In the survey I conducted before relaunching Purposeful Singleness, the vast majority of you indicated the aspect you like most about being single is your freedom. I would concur with that.
The independence, the ability to be flexible and spontaneous, to not have to fit into a spouse’s agenda, are certainly wonderful perks to being single. Of course it’s not just a spouse who can restrict those things — some of you have the responsibility of children or elderly parents, for instance, which create similar limitations. But in this one aspect of our lives, at least, we have a freedom that married people don’t.
So what do we do with this freedom? Is it truly a good thing? Singles are often painted with the broad-brush description of “selfish” by those who are a bit jealous of our freedom. In reality, being selfish with our blessings is a tendency every human wrestles with, not just singles. It is true, though, that for singles it is largely our freedom we need to be on guard against using only for our own interests.
I appreciate that the vast majority of you indicated you enjoy your freedom because of the ability it gives you to focus on God and to serve others. Whether that means relocating to care for a family member, spending your Saturdays to serve in a local homeless shelter, or dropping everything to spend time with a friend in a crisis, you recognize the fulfillment that comes from using your freedom in totally unselfish ways.
One of our single role models from the Bible, the Apostle Paul, wrote this to the Galatian Christians: “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)
The freedom Paul was referring to here, of course, was the freedom from the Old Testament Levitical Law. It seems the Galatians had forgotten Jesus had fulfilled the Law and all its requirements and they no longer needed to submit to such practices as circumcision. Apparently someone had convinced them otherwise. You can just hear Paul’s frustration as he writes to them! He wrote, “Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
In similar ways, we singles need to be on guard against feeling guilty for the freedoms God has given us. The perks of our circumstances are gifts and blessings from God, “who richly provides us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17 HCSB). Savoring the freedom to spend your day off in your PJs, to watch your favorite team play its latest game, or to go out for coffee with a friend on the spur of the moment — is no more selfish than those who enjoy a date night with their spouse or a family night at the park. They all serve similar purposes of providing needed rest, rejuvenation, and connection with others.
So enjoy your freedom. Be grateful for it. Savor it and bask in it. It is God’s gift to you! Use it to cultivate a close companionship with Him, meaningful relationships with others, and to serve those you couldn’t otherwise. But also use it as you would any gift — for your enjoyment. Note this does not mean to use it to indulge in sin, as Paul warned, but in wholesome, beneficial enjoyment.
Above all — as in every aspect of life — continually seek God for how He wants you to utilize your freedom in any given moment.