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Single & Serving

“It’s not what I prayed for, it’s not what I wanted, it’s not something I understand.”[i]

As I listened to Courtney Collingsworth sing the opening lines of “Your Ways are Higher Than Mine,” my throat closed. For me, that it was singleness. I had planned to attend college and get a master’s degree as quickly as possible so that I would be ready to get married, have children, and start my ministry—in that order. I figured that my ministry wouldn’t really start until I got married.

But life is different from what I wanted and prayed for. Although I’ve gotten my master’s degree, my Prince Charming hasn’t come charging down the King’s Highway. Last year, I came home from college, taught in a Christian school, and led a youth group. But really, I was waiting for my life to start—I was still waiting for Prince Charming.

The waiting was draining. And as I waited, I allowed discontentment to fill my mind and heart. It didn’t help that I decided to drown my boredom in romance novels. Oh, they were perfectly respectable Christian romance novels that had spiritual lessons. But in reality, I was feeding my dissatisfaction by trying to borrow imaginary Prince Charmings who were just as satisfying as Dunkin Donuts’ attempt at frozen hot chocolate.[ii]

Yet over the last few months, the Lord changed my focus from waiting to serving. I would like to give you that climatic moment in which I was zapped with the power of God and I fell to my knees in repentance and trust. But I can’t. Sometimes, the Lord doesn’t use one moment. Sometimes, He teaches us several lessons that lead to a reformation in our lives. Here are some lessons He taught me to bring me from “single and waiting” to “single and serving.”

My life is not my own

One Saturday morning as I was preparing a Sunday school lesson, an older gentleman confronted me in McDonalds and insisted that God doesn’t answer our prayers. Really, his challenge stemmed from the question, “Why does God allow suffering?” It pushed me to rethink my pat answers, and I realized anew that Christ calls us to denial and suffering. Paul said that the purpose of his suffering was “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings” (Philippians 3:10 {KJV}. Paul’s words reminded me that I am not on this earth to get what I want, but to know God, follow His plan, and serve His people. If my life is God’s, He gets to decide how I serve Him.

My focus should be on Christ

1 Corinthians 7 changed my views on singleness and marriage. God, through Paul, actually emphasizes the freedom of service that single women have. 1 Corinthians 7:34 {KJV} says, “The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.” Paul doesn’t want to discourage Christians from marrying, but our purpose is to “attend upon the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35 {KJV}). As a single lady, I have more time and energy to focus on my relationship with God and the work that He has for me.

My service depends solely on Christ.

Although I’ve been leading my church’s youth group for a year, I was constantly frustrated by my perceived limitations. Men are supposed to be youth leaders. A man could mentor our boys better. I don’t have the personality to establish good relationships with teenagers. If I just got married, my husband could lead the group. But God doesn’t want me to depend on a husband. He wants me to depend on Him. He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul continues, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 {KJV}). The young people I serve cannot be reached unless the power of Christ works in their lives. Instead of complaining about limitations, I should be begging for God’s power to fill me and work in the lives of these precious teenagers.

Time and again, we have to set aside our own expectations and trust God’s work in our lives.

[tweetshare tweet=”Time and again, we have to set aside our own expectations and trust God’s work in our lives. ~Carmen Dillon” username=”grace_and_such”]

Sarah Mally reminded me in her book Speak Truth in Your Heart: “God has put you on this earth at this particular time for a reason—and it’s not to chase the world’s dreams. It’s not to live an easy, comfortable life. It’s for a far greater purpose than that—it’s to be an ambassador for Christ in this dark world.”[iii] For me, singleness means a denial of my dreams. But I’ve decided that if the Lord wants me to serve as a single lady, I’m going to do it. Because I love Him. Because I trust Him. Because I want to serve Him. And in embracing my “single and serving” status, I’ve found more joy, more excitement, and more satisfaction than ever before.


[i] Words by Rachel McCutcheon.
[ii] Since my sweet tooth is too strong to appreciate coffee, I am a frozen hot chocolate connoisseur.
[iii] Mally, Sarah. 2018. Speak Truth in Your Heart: Replacing Lies with God’s Word. Cedar Rapids, IA: Tomorrow’s Forefathers.

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.

Carmen Dillon

Carmen Dillon loves sharing the light of God’s truth through teaching, writing, and editing. She shares her passion for English with her junior high and high school students during the week and humbly shares God’s Word with her teen Sunday school class on weekends. She is blessed to live in Missouri and serve the Lord with her incredibly dedicated, God-honoring family.
Carmen Dillon

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Eshleman on October 18, 2018 at 2:16 PM

    Another good blog post, Carmen.

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