It's been a long time since I was single. In fact, I've spent more of my life married than not. Even so, I remember keenly the angst I felt when I was single. Will I find a husband? How long do I have to wait? I never imagined life not being married, but looking back, I kind of wish I had.
Not because I don't like being married, or because I'm unhappy with my husband. Quite the opposite—I love Dan, and am eternally grateful for who he is and for the life we share. But before I married him, I wish I had challenged myself to envision life with just God and me. Would he have singled me out to do something unique—something only I could do?
I think of people like Katie Davis, the young woman who heroically traded her suburban Nashville upbringing for single motherhood in Uganda. Being single hasn't thwarted Katie's ability to follow Christ and do his bidding.
I think about my running buddy, Anne Weirich, who faithfully leads our running team year after year as we train for the Chicago marathon. Anne's life is a model of how to build community across ages and life stages. As a single woman, Anne opens her home to family and friends, and she makes herself available to serve God in innumerable ways.
For too long, the church and our culture have marginalized single adults. Thankfully, I'm sensing a much-needed groundswell of conversation on the topic of singleness, especially in the church. I'm glad the tides are turning and people are speaking up, raising awareness to the fact that being single is not to be second-class. It's a particular calling on a person's life—sometimes in the short-term, and sometimes as a lifelong status—one that should be lived out, honored, and supported in our society, and most especially in the church. It's a calling that includes the difficult challenge of celibacy, a counter-cultural lifestyle if there ever was one.1