I can honestly say that in my dreams of what I imagined my life to look like…being 29 and single was never it. I was the girl that was going to meet my husband freshman year of college, date all the way through, marry after graduation and have at least 4 kids by 30 and be going through the process to foster/adopt. Now some may think I’m crazy for even having that dream, and I probably am. But apparently I have a personality that likes to plan things out. I like to know what’s going to happen.
I sometimes think that God looks down and shakes His head at me. Here He is the creator of the universe, that already has a calling and a plan for my life, and I seem to act like I know better than Him how the timing of my life should work. (Cue…laughter here)
I say all that to say that there are days that being in a single season is hard, and there are days when it doesn’t bother me as much. But as I sort through these emotions there are some things I have learned about living life as a single (especially when you don’t want to be single).
- Acknowledge the sadness or frustration, but don’t live in that place. Take it to God…He’s big enough to handle it.
- Serve couples with kids as you can…give them a date night when you can, send an encouraging note, hold the baby when you’re out to eat so they can eat a hot meal.
- Do read books to improve yourself and the relationship you would like to have…but don’t assume its your fault you’re still single.
- Seek the Lord…get to know Him more intimately then maybe you have before.
- Do keep your standards high even when others say you are being too picky.
- Don’t feel like you have to give online dating a try if you don’t feel like its for you….let me be clear here…I don’t think its wrong, but I don’t think its for everyone. Seek the Lord and see what He says.
- Watch the marriages around you and take notes…both good and bad.
- Do seek to excel at your career.
- Take that trip…even if its by yourself.
- Understand that as your friends get married the relationship you have with them WILL change…not for the worst, but it WILL change. Be understanding of your friend’s new adjustments they are making and in turn be honest about adjustments you are making.
- Don’t take people’s comments to heart. You know the ones…”Oh, honey when you give it to God your man will come.” “You’re just so beautiful and amazing; I don’t know why you aren’t dating.” “In God’s timing it will happen” Let me take a minute and reiterate that these statements, while made with right intentions, can create doubt and discontentment and can be extremely hurtful.
- Realize that according to Colossians 2:10 we are complete. It says, “And our own completeness is now found in him. We are completely filled with God as Christ’s fullness overflows within us. He is the Head[a]of every kingdom and authority in the universe!” As hard as it is to battle my emotions over this…I DO NOT need a man to complete the calling that God has placed on my life. He created me complete in Him. End of Story.
Those 12 things are not the only things I’ve learned, but they are the main things. One thing we must all do (no matter our situation) is STAND ON THE PROMISES OF GOD and STAY THANKFUL! There have been times in this journey that my emotions have been up and they’ve been down. I’ve had moments where I wallowed in self pity and moments where I took those emotions to the Lord in a torrent of tears. But therein lies the question….
Do I choose to take those broken emotions to the Lord and lay them at His feet, or do I choose to wallow in self-pity and discontent? I would like to say that I always take it to the Lord, but there are times when my flesh gets the best of me.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” Give thanks…NO MATTER WHAT!! That is so easy to say, but much harder to put into practice. It doesn’t say give thanks for the situation…its says give thanks in spite of the situation. There is something that happens to our hearts when we choose to stay in a mode of thankfulness. It is hard to stay mad, discontent or self-absorbed when I am choosing to be thankful.
Let me end with this…
Can I offer some suggestions to my married, engaged, and dating friends on how to love singles in your lives?
- acknowledge that your single friends may be emotional about this topic occasionally. Let them talk and give them truth from God’s Word…not Christian cliches you’ve heard.
- Make sure they have a place to go on holidays.
- Check in with them…they may be sick or have car troubles. They may not want to bother anyone or have trouble asking for help.
- Have them over for dinner…not to watch your kids
- Celebrate their successes…promotions, goals completed, etc.
- Invite them to Sunday lunch instead of them going home alone
- Ask them for advice…even if they aren’t in the same life stage…you would be surprised the wisdom that some of your friends have
- Love them…just love them
I am so thankful for the women of God that He has placed in my life. The married ones, the engaged ones, the dating ones, and the single ones. These ladies have no idea how they bless me, encourage me, strengthen me, and push me to be a better person.
God has people in different life stages in your life for a reason…ask Him how you can be a blessing to those around you…no matter what your life stage is. Look for people that have the same passions as you. Create an eclectic group where everyone has the same passion or create a service project group. We need each other, but we also need to be sensitive to one another and lift one another up in encouragement. We need to speak God’s truth into situations…not our truth.
Stay near God…Stand on His promises…and Stay Thankful!
Some promises for you to copy down...
His love will not leave us and His peace is always before us… (Isaiah 54:10)
His love goes before us and He will never leave us of forsake us… (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He has set us free… (John 8:36)
He will meet all our needs… (Philippians 4:19)
He is forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to Him… (Psalm 86:5)
He covers us with joy and peace… (Isaiah 55:12)
The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still… (Exodus 14:14)
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…(Isaiah 40:29)
He will give us wisdom…we only need ask (James 1:5)
He will guide us…(Psalm 32:8)
(picture found on pinterest and says reneeannsmith.com)