It’s sad to admit, but being a single person in the church isn’t always easy. And honestly, it gets more difficult as the years stretch on and the seat next to you in church continues to be empty. As a single woman in my mid-thirties, I’ve had experiences where my relationship status—or lack thereof—has led me to feel out of place in Christian contexts and communities. There have been times when I’ve felt unseen and under-valued because I’m the only person in my family unit. I’ve experienced moments when I’ve wondered if I matter as much as those who are married or have children.
These moments of feeling less-than are often triggered by subtle comments or scenarios. They come from well-intentioned conversations with people who love us and simply want us to “find that special someone.” Sometimes these feelings stem from church events or ministries that focus more on couples and families. Even when we know and understand we’re not intentionally being ostracized, it can still be difficult to find our place and live faithfully as single people in the church.
Identity in Christ
That’s why I’d like to share a simple but important reminder that I pray will encourage other single people in the church today. Though it’s a truth that applies to every person—man, woman, married, or single—it is especially helpful to remind our single sisters and brothers in Christ of this reality.
Your identity, value, and purpose are not found in your relationship status; your identity, value, and purpose are found in Christ alone. He has a plan and purpose for your life today, and you don’t have to wait for “someday.”
You matter because you matter to the Lord. You are seen and known because He sees and knows you. No other human can ever fulfill or complete you. The One who created you is the only One who can and will ever make you whole, and this wholeness is found only through the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus.
Knowing our identity is found in Christ is something we as believers understand in our heads, but like so much in the Christian life, it can be a great challenge to allow that truth to root deeply in our hearts and then live it out. And sometimes, there’s an added layer that challenges those of us who are single and in churches that often cater to seasons of life we’re not in at the moment.
So, what does it look like to be a single person whose identity and wholeness is found in Christ and not in a human relationship? How do we live this out practically when our circumstances are different from those around us? What does it mean to be obedient and faithful to the Lord’s plans for our lives when we’re single?
No matter the season
Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, God loves you and has a plan for your life right now. Your life doesn’t begin when you get married. You have a beautiful, valuable life today (and that is true even in the most difficult of seasons). The Lord has plans, ministry opportunities, friendships, and family experiences for you too. He hasn’t forgotten you or skipped over giving you good gifts just because you’re single. He doesn’t withhold His kindness and grace-filled moments from those of us who are unmarried. You aren’t less than because your relationship status is “single.”
Just as your salvation is based in God’s grace and not in anything you can or will do (Ephesians 2:8-9), His plan for your life doesn’t start or stop based on anything you do or because of your circumstances. He created you with gifts and abilities, and He put passions and dreams in your heart for a reason.
Every human longs for purpose and fulfillment in life. It’s what everyone is searching for, and we know that, as followers of Jesus, our purpose is to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). We are to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to glorify our Father (Matthew 5:16) and live in obedience to His commands (John 14:23). These purposes are for every Christ follower, regardless of relationship status, season of life, or circumstance.
If we wait to enter a particular season in order to fulfill God’s purposes for our lives, we won’t learn how to faithfully follow Him when our seasons or circumstances change (and they always do). To obey Him and engage in His purposes for our lives right now means we will learn what it means to be steadfast and stand firm in our faith no matter what comes in the days ahead.
Maybe the Lord is leading you to start a particular ministry at your church or in your city. Perhaps He’s leading you to put down roots in a particular neighborhood or community and share the gospel there. Maybe He wants to use you to care for a child who needs a foster home or a mentor. Perhaps He’s calling you to follow His lead to a brand new city, state, or even country.
Whatever He is leading you to do today or in the days to come, you can be faithful and obey Him whether you’re married or not. Your obedience is dependent on who He is and what He is calling you to do, not on what the world around you is telling you is normal for the season of life you’re in. You can lean in and trust His guidance and provision in every moment because He has never and will never fail you.
Every person in every season of life is waiting on something. And we know that as followers of Jesus, waiting is not a passive activity. He sanctifies, teaches, stretches, encourages, challenges, and holds us in all seasons. So whether you’re single or married, hope-filled or heartbroken, God sees you, loves you, and has a purpose for your life. Let’s all lean in and follow Jesus wherever He leads.