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3 Things to Focus on When You’re Single

Are you tired of questions about your relationship status? Or has a relationship you thought would last recently come to an end? Have you just spent the summer watching everyone else get married, and find yourself asking God, “Why am I still single?”

Whether you’ve been praying for a partner for a long time and find singleness to be difficult or painful, have recently become single, or have no interest whatsoever in dating, there are a few things you can focus on during this season:

 

1. Focus on Your Relationship with God

We know from God’s word, that investing in knowing God more is the most important thing we can do with our time. After all, we are commanded to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Generally, we have more flexibility in our schedules when we are single. This gives us the opportunity to focus on loving God in creative ways that might not be as feasible in other stages of life.

Ask yourself, are there any unique ways that you might be able to spend time with God? Maybe you could go off the grid for a week and seek the Lord in a quiet, serene place. Or, evaluate your schedule, and add a break in your day to spend time with God—even if it means working later in the evening. If you have the capacity to take a Bible class online or at a local seminary, why not go for it?

Look around you and be open to breaking up the norm to spend time with God!

 

2. Focus on Reaching Out to Others

We are all members of God’s household, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female—and we might even add—single or dating (Galatians 3:28). Whatever our relationship status, God has called us into His family.

Most of us don’t need much encouragement to spend time with our peers. But our family of God also includes older folks, young families, empty nesters, and others. What would it look like to invest in their lives as well (Galatians 6:10)?

Could we offer to watch the young couple’s kids for a couple hours to give them a break, or help an older widower with some simple housework while hearing the amazing stories of how God has worked in his life?

Could we invite the empty nesters out for dinner, and maybe get their perspective on our challenges at work? Perhaps this could also be a time to learn from other couples and encourage them as they seek to grow in their relationship and Christlikeness.

It might take a bit of courage to approach someone we don’t usually talk to at church. It might take a second or a third invitation before we get a response. But God has blessed us with such a diverse family for a reason! Let’s reach out!

 

3. Focus on Enjoying This Season

It can be so hard being single, especially if we’re hoping for a boyfriend/girlfriend, and ultimately, marriage. But instead of focusing on all that we’re missing out on, maybe we can try focusing on the things that bring us joy in this season of life.

Maybe we are able to pursue a career we enjoy. Maybe there are unique opportunities for our gifts at church. Maybe we are blessed with a close circle of friends, going through life with us. Or maybe we get to try out a new hobby.

As the wise author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

Can you count three things you enjoy about life right now? Thank God for those gifts. And make sure to revisit them in the coming weeks, months, and years.

 

Ultimately, we don’t know how long this season will last or what the future holds. But we can look for ways to make the most of it, celebrating what God has for us in the time, relationships, and blessings before us today!

Truths I Wish to Share with My 20-Year-Old Self

Written By Agnes Lee, Singapore

In my early twenties, I hated being single. I thought it meant that I was unattractive and unwanted.

I had a secret crush on someone in university. When I was studying with my best friend between classes, he would often walk up to greet us and would offer help whenever we needed. I thought he was a friendly and helpful guy, and started to secretly admire him. Then one day, I realized he was doing all this to woo my best friend, and my world crumbled.

Am I not attractive enough? Why don’t I have a guy who is willing to do so much for me? Why doesn’t he woo me?

It affected my self-confidence and left me broken.

Growing up with eczema, I always felt inferior. I was short and had ordinary looks, and it didn’t help that my figure was just a rectangle. I hated my looks, and felt embarrassed at never having dated when most of my friends had boyfriends. I thought having dated meant that a woman was attractive. Many older people also told me it was very important for girls to be married, because being unmarried by a certain age meant that I would be out of the norm, incomplete, and left on the shelf.

Now that I’ve survived that painful period, I can see how wrong I was to think those thoughts. If I ever had a chance to talk to my 20-year-old self, I would refute the lies that I had been telling myself: that I am not attractive and that I am abnormal if I am single.

