Punished

As I spent New Year’s eve out at dinner with my sister, I had a momentary lapse back to my former, single-hating self (GASP!). My sister left the table for a moment and I looked around to realize that we were surrounded by couples! Before she returned to the table, I had the same rage inducing thought that my old, bitter self used to dwell on: How come I’m the only person who’s single??

I’m sure that most of us at one point or another have sat alone in our rooms pondering the reasoning behind our singleness. No? Really? Just me? I warn you, single friends, do NOT let yourself go down that road! This is a road I’ve traveled many times and it only leads to destruction and further questions that you typically don’t want answered. Luckily, my sister returned to the table to distract me from going down that road any further, but I’m not always that lucky. And sometimes it can feel almost like God is punishing me by making me single.

I read something the other day that discussed the singleness vs marriage dichotomy. The point was made that God made everything in the universe (including singleness and marriage). God made both states with positive and negative attributes (as any single or married person can argue), but regardless, God made singleness and God made marriage so both can be considered good. One is not meant to be inherently better or worse than the other, they are simply different.

God does not intend for singleness to be a punishment meant for those who are unable or unworthy of having a loving human relationship. God also does not intend for marriage to be the happy ending to every story for those who’ve live the most “holy” lives. On the contrary, marriage is often just the beginning of a long and hard trail that we, as single people, don’t have the burden of hiking. And singleness can be a great gift with little to distract you from serving God and truly focusing on your relationship with Him (aside from not having to check in with another person any time you want to spend money or travel somewhere).

I know many married people who grumble and complain because their marriage is not what they made it out to be in their minds. Many people tend to romanticize things, myself included, and nothing will ever truly live up to our dream expectations. I once had a friend (who was single at the time) point out that she’d rather be single and wish she were married, than be married and wish she were single. This is simply a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome.

Single people often see their singleness as a punishment for something in their past. God doesn’t punish us for the transgressions in our past. Through Jesus, our past transgressions are forgiven and using them as reason to “punish” us would go against God’s new covenant in Christ. There’s plenty of proof of that in the bible:

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”~ Titus 3:5

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”~ 1 Corinthians 6:11

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”~ Hebrews 1:3

God is many things (omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient) and He is ALWAYS true to His word.

Despite how you may feel about being single (whether you love it or loathe it), God uses everything for His good plan. Even things that we can’t see as being good can be used to further God’s kingdom. He has us in our life situation for a reason. While our life decisions may be what led us to our current situation, God is big enough, and powerful enough to use our brokenness and all of the other junk inside of us to further His kingdom.

In Romans 8:28, Paul talks about how God is so great that He does everything for the good of His children: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If you have a real relationship with Christ, and are willing to answer the call to action in spreading His love and His light, then God is going to use you in all of your broken, beaten down glory. Yes, He will even use your dreaded singleness to help bless others and promote His kingdom.

This blog is a good example. Before I truly accepted Christ into my life, I was beat down and hated my life because I thought that I was just always and forever doomed to be single. I thought that I was ugly, useless, and unlovable. I though that God was punishing me for something I had done in the past (although I never had a thorough idea of what that could be). I blamed God for my singleness and had resigned myself to believing that God must simply love everyone else more than He loved me. So, yeah, I used to be the queen of the pity party and I loved when others got sucked into the “why am I single- poor poor me” vortex. This went on for years (remember how I mentioned in previous posts that I’m a life-long single? Yeah it went on for THAT long).

Once I matured in my faith and was able to make peace with my singleness, I started to embrace the blessings that I finally realized come with it. I was able to channel that energy that I wasted by hating my singleness into a way to spread the love and light of God to others. Not only was God’s love able to break through the tough and icy exterior that I’d built up around my heart, He was able to give me the platform in which to share my story with the hope of helping someone who might be in a similar situation be able to break free from the chains of self loathing and blame.

So I encourage you to spend more time in prayer and study with God. Let Him invade your heart with His warmth and love. Allow God’s truth to infiltrate the lies that you may be harboring in your heart. Let them go, single friend, let them go. (I apologize if you’re now singing the song). Trust me when I say I’ve been there and you have absolutely NOTHING to gain by brewing hateful and hurtful feelings about your relationship status. I know what that’s like, but I also made it through to the other side. It’s SO much better being at the table with God, rather than confining myself to the dark corner at the single’s table having a pity party with my frenemies—resentment and anger. Hold on to the truth that God can and will use everything for His good.

While you may be struggling right now to embrace your singleness, know that God will use you despite that (if you will allow Him). Use your struggle for good. Don’t let it stand in to your way and pull you further into the vortex because that’s exactly what the enemy would want. The enemy does everything he can and uses anything that he can in order to get you when your guard is down. Take a lesson from Proverbs 4:23 “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Remember that you only want good things to flow from your heart, so that you can be a good steward of God’s love and share the feast at His table.

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