Singleness – Burden or Blessing?

When the Good Shepherd speaks to His own ...

Singleness – is it a burden or a blessing?

Each of us who are single would likely give a different answer to that question depending on when we were asked. And both answers would be correct. Singleness, like marriage (and almost every other aspect of life), has its burdens and its blessings.

When I feel my singleness is a burden it’s often because I’m not seeing it from God’s perspective and design. At other times it’s because I haven’t been connected enough with others and it’s time to pick up the phone and call a close friend or plan for interaction with others.

In general, I’ve found that …

Singleness is a BURDEN when I:

  • focus on what I don’t have.
  • squander my freedom on self-pity.
  • view being single as being “less than.”
  • complain about my life.
  • think my life doesn’t have purpose.
  • think I’m a failure.
  • spend too much time isolated from others.
  • don’t invest enough time in my closest relationships.
  • am not focusing on how all-satisfying my relationship is with Jesus.

Singleness is a BLESSING when I:

  • focus on the abundance I have!
  • use my freedom to relate to God without distraction.
  • view my singleness as being a valuable asset to me, to others, and to the Body of Christ.
  • express gratitude about my life and all I’ve been given.
  • know and live God’s unique purpose for which He created me!
  • realize how much God has accomplished through me!
  • spend time relating to others.
  • invest in my closest relationships.
  • grow in my relationship with Jesus and in experiencing how all-satisfying He truly is!

Perspective is the Key

Perspective is an amazing thing! Many times in my life the “blues” have lifted simply because my perspective changed, even though nothing else in my life changed a bit. I have learned that the enemy of my soul loves nothing better than to get me to view my life negatively rather than positively. Negative feelings will bring my pursuit of life and purpose to a grinding halt quicker than anything, and prevents me from living a joyful life to the full!

There’s a quote by Roy Lessin I have gone to again and again over the years to remind me when my perspective isn’t coming from God and needs adjusting:

“When the Good Shepherd speaks to His own, He never uses words of despair, hopelessness, frustration, defeat, discouragement, fear, confusion, or failure. Instead, He gives His sheep words of hope, rest, victory, peace, power, joy, triumph, and love.”  —Roy Lessin

When I am feeling in despair, hopeless, frustrated, defeated, discouraged, fearful, confused, or that I’m a failure – I know my perspective is not God’s. Even if I need correction in my life, His correction always comes with hope, never with despair. Truth – which is God’s perspective – always brings freedom, as Jesus said in John 8:32: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus also said that Satan seeks “to steal and to kill and to destroy,” but that Jesus came so that we “may have life and have it in abundance.” Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy our joy and peace. He is the father of lies and makes his perspective appear to be truth so we’ll take it to heart. But when we do, we end up with negativity that sends us on a downward spiral. When we change our perspective to God’s, we are freed from that negativity and instead experience hope, rest, victory, peace, power, joy, triumph, and love!

How are you viewing your life, whether it is being single or some other aspect? Is it a positive view or a negative view? What helps you the most to change a negative perspective into a positive one, or to change a burden into a blessing?

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Comments

  1. Otho Horst says

    Very good, Fern. Count it all joy when we are tested, knowing that Jesus will not allow anything to come upon us that we can not bear. Our burdens become a blessing when we turn them over to Jesus. Joy is a choice. Choose JOY. J= Jesus first, Y= yourself last and O= others in between.

  2. Ruud says

    Which of the mentioned advantages (apart from the 3rd) cannot be enjoyed by a married couple as well, especially when they don’t have kids?

    Quite some singles would actually really like to finally have someone they can see with their very own eyes, someone who they can look into his/her eyes, someone they can talk with and who will answer them immediately with a clearly audible voice, someone with whom they can think all kinds of things over, someone who helps them solve crises by giving clearly audible immediate advice and whom they can help when he/she is in crisis, someone they can touch, hold, be intimate with, …… etc, etc, etc.

    These are assets a lot of singles are really looking for.

    Is that apparently selfish or does that mean they are not so much interested in a relationship with God? Nonsense.

    After all, God didn’t tell Adam either that he should focus on these advantages either with a reason. Apart from the relationships, most other advantages would have been perfectly applicable to him as well.

    But no, God gave him Eve.

    • Fern Horst says

      Hi Ruud,

      I was citing MY personal experience of blessings in singleness. Perhaps you haven’t experienced them, but you can’t argue that I haven’t. I would hope those who are married DO find some of the same blessings! Why should I expect to have blessings they do not? So I feel superior and they feel short-changed?

      Yes, God gave Eve to Adam, but who did He give to Jesus? to Paul? to John? to others in Scripture whom we have no record or mention of a spouse? And yet they each found joy in their journey despite their “lack.” They developed other close relationships for mutual encouragement and fellowship, and most of all they found joy and fulfillment in following hard after God.

