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How To Deal With Singleness When It Seems Like Thorn In The Flesh

Updated: Mar 22

We have all been through our fair share of awkward conversations about singleness. They start off with singleness as a gift and end with the advice to be glad we are single and have freedom. I want to be clear, singleness is a calling according to 1 Corinthians 7:24, and one of the pros is the freedom to do things as you please. But without the proper discipleship and counsel, these words can leave us feeling misunderstood, confused, and as if our emotions are invalid. I believe that is not the intent, but it can come across that way.

What if my singleness does not feel like a gift and is a calling I do not want? What if I am single for the rest of my life and never experienced marriage or having a family? Why do I have to be the only single person in my group? Why is this so hard? These are all questions I asked myself and God countless times during my singleness journey. I say journey because it takes time, vulnerability, and intentionality to become content and remain hopeful. By no means have I reached this level of ultimate contentment. I am still working through my journey as well. So, if you asked the same questions or feel like you can not handle it, keep reading because I believe this can be a great help.

Thorn is something or someone that painfully nags or irritates one’s humanity on a continuous basis. -Tony Evans

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 where Paul gives us an inside look at his struggles and tells us about the thorn in the flesh. Paul tells us the reason for the thorn, his experience dealing with the thorn, and God’s response to Paul about his thorn. I believe this passage can help with the emotional side of singleness where 1 Corinthians 7 does not instruct. There are so many gems in this passage, but I want to focus on two that I believe are a good starting point and will help release some anxiety you are experiencing.

It’s okay to be honest and vulnerable with God about how you feel. In verse 8, Paul tells us he pleaded with the Lord that his thorn would be taken away three times. Pleading is not just asking, it’s an emotional appeal. It’s when you allow your heart to express the pain, depression, disappointment, worry, and doubt that is holding you captive. When God responds to Paul, He does not condemn Paul for speaking what he felt.

Trust God with your heart enough to be honest and talk to Him vulnerably. There is something about acknowledging and speaking about our pains and hurts that allows healing to begin. I can’t even count how many times I just poured my heart out to the Lord, every disappointment, every doubt, and every worry. I had to learn to trust God with my pain and not blame Him. Journaling and praying out loud helped me empty my heart to the Lord. I encourage you to let God in because He does care.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

This is an opportunity to see God be God in your life. In response to Paul, God does not explain why He allows the thorn or if He will remove it. He responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, ..” (verse 9a). His compassionate favor is adequate for Paul. Simply put, the other things God is doing in his life are enough to lessen the sting of the thorn. Then He said, “… for my power is made perfect in your weakness…” (verse 9b). His ability to know everything, to do anything, and to be perfectly good is completely free & fully developed in Paul’s weakness. Our weakness, which I believe is revealed by the thorn, allows space for God to show His perfect power in our lives.

This verse has assured me that God truly has me and has given me hope that He is going to do something amazing through my struggle. It truly has been a comfort to me and has released some of my anxiety. It has brought me to a place where I can say like Paul, “… Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (verse 9c)

The growth I have experienced during my singleness has been amazing and probably would not have been so effective if I were married and had a family. I would not have had the time and attention needed to focus on myself and my development. Do I still desire marriage and a family? Absolutely! Do I still feel the loneliness and longing that comes with singleness at times? Absolutely! But, I’m able to see past my emotions and trust God’s leading in my life. Let God be God in your life!

I pray that this has been helpful and encouraging. Please remember, you are safe with God! If this was a help, please leave a comment and sign up for our email newsletter.

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