The Gift of Singleness.

My most memorable panic attack was in the middle row of a Christian conference.  I was listening to a relationship panel, which, oddly enough, included a single Christian girl. 

I think they put her on it for diversity.

She said, “some of you have the gift of singleness, and like Paul, you might not ever get married.”

I think all of the color drained out of my face.  I turned to another single friend who had a similar expression and I’m pretty sure I dropped an “S” bomb.

At a Christian Conference.

Low point.

I didn’t want that gift!  I still don’t want that gift!

And who decided to call it a gift?  Just because you put the word “gift” in front of it, doesn’t make me suddenly excited to have it.

“Here, I gave you the gift of a viper!  Blessings!  Watch out when you feed it, he’s a little poisonous and kind of jumpy. I know that you said you hate snakes, but I thought he would keep you on your toes.”


You give me a viper, and call it a gift, it’s still a viper and I’m still a snakebite away from a really painful hospital visit.

Lucky for you friends, I’ve grown up.

And I’ve come to firmly believe that Jesus does a facepalm every time one of us mentions, “the gift of singleness.”


Also, the odds are in your favor.

86% of Christians are married, and that statistic probably includes priests so it’s really like 96%.

Now I know one of you is thinking, “but Claire, what if I am actually going to be stuck by myself for the rest of my life with only my cats and my crocheting to keep me company as my ovaries slowly wither along with all of my hopes and dreams?”

Oh really?  That’s what you saw in your little crystal ball?  Ok Professor Trelawney, why don’t we take that away before you hurt someone …

Only God knows the future.

I rarely use Bible verses in my posts (probably need to work on that) but I like this one:

All the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

Before I’d even lived one day.

– Psalm 139:16 The Message

God knows what’s going to happen to you, and it’s good. 

And again, statistically, you’re probably going to get married, but like a fine wine or really nice cheese, you’re significant other just might need to mature.  

He could still be chowing down Cheetos in his grandma’s basement playing world of war craft and is on his 8th day without a shower.

You don’t want to marry that.

You deserve good hygiene.

Every lady does. And that does not include Axe body spray …

Or you know what?  You might need to work on yourself.  Like that Ferbie collection?  It might need to go. 

It’s getting creepy. 


18 thoughts on “The Gift of Singleness.

  1. Hi Claire,

    I think there’s definitely something to be said about the value of being single, and if embraced as a stage in life that’s unique to the future “you” then it can be something amazing.

    Now, as a married guy with 2 little girls – at 26 – I may be a little “ahead” of my friends. For a while though, it seemed like I’d be the only married person among my friend but my how time changes. I remember growing up wondering if I’d ever find the girl I’d WANT to be with, until I stopped looking and then met her. Know what though? I wasn’t ready, and neither was she. God has a sense of humor like that.

    Perhaps the best pieces of advice I can think of is that instead of trying to “find” the spouse that meets all of your criteria – spend your time becoming and doing the things you want them to be doing. If you want someone who loves rock climbing and outdoor activities – DO THEM! Success breeds success, action follows action, history repeats itself.

    Pursue your passions, develop your skills and become an expert at whatever you find interest. All of those things bring you to into contact with other passionate people – and when you actually meet the guy/girl of “your dreams” they won’t be scared off by the fact you still have that creapy Furbee collection. Because you’ll be an amazing snowboarder who can build a computer and knows how to cook, or an incredibly intelligent woman with an amazingly caring heart that can bake and decorate any type of dessert and dominate anything craft related.

    Hopefully it’s ok that I commented even though I’m not a single girl 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s okay that you commented. Though once I read “married man with kids” (and 26, no less) I kind of stopped paying a whole lot of attention… No offense, but my baby sister is older than you. Your advice, while I’m sure kindly meant, is advice we have all heard so many times we have it memorized. My advice to you, from the heart, is to not give advice to single women. Give /encouragement/ to /a/ single woman if you know her well enough to know exactly what she is struggling with and know what she’s already been told. For instance, if you see a girl who you KNOW (and I mean /really/ know) needs to get out and do stuff, encourage her to do so. But don’t blanket throw it out there online. Believe me- most of us have tried every bit of advice we’ve been given- even the impossible ones (Like “Stop looking and he’ll show up” or “Focus on Christ and you’ll be married in no time” >.< ). We're done with advice. We just want to be accepted as human beings and not looked at as "free childcare" or hear "You're single and have a lot of free time, so I volunteered you to do it." ("It" being anything from Sunday School to cleaning the church alone because it's the Marriage Retreat weekend and everyone else is gone).

      In summary: Encourage, don't advise, and treat us like you do your married friends. Most of us are established adults with packed-to-the-gills active lives.