      While there is joy in marriage if it is lived out as God intended, it is still temporal, fleeting, and earthly. There are no guarantees in this life, even for those who marry and have a good marriage. Spouses die, get sick, become incapacitated, disagree with each other, and worse. We can find all kinds of reasons to believe God is against us or is short-changing us. But if we do, we are believing a lie and guaranteeing a miserable existence.

      At the end of the day, no matter what else we have or don’t have, no matter if we are married or single — if we don’t have an intimate and all-satisfying relationship with Jesus, we have nothing.

      Blessings to you, brother. I pray that in some way you do find joy in your life journey.

  3. Ruud says

    I didn’t write it to attack you, Fern. If you have that experience: great, enjoy it!

    However, I think quite some singles – not just me – would just love to have some of the joy of marriage and if it is temporal, fleeting and earthly, fine, so be it. The joy of singleness is not any less temporal, fleeting and earthly.

    Singles can also get sick or become incapacitated and then you find there are advantages to be not single, regardless of whether you think God is short-changing you or not. (He isn’t, I know. After all, He didn’t promise a spouse to anyone)

    • Fern Horst says

      Thanks for your reply, Ruud. I really didn’t feel like you were attacking me, but did feel discouraged and frustrated that my post hadn’t been encouraging to you and probably others, too.

      This is the thing: I realize that most singles (including me) would love to have some of the joys of marriage. But I also realize that reality is that some will never experience those joys. But that doesn’t mean our lives are devoid of equal — though different — joys. If we choose to focus on the earthly joys we don’t have, we’ll be miserable. But if we focus on the joys God HAS given us and realize He has a purpose and plan for choosing what He has for us, we truly can have the abundant life Jesus came to give us! I want that for me, for you, and for everyone who comes to this site!

      Forgive me for reacting. I appreciate you, Ruud, and your faithfulness in reading my my many ramblings all these years! 🙂 Blessings to you!

  4. Ngoni Griffith says

    I have been trying to live my life in the “glass half full” perspective Fern. I have seen marriage and I know that I’d rather be single and wishing to be married than married and wishing to be single. As I get older, (I turned 44 six days ago) I realize that I am single for a reason. I do enjoy my freedom and being able to help others without having to “ask” for permission. Sounds selfish, I know, but I do “single” very well. I wouldn’t know how to do “married” and honestly, I don’t think I would be very good at it. I am very comfortable with where I am at and do not miss companionship. I’ll take honest friendship any day of the week.

  5. says

    The main issue if the single person has no family nearby when they get sick or incapacitated? I don’t want to end up alone and forgotten, when a single person is sick, even with a cold, who is there by their side? They are left to fought for themselves, get themselves to the doctor, shops and still feed themselves as they have no family to assist. The church doesn’t tailor to one person households and singles need real friends/siblings in Christ not charity case do gooder treatment. When sick go and visit them or at least drop off some food and send them a card as they don’t have family nurturing them. Text/email them regularly to see if they need anything so they don’t feel forgotten if they do get sick. The church has to change their outlook in this case so the single isn’t found dead alone due to not being looked out for.

    • Fern Horst says

      I agree that by and large the church could do a much better job filling this role for those who are single and don’t have built-in support.

      But I have also experienced the fact that God is my Provider, and when it seems like people are failing me, He never does. Even during those times when it seems people had abandoned me, somehow He provided all I needed in His own way — who knows how often He has given us extra physical, emotional, and spiritual strength in lieu of human help and support. After all, I’m still here, so I survived! I can count on Him without fail, even when I can’t count on others to be there for me.

      I know you’ve experienced His provision, too. So often we don’t recognize it for what it is. I know I often don’t!

  6. Stewart says

    Personally, I feel that the statement “Singleness is a blessing” is not Christian at all. I am 55 years old and never been married. But I am different situation than a lot of people and that is because 10 years ago I found out that I was an Asperger. I isolated myself with technology and computers and a lot of self-centerless. But 10 years ago I was awaken and since then I have gone on a mission trip, spent 6+ years helping in prison ministry. I have been journaling for 10 years and God is showing me a solution for Asperger’s and Autism.

    But the deeper problem with singleness is that it also means one is alone. It hard to explain how one can be alone especially if you are not on the spectrum. I was blessed with cruises with my relatives and even with 1000’s of people on a ship, I feel alone. I have been working overcoming my struggles with singleness and socialization with others and God is showing me how to do it. One of biggest ways God is showing me is with dancing, all my life I could not look others in the eye or be touch by others – well of course with dancing with partner, one must over come this.

    But lately I come to reality on why at least for me my singleness does not come from God but actually Satan. Well most of my life I would escape my struggles with singleness by resorting to technology. I would purchase more and more of this stuff and even at point having duplicates – when the Xbox One S came out with 4k support, I had to purchase 4k movies that I already have. But the worst is games and such and I aware that Satan uses these to his best to distract me from God’s purpose in my life.

