Stay in the race!

man and woman running

Tracee, a visiting missionary recruit, once spoke in one of my college classes. She was a very attractive single woman in her late twenties, and she was on her way to Afghanistan as a missionary. When a student asked her to share about what it felt like being a single missionary at her age, she replied using a powerful metaphor. Some female friends of hers, she said, had decided to “get out of the race” and sit on the sideline, waiting for a man to come and “fulfill them.”  But Tracee told the class, “I refuse to get out of the race!” She said she was resolved to keep running in the direction in which God had called her.  She added, if a man were running in the same direction as her and at the same pace, then they would be running beside each other, able to start a friendship that might even become a marriage.  But she absolutely refused to get out of the race and wait for a man.

I wish I had been like Tracee when I was single. My wife Julie, on the other hand, was like her. At age 20, she made a two-year commitment to go to the DR Congo to do mission work. Her race to the DR Congo took her to the United States for a few days to finalize paperwork with her mission agency. During her few days in the United States, she met me—a man who also wanted to do mission work in the DR Congo, but who had in fact “gotten out of the race” to wait for a woman.  I shudder to think that if Julie had not decided to follow the Lord’s calling as a single woman, we never would have met.

My best advice for singles is to stop searching for the right person and instead make every effort to become the right person—someone who is wholly devoted to the Lord. This will allow the Lord to meet all their needs according to his grace and power, regardless of whether they are single or married. The Apostle Paul was single, and he knew that one of the greatest benefits of the single life was the ability to focus on the Lord’s concerns without dividing time and energy between the Lord’s concerns and that of a spouse and children.  Married life has its benefits for sure, but the single life also brings numerous benefits if the season of singleness is given to the Lord in service to His kingdom. Life is brief, and each of its seasons should be lived wholeheartedly for the Lord.

 REFLECTIONS:  Make a list of all the benefits of being single. Keep this list where you’ll see it often. Add new things to the list as you think of them.  Take the time to write down your personal life mission including life goals and life commitments.  Consider creating some goals that would only be possible during a season of singleness.

I would like for you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord . . . An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.

1 Corinthians 7:32, 34

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