      1. I’m so with you, Lysa. The biggest thing I hate about being single with married friends and siblings is that no one ever takes me serious when I mention how busy or stressed I might be. I always see the looks and have to amend my comment with, “… but I’m sure you’re twice as busy/stressed with a husband and/or family…” And when I try to offer input on their problems, I “just can’t understand” without having a family of my own. Like I am unable to have adult, common – sense input. And they also LOVE to tell me how lucky I am to be single. If you wouldn’t trade your family in to be single again, don’t tell me how lucky you think I am. It’s just not true.

  2. Awesome post Claire! I totally agree – “the gift of singleness” – has to be one of the biggest backhand comments out there. (It’s up there with the “If I were single I’d totally go for you” comment every guy friend EVER has said to me at some point – No, no you wouldn’t. Otherwise I still wouldn’t be single.) It always makes me cringe over what I’m going to be asked to do – cue perpetual kitchen duty!

    I have to say, I love the blog! As a 31 year old lifelong-single-minus-a-month (you read that right), it’s nice to know there are other young single professional christian women out there who are grappling with living life not at all how they dreamed it, in a world (and church) obsessed with romance and coupledom. – That’s a “nice to know” in a “I wouldn’t wish it on you, but since you’re here, hey there” kind of way.

    Errr, and Travis, Facepalm… we get it, we’ve got “The Gift of Singleness”…

    1. Oh my gosh! Tara – this comment is the best.
      1. – another one of the biggest backhanded comments you can get. Being called “marriage material” the same as “if I was single I’d totally go for you”
      2. I’m 26, but I’m a lifelong-single and that’s it. No relationships for this girl. No minus one month. I could include a couple weeks if you count terrible first dates? I got on a lot of those …
      3. Young single PROFESSIONAL christian women. We need to rock that more!

  3. I actually just full on laughed out loud in my office reading your blog… It’s funny, refreshing, and are pretty much my thoughts laid out in writing.

    I’m 25, also single, love Jesus and worryingly enough, I also have a cat, which puts me halfway to my nightmare of becoming ‘scary cat lady.’ That fear is just as strong across the Atlantic!

    Keep up the good work, love from a Scottish single sister 😉 x

  4. Yes I loved it – although unlike unicorns and the aliens that inhabit Area 51… Kilted men do exist! It goes without saying that Scottish men wear kilts at weddings (and other social events too!)

    Although can I just say, Mel Gibson’s attempt at a Scottish accent is just plain painful.

  5. “He could still be chowing down Cheetos in his grandma’s basement playing world of war craft and is on his 8th day without a shower.

    You don’t want to marry that.”

    Oh my gosh I giggled so much at that! Though at my age (31), I hope he isn’t still in that stage of life… I hope at least that there’s a good sandwich next to his console and he has clean clothes. 😉

  6. I think the biggest low for me is that my friends are starting to get engaged and married (I’m 24). If I didn’t have to face the weddings, the baby showers, the changing Facebook statuses, then I really think I would be ok with my single life (for now at least).

  7. Just found your blog a comment you made on Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like. Love the posts I’ve read thus far!

    I’m a 29-year-old guy and have been married for two months. I’ll try to stay away from the advice because I definitely remember that being unhelpful.

    Just wanted to affirm the part of your post about your potential spouse needing time to mature. My wife and I both tell each other from time to time that’s a good thing we didn’t meet earlier on in life. We were both pretty selfish (still are, more me than her), but it took some life experiences (for us both) and even another dating relationship (for me) for God to mature us enough to be ready to share our lives with each other.

    We both looked like we had it all together (I had a house, we each had careers, involved in our churches) that so many married people gave us all the normal unhelpful advice, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to be an enduring husband, even as much as I wanted to be married. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of daily life, I would not have been nearly as gracious about things like tossing out my yard sale furniture to have a house that she feels comfortable living in.

    Yes, sometimes I feel “behind” because of foolish comparatives like one of my groomsmen who is younger than me celebrating 7 years of marriage, but I just had to let that go.

    1. This was so great! Thank you for the non-advice, advice. Something about people just telling their stories is so helpful and genuine. Love that you guys are excited that you didn’t meet earlier in time too – proof that God’s timing is perfect. Thanks again for sharing!

  8. Claire! Thank you so much for your thoughts! I read this in winter time, and have come back to it because literally ALL of my friends are married/getting married (we’re 21-23 years old). I have never dated, but I have gone to school friends weddings for like, 2 years now…
    Your blog has made me laugh when I’ve felt the most helpless. Thank you a BILLION times!

  9. Paul talks about married and unmarried in that chapter. Seems most ladies here would rather find themselves in the married verses.

    It feels like a curse if you don’t want to be single…
    Having Paul say it’s a good thing doesn’t take the sting away if all you have ever wanted was a family.

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