Have you seen the film ‘How to be single’? Good looking people moaning about not being married whilst living in New York loft apartments, enjoying partying and sleeping around and continually bumping into potential love interests and ex boyfriends in a city of over eight million people. One single character in her 30s has an artificial insemination, gets pregnant and then for the rest of the film is pursued by a handsome younger man who is begging her to be in a relationship with her so he can be a stay at home dad for her future baby – tale as old as time! But the film did raise one interesting question for me – How do I live my single life? Have I, like Dakota Johnsons character, even considered living it better?
Mostly I just moan that everyone else is married and justify eating a bag of giant chocolate buttons daily and drinking wine on my own because life is so hard. Surely that’s not what God calls us to though? Even if his ultimate plan for our lives is that we are going to be married – we’re called to live life to the full in our current situation – not waste time on regrets or miss the moment by wishing it was over. John 10 v 10 ‘The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’
So what would it look like to live a single life as God intended it? Well let’s look at Jesus – a single guy in his 30s… I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a wedding as a single person? It hasn’t happened to me yet but I imagine if it did I’d end up feeling a bit vulnerable, drinking too much free alcohol, sending cynical texts under the table and end the night crying in a taxi on the way home. How does Jesus handle this situation? In the middle of the wedding he reveals his power by performing a miracle which saves the party, keeps the wine flowing and it’s not mediocre wine – it’s the absolute best. Throughout his ministry he keeps meeting new people and building relationships with them. He spends quality times with his friends and quality time with God. He goes to dinner parties and debates the big issues. He leads a history changing ministry without a wife to pray things through with or stand by his side. What an inspiration to all of us who excuse not taking risks or stepping out because it’s so much harder without a supportive spouse.
The situation is similar in our pursuit of romance. I recently listened to a talk by Aukelien Van Abbema who was lamenting how poor Christians often are at dating. It can often be a dirty word in our churches and communities. I remember feeling a bit ashamed when I told people in my church I was dating – as if I’d just told them I had a secret foot fetish or something. But as Aukelien says Christians should be the absolute best at dating. We should be modelling to the world how it should be done. We should be having lots of fun, meeting new people and being a blessing to them, whether they turn out to be ‘the one’ or not.
So let’s embrace our single lives and live it to the full. Stop watching Netflix, put down the chocolate buttons, do not be the first person to go home on a night out, chat to that stranger sitting next to you, take risks in your ministry, travel, pour out your life out for others, dream big. Lets model what single life looks like in God’s kingdom. And yes, ok, it might not end with hiking the Grand Canyon on New Year’s Eve to watch the sunrise (sorry, plot spoiler) but if we hold Jesus up as our example and step into what he has for us, it’s going to look pretty awesome.