Category Archives: Singleness

Shared Post – Seeking Solace in God

As I was browsing through my usual reads at the office today, I stumbled on this and couldn’t agree more. Today, I’m choosing #6. Lent is just around the corner (wait for that post to be uploaded — I’m calling for acountability and community here). Here’s to living life to its fullest!

6 options for godly single women wanting to marry

I am currently preaching through Malachi and talking about Living for a Legacy. While the book does say that God is a Father seeking “godly offspring” through his people, my concern is that singles will feel isolated or overlooked in this series. So, I wanted to supplement the sermons with some additional thoughts for singles.

“Daughters . . . Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”

–Song of Songs 2:7 (NIV)

These are tough times for godly single women who want to marry.

There are some single women who remain single for no good reason. I know plenty of them. Some have never married. Some married only to have their husband die. Others have been divorced by a guy who did not appreciate what he had and did not want to invest the energy it takes to make a great marriage. These are women who are friends of Grace and I, people we know well, women who are very godly, actively serving others, and well known in their church community. Of course, the world is also filled with singles who are not mature, godly, or stable, but I’m not talking about them.

As for the godly single women wanting to marry, however, I’m meeting more and more women like this recently. They often ask me for advice on what they should do. Those who are over thirty are sometimes beginning to wonder if their hopes to marry and become a mother will be fulfilled. For some, this leads to near panic. For others, a constant despair with seasons of dark depression lingers like a chronic ache.

Admittedly, I am not the best person to give advice to a single woman about specific ways to navigate the path of holding out hope while being realistic regarding planning for one’s future. But, I am a pastor and a dad. I do love the women in our church, and I love them like a spiritual father. Also, I am the father of two girls whom I absolutely enjoy and adore, the oldest of which is sixteen. So I think about this a lot.

For the godly single ladies reading this blog post, I know that sometimes the drama and details of relationships (or the lack thereof) can become confusing, cloudy, and cold. Sometimes, pulling back from a situation, particularly one that is emotionally expensive for you, helps you see that even though the specific choices you are making are not what you would want, they are the best in light of the options you have. This dawned on me recently while talking with a woman at an event where I was teaching. In that conversation, I told her she really only had six options.

Option #1: Sin

You can decide that God has not come through for you, so you take matters into your own hands. You decide to be a gal who parties a lot, casually dates a bunch of guys you’d never marry, sleeps around, moves in with a guy, or does other things that will really hurt the one relationship you have with a great man: Jesus Christ. If you take this path, you will eventually come to feel horrible for what you have done and miserable in the world you live.

Option #2: Surrender

You can give up on ever meeting someone worth marrying. You can just stop taking any risks, meeting any people, or trying in any way. Often this is because you are sick of getting your heart broken and would rather lock it away in a vault than take another risk. But when you shut down your heart to life in general, you are not just foregoing marriage but also hope and joy.

Option #3: Settle

You can lower your standards to the point that nearly any guy can meet them. Single men and women are prone to have a list of what they want in a spouse that is way too detailed, long, and unreasonable. But, it is also possible to keep editing your list to the point where “godly man” eventually becomes “believes in a higher power of some sort,” and “I respect him” becomes “I think I can put up with him.” This may get you a man, but not a long-term, joy-filled, God-honoring marriage.

Option #4: Suffer

You can allow your singleness to become the devastating, discouraging, and defining aspect of your life. You can let it make you feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. You can allow it to haunt you, pushing you into shame, isolation, and despair. You can let your singleness be a club for Satan to beat you with over, and over, and over, and over . . .

Option #5: Strive

You can start to obsess over doing literally everything you can to land a husband. You never leave the house without looking like you are ready for a pageant. You count every calorie and spend more time at the gym than the treadmill does. You start an account for every Christian dating site that exists. You attend every church with a decent number of single men, and never miss a singles ministry event at any megachurch within a two-hour drive of your home. The center of your life is no longer Jesus, but some guy you are determined to attract to fill his place.

