I grew up in the “true love waits” generation. I read Lady in Waiting and every other book a proper young lady was supposed to. The theme constantly communicated to me was “wait.” My life was about waiting. Waiting to find the right guy. Waiting to have sex until I was married. Waiting to make plans for the future until I knew what my husband’s plans would be. There was an idea put into my head that life was on hold until I found a mate. My life was about waiting on and waiting for someone else.
“God will bring someone in the right time.”
“It happens when you least expect it.”
“You have to not want it anymore and then God will give it to you.”
The formula for finding a mate was to not expect it, not to want it, and then you’ll magically get it. Like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. If I could just be comatose, then like magic, a man of appropriate attractiveness and incredible income would gallop on his horse into my hospital room, ignore the beeping and HIPAA laws, and take me off to live in a castle with his parents.
But forest animals never flocked to me and I still can’t figure out how to thread a sewing machine. So until that perfect man came along, surprised me and swept me off my feet, what was I supposed to do in the meantime? What if he never showed up? What if I never got married? Did that mean I was meant to spend my entire life waiting? That my life could potentially end without it ever beginning?
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. - Colossians 3:23-24
We weren’t designed to wait; we were designed to work. Life doesn’t begin or end when a relationship does. It begins when you put your faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is a constant pursuit. It’s work. Every relationship you have takes work. Everything you would ever want to achieve, it takes work. There are no easy ways out. There are no excuses based on gender or circumstance. God designed and desires for us to work and live whole lives now, regardless of your marital status, job, gifting, gender or whatever else. You are called to get to work and to do it now.
If you find yourself single, what exactly are you supposed to work on?
- Work on your baggage. All of us carry some sort of relational or emotional baggage, and it gets in the way of us having lasting and meaningful relationships with others. Singleness is a perfect time to “unpack” your emotional baggage, sort through it and make sense of it. How can you work on it? Through support groups, practicing healthy relationships with friends and through counseling.
- Find your passion and gifting. Work on you. How did God design you? How has He gifted you for ministry in His kingdom? What passion has He put deep inside of you? What must you do with your life? How can you work on/develop this? You can try different ministries. You can spend time with God experiencing Him by reading His Word, worshiping Him in music, prayer, solitude, fasting and other spiritual disciplines. You can also work your way backward and figure out what you definitely aren’t gifted to do and then try all the maybes on for size.
- Set goals for yourself and meet them. The one thing I always wanted to do was travel around Europe. It took two years of saving for my roommates and me to do it, but we did it, and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. A lot could have changed during that time. I could have met my husband. I could have had financial changes and stresses that prevented me from going. God could have called me somewhere else all together, but He didn’t. Instead I made a plan, I saved for that plan, and I executed that plan (with His blessing). All on my own. All before I was married.
It turns out it was a part of God’s plan for me to get married. I’ve been married for a little over a year now and I love it, but it didn’t make me magically different. I didn’t become a princess or a pumpkin. I’m exactly the same except I live with a boy. You know what I find myself doing a lot? Working. I’m still working on my emotional baggage. I’m still pursuing and exercising my gifts and passions. I’m still setting goals and working to achieve them.
Working might be the best way to get ready for marriage. It’s also the best way to begin living your life to the fullest, regardless of the future. If you waste your life waiting now, you will always find you have another thing to wait for. Once you get married you can spend your life waiting to have kids, then you can wait for them to go off to college. You can wait for them to get married and for you to have grandkids, and then the worst of the waiting: you can wait to die.
Stop waiting and start working now – in whatever season you find yourself and whatever varying level of satisfaction you find in it. No matter how long you’ve been waiting, it’s never too late to stop waiting and start living.