Plenty of people who are single at the moment are hoping to find a relationship and ultimately marriage. Paula Halliday, author of Singled Out, shares the key things every single person should remember.
Being single when you’d rather not be can be painful. And lonely in ways that only those people walking this path will understand. You don’t need any more Christian platitudes about waiting on God’s timing. But here are five things that can help in this season.
Dealing with disappointment
It’s a sad, heavy disappointment that single people carry when they’d rather not be single. Let’s not minimise it, but instead, find ways to deal with it. Because disappointment can blur your focus, distort truth, and it can dictate what we believe about God.
The key thing to hold onto in these moments is that God has a father’s heart that cares deeply for you in your pain. He hurts that you’re hurting and he wants to be with you in it.
Even when it’s hard, open the pages of God’s Word. The Bible will still give you life-giving, hope filled words of truth, even in the depths of disappointment. Disappointments can draw you closer to God if you let them. Through that closeness to God, you can start to see clarity in your circumstances.
What to do with comparison
Comparison is pretty unavoidable in life. And particularly when you’re single, it can seem like everyone around you is coupled up, and every photo on social media is another happy couple. Thoughts like “how have they got everything I want? And before I managed it?” – yes, those sorts of thoughts plague us all.
Let’s pause for a minute before we chastise ourselves for comparing. Comparison isn’t wrong. To tell humans not to compare is to tell humans to ignore the very thing God created us to be – Different and unique.
We just need a few strategies for coping with comparison. The most important of which is to choose not to compete. Running your own race is the most fulfilling way you can live your life. It’s yours! There will be hundreds of reasons why somebody else may envy your life. But it’s not about competing. It’s about completing the road you’ve got.
That releases you to celebrate the accomplishments of others, without criticising them. And complement others without copying.
There is no timeline
So often you’ll hear people section off their life with their age. “By the age of 27 I’d like to be married”, or “I’d like to start having kids before I’m 35”. What unnecessary pressure to heap on ourselves. Let’s chuck all of those deadlines out of the window. There. Is. No. Timeline.
You might get married at 21. Or 27. Or 35. Or 50. Whatever you thought your plans were for the age at which you’ll get married, there’s a reason God isn’t working to your timescales. So just let go of them. It frees you to enjoy the now. Allow your faith in God to loosen your firm hold on what you always wanted or planned. Grasp hold of all He wants for you. Allow your faith in Him to release your grip of ‘good’ so you can grab onto His promise of better.
I hear your protests about child-bearing age. Of course, that is a factor. But do you know if you can definitely have biological children? Even if you’re in the right age bracket? And think of the joy and redemption you can provide to an adopted child. You can adopt a child at any age.
Imaginative ways to use this season well
Falling in love and getting married can so easily become a pivotal moment on which we pin all other life moments. But your life doesn’t need to be on hold. Here are just a few ways you can use this season well. Start small and maybe work up to something bigger that you’ve always wanted to do:
- Build someone up with encouragement
- Plant yourself in a church
- Take time out to rest
- Give your talents to an organisation
- Find a new hobby
- Write a book
- Start a ministry
- Change career
- Buy a house
You can use this season wisely to plan for marriage too. Read books about it, learn more about communication, speak to married couples. Be the person who’s ready for marriage when it’s your time.
This happens best when you stay close to God. When you decide to spend time reading his word, your decisions will better align with his. When you decide to spend time in prayer, your decisions will better align with his. God is your personal cheerleader and he wants you to live out all the excellent things he has planned for you.
Reflect on who you’ve become through your singleness
Being single gives you a chance to really establish who you are, apart from the influence of a significant other. Take a look back over your journey so far and consider the things you’ve learned. Have your attitudes changed? What steps have you taken in your life? You’re always growing and learning – take some time to acknowledge how far you’ve come.
And remember that God has never failed you yet. Give yourself some little reminders of why he can be trusted right now with your single status. Maybe that’s a memory of a time God gave you a new job, or gave you a great best friend, or rescued you from the wrong relationship.
Many of these ideas and strategies are taken from Paula Halliday’s book, Singled Out. You can buy your copy here.