Christian singleness can be lonely. You may not feel lonely every moment, every day, or even every week, but most Christian singles really struggle with loneliness.
What compounds this problem is that some Christians feel ashamed for feeling lonely. Shouldn’t Christ be enough? Am I trying to find my value through relationships? Am I a jealous, shallow person for feeling like it’s a jab every time I see a new engagement announcement scroll by in my social media feed? Is my loneliness a sign of weakness?
Loneliness is not a sin. God didn’t design every Christian to be married, but he did design every Christian to live in community. Even if you feel called to a life of singleness, it is normal to struggle with loneliness. And if you know you want to be married one day, there is nothing wrong with you if you feel lonely during your season of singleness (Genesis 2:18).
How you respond to your loneliness as a Christian single, however, is where the good and the bad happen. God desires to use loneliness during singleness to draw each Christian closer to him, to develop them in new ways, and to cause them to search out the healthy relationships for which they were designed.
What follows is a list of 5 healthy ways to respond to the loneliness that often accompanies Christian singleness.
#1: Don’t Deny Your Loneliness. It Will Only Embitter You
One of the most common ways to deal with loneliness during the season of Christian singleness is by simply denying it. “I’m not lonely. I’m fine. I don’t need a man to define me.” “Lonely? Ha, I’m not lonely! Christ is all I need. Plus, I’m going on too many adventures to date a woman right now. I don’t even want to be in a relationship at this point in my life.”
There’s nothing wrong with statements like these . . . as long as they are true. For many Christian singles, they are just saying this type of stuff because they don’t want to deal with the loneliness. If they admit that they really are struggling with being alone, they feel the loneliness will only get worse.
The problem with this tactic is that it builds unhealthy resentment towards the opposite sex, towards your friends in relationships, and towards God. To constantly force your good, normal emotions down, you will feel like you need to avoid and reject everything that might trigger feelings of loneliness.
So when you meet a Christian guy who is also single, rather than respond to his interest in you, you reject the idea completely as a defense mechanism. When you’re best friend get’s engaged, you stop hanging out with her because you want to avoid being hurt when you see her experiencing what you desire. Rather than pray about your desire to be married, you neglect this area of your walk with God because you fear what he might say. None of these responses are healthy. Avoiding triggers is no cure to loneliness in Christian singleness.
Denying your loneliness in Christian singleness only cuts you off in greater ways from the people God designed you to need. If you deny your loneliness, you will hinder yourself from depending on God in the ways he wants.
#2: Use Loneliness in Christian Singleness as Motivation to Pursue What God Has Made You For
Okay, so you are no longer denying the loneliness you feel during your season of Christian singleness. So now what? What are you supposed to do with this loneliness?
Loneliness, along with all other unwanted feelings, is a gift in disguise meant to motivate you. I’m not saying you should desire these gifts. What I am saying is that God has a specific purpose in mind when he allows us to experience difficult feelings like loneliness. If Paul would not have had a thorn in his flesh, he would never have called out to God the way he did nor learned to rely on him for power in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
God doesn’t want us to be victims to our feelings. He wants us to be motivated by our unwanted feelings, like loneliness. Imagine if you never felt hungry but your body still needed food. I’d say (with no research to back this up) that 99% of us are not disciplined enough to manage our bodies without the natural indicators God has built into our DNA. If we didn’t feel thirsty, most of us would forget to drink water. If we didn’t feel tired, most of would never sleep. If we didn’t feel pain, most of us would not allow our broken bones to heal. Feelings are God’s healthy warning signs that we are lacking something we need.
Surely our sinful nature corrupts our emotions and feelings at times so they are out of whack. But much of the time you feel certain ways, like lonely, because you are lacking something you were made for. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Address the issue and seek out whatever you are lacking.
If you feel lonely in your Christian singleness, this means you are lacking something good in your life. Don’t try to just stop the warning signs (the feeling of loneliness); address the root issue and the symptoms will go away too.
#3: Put Forth Effort to Find a Spouse (Go on a date!)
The Bible explains that most Christians are designed for marriage (Genesis 2:18). There certainly are many Christians who will be blessed with the gift of singleness (1 Corinthians 7:7). And just because you are lonely, it doesn’t mean you don’t have this gift. But for most Christians, prolonged loneliness during singleness is a sign that God has designed you for marriage.
Through many well meaning Christian leaders, loads of Christian singles feel guilty for being active in the dating process. They feel like they are taking matters into their own hands and not trusting God if they do anything other than pray, go to church, and serve in Christian ways.
Putting forth effort to find a spouse is not sinful. There is nothing wrong with pursuing marriage. Certainly we all need to walk with God and obey his personal leading in our lives. If you’ve turned the idea of marriage into an idol, a short time of repentance will be healthy. But if God designed you for marriage, which he has for most Christians, then God expects you to pursue good things for which he has designed you. And marriage is a very good thing.
