Nobody freaks out when they learn you’re still single or find out you’re not even going out on dates at 20 years old. Some will even tell you to take things slow.
For me, that was way too long ago. I’ll be in my 30s in a few years, and it’s a hard pill to swallow whenever I think about it.
It’s a whole different story when you’re approaching the big 3-0. You go to a wedding party and the groom asks if he can give your number to his cousin or his best man. Your happily married friends set you up with their single guy friend. And don’t forget about the family gatherings! Your aunts and uncles are waiting to ask you about how your love life is going. They all wonder if you’ll turn out to be an old maid in the end.
I see it. I’m at that point where everybody minds my being single. People think that something—or someone—is missing in my life, and I can understand that they only want to help.
But am I really lacking a good thing right now? My answer is no.
Being Single in a Time of Isolation
I attended an online talk entitled Sorry We’re Closed on February 13, where Pastor Andrew Wee and his wife, Kriscel, encouraged the singles community to have a proper perspective on romance and relationships while the world endures uncertainty like no other — a pandemic.
Most single men and women, on top of coping with the stress this pandemic has brought, also go through a rough patch dealing with a weakening hope for marriage. After the pandemic broke out, there is a gut-wrenching struggle among the singles community to meet people and know potential love interests.
“Being in isolation communicates that people get fewer opportunities to build healthy friendships with one another, especially with the opposite sex,” said Pastor Andrew in his talk.
It feels frustrating to watch others get married and start their own families. Even more when you hear relatives ask when you will introduce someone to the clan. These dilemmas may seem like an easy thing to laugh about or shake off, but deep inside, single people feel anxious in navigating life in quarantine. We are quietly hurting over a future that feels far away.
When these feelings of insecurity, impatience, and fear come knocking at the door, how does one remain in faith and still be able to enjoy their singleness?
A Beautiful Purpose in Every Season
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Even King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiates, cannot fathom the things God is doing. As an observer of life, Solomon understood that God sets the time for mourning and dancing and so on. Clearly, God also knows the right time for singleness and the right time for marriage.
“We cannot force ourselves into a season,” said Kriscel. “We tend to veer away from God or to do other things based on our understanding. If you want to know God’s will, God’s plan for you, there is no shortcut. Go back to the word of God. And by reading and obeying God’s word, only you will know the voice of God and where He is leading you.”
Here is a question to ask yourself: where is God calling you to focus your mind, energy, and strength right now? We can only find the answer when we have a relationship with Him.
“Growing in a relationship with God by reading and obeying the Word, spending time in prayer, and being in a community will help us know our season better,” Kriscel continued.
If it were only up to us, we probably had already put this season of singleness to an end. But I thank God that we don’t call the shots because our longing for a relationship could blind us from God’s intention for singleness. We often put marriage on a pedestal and think it’s only going to get better from there, forgetting that each season comes with both a good and bad side.
For whatever God has sovereignly allowed in this world is always aligned to His sovereign will. If He allowed us to remain single at a time like this, we should believe that we will bear fruit at this season. Yes, fruitful even in our season of singleness.
Filling The Void In Our Hearts
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-12
The forced separation from our friends and loved ones pushed us to withdraw from society in a snap. Our lives were reduced to staring and typing on our mobile screens. And in an attempt to escape our present reality, we keep ourselves busy with new hobbies while secretly hoping that something will take our loneliness away.
“We are trying to fill a void in our hearts that only God himself can fill. We try to fill these voids with so many things in the world. And for many people, that’s romance,” said Pastor Andrew.
God made us for an intimate relationship with Him forever, but sin entered and confused our hearts. Because of sin, we have placed our desire for eternity on things of this world rather than on God. And one of the most common things we seek to satisfy this longing for eternity is romantic relationships.
“Don’t try to fill that void with any other person because only the love of God can do that,” Pastor Andrew warned. “If you try to fill that void with a romantic partner, as Tim Keller said, you will crush that person with the weight of your expectation, and that person will crush you with the weight of their imperfections.”
Hollywood shapes us to think that happy endings are only possible when the boy and the girl fall in love and get married. The world prompts us to put our hope in another person who will complete us. But this is a dangerous lie. We can never attain wholeness by attaching ourselves to another imperfect being.
“What fills our heart? Is it filled by God? Or are we trying to jam so many other things into it? It is not going to be enough. I heard this a long time ago, [that] being in a relationship or marriage does not take away your insecurities. It rather amplifies it. [In a relationship,] our imperfections will be heightened. You see yourself for who you really are, and [you see] your partner as someone who’s not perfect,” Kriscel added.
“Our identity and value are ultimately found in God, not in our partner nor our relationship status,” she pointed out. “[This is why] we need to go back to the perfect lover of our soul. That no matter what happens, because we know we are loved, valued, and forgiven, when we enter into a relationship, we bring that same love, the same forgiveness.”
Trusting God No Matter The Situation
Perhaps all you can see today is the world’s suffering and your heart’s yearning. We indeed live in a very horrid time, but the greater truth is that we are not going through it alone.
There is a saying that goes, what consumes your mind, controls your life. Considering that our thoughts determine our direction, now is the perfect time to reflect on what occupies our minds most of the time. It requires intentionality and self-control to overcome our inclination to cover up our loneliness with a romantic relationship.
“Do not be too consumed with the idea of entering a relationship. It might make you envious or decide on things in a rush.” Kriscel noted. “Pray about it. There is nothing wrong with praying [about your future relationship]. Prayer is you asking God to align your heart with His and to know His will for your life. Do not be afraid.”
Our loneliness breeds the idea of an unmet need. Thus, over the years of being single, I realized that our loneliness invites us to either draw nearer to God or lean closer to our desires. We might prefer the latter out of convenience, but I hope that we commit to pursuing God in humility and surrender.
“We have two choices. Either we trust in our own timing and bring matters into our own hands, or trust in God’s timing. To let go and let God. Even in the area of love life, at the end of the day, it’s still about submitting to God’s lordship,” Pastor Andrew emphasized.
Being single doesn’t make one lonely. On the contrary, singleness grants us more time to devote ourselves to God and to pour our undivided attention to Him. After all, humanity was designed for union with Christ.
God didn’t leave us all on our own to endure the anxiety we feel from being single. His peace, guidance, and comfort have always been available to us through prayer, reading the Bible, and fellowship with His people.
“Surround yourself with the church community. Have people in the church hold you accountable. Seek wisdom not only from other singles but also from those who are married,” Kriscel urged.
God is leading us to a path where we can seek Him deeper. It doesn’t mean that we will always be walking a clear and sunny path. Other times, we will encounter storms and fog along the way. Seasons will change, but our God remains faithful.
And He is doing a glorious thing, even in our season today.
Pastor Andrew serves as the administrative pastor in Victory Taft, while Kriscel shares the gospel to the next generation as a campus missionary. They have been married for 5 years, and continue to serve God through loving the church.