Option #6: Solace

You can take comfort in God’s love for you and that Jesus is the Man in your life who sympathizes with your singleness. You can allow your singleness to explain you but not identify you. You can allow your singleness to be an aspect of your life but not the essence of your life. You can remind yourself that you worship a God who was single, and that the early church was nearly the polar opposite of today’s: singleness was considered a virtuous, preferable life by many in service to God. You can live your life without waiting for someone else to show up and make it worthwhile. You can retain your desire for marriage without drifting into desperation. You can be open to a relationship without putting your entire life on hold until one occurs. You can pour your desires for a family into your extended family and/or church family.

To my single sisters wanting to marry, I do not want to discourage you in any way. But, the truth is that it is harder to be a single woman than a single man as a Christian. Every poll I have ever seen says that single women are generally more mature and responsible than single men. Men are waiting until around 30 years old to marry for the first time, if they ever do. And, they are going for younger women, according to the statistics. Across Christianity, there are far more single women than single men, which means that the odds are not in the favor of godly single women. In addition, for theological reasons, many Christian women do not want to be the dating initiator, asking guys out and taking the lead in the relationship.

All of this together means that godly single women live in a complex world that is increasingly more difficult for those who want to marry and have children with a godly man. Love, prayer, friendship, support, counsel, and community are needed more than ever.

Being single is not easy. But neither is being married. They are just difficult in different ways as God uses everything in our life to make us more like Jesus, who happened to live a perfect life while single.

Shared Post: 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Single by Debra K. Fileta, shared at RelevantMagazine

It’s not every day that you stumble on something that makes you pause and go, “Huh…I hadn’t thought of it that way.” Thank you to Debra K. Fileta for shining light on a time in a person’s life when we tend to forget the greater purpose.

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I dusted off one of my old journals the other day. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t such a good idea.

I half-laughed/half-cringed while reading through the pages, listening to my 20-year-old self talk about life and dream about the future. I had a pretty good head on my shoulders (or at least I thought so), but even so, looking back I realize I had so many things wrong in my mentality as a single person.

There are so many things I know now that I wish I knew then—so many things that would have spared me heartache, grief and straight-up saved me time! I spent so much time dreaming, worrying and thinking about things that would never actually happen. I invested my energy in the wrong places and my emotions in the wrong people.

I get that some life-lessons have to be experienced in order to be learned, but I don’t always think that’s the case. Sometimes, I think someone who’s “been there, done that and learned from it” can give us some perspective and steer us in the right direction. As I reflect on my time as a single, here are some things I wish someone would have told me:

The most important person you could ever get to know is yourself

Sound obvious to you? Than you’re better off than I was. Back then, I probably would have told you that I “knew who I was,” but I really didn’t. The truth is, I didn’t take the time to get to know myself until far too late in my life as a single. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

We can spend so much time trying to find the right person, that we actually lose ourselves in the process.

So many times, our years of singleness are spent focusing on who we’re going to be with, rather than who we are. Countless hours and limitless energy are poured into getting to know the person standing before us, many times, at the neglect of ourselves. We can spend so much time trying to find the right person, that we actually lose ourselves in the process.

I wish someone would have clued me in on the fact that getting my stuff together was a huge piece to the puzzle of a nourished relationship. Instead of fixating on relationships, I wish I would have invested more time in developing interests, understanding my personality, working through my past and wrapping my brain around my identity in Christ. Because at the end of the day, you can’t really know what you want in a relationship until you know who you are.

You will always attract the kind of person you believe you deserve

The truth is that we all come with some sort of a price tag. We rely on so many superficial things to measure our value and our worth by: appearance, intelligence, success. But no matter how you choose to calculate it, your price tag is determined by one thing and one thing alone: Yourself.I wish someone could have told me that you get to determine the price that you will place upon yourself. But more so, I wish I would have known the reality that the price I choose is also the price at which I’ll be purchased. I spent so much of my life undervaluing my worth, thinking I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or cute enough. I made decisions based on what I believed I deserved, and my inability to see my true worth took me down some roads I wish I never would have traveled.

