I am three years happily married. I know, what an interesting way to begin a post on singleness…but I think it is important to start with where I am at now, and hope this emphasizes how important I believe the season of singleness is, even looking back now as a married woman.
There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell my single self in preparation for what was to come. And with that, so many things I could encourage every single women out there with. But, I feel it more helpful to share three things I believe all single women should be working on during the season of singleness, however long God wishes that season to be. These three things have resonated in my heart over the years as God has opened my eyes to so many areas of growth. And I hope they prove helpful and encouraging to you.
I know and trust the faithfulness of God’s plan over our own, and I hope that if you are reading this, you have come or will come to know this precious truth as well. It makes what I am about to share all the more sweeter. None of these things below can be accomplished on our own accord, but through heart transformation enacted by our almighty and sovereign Heavenly Father. My hope and prayer is that these pieces of encouragement would resonate in our hearts daily, molding us into first, stronger women of God, and second (if part of God’s perfect plan), better wives. To God be the glory, forever and ever.
-Learn to Love Sacrificially-
Learning to love others sacrificially is something I always knew to be an important trait, but I neglect the fact that I fail to embody it more often that not. And I wish this was something I had worked on better when I was single, mostly because of the deep roots it plants in natural humility. It’s easy to harbor bitterness, especially when life isn’t going our way, or someone else isn’t treating us well. Bitterness and holding grudges is actually something I struggled with for so long. It wasn’t until recently that God changed my heart and showed me what true and sacrificial love looks like, beyond just my husband and close friends and family. It means forgiving others, praying for our enemies, and asking that God give us a true and genuine heart that develops deep care for others.
But I know, it’s so much easier to expect perfection from others, to demand respect. I know, it sounds blunt, but how many times have you scoffed at another person in the grocery store because they were being too slow? Or engaged in gossip about someone else? Or let your feeling of self-entitlement seep into the way you talk to someone on the phone? I am guilty of these things almost every. single. day. And I truly believe that if this is something you work on when you are single, it will cultivate personality traits in your heart that will be wonderfully rewarded when and if God opens the door of marriage in your life. More importantly, this encourages us to be better women of God, living out a pursuit of holiness, rather than a pursuit of this world.
I believe that when we grab hold of a true understanding of loving sacrificially, we open our hearts to all kinds of diverse relationships in the Church and with our neighbors, to allow for a life that is motivated by deep care for others (John 15:13). Yes, this is a trait all women, single and married alike, should strive for. But if you truly cultivate a heart of deeply loving and caring for others while you are single, it will lead naturally to having a heart of compassion, humility, and grace in a marriage relationship.
-Become a Woman of Prayer-
I am guilty of undermining the power of prayer. So often in my life, I believe that I can handle things better than our God. I force my own agenda and waste so much time doing it. Over the past few years, I have learned a lot about the power and importance of prayer, and this is something I wish I had worked on more when I was single.
There have been times in our marriage when prayer really is the only option. And I don’t want resorting to prayer to become a habit of mine when I feel there is nothing left to do. Instead, I have been working on it becoming a natural and powerful part of my every day life. Whether its offering prayers of thankfulness to God for his undeserved blessings, prayers of His Will being done in times of confusion, or prayers of healing in times of hurt, I find myself assured time and time again through prayer that our God is greater.
When striving to develop these habits as a single woman, I believe we are building a strong and powerful tool for all kinds of relationships in years to come, including marriage. This further cultivates a heart of trusting in God’s perfect plan, and molds us into women that are strong sought after the Kingdom of God. God reveals Himself to us through prayer, as we see his power made manifest in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Prayer is powerful; so pray often and strive to never neglect it’s importance in our every day lives.
-Invest in Discipleship-
God calls us to be people of discipleship. I truly believe that in order to strengthen our personal walks and to grow into greater maturity, we should always have someone consistently pouring into our lives, and always be pouring into others’ as well. The simple truth is, we have more time when we are single. Marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities, so use your time of singleness to grab hold of this important principle and make it a habit in your life. Find a mentor at your local church that you can meet with on a regular basis, and get plugged into a ministry where you can serve others. Working on this habit now will allow for easier and more rewarding prioritization of your responsibilities later.
Discipleship encourages so many traits important for all relationships, including marriage. Things like vulnerability, servant hood, dedication, compassion, patience, humility, and grace (Colossians 3:12-17). It also deepens our wisdom and reveals more of our great God’s perfect nature.
Investing in Discipleship also opens up areas of your heart where growth is needed, further preparing you for the future. There are so many things I have learned through discipleship now being married, that I wish I had known when single. For the sake of better preparing your heart and continuing to build a solid foundation, discipleship is key. And I truly believe that God will reveal Himself to you in so many ways through it.
I hope these three things encourage you to take advantage of your singleness, and view this season as a time for so much growth and heart preparedness. Singleness is not a bad thing, it is part of God’s perfect and holy plan (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). My hope and prayer is that we would all, married and single alike, pursue holiness and let the desire to know Christ deeper burn like a rampant flame inside of us…shining wild for all to see.