    God is showing me something about Love, one of my favorite movies, Fireproof has a book call “Love Dare” and this book as become a foundation for helping others on the Autism Spectrum. Yes it is about Divorce – but that means relationship troubles and I believe this is key problem on why most believe that Singleness is a blessing. I believe God is showing me that one must treat one’s partner right and marriage should be a thing that is between the two partners and God.

    Also in my prison ministry, we often talk about Man is not suppose to be alone and I believe if more people follow what is in Love Dare than there will be less in prison.

    As for myself this is my key struggle, God has major purpose in my life – I planned to write a book on it and it relationship with Autism. I have plans to create a school to help others and principals of “Love Dare” and other things I learn is a major foundation of this school idea. But I can not do this alone because it just does not work.

    I have seen God moving me this direction and I believe without a doubt at less for me that Singleness is not a blessing – it is in fact what keeps me from proving God’s purpose. Because to me Singleness is my greatest sin of being alone and self-centered.

    Please Pray that God shows me the solution to this because I believe once solved. I will be help others. I have already help others but I believe this will help 1000’s if not millions one day.

  7. Fern Horst says

    Thanks for joining this conversation, Stewart! One thing I’ve learned about our God-given purpose is this: it’s not dependent on anyone else to be able to fulfill it. We can live it whether we’re with someone or alone. If we feel like we can’t do it alone, then we’ve misunderstood what our purpose is.

    Perhaps you’d like to talk to someone to discover your purpose and know how to take steps to living it. I invite you to check out Living Our Purpose at http://www.LivingOurPurpose.com — and use PURPOSE-2017 to get 50% off all coaching purchased in the month of January 2017. It’s an amazing thing to have someone listen deeply to us and ask questions that draw out who God created you to be. Many singles find fulfillment in discovering their purpose and realizing they can live a joy-filled life no matter their marital status. I hope you will, too!

    • Stewart says

      There is difference not being depended on others and being alone and single. I believe though my life changes that God is showing that one is not suppose to be alone and single ( at least for me ). For me singleness is root of all my sins – and this is because when I am alone I retreated to my self-centerless.

      I also found my cause of this is Asperger’s – a mild form of Autism. And I actually found that I can coach others – I done it several times already and not just in Autism but helping others with development work because of my experience.

      “Single is (NOT) a blessing” is very heart of my center of my frustration and I also believe that Satan loves us to be frustrated and alone. I been journaling for 10 years, 6 years of prison ministry, dancing for 5 years+ and also dealing with autism community for 7 or years. I also spoke in our church service last Sunday.

      God has definitely put a big purpose in my life – I be bold and it actually related to solution for Autism. I hope to create a school which is Faith based to help others – most of it is pretty much in focus – but the biggest area is this area. I must resolved this area to help others for my purpose – a lot of this is trust and it also validation for other that nothing is impossible with God’s help.

      If singleness is such a blessing, why when I alone does it cause so much pain. And why does things happen to force me to be alone. Last night I leaving to go dancing and my door my garage fell apart on me – It frustrated me – but I was able to go and I going to join a dance team with other and had interesting time and possibly with God’s help have a relationship with woman that I just met last month. The worst part is of course waking up alone each morning, but I refused to give up on this struggle.

      Also where in the Bible does it actually state “Singleness is a blessing” I pretty much read the whole thing ( at least New Testament and most of Old Testament )

  8. Fern Horst says

    Hi Stewart,

    It is true that singleness has its challenges. But so does marriage, and marriage is not a cure for our sinfulness. You mentioned that “singleness is root of all my sins,” but that simply isn’t true, and looking at singleness in that way prevents you from seeing the blessings God has for you in singleness. Our sinful nature is the root of all our sins. And selfishness is a struggle for all individuals, not just singles.

    You asked, “If singleness is such a blessing, why when I alone does it cause so much pain?” It’s because you’re looking at it from a negative point of view and not from a view based on truth. Truth sets us free, it doesn’t cause us pain, so when we feel pain about something it’s because we’re believing something that isn’t true. Truth is that both Jesus and the Apostle Paul were single and spoke of the blessings of remaining single. Truth is that God has a purpose for good for those who are single, and in fact has benefits and blessings that married people don’t have. It’s true they have blessings singles don’t have, too. But that’s the case with anything here on this earth: there are both good and “bad” sides to everything.

    You asked, “Also where in the Bible does it actually state ‘Singleness is a blessing’?” It’s true the Bible doesn’t state those exact words, but neither does it say “Marriage is a blessing,” or “Singleness is not a blessing.” However, Paul talks about the blessings of singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. I encourage you to read it.

    Have you asked the Lord to show you the blessings He has for you in singleness? Obviously He has you single for now, so I know without a doubt He has a reason for good for you being single! I pray you’ll be able to recognize those blessings and find joy in the journey God has for you — not just in the future, but right now!

  9. Ruud says

    I think many singles would be glad to be able to enjoy the blessings of marriage and would even be willing to accept the disadvantages of marriage as well.

    The pain from the disadvantages of singleness is often felt far more intensely than the joy of its blessings.

    The grass is always greener on the other side…..

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