It’s important to get real with the price we place on ourselves and realize how valuable we are, because we have been made by a God who said so. A God who saw we were worth so much and paid a high cost just to prove it. One thing I wish someone would have told me is that if you want to attract someone who values you, you’ve first got to value yourself.

Your story has far more to do with who you are, than who you’re with

It’s hard not to be single-minded when you’re on the search for love (no pun intended). It’s easy to focus in on your desires in the here and now. But the truth is, finding a relationship is just part of God’s bigger story for your life. I think the most foundational truth that I’ve learned now that I’m a married woman is that my life has far more to do with finding my purpose than it ever did with finding someone to marry.

Seek to find your purpose and pursue your God-given passions while standing alone.

I love my husband, and I’m blessed by the marriage we have, but I realize that this relationship is just part of the bigger picture God has for my life. My purpose, my security, and my value weren’t resolved in the arms of my spouse. There is so much more that God has made me to do and to be, and so much more that I want to become.

Finding love is just part of the equation of my story, and it’s only part of yours, as well. Seek to find your purpose and pursue your God-given passions while standing alone. Because one thing I wish I would have known is that you’ll never regret investing in God’s bigger picture.

No matter who you are or what you’ve been through, my prayer is that you learn from my mistakes, because sometimesa simple perspective change can make all the difference in your life—and in your relationships.

An earlier version of this article appeared at truelovedates.com

And can be found here.

faith to believe

“People should not judge failed love affairs as failed experiences but as part of the growth process. Something does not have to end well for it to have been one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime.” – Ethel Person

2013 has been a year full of ups and downs; a year filled with moments of happiness and moments of sadness and several moments where I floundered as I treaded unknown waters in my search for joy again.

…the pain of a butterfly earning its wings.

This last summer, I experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done: I said goodbye to a relationship that had meant a lot to me; a relationship I probably shouldn’t have pursued in the first place.

It was Independence Day weekend and even though I had made plans to watch the fireworks with that particular someone, one thing had led to another and I found myself standing in the doorway of those circumstances, looking in and wondering what had happened. Did I do something wrong? The other shoe was finally dropping, just as it always did (or so it always seems) and here I had thought, on some level at least, that this thing was a good thing.

Maybe it was at one point, in and of itself at least, but at that moment, it wasn’t.

I left, taking the back roads – a stretch of winding highway and beautiful scenery – back to the Twin Cities. I needed time to think and process; driving does that for me. That may be why I enjoy it so much.

I prayed and screamed at God, questioning Him and doubting His goodness in that moment. I called my mom and one of my best friends and although I knew the kind words and support they were offering were done out of love, I didn’t feel loved.

And when my vision started swimming due to the intensity of my tears and I couldn’t stand my thoughts any longer, I cranked the music streaming from my iPod and let the words of several songs – words penned by Christian artists – words given to them by God – wash over me.

Songs by The Afters  – Broken Hallelujah, Find Your Way, Believe, This Life;

Song by Sidewalk Prophets – It’s Good and Help Me Find It;

Songs by Hillsong – Glorious Ruins

Just to name a few…

But it was this song, Faith to Believe, by one of my favorite duos – probably more so due to their tight harmonies and the lyrics, o those lyrics, that really hit me.

Give me the faith to believe You
When I’m stuck here in my fear
Give me the strength to trust You
When my vision’s blurred by tears
Give me a hope for tomorrow
Cause today has gone so wrong
I’m on my knees
Give me the faith to believe

Even when I cannot see You
You’re still shining, You’re still shining
Even when I cannot hear You
You’re still calling out my name
Even when I cannot feel You
Your arms are open
Always holding on to me
Give me the faith to believe

You say You’ll never leave me
That Your love will conquer fear
You say Your day is coming
When You’ll wipe away my tears
Give me a hope for tomorrow
Cause today has gone so wrong
I’m on my knees
Give me the faith to believe

Won’t You give me the faith to see the invisible
Give me the faith to believe the impossible
Give me the faith to receive the incredible
O, give me the faith to believe it

To read about the story behind this song, click here.

In a moment where I was struggling, realizing I had been adrift for quite some time and trying to swim against the current to get back to where I was, I stopped.

