Feb 17, 2016

In Every Season: 6 Areas of Focus for Christian Single Gals


Singleness can be a season full of great experiences, adventures, and preparing. But it can also be lonely, frustrating, and almost unbearable at times. For me, the loneliest times where right after weddings. I would go home to my apartment where I lived alone and wonder if my day would ever come. Regretfully, I would sometimes allow self-pity and fear of being alone to swallow up any remnant of joy I had while watching close friends marry their loves. And, truth be told, bitterness and resentment of those in relationships was also a temptation.

Singleness, just like any other season, requires focus. Otherwise, it is so easy to get bogged down with self-pity-resentment, jealousy, bitterness, or just chaotic busyness for the sake of keeping yourself from thinking about your current circumstances.

Where is your focus right now?

There are definitely lots of awesome things about singleness and the last thing I want to portray is that single women are moping around, depressed and hopeless. Not even close. I know many vibrant women who are living extraordinary lives full of courage, creativity, compassion, and love. But even those wonderful gals have days that really stink and need to be re-focused.

For those who wear glasses, maybe this analogy will be more visible (pun intended). I am nearly blind as a bat without my eyeglasses. When I wake up in the morning, nothing is in focus. Everything is blurred and out of focus. It takes a few seconds to find my eyeglasses and because they are the right prescription for my vision, my eyes regain focus. That's what this post is about, regaining focus and seeing things a bit more clearly on the hard days when you feel a bit blinded by singleness.

I sent out a survey (HERE for more info) in November to Christian single ladies and one question asked what has been most helpful to them during their season of singleness. I would like to share some of the responses in hope that Christian single gals reading this post would be encouraged and maybe have a few new things to try during the harder days.

6 Areas of Focus for Christian Single Gals

1. Focus on developing trusted community for encouragement, accountability, & fun. 
Eighteen of the thirty-two ladies answered that having a community who they can lean on is important. This includes parents, siblings, single friends who are experiencing similar emotions (17 of 18 girls mentioned having single friends), and having married friends to help have realistic expectations of marriage. Whoever you consider your community -- whether it is your immediate family, close friends, Bible study or small group members, or co-workers -- you are able to be vulnerable and real with them. Trusted community is also a great place for accountability for hidden temptations and dealing with fears. And, it's a great place to have fun, grow in friendships, and be goofy with gals you trust!
 “I think what has helped me most was talking to married women about how being in a relationship is a self-sacrificial act of love. This has helped sober my unrealistic expectations and diminish my fantasies. I have been able to ask God to grow my character so I will be ready to show and communicate love sacrificially” 
 “Having single friends really helps, especially single friends my age because then I don't feel so out of place. Having a supportive family is also a tremendous help. My parents are firm believers that it's better to not marry than to marry the wrong person and be miserable all of your life, so they don't pressure me to marry. 
"Knowing I'm not alone is the biggest comfort.” 
 “For sure having a community of single friends who love Jesus also helps to live life and talk about what's next and our hopes is encouraging.” 
 "Definitely other single girls struggling with the same areas. We pray and fast together, encourage one another through the lessons God's been teaching us, articles/books we've read on the topic. Helps me realize I am not alone. Others struggle as well and there is hope. It has also been helpful meeting with other married women who can remind me of the reality marriage is: there are a whole new set of struggles and frustrations that come with that, and that getting married does not mean life is perfect overnight- no matter how perfect social media may make it look”
 2.  Focus on prayer and studying the Bible.
Eleven of the thirty-two girls mentioned that prayer and studying the Bible helps them in their singleness. Praying during the lonely moments, journaling prayers for a future husband, and focusing on studying the encouraging and truth-filled gospel message of the Bible can all help to re-focus during the hard days.
 “Whenever I'm feeling a little down, I like to first and foremost pray, because he is the only one that can truly help me the most. Also another thing I love to do is go on pinterest and look at quotes or Bible verses they have there. That always encourages me and helps me out.” 
 "Being in the Word and getting the confirmation from God that I am where He wants me to be at this point in my life.” 
“Reading and falling in love with the word of God. Learning the importance of seeking first His kingdom and righteousness and understanding that everything else will come second. The word of God has taught me that to be faithful is not easy, to be constant is not common, to put my trust in God is not natural but that its worth it! Marriage is not the climax of life, rather understanding that Christ is the most important is Key. I was not created only to get married, I was created to live for Christ. Marriage is a gift that God throws in, but its not what defines life. Understanding that God wants to use me in my single-hood, HE is equipping, growing, pouring into me. We were meant to live one season at a time, being content in your current season is important!” 
“Prayer and Bible study are the two things that have helped me the most in my singleness. My being single is only one part of me and while the Lord wants to guide and teach me about my singleness, there are so many other things he wants me to be learning about as well”
 3. Focus on contentment in singleness and remember identity and worth are not found in marital status.
It is crucial that single women realize their worth and identity are not found in whether they are married or not. For Christian single women, their worth and identity are found in Jesus. When I focused on this, and truly believed this, it gave me hope and rest in being single. It reminded me that it's not the fact that I have a man or do not have a man that dictates if I am beautiful, intelligent, or "good enough" to be loved. Realizing who I am in Jesus gave me contentment that helped me a great deal when I was single.  And this helps me tremendously now as a new wife when I am tempted to find my worth in being a "good enough" wife rather than finding my worth in Jesus. Contentment naturally flows out of a hearts that find their identity in Jesus. This doesn't mean contentment is easy, but rather that it is more than possible with the help of the Holy Spirit that indwells Christians.
 "Figuring out who I am and realizing that I don't need a man there to fulfill me and make me content with who I am and my singleness" 
  “Making the decision to chase my dreams with passion and intention has made all the difference. Yes, I still dream and desire to date and get married, but once I realized that right now is the character refining season I'll never get again, and the one most free to make brave choices in following Jesus places, then that was a game changer. 
 “Understanding there is much more to life than only being married, and finding purpose , joy in those other things. There are ways I can serve now because I am single
4. Focus on God, make Him the priority, & find purpose in Him.
 The season of singleness is a great time to ask if God is the biggest priority in your life, and to make time for serving Him in the ways He calls you to. If you focus on making Him BIG in your life, learning about who He says He is in the Bible, and seeing His faithfulness in your current season of singleness, this will not only greatly impact you now as a single, but also when/if you eventually date and marry because you'll have a solid foundation to stand on.
“Being single has helped me get closer to God because I was so focused on my boyfriend, I didn't make time for anything else. I stopped going to church, stopped focusing on myself. It was always about the boyfriend. Now I am realizing a relationship with God is the most important relationship you can have. So I'm using this time of singleness to reflect, pray, grow, and find myself. 
 “Growing in my relationship with God knowing that He's in control, trust Him more, be more patient and faithful” 
  “Just fully knowing that God knows best, even if it doesn't feel good. God may have me single so I am able to do things for him that are harder for married women to do, and it might feel lonely to be single, but I know God is good. And I rather live with that then a relationship without God's hand over it.” 
 “This is actually an area of my life where I feel least insecure about. Knowing our Father and his perfect timing and perfect provisions over me - has given complete peace about my "single condition." ;)
5. Focus on truth-filled Christian resources (books, websites, and blogs).
Everyone has experienced being single at one time, so there is a plethora of resources out there filled with encouragement. The gals who mentioned this in the survey liked websites like Relevant  Magazine and  Boundless (by Focus on the Family). This is a much better reading option than romance novels that can cause self-pity and discontentment to become a constant pattern of the heart.

