If you recall, and for those of you just joining us, I conducted a survey several months ago to put me in touch with the greatest needs and aspirations of the Purposeful Singleness community. I again thank those of you who responded! Your input is invaluable.
I want to reiterate some of what I wrote in the follow-up emails, to give opportunity for discussion in the comments below. Many of you wrote insightful and thoughtful responses to me, and I would love to see you post those responses here for the benefit of others.
Through the survey results I discovered that the positive aspect of singleness most of you treasure above all others is freedom — freedom to choose what you do with your time and resources, to be spontaneous, and to serve God and others were just some of the freedoms many of you mentioned.
By far the greatest challenge of singleness most of you deal with is loneliness — lack of companionship, and feeling disconnected from others, walking into church alone, not having someone to do things with, and making decisions alone are some of the down sides of singleness many of you expressed.
It was interesting that many of the same persons expressing the exhilaration of freedom in their lives also described the suffocation of loneliness. At first glance it seems those aspects of one’s life that allows much freedom also opens the door to feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness from others.
At first I thought this was just a given, and that to have the freedom we all so much desire and treasure, we must also suffer the loneliness that seems to go with it.
But I don’t believe that needs to be the case.
Purpose Eradicates Loneliness
What if I told you the answer to loneliness is not necessarily having more people in our lives or even one special person, but in finding and living the unique purpose for which our loving Heavenly Father has designed and created us to fulfill?
In other words, loneliness = lack of purpose.
I know what you’re thinking: relationships are important, and I unequivocally agree. Not regularly connecting with other people creates a loneliness only remedied by deeper or more contact with others. God designed us that way.
But the loneliness that is soul-crushing, that could drives us to near suicide if we allowed it to take over, can be remedied by finding purpose in our lives just as our lives are right now. If we believe in a God who is sovereign and has our good at heart, can we not also trust that He designs and orchestrates our lives to be the perfect stage to live out the purpose for which He created us?
Purpose Gives us True Freedom
When we know our God-ordained purpose, we are set free to pursue that purpose and a life that will ultimately be the most fulfilling to us. I believe this is the abundant life Jesus promised us in John 10:10. True freedom is being who we were created to be, not what others expect of us, or even what we expect of ourselves and our lives.
Since God’s purpose for us is all about serving Him, knowing and living our purpose often brings us into community with those whom God has called us to serve and to serve with. It is in living our purpose that we find connectedness with God and with others.
So what do you think?
I asked these questions in my emails and really appreciated the responses, but want to ask them again here to give opportunity for discussion:
Is it true for you that the most positive aspect of singleness is freedom, and the biggest challenge is loneliness or disconnectedness from others?
Those of you experiencing soul-crushing loneliness, if you felt like your life had purpose and would be able to find out what God designed and created you for, do you think it would help eliminate or reduce your loneliness?
Those of you who don’t experience much loneliness except for the occasional times when you’ve not had as much opportunity to be with people, would you say that ultimately it’s because you feel your life has purpose and meaning?