I would tell myself that my attractiveness does not come from the fleeting beauty of physical appearance—but from a heart that is at rest in Christ.

Our height, body shape or size, what jewels we wear, how expensive our clothes are or how fashionably we do our hair—none of these matters. Unfading beauty comes from a quiet and gentle spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4), and one who fears the Lord is praiseworthy regardless of how she looks (Proverbs 31:30). Our confidence should therefore come not from our physical appearance, but rather from God—who knew us even before we were born.

Instead of focusing on my appearance, I would tell myself to take captive my thoughts and focus on the One who created me, knows me and loves me, and who willingly redeemed me with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Now when I find myself stressing over my outward appearance, I constantly remind myself of the truth in God’s Word. The unchanging Word comforts me and gives me confidence when I am with people whom I find more beautiful than myself. Because I know that God looks at our hearts rather than our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).

I also realized that if we place our confidence in our physical beauty, we become easily upset with any blemish and wrinkle or any extra pound gained—because we would be chasing after fading beauty. We can never find contentment with our looks until we place our confidence in God’s standard of beauty. Knowing that God knows us and loves us, we can find an unshakable confidence in our God-given identities, even when our physical beauty fades.

I would tell myself that not being married by a certain age does NOT mean I am unwanted—but that I can trust God’s perfect plan for my life.

We are never left unwanted, because our heavenly Father already loves us. We are precious to Him.

As God’s beloved, we must not conform to the patterns of this world, but rather we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds in God that we may discern His good and perfect will for us (Romans 12:2). Committing ourselves to the ways of God and obeying His will for us is more important than finding a boyfriend or husband. God’s plan for each of us is different.

Paul tells us that a single life is God’s gift to some, and a married life His gift to others (2 Corinthians 7:7). We know that earthly marriage mimics and reminds us of the heavenly marriage that is to come (Luke 20:34-36), while a single life allows us more time and energy to serve God. Whatever the case, we know that His plans for us are always good.

God created us for His glory, and so we do not live our lives for ourselves. If God’s plans for us is to be married, let us glorify Him in our marriage. If His plans are for us to be single, let us glorify Him in our singleness.

If I could go back and talk to 20-year-old me, I would urge her to find joy by surrendering her singleness to Christ and seeing her worth in Him alone. There is value in surrendering this season of our lives to Him because in our singleness, God can show us that we are not alone. He is with us. As we give Him our insecurities and fears, He can turn our ashes into beauty. As we spend our quiet moments with Him, He can help us use His gifts in unique and beautiful ways.

When we anchor ourselves in Christ, we can be secure in Him. The more we see ourselves as living servants of Christ, the more we are freed from the need to conform to the standards of the world.

To my 20-year-old self: know that you are fully accepted and loved in Christ.

That is the unchanging truth that liberates us. May we be content with what God has given us, and in any situation—single or married—focus instead on becoming the person Christ is shaping us to become.

5 Ways to Deal with the Question, “Why Are You Still Single?”

Written By Noni Elina Kristiani, IndonesiaOriginally in Bahasa Indonesia

“It’s a new year already but I see you’re still single, eh?”

“When are you getting a boyfriend?”

“You know, your friend from high school already has two children. When will you be like her?”

Those are the questions I often get. As someone who has been single for quite some time, I can laugh with my friends when they joke about my singleness. But sometimes it still upsets me to hear such comments.

Recently, I received a direct message on Instagram, where I often share my thoughts and feelings about life. The message was from a girl who was in her final semester of university. She told me that she always feels sad when those she considers her close friends tease her about being single. She also shared that she feels uncomfortable whenever they start talking about their dating life. Coupled with their thoughtless teasing, she often feels hurt by her interactions with her friends on this subject.

While I completely agree that true happiness doesn’t come from having a life partner, but from an intimate relationship with God, it still isn’t easy being single. I believe God will satisfy all my needs, and I have no problems waiting for God to bring the right person into my life in His perfect timing. But sometimes, comments and questions from people around us can make us singles feel left out.