Here are a few posts and articles that can be helpful for singles:

Here are some books on singleness that the ladies from the survey mentioned helped them:
  • The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition by Gary Chapman
  • Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot *
  • Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot *
  • When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy *
  • Set Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy *
  • Sacred Singleness by Leslie Ludy *
  • Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy *
  • Emotional Purity by Heather Arnel Paulsen *
  • The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas
  • The Heart of Singleness by Andrea Travenna
  • Captivating by John & Staci Eldridge
  • Pure by Rebecca St. James
  • Preparing To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl
  • Lady in Waiting by Debbie Jones and Jackie Kendall
 ( * denotes a book I read and wholeheartedly agree is an excellent book)

6.  Focus on serving others during this season.
This is a great season to explore different volunteer and ministry opportunities and prayerful search for places you can serve others. Do you enjoy playing an instrument? Do you have training in finances? Do you cook a mean soufflé? Look into how you can use God-given talents and desires to further the gospel of Jesus and love people like He does. Focusing on serving the needs of those less fortunate than you can help to decrease self-pity and can help with loneliness as well since you are not focusing on your own circumstances and emotions while serving others.
“I have spent my teen and young adult years being busy for the Kingdom ... I know this will continue when become a wife and a mom, but in a different capacity. It has been amazing going about the business of God, staying focused on Him and His approval, His constant rejoicing and singing over me, as I sing to Him.
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I am so grateful for the honesty of the gals who took the survey for Christian single ladies and responded with such wisdom and vulnerability. Their insight blessed my heart and I hope it blesses yours too!

Want to catch up on the In Every Season series? Click HERE

4 comments:

  1. First of all, I love the top graphic -super cute! Although I'm married I enjoyed this post. I would recommend getting involved in groups at church with the same age people as you. That way you can learn from them and make new friends too.
    - Amanda Shuman | www.carrylovedesigns.com/blog

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    1. Thanks Amanda! That is a great tip that helped me while I was single too!

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  2. Great job with this! I could have used something like this when I was single. It's so freeing to put your focus in other things, especially your faith, while you wait for the best one for you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Victoria! I totally agree! I had some lonely days as a single, filled with self-pity and I wish during those days, I could have knows some of this!

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I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice