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Archive for the ‘Singleness’ Category

Will I Be Single Forever?

SOURCE:  Stephen Witmer/Desiring God

I was single all through my twenties, and I enjoyed it a lot of the time. When I wanted a particular food for dinner, I ate it. When I wanted to take a week to hike a one-hundred-mile section of the Appalachian Trail, I hiked it. When I felt called to pursue graduate work in another country, I went. And there were other, less selfish benefits, including more time and energy for building deep friendships and fruitful ministry.

But, all in all, I found singleness pretty tough. There were seasons of terrible loneliness when I wondered if God would ever give me a lifelong companion. At times I was like a severed powerline, the voltage of unfulfilled longing causing me to thrash about in ways that hurt others. I was sometimes jealous of married friends. I did not always navigate singleness with grace, poise, deep faith, and steadfast joy. Instead, I blundered between enjoyment and regret, happiness and longing, purity and sin.

I wish someone had helped me understand, and then live, my singleness in the light of eternity. I think it would have helped me to enjoy a godlier, more productive, more contented life during those years.

A Stable Ground for Soaring Hope

Eternity changes everything, including our singleness. By “eternity” I mean the future new creation God describes in the Bible. This is a future beyond our wildest imaginings and most fervent hopes. It’s this present world renewed, restored, and remade into a perfect place with no more sin, suffering, brokenness, tears, pain, or death.

The new creation will be far better even than the original Eden, because 1) Jesus will be physically present there (Revelation 22:1) and 2) it will last forever, with its inhabitants never falling into sin — unlike Adam and Eve. In other words, the world’s perfect future will be better than its perfect past. Eden was lovely fragility. The new creation will be gorgeous stability. Eden was like an exquisite china bowl — beautiful but breakable. The new creation will be like the Alps — breathtaking and immovable.

We’re imperfect people living in an imperfect world, but this perfect future becomes our future when we’re united to a perfect Savior through faith. We can then be completely assured that this future is ours. In the Bible, that firm assurance is called “hope.”

Christian hope is the confidence that an amazingly good future is securely ours, and this hope changes the way we view our present. It strengthens and equips us in every life situation, including singleness. It heightens our restlessness for the new creation, and that restlessness makes us more content.

To Grow More Content, Get More Restless

One of the feelings I often experienced as a single person was lack of contentment. Even some of my most enjoyable adventures and sweetest experiences were shot through with a longing to share them with someone else.

A robust longing for eternity helps us with our discontentment by increasing our restlessness. That sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not. The apostle Paul was a tremendously restless person, one who said he strained forward and yearned for God’s final future (Philippians 3:13–14). And yet he also said that he had learned the secret of contentment in any circumstance (Philippians 4:12). The two are intimately related after all.

The reason we grow discontent in our singleness (or our job, or marriage, or car, or children, or anything else) is because that person or thing (whatever it is) looks so big and eternity looks so small. If you hold a coin close enough to your face, it will obscure an entire city skyline.

When our present circumstances look bigger than eternity, we have lost perspective. When we lose perspective, we tend to load too much of our contentment onto something never designed to bear the weight. We look to a spouse, a friend, a vacation, or an accomplishment to give us the happiness they never can.

Your Marital Status in Heaven

The problem with this way of living is that it leads to perpetual discontentment. If God gives us a better job but we’re still seeing our job as bigger, more important, and more meaningful than the new creation, we’ll either sacrifice everything to excel at it, or be destroyed if we lose it.

If we’re single and all we can see is our longing for a spouse rather than eternity with Christ, we’ll load down a God-sent spouse with the crushing weight of needy expectation, or become a resentful or cynical or broken-hearted single. A discontented single person will become a discontented spouse and then a discontented parent . . . until eternity breaks in and moves to the center.

God is more concerned with a change in our perspective than a change in our marital status. If eternity is at the center, and a husband or wife or child fails us — or if we don’t have the husband, wife, or children we’re longing for — it will be painful but we’ll be okay, because we know a perfect eternity is still ours. There’s ballast in our boat, and it will hold us steady through the disappointments, missed opportunities, and tragedies of this life.

The more restless we are for the new creation — the more our thoughts and emotions are captivated by it — the less we’ll be shaken by disappointment in this life and the more we’ll see every present blessing not as a final destination but as a signpost pointing toward eternity. The more restless we become, the more contented we are.

Perhaps if you’re a single person, your identity as a “single” has moved to the center of how you think about yourself. But it appears from Jesus’s teaching that in eternity we’ll all be single. There won’t be marriage in the new creation. What will define us forever will not be our marital status, but our enjoyment of the perfect presence of Christ.

That means a single person who loves Jesus is much more like a married person who loves Jesus than like a single person who doesn’t know him. We’ll know Jesus forever and be loved by him for eternity. This is way more central to our identity than our marital status. Don’t think of yourself as unwanted by any prospective spouses. Know yourself as loved forever by Jesus.

