Speaker shares experience with God’s call to be single
Colleen Zewe | Wednesday, March 8, 2017
As part of the Theology on Fire series, Beth Knobbe, relationship manager at Catholic Relief Services in Chicago, presented “Living Single with Faith, Purpose and Passion” at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday.
Knobbe, who intentionally lives a single life, began her talk by addressing the anxiety students feel about having a plan after graduation.
“There is no predetermined plan for our life,” she said. “God’s plan is that God is going to love us and not abandon us.”
Knobbe said she believes there is no superior way of life and that people can find happiness in both marriage and the single life; it all depends on what truly brings the person the most happiness and what they feel called to do.
“My purpose in being here is not to convince you that God is calling you to the single life,” Knobbe said.
She emphasized that living the single life is an active and intentional response to God’s call.
“He may be calling you to marriage, a religious vocation or a life of absolute surprise,” Knobbe said. “Recognize that when we say yes to that, what we receive in return is a great sense of abundance of God’s love for us.”
Knobbe said she had dated throughout college but never found a relationship that made her feel full. She said she felt anxious in her 30s because she thought married life was the ideal way of life. She said she had a heart-to-heart with God after attending a wedding that made her feel like a wedding was everything people expected from life.
“Something in me broke — I was furious with God,” Knobbe said.“What I experienced at the wedding, I thought was the plan for me.”
But she said she realized God’s calling for her did not involve that ideal. She went to graduate school and said she found the richness most people find in romantic relationships in her friends and peers.
“Your vocation is the place where you feel most at home,” Knobbe said.“It doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes. It’s easy to get lonely as a single person. There’s a temptation to be selfish with my time and money. But it feels right for me.”
Knobbe said being single for God’s kingdom is different from being single just by circumstance.
“Somebody who recognizes that single life is their call also expresses that there’s a purpose to it,” she said. “It’s embraced and chosen. It involves service to others, be it in the Church or other professions.”
Sharing life stories, debating, team sports, laughing, making music and attending mass are all ways to experience intimacy, Knobbe said.
“As a single person, I think about all the ways my life are creative,” she said. “I wonder what my legacy will be, and I see it in my work and my relationships, from visiting someone in the hospital to making cookies with friends. It all gives my life energy. Service is my way of leaving a legacy and giving to the world.”
Knobbe said she believes a single life is a life full of love if one can take on a new perspective.
“We need to look at life a little differently,” she said. “It’s taken me a long time to see it, but once I began to see it, I saw it everywhere.”