I took a moment to breathe and prayed:

Give me the faith to believe You when I’m stuck here in my fear…
I was afraid in that moment, and in those that followed – afraid of the unknown, afraid that I had done something wrong, afraid that love would never find me (the romantic kind folks…if you’ve ever experienced a broken heart, you know what I’m talking about), afraid of what life would be like without what I had just lost, and more. How could I believe God in that moment? I was struggling to trust in His goodness; struggling to believe that He had my back when it seemed no one else did.

Give me the strength to trust You when my vision’s blurred by tears
My vision was definitely blurred by tears – both physically and figuratively. It was quite some time before I surfaced again, feeling restored and one step closer to my future, glorious self – who I was made to be.

Give me a hope for tomorrow cause today has gone so wrong
Those words couldn’t have rung any truer than they did that day…a day that had started out great but had taken an unexpected turn. It’s funny how it is when we plan things one way and God takes it another way, isn’t it? And while I don’t understand it all just yet, I know that He has something better, richer and far more amazing destined for me than I could ever plan for myself.

I’m on my knees give me the faith to believe…

He’s answered that prayer more than once since then.

You see, even though my circumstances had changed, my relationship with Him didn’t. I could trust and fall into His goodness. I could allow myself to feel His love and achingly, tender mercy wash over me.

Everything in life is a learning experience, mistakes and successes – all of it.

Mandy Hale, an advocate for us fabulous, single women, writes “Sometimes a ‘mistake’ can end up being the best decision you ever make.”

Am I sorry about my decision to give it a chance? No. I’m not. I don’t regret a single moment.

Sure, it sucked going through it, but that pales in comparison to what I’ve learned and am still learning. It may be one of those epic “mistakes” that may turn into one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has played a part in helping me become the person I’m supposed to be.

For instance, before, I was the girl who lived life waiting for it to happen. I’ve tried taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, and tried doing things my way by posting online profiles on multiple dating sites and screaming BINGO! when something finally happened.

And although that one thing had been short-lived, I’ve learned that I don’t need to live life according to what the world says during this season of singleness; as if it were a prequel to an amazing life. My life is amazing as is.

“Happily Single” is recognizing that you don’t need or want to be rescued from your life by a handsome prince because your life is pretty awesome, as is. – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love and a Dash of Sass

I’m learning to live life at its fullest now. I’m embracing the freedom I have to do what I want, when I want and how I want without having to apologize for any mistakes I make along the way (unless they directly affect another). I can choose to learn from them.

I’m learning to actually like myself (I am my own worst critic, after all). I actually like being able to spend money on myself without have to ask anyone’s permission (within reason, of course). I like being able to take myself out on a weekly date – whether that be out to Barnes & Noble, to the coffee shop down the street, out to some fancy restaurant or even to a movie and spend time in my own company. I like staying in my pajamas for an entire Saturday, watching an entire TV season on Netflix while eating an entire box of Oreos (or my current stash of holiday treats) and not feel guilty about it. I enjoy taking weekend trips on a whim, not having to shave my legs in the months that have an “R” in their name, and blasting music while singing into the end of my broom handle while I’m cleaning my apartment. I like the freedom that comes with belonging to me and only me, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do us part (that last bit was borrowed from Mandy Hale. I couldn’t have said it any better).

Sure, I’d love to share my journey in this life with someone at some point, but I’m okay with not doing that today. I don’t have to spend my life “waiting” – staying in because I have no one to go out with or waiting to take that trip to Europe (or across the border to Canada) because I don’t have anyone to share it with. Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I have to be incomplete.

My Father makes me complete.

Jesus makes me complete.

And that, my friends, is enough reason for me to turn any frown upside down and celebrate my fabulous life for what it is: fabulous.

Society, family or that married friend may define me one way but I don’t have to live by their definition. That is not my identity.

Jesus is my identity; the only one I need. It doesn’t even matter what I personally think of myself and as long as I choose to stand on His foundation, I will not easily be shaken.

You may be asking why I’m sharing all of this with you.

Why?

