I am serving outside the United States, doing mission work. I have been here for eight months and really enjoy my ministry. I am a twenty-eight-year-old single woman, and honestly, prior to my move to “the field,” I did not give much thought to my singleness. But suddenly, I am finding it difficult to remain content in being single. Why is it harder here than it was in the U.S.? Any suggestions on finding peace with my singleness?
Lonely and Far Away From Home
As you have faithfully followed God’s call, you have left behind all that was familiar. Now you find yourself in a foreign land having “foreign” feelings – discontent with your singleness. Whenever our usual routines are changed, that which is deep within us rises up and gets our attention. Rather than viewing this yearning for companionship as a problem, can you receive it as an invitation to self-discovery?
As you explore your feelings of discontentment, what might God be teaching you about yourself? About your relationships with others? About your relationship with God? This is a good time to discover the spiritual discipline of solitude. Solitude, aloneness, and loneliness are not synonyms. Perhaps the distance between you and your support system of family and friends back in the U.S. has made you more keenly aware of your need for companions on the spiritual journey. What steps can you take to nurture new spiritual friendships on the mission field?
The Apostle Paul, a veteran missionary, wrote that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11). Those are certainly challenging words. How can you be open to the possibility of finding a life partner while still being content in your singleness? Moving from loneliness to aloneness to solitude is spiritual work. Making those movements doesn’t preclude the decision to have a life partner, but it does move the possibility of single life into a different light.
Blessings on your ministry,
If you have a question for Dear Addie, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The photo of Addie Davis is provided courtesy of Special Collections, Jack Tarver Library, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.