On Tuesday, I wrote a post answering why we women (and really just people in general) have a tendency to long for marriage. Now I would like to focus more on how those of us who are single can not only be ‘calm’ in our singleness but actually realize the gift we have in our singleness. If I had been the author of my story, I would have been happily married by 22 and would now be pregnant with my sixth child, since at least one pregnancy would have blessed me with twins. The reality is that I am not the author of my life and for some reason God still has me as a very single 29 year old.
Although I am still praying God has a spouse out there for me, I can truly say I am content and honored that He has called me to serve Him as a single woman at this time in life. You see, in the past five years God has been showing me that my purpose in life is to seek, know and love Him with all my heart. Each stage in our life will look different and at each stage there will be challenges and gifts that will help us to live that out most fully. I will admit that now when I think about this stage of singleness I see a lot more gifts than challenges.
First of all, as a single person we have SO much time. This question was written by a medical student so she might be laughing at that idea. I have never been a medical student but I have had my fair share of times in life when I would have claimed to have had no time. That was a lie, I just didn’t use that time very wisely. I spent it watching TV, stalking people on facebook, crushing digital candies and the list goes on. I still do it, but now I am real with myself. When I choose to prioritize my life I realize that I do have time. Time to stop by the Blessed Sacrament Chapel more regularly, to read books that challenge me spiritually, and to spend time with my family and friends. You might think you have no time but just look at those parents, loaded with kids and realize that even their down time is still usually consumed by their little blessings. And I bet, as much as they love their kids, they have moments when they wish they could have a quiet half hour in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Singleness also allows us to dive in to our Catholic communities. When I first became Catholic at 20 years old I started volunteering for my parish’s youth group (Mary was one of those teens). The CORE Team was made up of seven 18 to 20 year olds, all in college, all single. Over the years I have been blessed to watch many of those CORE members get married and have kids. That has made it hard for them to invest their time into the ministry and they have slowly had to step back and find other ways to serve. Use this time in your life to find how you want to serve your parish and start serving. Had I gotten married at 22, like I wanted to, there are so many teens (who are now adults) that I would have missed getting to walk alongside on this journey to Heaven.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, use this time to really discern what God is calling you to do. Discern which job will allow you to serve Him best. Discern where you should live. Discern how you should be giving of your time, talents and treasure. But also discern your vocation. If you are like me you have spent most of your young adult life saying the right Catholic answer: “I am open to religious life but I want to be married so I don’t think God is calling me to it”. You are probably right, but have you actually discerned? I challenge you in this time of singleness to go visit and seek opportunities to be immersed in situations that will allow you to see the fruitfulness of the different vocations you might be called to. I would always say the “right” Catholic answer, but until the Fall of 2012 I hadn’t even had a real conversation with a Sister, let alone visited a convent. How could I say I wasn’t called to be a Sister if I hadn’t ever experienced the utter beauty of religious life?
So does God have you single? Good. Go and praise Him for allowing you this time to seek, know and love him more. And then start figuring out how you can structure your life to actually make that happen during this time of singleness. He has you here, right now, for a reason. And I can tell you there is nowhere better for you to be to fulfill His purpose for you. So don’t wait, use this moment!