Because I can…

It is a part of my story and perhaps God will use it to encourage you in your own walk with Christ.

…and because I care.

I care about every other heart that’s been broken and battered by this world.

I care about every other single woman who has faced, is facing and will face the same things I’ve endured.

I care about you.

And, like Mandy Hale, I want to be a voice that goes against the grain of the other voices in this world and take a stand for the beauty that being single is.

I’m choosing to celebrate it.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – Jesus, John 10.10

And while I do so, I’m choosing to let God write my story whether or not my earthly Prince RSVPs. I’m choosing to not settle for less than His best. He’s shown me through this what I deserve and what He wants to bring me. I’m simply not letting go of Him and releasing to Him that which holds me back. I’ll say my goodbyes and move on, by His grace alone.

I’m choosing to deal.

And through it all, I know I’ll have the faith to believe – in God’s goodness, in His perfect timing, in His ultimate plan for my life and how it falls perfectly in line with His – no matter what my current circumstance, as long as I continue to intentionally choose Jesus and in doing so, chose Life.

“Your circumstances cannot control you as long as you choose [to pursue joy] on the inside, regardless of what’s happening on the outside.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman

© Anita J. Brands. 2013. Website: https://authentictruthseeker.wordpress.com/

For more information on Mandy Hale and her ministry: click here and here.

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Shared Post:

Ah research…and reading. I came across this entry on Boundless.org this morning and felt the need to share with you as this is one desire (among many) that has been placed on my heart lately….it’s also something I’m currently learning. Enjoy!

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Posted by: Amy Seed – Jun 19, 2013 12:56 PM – Found here

As I made a batch of banana chocolate chip cookies a few nights ago, I started thinking about all the ways I can use my state of singleness to prepare for my future marriage.

There are different skills men and women bring to marriage. Relational skills add depth and speak volumes into marriages that practical skills cannot. And there are different aspects of character each need to work on in order to make marriage successful.

Men are expected to be spiritual leaders and should therefore make cultivating an attitude of spiritual leadership a priority. A husband’s job is to love his wife as Christ loves the church, and he does this through servant leadership. His duty is to ensure his decisions reflect his wife’s best interests and not his own selfish desires. This means he must learn to consider his wife’s input as much as his own.

Wives must learn to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. This means respecting any decisions he makes and encouraging him in faith. Wives should encourage their husbands to be active — not passive — leaders by honoring their leadership and forsaking any desire to usurp it. Women must also learn to think of their husbands before themselves and cultivate an attitude of helpfulness.

Marriage itself cultivates many of the attitudes required for a successful union as it refines our character to be more Christlike, but there are things we can do now to help prepare us for that giant commitment we’ll make someday.

The most important thing we can do for our future spouse is grow daily in Christ. We need to become people of Scripture and of prayer. In doing so, we will gain priceless wisdom and strength. With Christ as our solid foundation, we will be able to love and encourage our spouse in a selfless way.

For our future marriage to reflect Christ and His love for the church, we need to practice loving others with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. We need to cultivate attributes of patience, kindness and humility. We must learn how to put others before ourselves. We need to practice forgiveness daily and recognize that marriage is a lifelong union between two sinners.

For me, a big part of preparing myself for marriage is looking at my mom as an example of a godly wife and mother. There are practical skills I’ve learned from her over the years about managing a household, but I’ve also learned something by observing her character. She is always thinking of other people and their needs above her own.

She recognizes my dad as the head of the household. He asks for and considers her input, but ultimately, he makes the final decisions. My parents set an example for me of what it looks like to have a successful complementarian partnership in marriage where the husband is the head and the wife the helper.

What characteristics of husbands and wives do you think are crucial to a successful marriage? Share some things you are doing in your life now to prepare for marriage later.

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Please share your comments. I welcome any and all feedback!

Be blessed!

Article: 5 Things Single People Wish Married People Knew

I was browsing through my email this morning when I stumbled across this article published in Relevant magazine. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Yes…there are times when I will feel like a third or fifth wheel, but that is my own doing. (Granted, some actions/situations do not help, but don’t think about it. Just be.) No one else can make me feel inferior…I choose what I feel. That’s the beauty of it.

