All of us want to be loved and accepted. We want to have a companion and significant other to share life with. We go on dates but none of them match up to be “The One.” We see our friends and acquaintances on Instagram being in relationships, becoming engaged, or getting married. You start to wonder after awhile, “When is it my turn?”

The waiting period between singleness and marriage can be painful and frustrating. My last serious relationship ended four years ago and I’ve been single up until now. Did I ever get impatient? You bet! Have I wanted to be in a relationship again? Of course. I completely understand the feeling of being single for an extended period of time.

We celebrate engagements and marriages but how often do we celebrate singleness?

It seems like getting engaged or married are milestones we must attain in order to proceed to the next level of life. Marriage is a beautiful union of souls, and we should not place so much emphasis on being with someone to fulfill our desires or even to be used by God. God still loves you immensely whether you’re single or married, young or old. You don’t need to have a partner to do great things for God.

Actually, sometimes God can use you in greater ways in your singleness.

One of my friends named Gerry has been single for over 70 years and he’s the most purpose-driven, joy-filled person I know. His ministry is essentially to love on Chinese international students deeply and widely. Whenever he hears of an international student coming into town, he invites them over to his home and showers them with love — cooking steak dinners, letting them spend the night, spending quality time with them, and touring the eastern United States. After relationships have been built, he invites them to church or shares the Gospel with them. Gerry has had such a positive impact on these students’ lives that the students would rather stay over at his home instead of their college dorms. What attracts them to him? Love.

If Gerry were married, it would be much more difficult to liberally invite guests over and tour them around the east coast. He would have to ask his wife and consider her needs and wants. To Gerry, singleness is truly a God-given gift. Instead of complaining about not being married, he CHOSE to use his singleness to win others for Christ and share his love.

There are countless examples of people in the Bible who had joy AND purpose. Paul was single and single-handedly spread the news of Jesus Christ further than anyone in history; he wrote most of the New Testament! Paul had joy even when in prison. Jesus was single and gave the world an opportunity to live for eternity in God’s love. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.

On the flip side, marriage is also beautiful and powerful. When both you and your spouse have similar visions and values, it is a force to be reckoned with. Your children can become agents of change and extensions of God’s love.

In both singleness and marriage, you have a choice to be joyful and purposeful. Here are some ways to maximize your period of singleness:

1) TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE A PERSON OF GOD

Being single, you have more free time than those in a relationship. Use this time to sharpen and equip yourself to be holy and draw closer to Him. Study the Bible extensively and pray fervently. Spend intentional time with Godly friends and invest in those who need a helping hand. Serve in your church regularly and be involved in your community.

Professionally – read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, and learn from those in your field of work. This is a time to sharpen your skills and get ahead in your career.

Most people know they should develop themselves, but few actually do so.

Those who do are winners and have more impact in the workplace as professionals and Christ followers.

RELATED: 5 Lies I Believed When I Was Single

2) CULTIVATE WHERE GOD HAS PLACED YOU

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:15-18)

Before God gave Adam a significant other, Eve, Adam tended to the work where God has placed him.

God gave Adam an assignment to work the garden BEFORE God gave him Eve.

You are placed in your job for a purpose. The school where you are has a purpose. You are single in this season for a reason. God is testing your faithfulness when you cannot see the outcome. Until you have been faithful, God will not give you more.

Use this time to produce the best work you possibly can. Use this time to be a great student in your college. Don’t waste your season.

3) GET CLOSER TO GOD

“Well that’s a pretty cliche statement” you might say. There’s an element of faith when we draw closer to Him and it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must further our intimacy with him before the person God has for us. If you do not get the ultimate relationship right, then you will have much trouble with your earthly relationship.

This is a season for you to bask in God’s love for you; otherwise, you will depend too much on the person to fulfill your needs. He or she isn’t God, and it isn’t fair to the other person. Only Jesus can satisfy all of your desires.

Food for Thought: How can you best use your time of singleness to honor God and live a purpose-driven life?

Alex Tran works in the tech space as a project manager and incorporates his faith in the workplace. Alex is passionate about helping lost people become found, spiritually and vocationally. His mission is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ by counseling individuals through life’s circumstances. His life dream is to live overseas in the APAC region with his future family serving college students and 20-somethings.