Writing on the topic of singleness can be daunting. Have we not heard it all? “Singleness is just a season. It’s a time of preparation. It’s a calling. And ultimately it’s a gift.”
Whether we are single by choice or circumstance, we are often met with an abundance of advice or consolation for our condition. It can’t be that the beauty of singleness is simply the ability to travel whenever we want or to use our time how we see fit. And yet it can’t be that this time is just a means to an end either. I’ve observed that there are often two extremes: either elevating singleness as better than marriage or viewing it as simply a waiting room for marriage. But I believe the Lord has something much more exciting for us; we need a shift in perspective, not viewing singleness in the terms of how it does or does not benefit us, but in the context of the narrative God is telling.
We are a part of a narrative. When that is forgotten, our purpose and our calling are forgotten. We often talk about the beauty of marriage and how it is a picture of Christ and His bride. This beauty is worthy of reflection, but we should not lose sight of the beauty of singleness and the image it also carries. Truly, it is a picture of our eternal state in which human marriage is no more, as the church is perfectly unified in our love for Jesus as the bride of Christ. Marriage and singleness are both images, not contrasting but complementing, to give us a fuller picture of eternity. Indeed, both are intricately designed as a part of the eternal narrative we are actively participating in. And both also bear an immediate purpose. It’s important to grasp the paradox in which we find ourselves. We are already participating in what is to come while still anticipating its completion.
For too long, I think we have embraced the world’s idea of singleness. Being thrown continually between discontentment and celebration depending on how we feel. Yet here, in the understanding of our narrative, we can be grounded in a new reality. Though it is worked out differently, we have only one call. Whether single or married, it is the same: to usher in the kingdom of God and image our eternal reality by living in self-giving love.
The beauty of what we have been called into is meant to compel change, shifting our perspective on singleness. There is no longer a need to cling to benefits that attempt to validate its value or to bear through it as a season that will soon be over. We are now able to understand singleness as purposeful participation in what is to come. Showing that the believer’s vocation is no longer about finding love—for our love has been found—but is now about being love.
As single believers, we usher in the kingdom of God by striving for and living out unity with one another in self-giving love. This is not a surface-level unity based on likeness, but one that asks us to give of our time and resources. Where we are tempted to pull back and distance ourselves from others, we must lean into community. Practicing confession, correction, and reconciliation. Genuinely living life with one another. We are to be love—a love that is not afraid of the cost for true unity, the giving of self.
This call, in a way, is ordinary because it is for all believers. Each of us is called to self-giving love. And loving in a self-giving way is not glamorous. It requires us to be intentional in the midst of what feels mundane. It is a daily action and choice. And yet this call is also glorious. In our singleness, we get to participate in and uniquely image our eternal reality. That is not fluff or a consolation prize so that we can endure singleness. But it is a weighty truth that should invigorate and fuel us to faithfully live out the purpose we have been called to.
We can intentionally live out singleness, without disregarding the longing or idolizing the freedom, when we grasp the narrative we have been called to participate in. Marriage and singleness help to explain each other—they are two images, come together to more fully display the beauty of what is to come. We have the unique call, indeed the unique gift, to live out this purpose with intentionality. And understanding this truth allows us to better steward this gift daily.
Ravin McKelvy is a copywriter at Lifeway and graduated with a degree in communications from Moody Bible Institute. She is passionate about the intersection of art and theology and sharing the daily realities of Christian living through poetry.