So, please, married friends, siblings and distant relatives, make note of this – not just for me, but for all of your single friends and make the choice to bless rather than exclude.

The article, if you’d like to read more, can be found here.

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“As I weathered Valentine’s Day this month (again) as a single woman, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to say to my married friends about what it’s like to be unmarried at 36 and living alone in a married person’s world.

First of all, I’m very happy when I see my friends enter into and build healthy, happy marriages. This is a beautiful thing, something to which, many of us as single individuals aspire to.

And I understand that it can be difficult to know what to say or how to treat those of us who have not yet gone to the chapel. So as I reflect on my station in life, especially as it relates to the empty fourth finger on my left hand and the desire I have for marriage, there’s a few things I’d like my married friends out there to know. Not to guilt you or chastise you, but to help you, like you help me, see life from a different point of view.

It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company.

1. Single people make good friends, too.

I can remember times when I first moved to a new town and I heard friends (all married) talk about the fun things that they had done together as couples. I remember wishing that for once, they would invite me to come along! It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company. Invite me along, even if I’m the only one without a date.

2. Please don’t assume you know how I feel.

As an unmarried person, I may or may not be struggling with my singleness at the moment, so if you want to know, ask me. Don’t assume that because we spoke once and I was really struggling in my singleness that I’m forever pining away for a husband. And don’t assume that because we once spoke about how I’m pretty content in my single status that I’m always going to be content. Instead of assuming, ask me.

3. Singleness looks different in your twenties than it does in your thirties.

Because you may have spent a period of time—long or short—being single does not mean that you understand what it is to see your peers and even your nieces and nephews get married before you. The experience of singleness does not remain the same over time.

4. Dispense your formula for finding a mate with care.

“It” may have worked for you and 10 of your friends, but from what I know about love, and especially finding and marrying—and staying married—isn’t formulaic. Chances are, I’ve “tried” your formula and it hasn’t “worked.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear your advice, I just hope that you’ll listen to me before you offer it.

5. There are days when singleness feels unbearable, and days when it feels empowering.

If you catch me on one of the bad days, offer to help me do yard work, buy me chocolate, take me out for dinner, or watch a chick-flick with me. Remind me that companionship doesn’t always come in the form of a romance.

Your friend may be single, but they don’t have to be alone.

There are other days when singleness feels empowering. On those days, I feel pretty good about managing a home, a car, a job, my bank account and social situations flying solo. Please don’t talk to me about how my independence is intimidating to a man. That’s so 1950s.

It may seem that I’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for how you can approach your single friend when it relates to their single status in life. But the reality is that he or she may be single, but they don’t have to be alone. And for their sake, and for what they have to offer to you and the rest of the world, I hope they won’t be.

You can help them to know that they are a valued member of a community, and not just because they “have all that free time on their hands.” Cut them a little slack, and do them and yourself a favor by treating them like what they are: normal.”

 Written by Ashley Alley cc. February 22, 2013. Relevant Magazine.

Making the Most Singleness – Part I

This week has been filled with streaming chick-flicks, sales on romance novels and flowers with Valentines Day in the midst of it. While in Christian realms, the focus has been on both the concept of marriage and singleness. Anthem Lights (so thankful for this group of guys) released a new single titled “Hide Your Love Away” from their new album. Listen to it here  and check out the story behind the song here. What a great message!

Can I just say that I’m waiting? During this interim/season, I belong to Jesus. I’m His. Completely. Well, most days… I definitely have my moments. One would think that I would have learned by now that God has my best interest in mind, but I have a long way to go.

Recently, a friend of mine posted a link to an article from Relevant Magazine (found here) on how legalistic the topic/idea of dating in Christian circles has become. Mentioned in the article is Josh Harris’s book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which I’m currently reading through. First, it’s not just about kissing dating goodbye, per se…it’s more about living life to its fullest now.

There is no reason why I should have to wait to go dine out at a restaurant simply because I have no one to go with.

