When you Google the word “contentment”, the definition you get is the following: a state of happiness and satisfaction.
Synonyms: fulfilment, gratification, ease, well-being, comfort, peace.
When we are talking about contentment in singleness, we are talking about being in a state of ease, satisfaction and fulfillment in your singleness.
I know it’s hard to imagine that you can actually be fulfilled and at peace whilst being single, but it is actually possible!
See Philippians 4:12 AMP
In this scripture, Paul is saying that he has learnt to be content – keyword: learnt
He has learnt to be self-sufficient through Christ – not in himself or in a relationship – but through Christ to the point where he is no longer disturbed or uneasy regardless of his circumstances – whether good or bad.
He is content.
He is okay – whether he has food or not; whether he is in prison or not; whether he dies for the cause of Christ or not – he is content.
And he’s content because he has Jesus.
Through his life and through all that He has gone through, he has come to a place in his life where Jesus is all he needs; where Jesus is enough for him.
What does this mean?
Does it mean that he doesn’t have desires or longings within him? No.
It means that he has those longings but even if those longings and desires are not met, he is good; he is okay because Jesus is enough for him.
Ladies, contentment is a state of the heart; a posture of the heart whereby you are fulfilled and satisfied in and with Jesus regardless of whether you get what you desire or not.
(Now, specifically to singleness) It means that whether or not you end up in a relationship; whether or not you get married; whether you get married at the age you desire and all your plans with regards to marriage and starting a family come to pass or not – you’re satisfied.
You’re at ease.
Because you have Jesus.
You have the son of the living God with you, in you and for you; ordering your steps and guiding you in every season.
Because you have a God who knows the plans He has for you and these plans are for your good and they are to prosper you.
So then, how do you become content?
Contentment isn’t a one time thing, neither is it something that happens over night.
Remember in Philippians 4:12, Paul says that he learnt to be content, therefore, we learn to be content – we don’t just grow into or wake up one day and boom! we are content!
It takes time, intentionality and action.
For you to be content, you should:
1. Shift Your Focus to God
More often than not, our focus isn’t on God, but on relationships/marriage or ‘when are we going to meet ‘the one’ or ‘why haven’t we yet met the one’.
Don’t get me wrong: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a desire to be in a relationship and to get married. In fact, the desire for marriage is a godly desire (read this post on Developing a Positive mindset towards Singleness to learn more about how marriage is a godly desire).
But what tends to happen is that marriage becomes our focus; it becomes our end goal.
We think that marriage is the end goal. Some of us think that marriage is a reward for singleness or for waiting, or that sex is a reward for waiting and for keeping yourself.
Hear me ladies when I say marriage is not the end goal – living for Christ and serving Him is.
Marriage is a means to an end – the end being to magnify God, because through the institution of marriage, God is glorified and people are pointed towards Christ. Therefore, ladies, marriage isn’t really about you or your spouse!
Neither is it all about the lovey doveyness and feeling good – yes in a marriage you experience love, companionship and your sexual desires are met but that is not the ultimate purpose of marriage – marriage is meant to honour and bring glory to God and his kingdom. Yet, this is not the only way that we can glorify and honour God.
We glorify and honour God when we commit our lives to Him; when we walk in obedience to His word and allow Him to use us for His glory and to further His kingdom.
So sis, shift your focus to God.
Yes, you can desire marriage but let Christ be at the centre of your life, and at the centre of your singleness.
Take this time to grow closer to God and be in His presence and in His word. Let him take your life – your everyday life – and even your desire for marriage and let Him use it to bring glory to His name.
2. Renew your mind by understanding that every season has a purpose
Romans 12:2 tells us ‘not to be conformed to the patterns, the superficial values and customs of this world, but to be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove for ourselves what the will of God is (his good, acceptable & perfect plan for our lives).
In order to be content, your mindset needs to change.
There needs to be a breaking out of the current way of thinking that you live by, followed by gaining of proper knowledge which will lead to a progressive change in the way you think.
And the way that we renew our minds is through the word of God ; for your mind to be renewed; for it to be transformed, it must take the shape of the word of God.
One key thing we need to gain knowledge of is that there is a reason for every season.
I know that sounds cliche and you’ve probably heard it numerous times, but ladies – it is true: there is a reason for every season; a purpose for every season, and this is reflected in scripture.
So that means that there is purpose in singleness.
Through life we go through various seasons – both good and bad – but each season has a purpose. It is not in vain and before the eyes of God, not only is it valuable but He also causes it to work for your good.
Singleness has a purpose (click here to read the first post of the series where I break down the purpose of singleness) and so does marriage.
When you know and understand the purpose of singleness, you have a different outlook and a different attitude towards it (as we said, you’re mind will be renewed). You won’t hate it or despise it, but you will see the value in it. Neither will you misuse the season and throw it away but you will make the most out of it.
Furthermore, you will be at ease because you will be living out your purpose in your singleness – you will be doing what God has called you to do during this time and when the time is right, you will get married and continue to do so with your spouse in your season of marriage.
Ladies, do not misuse this time – learn what God wants you to do now, and do it all for His glory!
