Let’s pretend that you’re staying in a La Quinta on vacation. You check in, and the lady at the desk gives you the key but neglects to tell you which door it goes to and the room number isn’t etched on the key. You try calling to the lady (who has gone to the back), but she must have suddenly grown deaf, because she’s not coming. So… what do you do? Let’s say for argument’s sake that you decide to go try some doors. You go to the first floor and try the first one you see. Of course, it does nothing.
The next five are the same way, so you decide to go to the second floor, but you keep meeting with locked doors. You keep hearing the people in certain rooms talking and laughing, watching TV, or snoring loudly, which only serves of a reminder of what you aren’t doing right now.
You’re on the third floor now and tired and (be honest) angry. You’re about ready to go back downstairs and march into the back room—despite the “Employees Only” sign on the door—and give the lady a piece of your mind. Or perhaps, you just want to walk out. Find another hotel. But, you’ve tried so many doors already… what’s one more? You slip the key in the lock, and much to your amazement, it clicks! That little green light flashes and you open the door to your hotel room, begrudgingly thankful that you’ve found your room at last.
Many people approach singleness like this. It’s a long, arduous process that has no purpose beside make you frustrated… I mean, it’s an opportunity to develop patience and… ministries. *Fake smile*
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Trust me, that perspective is neither fulfilling nor wholesome. But when you view singleness as a gift from God, it changes your worldview.
Let’s imagine that the same situation happens, only at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Unlike most hotels, the rooms here surround indoor atriums, complete with shops, trails, and a river. Imagine Never-Neverland, only as a resort, and you’re getting pretty close.
Everyone around you is having a good time. Guess what? So are you! Granted, your version of fun may or may not look like that hand-dipped ice cream cone in that child’s hand or taking the riverboat like the guy over there by the dancing fountain (for me, it would be exploring all the trails with friends or family, then finding a bench in a populated corner and alternating between people watching and reading a good book. Of course, having a crafted coffee or tea in hand would be an added plus). Whatever you decide to do, you’re having the time of your life and making pleasant memories that you will have forever.
Oh yeah… and then there’s your room. But don’t worry—that wonderful, comfy bed and the amenities aren’t going anywhere. The desk has your deposit, so they’re not going to give the room to someone else because you’re taking too long. Relax and live in the moment. It won’t last forever (although, seriously… there’s a small part of you that says that you’d be happy even if it does). At some point, you’re going to have to go actively look for your room, but not with the angry, tired attitude you had at the La Quinta. This is with an attitude full of the pleasure you experienced in the atriums, and knowing that the hotel staff isn’t so careless as to let you wander aimlessly. They’ll help you find your room when you’re ready.
When you view singleness as a good thing, that’s exactly what it can be. You find opportunities and learn to appreciate and be invigorated by them. You discover beauty in life (even if it doesn’t look exactly the way you want it to). The temptation to covet someone else’s relationship is easier to conquer. You understand that more good things (hopefully marriage) are yet to come, but you’re not so anxious to get there that you miss here. Plus, when your life is surrendered to the sovereign God of the Bible, you know that He will lead you to your spouse when the time is right.
Sure, it can be tiring or lonely at times, but you know that singleness is good in its own way and there’s more to do. Thing is, this perspective affects the rest of life. It instills contentment, excitement, and how to “consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2, NIV). And those, my friend, are qualities that will carry you through whatever life may throw at you.