There is no reason why I shouldn’t use the crystal glasses I received as a gift years ago just because I don’t have a family or occasion to share them with.

There is no reason I shouldn’t make my apartment an inviting home because I I’m the only one who sees it.

There is no reason why I should wait until a movie comes out on DVD simply because I don’t have someone to see it in the theaters with.

The list goes on. Simply put, life started the day I was born. It’s not going to stop because our culture says life doesn’t start until you meet your soulmate. God created me for more than solely focusing on my issues with singleness and loneliness. That is no way to live a life.

Also mentioned in that article is a book by Renee Fisher (Not Another Dating Book), who fell into the legalistic trap of thinking that she couldn’t date. Period.  In the article, she shares her own discovery on what God has to say about this social issue: “It wasn’t about a formula. It wasn’t about dating or courting or whatever. It was like, ‘Go on the journey yourself with God, and He’ll show you what to do. It’s between you and God. What is it that works best for you?’…The Bible doesn’t really come out and say, ‘Thou shalt not date,’ or ‘Thou shalt only court,’…It does talk about how to…love others. It talks about boundaries and sexual purity….The Gospel makes it clear…Jesus really cares. He cares about my stupid dating life…”

And I couldn’t agree more. Singleness is something I’ve lived with, struggled through, and continue to live with. There are peaks and valleys with it, just as with any part of life, and the pressure that culture seems to put on this topic is intense. Let me be honest with you. It’s hard to focus on Christ when family, friends and co-workers seem to say that something is wrong with you as a person if you haven’t found someone to share your life yet; as if it’s a sin to be single. It’s not.

I have more time to dedicate to my Savior during this season in my life, however long it may be. I’m not pulled in a million different directions with the demands that life generally places on us when we become more involved with families, being mothers or being wives. I’m able to focus on God and allow Him to mold me into the woman I was meant to be. Personally, I think it’s a great thing.

I ended up skimming through a few excerpts from Fisher’s book. It’s a devotional and I ended up purchasing it through Barnes and Noble and would like to share a few ideas from that book (and possibly a few others that I have on hand). A few entries may be personal, but my only hope and desire is that you, my readers, will draw encouragement from them during your own struggles with this topic.

Crushed

You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it…you wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you?…If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and His way.” James 4.2,4 MSG

 

Just think about that for a minute.

If that’s not convicting, I don’t know what it. James really knows how to pack a punch in a loving way.

Fisher shares a story about a crush. Allow me to expound on that a little: I had one once upon a time…well, several throughout my entire pre-adolescent, teenage and college years. I was six when I experienced my first one and let me tell you, the time that one took…they weren’t kidding when they said the first one was always the hardest. We grew up together, making it difficult to move on when I determined that he wasn’t interested.

I used to hide behind objects when the boy was over to help my dad with random things around the farm. Or, I’d ignore him completely. When I had gotten older, he started flirting with me and I didn’t quite know how to react…the awkwardness of being a teenager.  I had longed to be pursued, like most girls do, and I couldn’t wait for a crush to like me back. Fisher put it well when she wrote , “I craved the distraction from reality that crush provided. I would fantasize about whichever boy I liked. There’s something about a crush that makes me feel alive and beautiful. When I’m in between…I start to feel lonely, as if singleness is entirely my fault…There have been times when I allowed a crush, [or the lack there-of (my words)] to distract me from the things God had for me instead of giving my longings to Him. I forced the crush. I rushed. Pushed harder. I wanted to initiate instead of waiting for the guy to pursue me…”

Been there. Done that.

“…our job is to trust God and wait on His timing. Instead of panicking when I don’t have a crush as a constant distraction, I choose to spend time with God and find my fulfillment in Him. A crush shouldn’t distract you from your relationship with God – it should bring you closer. In Romans 4, Paul says that Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. ‘In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God’ (Romans 4.20).”

Let me ask you the same question Fisher phrased to her readers, “Will you hold on to the promise too – even when He seems farthest away?”

His timing is always perfect.

Source: Fisher, Renee. Not Another Dating Book. Harvest House Publishers. 2012. pg. 17-18.