As you are well aware, Austin and I met and married young. We find that as young marrieds, there are a lot of spaces where we fit. There are ministries catered to us, books written about us, blogs and podcasts and all kinds of content we can consume at our fingertips.
This is especially the case in the church.
We are also aware that in the church, there tends to be a blind spot for singles. That’s why we asked Amanda to share her story and heart. Amanda is a Therapist located in Raleigh, NC. She is a sweet friend with a lot of insight, both personally and professionally. We hope you enjoy her words. We hope that if you are single, your heart is encouraged, and if you’re not, you will share that someone else might be.
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Hi Friend, thanks for stopping by today! Let me introduce myself.
My name is Amanda, and Lauren and I met about four years ago through working a little something called FUGE Camps. Lauren and I have maintained a friendship over the years, and though we only talk a couple of times a year, it feels like we never miss a beat. I am always able to pick up with her, and talk about Jesus in a very raw, honest way.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Nashville, TN and I asked Lauren to have coffee with me (since coffee is what you do in Nashville, as I’m told). Of course, she met me and she brought her sweet little nugget, Eden, along.
Oh, those baby toes!
Lauren and I had a meaningful conversation about the fact that we are both twenty-four years old and living in totally different life seasons. God has called Lauren to be a wife and a mom in this season. God has called me to singleness while pursuing an advanced degree in mental health.
We laughed together and got real honest about our struggles and satisfactions. Lauren asked me some hard questions about being a single, young professional in the Church, leading to the words I have for you today.
Disclaimer: The nuggets that I am going to share in this post are based on my own experience of being a single young professional (YoPro) in a Protestant/Evangelical Christian culture. Read with a grain of salt.
If I had $20 for every time I’ve heard “Once you find contentment in Jesus, God will give you a husband” or “Once you enjoy your singleness, God will bring him to you”, I’d have enough money for the wedding I’m not planning. While the intentions may be good, oftentimes, comments like this alongside the general assumptions made about singles in the Church lead to a spiral of false assumptions. Some assumptions we are going to nix today.
There is no formula for “earning” a spouse.
While these comments are usually well-meaning, the deep-rooted message they portray is: “You need to do x, y, and z to earn your spouse.” If you would just do this, God will provide him.
If you do X, God will give you Y.
This, my friends, is a prosperity Gospel. This is not how God works.
It is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and that it is not of our own doing, but it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:4-9). All blessings come from God (James 1:17), and that all promises find their yes in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20-22). There is nothing we do to earn God or His blessings. Moreover, who are we to define how God blesses us? He may give us a spouse. He may give us time alone with Him. He may give us a lifetime it.
Further, finding contentment in Jesus is not something that we do just so we can be rewarded a spouse.
Finding contentment in Jesus is something that we are called to fight for every day of our lives if we are walking with Jesus. Twenty-four, eighty-six, single, married–our contentment is in Christ
Married folks are not more righteous than single folks.
In college, I watched a lot of my friends couple off and get married young. I told Lauren that during that season I struggled in thinking I was not deserving of marriage. I assumed wasn’t “holy enough” yet. God still had to “do some work on me” before I was worthy of taking on the role of wife.
Friends, this is such a LIE.
It is a lie that plagues many single folks in the Church. It goes against everything about grace and faith, and even more, it tempts me to be the judge of my own righteousness.
In Romans 4, Paul tells of how Abraham believed God and was counted righteous through his faith. Abraham’s righteousness was not given to him by his own doing, but God declared righteousness in him because of his faith. Righteousness is not mine to declare over myself.
Only God can declare someone as righteous and worthy. And He promises us that when we place our faith in Christ, in Him, that He looks unto us and sees the blood of His Son. He grants us atonement! That is our gift for faith. Not marriage.
My friend, you are not less holy than your married friend because God hasn’t provided your person yet.
Holiness will not earn you a spouse. Righteousness will not make you a wife. Marriage is not your prize. Jesus is.
Singles can have a place in the Church.
In that shuffle between college and married-with-kids, it can be easy for single Yong Professionals to fall through the cracks. While MANY individual churches (I’m part of one) have stepped up their game in Yong Professional’s ministries, there’s still some work to do in the American Church as a whole.
So what can you do? You who read this on the couch beside your spouse. You who want to love your single friends well. Share your lives with us.
Two of my close friends happen to be married. In January, my friend told me that she and her husband are talking about starting a family this year. She shared her heart with me. She asked me to pray for them. I prayed for her heart, her faith, and her marriage for six months. When she told me that she was pregnant, I was THROUGH THE MOON, PEOPLE. I saw the Lord faithfully answer my prayers!
She didn’t make the assumption that I would be jealous.
She didn’t tiptoe around me.
She treated me like she would anyone else.
She loved me like she would anyone else.
She invited me to love her.
I feel like there is this stereotype that single young professionals–especially women–are bitter bats because we aren’t married and having kids. It’s a hurtful assumption. It leads to being left out. To being assumed the worse in.
When my married friends let me into their lives, and allow me to be a part of their journey, it leads to the opposite of bitterness: joy.
I have walked with my friends who are preparing to make big career changes. I have walked with my friends who are trying to figure out how da hek to be a wife. I have walked with my friends through the fear and unknowns of pregnancy. I have walked with my friends through the death of loved ones. My friends have walked with me through the hard times and the good times of my life too because that is what the Church is called to do (Acts 2:42-47).
Ministries are good. Separation can be helpful for growth. It is an awesome thing to connect with others who are like us. But the minute we start to remove ourselves from those who are not like us, we miss the joy of stretching one another in different seasons.
Single friends, please don’t spend your season looking for the perfect formula to earn a spouse or job or whatever life you’ve dreamed up. Don’t waste your energy trying to prove your own righteousness to anyone.
It will leave you lonely and dissatisfied.
You are an important part of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ needs you. He placed you exactly where you are supposed to be.
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I am so encouraged by Amanda’s heart. She reminds me to love different members of the body well. To stop tiptoeing around someone who may be in a different season than me. She reminds me that my life is not the best. That no one is “goals”. If you’d like to read more on the topic of singleness check out some of these posts below!