If you can relate to the story that the girl shared, or have felt hurt by inconsiderate comments on singlehood before, I’d like to share five tips that have helped me confront and deal with such comments:

 

1. Be honest with God about how you feel

How do you feel when someone asks, “Why are you still single?”. Perhaps some of us don’t take these questions to heart and can confidently share the reasons why we may still be single. But I’m sure that there are many of us out there who might feel upset upon hearing such questions. If you fall under the latter category, I want you to know that it isn’t wrong to feel this way.

Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. When we’re hurt by the words or behaviors of people around us, I believe God wants us to be honest with Him and to bring our thoughts before Him. Admitting my feelings to myself and God in prayer enables Him to heal me from the hurts and disappointments that the words of others inflict on me.

 

2. Bless those who offend you

Even though questions about our singleness don’t cause us any physical harm, they are still hurtful and can make us feel depressed. Whenever we feel offended or stung by the comments of others, it helps to remember the example that Jesus showed as He went to the cross when He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Even though it may be hard to do so, forgiving those who hurt us and choosing to bless them instead is a good way to recover from our pain and hurts. Not only does it release us from any form of bitterness, it also enables us to turn our attention to how we can be more aware and sensitive of how other people are feeling, and pray for them instead.

 

3. Build an intimate relationship with God 

While others may base our worth on our relationship status, we can be assured that God doesn’t. He sees us as precious just the way we are (Isaiah 43:4).

The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more we’ll understand our true worth and learn to define ourselves based on what He says about us, not what the world says about us.

As I’ve begun to read the Word more, I’m also coming to a better understanding of what true love looks like. This has helped me readjust my expectations of love from what the world offer us, to what God offers us through our fellowship with Him.

 

4. Spend your time wisely

Rather than fretting about other people’s comments about our relationship status, it’s more helpful to use our time for personal improvement—especially in the areas of our gifts or talents. If there’s a dream you’ve always wanted to achieve, go ahead and start making plans to work towards that. Invest your time in building up the lives of those within your community.

I’ve found that filling my time with activities that are edifying—such as serving the young people in my church and training disciples, as well as joining a writing community—has helped me live this season of singleness with joy instead of resentment or self-pity.

 

5. Develop a heart of gratitude

It’s easy to be grateful when everything’s going well in our lives. But can we also be grateful when everything isn’t going according to what we’ve hoped for—especially in the area of relationships?

It’s never easy, but I’m learning to cling on to the wisdom of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Practicing gratitude has helped me become truly grateful for the season of singleness I’ve been in for the past eight years. It also helped me become truly happy for my friends when they find their life partners and start tying the knot.

Even though they have been painful, I am grateful for the questions and comments I’ve received over the years about my singleness—because they have helped me examine my life more deeply and reconsider how I can make the best out of this time in my life.

As I’ve grown closer to God, I’ve been strengthened by His promise that He will make “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). So even though it may be tough to constantly field questions about my singleness, what’s more important is that I know I can face all of life’s challenges with joy, because God knows exactly what He is doing with my life, and He is with me every step of the way.

 

These days, I’m learning to take on a different perspective. Instead of asking God when I will meet my spouse, I’m beginning to ask: “God, what do You want me to learn in this season? What do You want me to do?”

Since then, God has shown me areas where I can serve Him more fully. When I’m more focused on what He wants me to do, the questions and assumptions of other people don’t matter as much to me anymore. What matters most is knowing that whether I’m single or married, I will never be alone because God is my guide.

Why I’m Choosing to Stay Single This Season

Written By Shelley Pearl, New Zealand

The standard answer I have on hand whenever people inquire about my single status is that I have not met Mr Right.

Which is partly true, because at the moment, I have no idea where Mr Right might be. But the truth is, I promised myself I did not want to be involved with someone who would draw me further away from God. So, the season of singleness I am in right now is by choice.

