As a society, and sometimes especially as followers of Jesus, we can view singleness as an in-between, or a stepping stone - just something to deal with or get through. But whether you’re newly single after a break up, have been single for a while, or are experience being single again after divorce or death, the truth is that singleness is an especially empowering gift from God - one that we can use to find our purpose, better ourselves, and invest wholly in our relationship with Jesus.
Below you’ll find 3 empowering truths about being single from the story of Ruth.
Truth #1: God has a plan for you - whether you have a partner or not
In the book of Ruth in the Bible, Ruth’s husband dies, and she has the choice to go back to her home and find a new husband, or stay with her also widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, and continue caring for her and following her God - Jesus. In this hard time in her life, Ruth could have decided to go back to the familiar and start over on her journey to find another husband - but instead, she pursues what she believes God is calling her to do - stay with Naomi in what would have been a foreign land, pursuing a purpose that she doesn’t even fully understand yet (Ruth 1:14-18). Instead of focusing on the “what-ifs”, Ruth chooses to focus on what is - and she sees the opportunity she has to keep caring for her mother-in-law and following Jesus as a single person.
When we enter or are sitting in a season of singleness, it’s easy to try to look beyond it to the “next” part of our lives. But the truth is that God isn’t waiting for you to move on from singleness before he creates a plan for you - he’s already put a plan in motion for you now - not you in a year with a significant other, or you in five years with kids, or even you next month when you decide to start officially dating. Jesus doesn’t see you as part of a package, and he’s not waiting for you to reach a certain goal or expectation before he starts to work in you. He has created you uniquely as an individual with gifts and talents and passions - and he’s ready for you to start seeking that purpose right where you are - single or not.
Truth #2: The gift of singleness is a gift of focus
As Ruth follows where she believes God is leading her with Noami, they travel to Bethlehem, and Ruth begins the hard work to care for her mother-in-law working in the fields to gather food. But Ruth doesn’t just work half-heartedly when she feels like it - she puts all of her energy into this purpose she’s found, and the Bible tells us her hard work and integrity is obvious to everyone who witnesses it - including a wealthy and influential man named Boaz, who shows kindness to her (Ruth 2). This hard work and focus on her purpose leads Ruth to continuing to grow in her integrity and to an opportunity to provide for Noami and herself in the future. Not only that, but as Ruth’s story continues, Ruth 4:17-22 tells us that due to Ruth’s faithfulness to God and his purpose for her, she has the honor of being part of the lineage that leads to the birth of Jesus.
We might not always see our singleness as a gift, especially if we have different expectations in mind. But the truth is that being single is not a waiting game - it’s an incredible opportunity to focus on the purpose that God has written for you. And being single holds a unique opportunity to seek out that purpose and spend intentional time in it - time that you may not be able to spend on it if or when you are called to be married or raise a family. Don’t waste this time that God’s given you the gift of singleness - whether it’s temporary or not, use it to seek what God has equipped you to do and focus on that purpose.
Truth #3: You are complete in Christ
Whether you’re single, dating, married, divorced, or widowed, this truth is the same for everyone: you are not complete because of another person - you are complete in Christ. Colossians 2:8-10 tells us, "Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority."
In other words, you don’t have to have someone to be someone. When we realize that it’s not our singleness, our marriage, or any other relationship that makes us whole, we can begin to view our lives with the purpose that God has created uniquely for us and seek our completeness and our value only in him. The way we view singleness matters - it matters if you’re single, if you have friends or family who are single, or if you’re leading anyone who is single. To learn more about the gift of singleness and the story of Ruth, check out the message Singleness and Seeking Your Purpose from our series It’s Complicated.