I just saw this post about a book that looks pretty helpful and timely.

In “5 Tips for Maximizing Your Singleness,” Marshall Segal makes some great points, like:

  • “Perhaps the greatest temptation in singleness is to assume marriage will meet our unmet needs, solve our weaknesses, organize our lives, and unleash our gifts. Far from the solution, Paul makes marriage out to be a kind of problematic Plan B for Christian life and ministry.”
  • “If God leads you to marry, you may never again know a time like the one you’re in right now. A season of singleness is not the minor leagues of marriage.” 
  • “We should think of a few people or families for whom we could lay down our single life. No one is expecting you to care and provide for others right now—no one, that is, except for God.”

He gives five helpful directions to those of you (like 98% of our group) who are single.

1. Remember that true greatness will often look like weakness.
2. Notice the people God has already put around you.
3. Practice selflessness while you’re still single.
4. Say yes to the spontaneous.
5. Do radical, time-consuming things for God.

Having spent my adult life hanging out with teenagers and young adults, I agree with his prescriptions, and the unspoken diagnosis behind it. If you are in your twenties and single, you should definitely not think of this time in your life as “waiting for real life (marriage) to begin.” The only day you can redeem is the one you’re living in right now. You can only live today for God’s glory. And you know, if you’re a follower of Christ, that our Lord commands us to do both of those things, in everything we do, always. So no, your real life is not in the future–your real life is right now.

How can you redeem this summer? What free time do you have in the next few months that God wants as his own? And if you long to be married, what are you doing, right now, to prepare yourself to be the kind of husband or wife that God would want to give to someone as a marriage partner? If marriage requires selfless sacrifice, endurance, cultivation of love, appreciation for someone who doesn’t live inside your own head, rigorous commitment to vows and another person…are you spending your single days cultivating and strengthening those qualities in yourself? If marriage requires being led of the Spirit to faithfully love someone else, are you cultivating an awareness of Him and a dependence on him right now?

Most crucially–are you cultivating the Spirit’s fruit of agape–that selfless, committed love scriptures command us to have for other people? A good-looking face and an exciting personality wont stir up agape in us, and attraction won’t make agape last. So don’t wait for life to begin. Don’t wait for marriage to start being a Christian. Don’t wait for a love-life to start walking with Christ. Redeem today. Maximize your singeless.

…and maybe check out Segal’s whole post. Or make the book your summer read. Either way, let me know what you think of it.