By Glenn Mosher
vanity and expectations
Oh how well I remember such moments as a brand new Christian at age 20 in college. Probably because we didn’t know any better we guys would often gather and pray for our ‘future wives’, that special woman God was preparing to make our lives ‘perfect’…though we somehow never got around to praying that we might be made more perfect for her. Imagine that…a bunch of self-centered college guys. Go figure.
It was an interesting exercise like peering into the unknown future being pretty well-assured someone was going to sail into our lives and contentment would last a lifetime. I remember flowers, mountains, clear blue rivers and a great family dog were part of this idyllic scene. And yes, the idea of sexual pleasures surpassing those of all the great romances of history would also commence. The outcome of all this passion would eventually lead to children and further decades of blissful perfection.
After all wasn’t this the ideal situation we were taught…mostly from well-meaning and married churchgoers…marriage would complete us as men (and women) and give us a maturity to witness to the world just as God intended?
The answer for you is likely the same as it as for me…Yes, that’s what we hear all the time! But is marriage what the Lord intends for your life now, later or never? Marriage is something you should think seriously about, but so is singleness.
Love finds you…and not you, it.
You see, many of us exert way too much time and emotion ‘looking for love’ or ‘seeking a mate’ rather than simply letting love happen. If you can adopt the attitude that love finds you and not you, it…you will reduce most of the personal stress in your life.
Our personal ministries are usually not off in some far distant land or some distant dream. Once this stress is gone you will get your eyes off yourself and onto the needs of others.
With the worry of a life mate behind you concentrate on those near you now, today, tomorrow morning and next week. Be assured, all around you are people who not only need the Lord but also likely could sure use a good friend, a study partner, a positive thought, or even a kind smile walking to and from class or in the workplace.
1 Corinthians 13
What life teaches is that God wants us to pursue love, not marriage. The most definitive statement and promise of the Scriptures is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Here we are given the answer to nearly every song ever sung, of what every novelist has written, and what every philosopher tried to identify…the meaning of love.
By this point, you might be thinking this guy is making life seem so simple and minimizing my need for companionship. Not true. I want you to experience the joy of life every single day by investing your life in others to a degree you may not have thought possible.
Is singleness your true identity?
At age 63 and single, I can honestly say I’ve never had even a fleeting moment of feeling alone, unloved or desperate. Yes, I thought I’d be married when I was young…certain of it. But after the second attempt,t at pre-marital counseling in my 20’s, with two completely different women, I realized my desire for marriage blinded me to several realities. The most important of these is that marriage reflects the Gospel but being married is not the Gospel.
But it was something my Pastor observed which rearranged my thinking: “Glenn you are wedded to adventure and discipleship. Follow your passions and maybe singleness is your identity.” I never looked back from that point and am so glad for it. Is this route for everyone? No, but it is something each woman and man should consider.
Remember God calls us to love and the ways we can do so are boundless. I found I had greater impact as a single man, with fewer financial commitments, a freedom to consider new locations, mission opportunities, travel, and the time…the all-important time…to reach out to those who maybe lost a parent, lost a spouse or were never given guidance in life to reach for eternal joy, not simply worldly success.
In short, I have time to commit to love others…time to sit with a teenager for hours who was threatening suicide, counsel a married father of three lost in the jungle of online pornography, or actually sitting in an African jungle with believers too weak to stand for their lack of food and clean water.
two great benefits to singleness
Think about this…your singleness as a Christian provides you with the two greatest commodities to influence others…TIME and 1 Corinthians 13 LOVE. These powerful forces of life do come with frustrations, setbacks and dead ends, but bring far more blessings to your soul and to the souls of those you meet.
Let me also say it’s hard to address the possible ‘radical ‘ idea of singleness in one short article. Hopefully, there will be future ones where we can address the real issues of companionship, sexual desires that do not end, and the judgments we sometimes still face from Christians who feel marriage really is the only way to go.
My friend, those are subjects for another day and deeper exploration. But let me end today with words of sincere encouragement. Every new concept, including that of singleness, should prompt you to think, to pray, to dream, to imagine and to explore the Scriptures. Let the loving compassion of the Holy Spirit provide you ever-greater wisdom and discernment just as Jesus promised. Marriage too is a wonderful God-ordained road for many but not all. Both singleness and marriage are legitimate paths for you to follow.
And finally, do remember it is not God’s purpose to frustrate or fool you. His passion is perfecting you through the love of others who want the very best for your life…including me.
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Glenn Mosher is a Freelance Writer, Fund Raising Consultant & Motivational Speaker by profession who has spent four decades as a volunteer mentor & counselor to teenagers and young adults. A longtime resident of Washington, DC, he now resides near Denver, Colorado. His passions, aside from being an encourager to others, include adventure travel, biking, hiking, politics & Civil War history. You can reach out to Glenn at GlennDCA@gmail.com.