3. Be intentional and proactive about being content.
As already mentioned, contentment is not something that happens overnight.
It is something that is learnt, which means that you need to be willing to learn, and the sad truth is that not many of us are.
Many of us desire to be content and want to be content, but we aren’t willing to put in the work that is required for us to be content.
Learning isn’t sitting and hoping that as you desire to be content; that your stance will change.
Learning involves knowing that contentment is a matter of the heart and that you need to search your heart to see what the posture of your heart is; to see what ideals and mindsets you have subscribed to and that are affecting your outlook on singleness.
It then involves you admitting that you are not content and turning to God, confessing this fact and asking for his help.
Afterwards, you take active steps such as reading the word of God to renew your mind, changing the kind of content you consume and the conversations you have, as well as any other action/instruction that the Holy Spirit will give to you.
Remember ladies: you cannot keep doing the same thing and have the same mentality and expect to see different results – for change to happen, something must change.
Contentment is NOT...
We have seen what contentment is and how we can become content, but I wanted to share with you what contentment is not.
Contentment is not:
1. Looking down on relationships and marriage
There is a mentality that people have – including Christians – that when we begin to talk about singleness and being content in one’s singleness, it’s synonymous with looking down on relationships and marriage, or that one is greater than the other.
To support this argument, many people have quoted Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, where he says, ‘But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.’
Many Christians have used this to compare singleness and marriage, disregarding one or the other and even going as far as shaming other Christians for either choosing to wait on God or for desiring marriage.
Hear me when I say that both singleness and marriage bring glory to God
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 7, he was encouraging the believers to stay single because of the merits of singleness – you have more time for God and for the things of God; being devoted without distraction, because when you’re in a relationship, as Paul puts it, you have many concerns – your mind is occupied with the things that you need to do: take care of your husband, your children and your entire family.
He was in no way trying to disregard one or the other but simply encouraging the believers to be single because of how great singleness is, and yet, he still went ahead to to say that he wasn’t putting a restraint on anyone.
So, don’t feel guilty for desiring marriage, or for choosing to take time out from relationships just to focus on God and on yourself. It is okay, sis – it’s okay.
2. An attempt to subdue your desire for marriage and the preparation for marriage
As mentioned, many at times people think talking about contentment in singleness or advocating for it means you look down on marriage. Others at times think that it is an attempt to subdue one’s desire for marriage and the preparation of marriage.
Learning to be content in your singleness and taking the active steps to do so is NOT an attempt to subdue your desire for marriage.
Sis, learning to be content is actually for you; for your benefit, so that you make the most of the space and season you are in at the moment. Neither is it God’s intention for you to shove down or ignore your desire for marriage – you can actually be content in your singleness and still desire marriage! The 2 do not cancel out one another.
I am here to assure you that you can be content and still desire marriage. The issue comes in when you let that desire take the place of God in your life.
Furthermore, it is in our singleness that we prepare for marriage.
How? Because what you spend your time doing in your singleness prepares you for marriage.
Preparation for marriage isn’t just the 3 months of premarital counselling that you and your fiance will attend – that actually isn’t enough! How do your prepare for a lifetime with someone in a span of 3 months?
Preparation starts now: it starts with the things you consume that affect your view on marriage; the family & marriage dynamic that you have seen everyday in your parents home (good or bad) that you will model in your own home; the traumas that you have and whether or not you will deal with them in your singleness or carry them into your marriage.
Ladies, there is a lot to do in order to have a marriage that looks like Christ and a home of love, peace and joy.
But you cannot prepare for it if you’re too caught asking God why he hasn’t sent you the one yet: if you’re too focused on when it will come.
Being content opens you up to being satisfied with you’re current season, and gives you the chance to prepare for the next.
3. The key to receiving marriage from God or an attempt to arm twist God so you can get married.
Ladies, being content is not the key to unlock the doors of marriage. Neither is it a formula that we use to try and get God to send us a spouse.
As already mentioned, being content in your singleness is for YOU: it’s for your benefit.
God cannot be arm twisted neither can he be bribed.
James 1:17 says that ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’
Marriage is good; it is a good thing. And it is a gift from God, as seen from scripture that every good and perfect gift comes from God.
God is a giver – He gives, and as seen in this scripture, He gives gifts to his children.
Therefore, God has given us the gift of marriage, meaning that you cannot try to arm twist God to get marriage from Him because He has freely given it to us.
So remember sis, contentment is for you: not to arm twist God or an attempt to subdue your desires, but an acknowledgement that the season you are in is an important one and it has purpose.
BONUS: IG Live on Singleness
On April 6th, my good friend, Kate of @mamreministry had an Instagram live to talk about Contentment in Singleness.
In the live, I share with you what I have written in this post and much more, in detail as well as my own struggles with becoming content in my singleness and how I have learnt to be content.
If you are reading this now, it means you got to the end of this very long post and I am thrilled that you did!
I know that this post has challenged you and has caused you to look into your own life, so I ask that you share it with a friend so that they too can be challenged, and learn to love their singleness!