Stop feeling guilty about wanting to change your status from “single” to “in a relationship.” Marriage won’t solve all your problems if your heart is not right with God, but it’s possible to still feel lonely in your Christian singleness even if your heart is right with God. God said it was not good for Adam and Eve to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He made men and women to be in relationship with one another. We must never be overwhelmed by loneliness. We must always seek God to fill us completely. But it is healthy to feel lonely when you lack good human relationships because God made us to need these.
If you’re walking with God, it’s actually possible to feel lonelier because of your lack of good human relationships. Why? Because when we are right with God, our inner being is purified and thus it’s most natural, original cravings are free to be unleashed. A heart fully alive feels everything more passionately – pleasure and pain – because it is alive. A dead heart feels less in general. The healthier you are with Christ, the more your heart will feel things. It’s sometimes painful to be so alive in a world with so many problems. But the solution is not to kill our hearts so we feel less. The solution is to keep coming alive, keep pursing Christ, and keep pursuing good, no matter how painful it might be. The pain should motivate us to seek the pleasure for which we were made and are currently lacking.
Perhaps you feel lonely because you are just waiting around for something to change. So let me say this with all the love and affection of an older brother who really cares about your well being. I’m not saying this to be a jerk. I just want to say what many of you might need to hear: Go on a freaking date already!
I hear Christians all the time with complaints like, “I haven’t even been on date in five years.” When I hear that, I want to challenge that person’s victimization. Okay, I know it takes two to be in a relationship, so it’s sometimes just out of your control. But if you haven’t been on a date in over a year, you’re in a season of life where you’re prepared to be married, and you want be married, then you need to be more active. You need to take responsibility and stop being so passive. Put yourself out there. Go on a date. Do something different. Don’t just complain that you haven’t been on a date.
Walk with God and make it happen. I could write a book on all the ways to meet somebody because the possibilities are endless. But here’s the thing: You are smart. Pray about it. Put your mind to it. And figure out how to meet new people with the intention of dating. If you are doing these things with a good motive, there’s nothing wrong with being proactive. Submit to the truth that God is control; but also realize God expects you to be an active participant in life. It’s no different when it comes to dating.
Use your loneliness as fuel. Yes, to seek God first, but to also find the man or woman God probably has for you.
#4: Supplement Your Lack of a Spouse with Other Good Relationships
Marriage is one of the most significant, deepest relationships a human can experience with another human. But marriage is not the only significant relationship that our hearts were made to need.
If you think marriage is the solution to your loneliness, you’ll find you might be even lonelier once you actually get married. Sometimes when we get what we want, we experience a massive let down because we thought it was going to fill us in greater ways than it did.
If you don’t have healthy relationships with your family, with friends, with a body of believers (church), with people you are mentoring, with people you are being mentored by, with your local community, with your neighbors, with people who have common interests as you – if you don’t have a robust relationship network with all different types of people with different roles to play in your life, you will feel lonely.
Yes, no matter what you do, you might still feel the sting of loneliness that comes with Christian singleness. But that sting is going to be a lot worse if you’re relationships are deficient in other areas of your life too.
Be practical, proactive, and avoid passivity. You might not be able to find a spouse right now. But can you find some more friends? Can you find a good church to serve at with other believers? Can you build deeper relationships with the support system you do have?
The funny thing is that those who have healthy relationships that are not romantic in nature are often the ones who find romantic love sooner. By having a healthy, well balanced relational life, you are becoming a well rounded person who will be attractive to suitors. If you stay at home all the time, only spend time with your mom, or just hang out with your old high school buddies, odds are you are not developing relationally as you should. These other relationships are the best training for romantic relationships. If you are an underdeveloped friend, brother, or son, odds are you will be undeveloped relationally in your future romantic relationships too.
Additionally, by having more relationships that are not romantic in nature, you will also give yourself a greater network of people that will naturally help you find a romantic partner. I’m not saying everyone in life should try to set you up on blind dates. But the more people you know, the more people they will introduce you to. If you have a friend at a few churches, and those friends invite you to spend time with their friends, you will meet more people. This just naturally increases your chances of finding someone you are compatible with.
#5: Use Your Loneliness to Grow With Christ
Well if you’ve been a Christian in singleness and you’ve read things about singleness, you probably expected this point. But don’t gloss over it just because you’ve heard it so many times before.
Use your loneliness in Christian singleness to grow with Christ. The greatest blessing singleness offers is a life that is less cluttered and thus more open to spending time with Jesus. Marriage will grow your walk with God too, but singleness has its own unique blessings that you won’t have during any other time in life.
Loneliness should first and foremost draw you to God. He loves you. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to be your everything. He might not take away your loneliness that stems from your singleness. But you better believe he wants to walk through that loneliness right by your side, drawing you closer to himself through it all.
Loneliness can be one of the greatest blessings we can ever have because it can drive us to pursue our greatest need – a personal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Dwell on Bible verses like these.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
It’s one thing to read and memorize Bible verses like these, but your loneliness has given you an opportunity to experience God’s closeness. Don’t waist that opportunity.
Loneliness is a real struggle for many Christians who are in a season of singleness. Don’t be ashamed. But also don’t respond to your loneliness in sinful ways. You are not alone. Seek healthy relationships, and above all seek Christ.