently hopeless pursuits of a man, my married friends pull me aside and gently ask me whether I’ve considered that it might be God’s call on my life to remain single. Maybe God will not bring me a husband. Maybe He won’t. That’s completely His prerogative and I’m comforted in the knowledge that He knows best. But may I pull my married friends aside and say this: You think that will help me understand that my singleness is a gift from God. But what it really says is ‘honey, what if your biggest nightmare is actually going to happen?’ Why don’t you just tell me I’m going to die a horribly painful death as a martyr because let’s be honest, that may also happen. That could also be God’s plan for my life.

pic_1333071415_1We need to evaluate whether what we’re saying is not only truthful but helpful. If I walked up to you on your wedding day and said ‘honey, this is great! You look perfect! But don’t get too excited. It might not last.’ Or if you were pregnant and I gently reminded you that the child you’re so excited to meet might not survive long enough to see kindergarten. Of course what I’m saying is true and it may very well be God’s plan, just look at David and Bathsheba’s child for an example (2 Samuel 12:14-31). But it is certainly not helpful. So, let’s learn to speak the truth in love so that it might be edifying to one another as Paul says in Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 4:6. So let’s start with this: don’t tell me it’s God’s plan for my life to be single. That’s not helpful or comforting.

ImageNevertheless, I’m still single right?  So my friends tell me to look to other women who pursued seasons of singleness with honour and purity. ‘What about Ruth?’ they say. What about Ruth?! She is a towering figure of faith and definitely someone to aspire to sure. But a model of patient purity? No. The woman propositioned a decent man by presenting herself vulnerable whilst he slept (Ruth 3:4-7). Thankfully Boaz made an honest woman of her, but she took a huge risk to secure her husband. Then there is Esther’s unevenly yoked marriage to Xerxes – a Persian king! Gentlemen, you’re not off the hook either. Must we even look at the lists of immorality in the life of Judah, Abraham, Solomon and David? But of course, I am not at all condoning this level of immorality and I’m definitely not saying that that’s what’s required to find your mate. But let’s be real about this. Those figures of morality were just as starved of physical intimacy as you and I, and it drove them to ridiculous ends.

ImageNow to you dear reader, you may be in one of three positions. You may be married or closely on the way there, you may be single and seeking companionship or you might be content that singleness is the will of God for your life. If you genuinely feel that you are being called to singleness, then you are very much the exception and I have enormous respect for you. As I explained in my earlier blog (see ‘The Pursuit Of Marriage’), God commanded us to make babies (Genesis 9:7) and to do that, we need to get married. But not just any marriage that may present its opportunity. His desire is to fill the earth with generations of God-honouring people and we need to begin with our God-fearing families.

letterDo not settle on singleness if someone has merely told you that might be God’s will for you. Know that God’s promise is to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). He delights in making our dreams come true, when they are aligned with His will (Matthew 6:33). So the way I see this is, if you and I desire a partner, He’s going to bring us one or He’ll change our desire. It’s that simple and it’s that exciting. His promise to us singles is rich with love – both earthly and eternally. God is a perfect father – He will keep His promises. How liberating is that?

Yours in relaxation of His perfect will,

Emma.

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8 thoughts on “If Singleness Calls, Tell Her I’m Not Home

  1. Hi Emma, I’ve made it to 32 wit out being kissed and while there are hard years, there are wonderful years too! I’m going for a record – up to 7 years with Student Wife (3 student, 4 staff) and 8 years of Bridal College (part-time) without getting engaged! Love God’s promise that he does place the lonely in families. He is so good to me. In the world of Christian books, sadly I have only found one which is really helpful – The Single Issue by Al Hsu. I highly recommend it if you get a chance.

    1. Hi MissBeth,

      Thanks for your encouragement. I am hugely impressed with your record – I’m not sure if ‘congratulations’ or ‘my condolences’ is more appropriate. Will you keep your first kiss for your wedding day or do you feel you’ve been called to lifelong singleness?

      I have read many books on the topic of singleness and it may sound cliche but I actually found Joshua Harris to be hugely insightful. I will also check out Al Hsu.

      Thanks for the advice and wisdom!

      God bless,
      Emma.

      1. Hi Emma,
        Interesting questions – I try not to plan too far ahead. I would have never picked the life I have now, but God has put it together wonderfully so I try to trust Him for the future too.
        B.

      2. A good way to live – very much in the vein of Psalm 37 and Proverbs 16; let your steps be ordered by the Lord. It’s the only way to live without worry, knowing that God is in control and relaxing in that.

  2. Emma – bless you for being honest about your feelings and confronting the un-Biblical responses that those feelings often draw from others and responding so well to those. I am married and a mum of 4 lovely children but really hurt for those who do long to be married – for companionship and intimacy with a lovely Godly man – and don’t feel they can express that without criticism from other believers. Thank you for an insightful article.

    1. Thanks Lois. Your encouragement means so much to me.

      It has never been my intention to make people feel guilty that they are happily married, which I hope this conveys. Having recently become single after a series of unsuccessful (perhaps even damaging) relationships, I feel that I can act as the mouthpiece of single Christian women everywhere.

      Of course, there is always an element of nervousness I experience when I make my private thoughts public this way but any judgement or criticism I may receive pails when compared to the volume of emails I receive from people such your married self, who have been encouraged by my words. I genuinely want my readers to know they are not alone in the thoughts they may keep hidden from fear of disappointing those around them.

      To think that God is using me is unfathomable! Thank you for your word of encouragement and I’m so glad my honesty has endeared you! I cannot thank you enough.

      Glory to God!

    1. Hi Billy!

      Thanks – I haven’t been called ‘refreshing’ before.

      We serve a diverse God who shows His character through His unpredictable actions. Diversity is the flavour of life – how boring it would be if every couple’s love story was the same?

      Nothing gives me more joy than asking married couples about the way they met. I love hearing them describe the moment they knew they wanted to spend their lives together. It’s always a touching and intimate story. Maybe one day I will have the honour of asking you and Mel that question.

      I definitely don’t want to make my married friends feel guilty for enjoying their marriage – this is your gift, you have my permission to love it! As if you needed my permission anyway.

      Thanks for your support,
      Emma.

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