by Hannah Schermerhorn
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
“I should be happy for them,” I remind myself as I listen to another giddy friend tell me all about her engagement and wedding plans. “It’s wonderful that they get this,” I mumble to myself as I sit at another wedding reception after marking “no guest” on the invite. “I’m totally fine where I am,” I lie to myself as a friend cancels on me since she hasn’t had enough time to spend with her husband this week.
It can be heartbreaking to sit on the sidelines and watch as friends get into relationships, engaged and married. A part of us is genuinely happy for the blessings in our friends’ lives, but then there is the part of us that aches and asks, “Why do they get the relationship but not me?”
For years, I struggled wondering why God kept me single when it was so far from my hopes and dreams for life. In college, I had even been a few months away from getting married. But then came a broken engagement followed by the fears and pain that came with singleness. As I watched my friends being chosen, loved, and celebrated as they found their significant others, I wondered why I had to be the one who was left out. Had I done something wrong? Had God forgotten about me?
But then God slowly reminded me of the truth of singleness. God is as lovingly and powerfully at work in my singleness as He is in marriage. And with that truth, the jealousy and envy of people in relationships began to melt away.
If you are in a season that you would not have signed up for, you are in good company. Over and over in the Bible, God uses difficult circumstances to grow people and advance His kingdom, and He can do that with your singleness right now.
Think about it. Most of our biblical heroes would not have chosen the circumstances they were in. I doubt Joseph would have chosen to be sold into slavery and imprisoned before he became a ruler of Egypt. Ruth lost her husband and left her homeland before finding Boaz and having the line of the Savior continue through her. Lazarus had to get sick and die before he was raised from the dead by Jesus.
God did not let those people’s lives be easy. He set them apart to endure the hard times as He worked out their stories for good. And that good was something well beyond anything they could have imagined. God is letting you endure singleness right now, but as He promises in Romans 8:28, He is working things out for you as well.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Sometimes that “good” is not the thing we are looking for. It might not be the relationship, but I have found that God is a much better author for my life than I am. You may not be able to see the good yet today, your life may feel more like Joseph sitting in prison or the disciples hiding out after Jesus's death, but you can trust God with His plans for your life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The next time you start to feel jealous of a couple holding hands or your friend finding an awesome boyfriend, remember that you don’t need to have the same story as those people. God knows what is best for you, and He has lovingly mapped out the plans for your life.
…Plans that are as unique and special as you are.
…Plans that God can use to bless you and the people around you.
…Plans that will ultimately lead you to being in heaven forever with The One who loves and cares for you more than any significant other ever could.
Your singleness is part of that wonderful and beautiful plan. Trust God to work it out.
Hannah Schermerhorn is the author of A Single Life to Live: Stop Waiting for Your Life to Being and Thrive Where God Has You Today. She lives in Milwaukee, WI with her puppy, Shasta, and cat, Fritz. For more encouragement on singleness, you can follow her at @onlyasinglelife or HannahSchermerhorn.com.