It’s likely that for many (not all) singles, there will be moments and seasons of loneliness and longing — times when it feels awkward to be the only single person at the table or the party. That was certainly my experience. But knowing our God and his final future for us plus knowing ourselves in light of that future can produce a profound contentment in our present.

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Singleness is NOT Second Class

SOURCE:  Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

According to the 2010 census, more than 96 million people in the United States are single. That’s 43% of adults. 59 million have never married, 23 million are divorced, and another 14 million are widowed.

Many singles feel that singleness equals rejection.

If they are over 25 and not in a serious relationship, society often looks on them as rejects, even if they don’t feel that way themselves. “I am single because nobody wants me,” or “Even that person has someone, why don’t I?” or “What do they see in her that they don’t see in me?” or “It’s so unfair, why am I like this?” These are examples of destructive tapes that can play over and over in a single person’s head.

If you are single, sometimes the natural tendency is to choose making an excuse: “I don’t care because I don’t need anyone anyway,” or to blame someone else: “He isn’t smart enough to know what he is missing.” These choices view singleness as a problem and attempt to blame something or someone for it.

A more realistic, positive, and productive approach is to accept your singleness and make choices that will point you toward the goals God has for your life right now. With this attitude, you will be able to move forward with your life by embracing God and your present circumstance of singleness.

In God’s eyes, being single does not equate with being a reject or coming in last place.

Actually, He might even see it as having more time and mind space available to pursue Him. It certainly worked for Jesus and Paul. Some people find great fulfillment in being married. But others can find the same fulfillment and sense of purpose by being single.

To be an enriching experience, your singleness must be managed based on God’s will for moral, healthy relational conduct, especially your relationship with yourself. When we are in a pattern of rejecting others or being rejected by others, it is hard not to reject ourselves. Satan steers that pattern towards rejecting even God.

Today, if you know some singles, examine how you view them. Are you judging them, even subtly? Why are you judging? Are you perfect? How about helping them manage some of the stressors and temptations of single life? Forward this information to them.

Now, if you are single, focus on the fact of how very special you are to God. You are His workmanship, and His workmanship is marvelous! God has a plan for your life, and it is best to focus on seeking His will and becoming all that He has designed you to be. Growing in Him will allow you to become more Christ-like in all areas of life, whether you are meant to be single or married. Whether you handle your marital status in a way that glorifies God or you are always yearning for the greener grass on the other side of the fence is your decision, so choose well.

Dear Father God, thank You for where I am. Help me always remember that success in my life’s journey does not depend on whether I am married or single. My success in life can be measured only by how well I understand and steward Your plan and purpose for me. I know I have made many mistakes in past relationships and dishonored You and others when I was single. Help me focus on You and accomplish Your purpose for my journey, whether You intend singleness or marriage. Help me develop the love and skills to have successful relationships with a spouse, with family, or with friends. I pray this in the name of Your Son, the groom to the church, Jesus Christ; – AMEN!

The Truth
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:13-17

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34a

FORGIVENESS: God’s Antidote for Bitterness

SOURCE:  Living Free

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)

Prolonged unforgiveness can breed bitterness.

When facing major disappointments in life, most people make one of two choices: They turn to God to heal their distress and with his help forgive the one who wronged them. Or they turn away from God and become bitter.

Sometimes people become bitter toward God for not repairing or healing a situation. More often they pour anger out on the person who caused the hurt and pain. Widowed singles may deal with anger at God for allowing their spouse to die, but this temporary anger does not have to turn to bitterness. Only anger that is fed, nurtured, and encouraged will turn into the soul-killing and body-killing emotion of bitterness.

Divorced singles often have to deal with bitter feelings toward God for allowing their marriage to fail. However, they more often reserve their intense bitterness for their ex-spouse.

Single Christians who have never married yet deeply desire a mate may feel bitterness about their single status or even at God for not answering their prayer.

God’s antidote for the poison of bitterness is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never easy, and the worse the hurt involved, the more difficult it is. However, God tells us to forgive, so we would do well to begin to move from bitterness toward forgiveness, even if we stumble in the beginning.

Refusing to forgive the one who has hurt us causes us more difficulty than it does the person with whom we are angry. Medical science has identified several physical and many emotional illnesses that seem to have roots in our unwillingness to forgive. Bitterness can adversely affect relationships with friends and family. And most of all, it hinders our relationship with God.

We have a choice. We can choose forgiveness over bitterness. Each of us is responsible for our own attitude toward the ones who have hurt us. If we choose forgiveness, God will help us forgive . . . and move on.

Father, forgive me for the unforgiveness I’ve carried for so long. Help me forgive the one who hurt me and release the bitterness. In Jesus’ name . . .

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These thoughts were drawn from …

The Single Christian: Living as One in a World of Twos by Dr. Elizabeth Holland.

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