Im single in my thirties. Ive never been married, nor have I been in any meaningful romantic relationship before. Because of this, I often feel like an anomaly in the church. Ive had pastors tell me that I would be able to lead once I was married and endured skeptical side-eyes for being content in my singleness. Most people my age are married with children (or are at least on their way to either or both), so sometimes I can feel out of place in the church body. But, then I read the Bible and remember that being single in the church doesnt mean that Im out of place with God. 

In fact, there are single people throughout the Bible who inspire me to continue to pursue God and community right where I am. The Apostle Paul is one of them. Heres what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:8, Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” An Apostle who helped start and lead the church said that singleness is good! What a revolutionary concept!

No matter your age or circumstances, you have a God-given purpose that hes inviting you to fulfill with him. You dont need to wait until you have a different relationship status—your singleness doesnt disqualify you in any way. More than that, singleness, whether permanent or temporary, is a gift of God. In fact, there are two, sometimes overlooked, stories in the Bible that I return to often that remind me of this important truth.


Anna Had an Assignment

In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple, which was a customary practice. Here, we meet Anna, who has an absolutely incredible and tragic story. Shed been married, but her husband died only seven years into their marriage. She was 84 years old at this point in the story, meaning she had been a widow for decades!

She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:37b-38).

Im absolutely amazed by Anna. I cant imagine how horrific it would be to lose your husband at a young age but that tragedy seemed to draw her closer to the Lord. Over the years, her passion for God grew and grew. She used her singleness to intentionally praise, worship, and sacrifice for God. What a wonderful way to spend life! Though she only gets about a paragraph in the Bible, she is mentioned as one of the first witnesses to who Jesus was! Talk about a tremendous eternal impact.

I love Annas story because she was intentionally on assignment—she served God and her community diligently and specifically. Her life inspires me to be just as intentional with the time I have. For the past year, my assignment has been similar to Annas—worship, prayer, and serving others. And its such a joy to be on a mission with the Lord!

Maybe in this season, your assignment is to prepare—in your finances or your skills. Or maybe, its to rest and simply spend more time passionately pursuing the Lord. Perhaps, your assignment in this season is to build and invest—in yourself, your community, or your dreams. 

No matter your relationship status, you have a God-given assignment for this season of life. I pray that you discover what that is and then have the courage to follow through on it as God leads. 


Philips Daughters Were Positioned 

Another story that illustrates the gift of singleness is in Acts 21. Paul and his entourage traveled around, making their way to Jerusalem. At some point, they made a pitstop in Ptolemais.

Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied” (Acts 21:8-9).

These verses are short, but they are full of meaning. We learn that Philip was engaged in the mission of God. He was on assignment as an evangelist, and though his daughters had a different gift, their contributions were just as significant. Their marital status didnt disqualify them from knowing God, hearing his voice, and sharing his word with other people. 

These four women and their father likely pursued God together and helped others meet with God. They each had different gifts, and they exercised them within the context of community. 

Community is essential, no matter your relationship status. We shouldnt do life alone—God even said that in the book of Genesis when he created humankind (2:18). Being in relationship with those who are different from us is an opportunity to see from a new perspective. A diverse community with people of varying relationship statuses, backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages means that we all bring different life experiences to the table—and all are valid. 

I pray that you are able to grow deeper with the community you are currently placed in and discover ways to use your gifts in that community. And, if you feel misunderstood or isolated in this season, I pray that you are able to find those people who will encourage and sharpen you. 

The truth is being single in the church can be challenging at times. Sometimes we feel misjudged, or even overlooked, because were not in the same position as some of our peers. But, we arent overlooked by God. He invites us to be on assignment with him—no matter where we are or what circumstances we endure. We arent disqualified because of our past or our relationship status. 

No matter where you find yourself today, join me in this prayer:

Lord, thank you that you are with me in every season, including my singleness. Im not broken or damaged but loved and chosen by you as your beloved child. Like Anna, reveal the assignment that you have for me in this season, and give me the courage to walk it out. Highlight the people youve positioned with me, so we might pursue you together. Thank you that I am valued by you and your church. Amen.

Christian singleness is a gift from God and can be beautiful, purposeful, and rewarding. I pray that you can experience this for yourself today.