By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single contributors.
I am wondering if God has called me to marry or a single life? I am 23 years old, I finished university and am moving to Bahrain to start a new life.
How can I know what God has destined for me?
As someone who is 22 and a recent graduate of college, I’m right there with you. Sometimes, we can struggle to discern God’s plan for our lives, but let’s walk through Scripture to see some ways we can unearth that plan He has for us.
Stay in the Word Daily
To echo John Piper, we need to immerse ourselves in God’s word every day. Scripture trains us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), lights our path (Psalm 119:105), instructs us (Romans 15:4), and we should meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2).
We can see examples of those who dealt with unknown futures.
For instance, you are traveling to Bahrain to start a new life. We encounter other people who travelled and began their lives anew:
Paul, for instance, once named Saul, was constantly on the move as a new Christian. You can follow his four separate missionary journeys here. Jesus started a new job at 30 and travelled all over, and Abraham left and took his family to a new land as well (Genesis 12:1).
We can also see verses such as those found in Ecclesiastes which talk about different seasons of life. Times of healing, mourning, and silence all exist. Maybe you’ve entered a time in your life where the Lord wants you to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:8), because being in a relationship would take away from time spent developing your new life in Bahrain.
Perhaps you need a season of recovery from University before exploring a dating relationship.
Choose the Path that Best Loves Others
Sometimes loving others looks like dedicating the time we would be spending on building a relationship with a significant other and channeling it into a ministry.
Other times, it can look like pouring into someone whom we see a future and intend to marry.
It differs from Christian to Christian, and our calling differs from season to season. Christ, for instance, worked as a carpenter until the age of 30, and his calling switched to ministry for the next three years (Mark 6:3).
Grow Closer to Christ
Our calling always prompts us to grow closer to Christ (Proverbs 3:5-6). If going into a relationship right now seems like it could distract you or stunt your growth, then God probably isn’t calling you to do that right now.
But, conversely, if being single appears to serve as a distraction from growing closer to Christ, then maybe God intends for you to enter a relationship.
No matter what the case or circumstance, pray often to have God search you (Psalm 139:23-34), and reveal what distractions have stunted your growth.
It depends. It depends on God’s specific calling for your life. Every Christian can differ on this.
The best ways we can determine what God has in store for our future is to engage in the word, find ways to love others, and analyze what distractions may keep us from running the race well.
Being in your early twenties is a very volatile time of life from job security to finding a new place to live and start a new life, we can often wonder why God doesn’t make his plans plain for us during this time.
In all things, trust in him. If he hasn’t revealed his plan yet, continue to trust and pray. Lean on him for the time being, and allow him to direct your paths, even if he doesn’t make it clear where you’re going.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Martin Barraud
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her here.