Today’s blog is a guest post by Rachel, a single girl teaching English in inner-city Memphis. You can find her at Why I…, her blog where she writes about anything that pops into her head, from television to theology to the weird things her dog does.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”
– 1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV)
I sometimes find myself wondering when my life is actually going to begin. Growing up, there are so many milestones and landmarks that help determine the direction of your life. After kindergarten, you go to first grade. After 5th grade, you go to middle school. After 8th grade you go to high school. There isn’t every really a question about what direction your life is going.
And then I finished college (well, first I panicked and added a double major and a secondary education certification to make it take longer, but that’s a different story). I did all the things you are “supposed” to do when you graduate college – I found a job, I got an apartment, and I started living on my own.
In the back of my mind, though, this felt wrong. I had always assumed that by the time I graduated college, I would be married or very close to it. I never pictured myself as single-girl-in-the-city. In the lives of most of the people around me, the post-college milestone was marriage, but my life had gone in a different direction.
Thankfully, God clearly orchestrated that new direction. My job was not just a job; it was an acceptance letter from Teach for America, an organization that places new teachers in high-need schools. My apartment was not just an apartment; it was an apartment I found on Craigslist on the absolute last possible day, with a roommate who already attended the church I was planning on going to. And I was not just living on my own; I was living on my own in Memphis, a city that God had placed in the back of my mind years earlier, even though it was 8 hours away from my college friends and 11 hours away from my parents.
Three years later, even with all God’s provision and clear direction, I still sometimes wonder when my real life is going to start. When do I get to be in a relationship? When do I get to be married? When do I start dealing with in-laws and coordinating holidays and all the little things that go along with sharing your life with another person?
It is in these times that I find comfort in 1 Corinthians 7:17: “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” My life has begun; this is the life that has been assigned to me. My call now is to live it, not survive it. To walk with the Spirit, to join in community, and to share the truth of the Gospel with those around me right now.
It does not matter whether we are single or married, widowed or divorced – we have one life to live. It is the life God has given us, so let us live it with our eyes fixed firmly on Him, rather than on the things around us that we wish we had. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so here are some things I’ve found helpful:
- Time in the Word and in prayer – I can be really horrible at this, so I’m preaching to the choir here, but the more time I spend reading my Bible and talking with God and listening for His voice, the less discontent I find myself.
- Invest in your spiritual community – If you haven’t already, find a gospel-centered church and JOIN! Find ways to serve, get to know the people who sit near you every week, join a small group. You do not have to be married to share your gifts with the Church.
- Invest in your physical community – Find ways to contribute to the city or town or neighborhood you have been placed in. Get involved in people’s lives and share yours with them. Again, you do not have to have a husband to bring God glory!
Singleness may be a season, or it may be a lifetime. Either way, God has prepared good works for us to do right now, so let’s start doing them!