When my ex-boyfriend broke up with me several years ago, I decided it was best to consciously spend the next few years of my life being single so I could mentally and emotionally heal before embarking on another relationship.

He was not a Christian, and while he respected my religion enough for me to attend and volunteer in church, he always showed a bit of resistance whenever I asked if he would go to church with me.

In a way, I was leading a double life when I went out with my ex. On one hand, I was worshipping God and reading the Bible, but on the other hand, I was unequally yoked with a non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14).

At that time, I justified it by telling friends and acquaintances that I was not a religious fanatic, and besides, I have met Christians whose behaviour were a lot more deplorable than non-Christians. I concluded with much gusto that there was nothing wrong with dating a non-Christian.

When the inevitable happened between me and my ex-boyfriend, I was angry, but I also figured it was God’s way of saying He had enough with my double life.

Now, I am going to admit that staying single in this season has not been easy, and there are times when I have a little grizzle with God about why He would put suitable men before me, only for me to find out that they’re not Christians or even if they were, they were only Christian in name.

“It does seem a bit mean of you,” I told God, but I would soldier on as I did not want to go back to my old double life.

However, there was a period of time when I faltered and signed up on various online dating sites, thinking Mr Right was just one click away.

Because deep down, I do want to get married one day. I do want to have someone I can spend the rest of my life with—and the idea of still being single when I turn 50, surrounded by cats, is rather terrifying.

Eventually, I did find someone online, and things went rather well in the beginning. I thought he was smart and funny, and for a minute I thought, “Right, this is it! I have found someone!” He was not a Christian, and had told me he did not think the church should have any say in our personal lives.

But in my weak, flesh-centred moment, I thought, “Oh well, no one’s perfect.” Luckily for me, my dad saw signs that the guy was more than met the eye, and advised me against continuing with the relationship. So, to my dismay, I ended it.

By now you might be wondering, “Gee, why is she so fixated on not straying away from God? Surely God is able to call her back if she’s gone too far.”

But it is more than just having God call me back once I have strayed. For me, my relationship with God is a sacred one. I want to have an intimate relationship with God, which I felt was really hard to do when I was going out with someone who did not share the same faith.

For me, a person who says they “respect my religion” is nothing more than a spectator. They are happy for me to do my churchly activities, but their stance changes when it comes to my stand on pre-marital sex or co-habitation before marriage.

And can I honestly say I love God and seek His word if I am doing the direct opposite? I do not want to walk away from a God who loves with an everlasting love (Isaiah 54:8) and who has promised to meet my every need (Phillipians 4:19) for a man whose love for me might be superficial and fleeting.

Yes, God loves us even though we fall away, but I personally feel the damage done and the work needed to mend ourselves can be long and painful. It is a pain I would rather avoid on the outset.

I also believe God has my best interest at heart, and if His will for me is to get married, I trust He will provide me with the right person in due time.

And I imagine the spouse that He has for me will be a guy who truly loves God, someone who shows the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, kindness, forgiveness (Galatians 5:22-23).

He will also be someone who knows love is not the warm, fuzzy feelings we all feel at the beginning of a new, exciting relationship. Rather, he will be someone who perseveres in love, is not self-seeking or keeps no records of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), and he will love me as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25)

Having said that, I have also learned to accept that if God’s better plan for my life is to remain single, and to carry out His works like Paul did, preaching the Gospel to every part of the world, then I am also happy to be that vessel. Even if it means sacrificing the dream of walking down the aisle and spending my life with the person I love.

If you’re still single like me, maybe society and family pressures have you wanting to get hitched as soon as possible so you can start filling your social media feed with your engagement news, followed by wedding photos and snaps of your first child’s sonogram. But can I just encourage you in your season of singleness to really press in on God, to draw in closer to Him, and not trade this season for just any guy to fill an empty void. I want you to know that God’s best plan for you will be just that—simply the best, not a cheap substitute.