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Living the single life often is hard. If you are a single person what can you do? How should a single person live his or her life in balance and in the fear of God?
Living the single life—a great example
For centuries, until the years 1500, singleness was considered the best state and way to serve God. Most of the Church leaders were single
s. Things changed among the Protestants after the Reformation and the married folks moved to the front of the Church and the single people moved to the back of the Church. However, both statuses are just as important and precious to the Lord.
Recently I read a book by Peter Scazzero—The Emotionally Healthy Leader. In one of his chapters when talking about singleness, Scazzero shares an example:
Myra, a small group pastor, summarized it well in a letter to her pastor when he asked her, along with other single staff, to stay late to clean up after a retreat while married staff were encouraged to go home to their spouses:
Please don’t take my community for granted. My network of close friends is as critical to me as your spouse is to you. I would like you to take my needs for rest and intimate connection with my network of friends as seriously as you take your commitment to be with your spouse. My close friends are the ones God has given me, and it actually takes more effort, not less, for me to enjoy healthy relationships with them. Why? It’s not naturally built in for us because we aren’t waiting for one another at home.
Living the single life—you are precious
The above example of how single people and single leaders are treated in Churches today is quite common—unfortunately. Too often single people are treated as second-hand citizens in God’s Kingdom. Indeed, often married people look down at the single people and believe they are better and superior to them. What do you think Jesus would say about such a view?
If you are single, your life is as precious as anyone who is married. Your schedule, your time, and your needs are just as important as anyone who is married. Only because your life responsibilities are different than one who is married with children does not mean your responsibilities are not important. Who says to take care of yourself, and your friends, or those God brings into your life is less valuable or less important?
Often single people are ridiculed, mocked and despised by the married couples. The pressure from the outside can be overwhelming. For others, single people are invisible—they do not matter.
There are many sermons and conferences discussing the attacks married people face or how important it is to be a family. But how many teachings do you hear about singleness and how living the single life can bring glory to Jesus too? There are many things we need to change in our Congregations about how we view and treat the single people.
Living the single life with boundries
As Dr. Barry Foster, one of my Seminary Professors said
there is a difference between being a servant and being a doormat. And there is a difference between being assertive and being rebellious.
If you find yourself treated with no dignity by others—like a doormat—you can choose to serve God in a loving and respectful way but you should also communicate boldly how their treatement makes you feel. As probably was Myra’s case, you’ve been probably treated like that as well because the people around you genuinly have blind spots—as we all have. Many do not realize how much they hurt the single people when they treat them as doormats. By the way, always make sure you forgive the people who have hurt you but also make sure you confront them in a godly and biblical way.
If you feel like you don’t know how to confront someone, I would recommend you learn from Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and their books Integrity and Boundaries. Confrontation is something you need to learn how to effectively handle sooner rather than later.
Living the single life and priorities
Your relationship with Jesus, your personal spiritual health, and your friendships are crucial for your development into a mature man or woman of God. Protect and treasure your relationship with Jesus and with your friends. If you learn how to walk with the Lord while you are single it will be easier for you to continue after you get married.
People and often church activities will try to defocus you from what is really important in life: to commune in the Presence of God and to fellowship with God. This is true even for married couples and leaders.
Singleness is also a season when you need to grow in your identity, calling, and gifting. It is a good time to ask yourself some of the big questions of life, like: Who am I? Where am I heading? Why do I exist? Where is God calling me? These and other questions are crucial to ask and prayerfully seek God’s face and Word for the answers. Check out my other posts for more ideas about how living the single life should look like.
If you are a man
If you are a man, then I want to encourage you to act as a man and take the initiative to enter in a relationship with a woman. Do not expect the woman you like to pursue you and do what you should do. Act as a leader and go for the girl you like—of course, after you prayed about it. A man that is emotionally and spiritually healthy knows that a true masculine man is a person of initiative. A godly woman looks after a godly man—be that man for her!
I highly recommend this post from premierchristianity.com for more about the topic.
If you are a single it does not mean something is wrong with you. On behalf of the married people I want to ask for your forgiveness for the times we—the married folks—made you feel unworthy, rejected, or that something is wrong with you. If you are single it does not mean God forsake you or punished you!
God knows your life and He wants you to enjoy your singleness season and live your life for His glory. Living the single life in our days is often hard. And part of the problem is the lack of understanding the Church has in dealing with single people. There is only One Person who can really understand you and who cares about you as nobody else—Jesus. He knows what it means to be a single and He knows what is means to feel forsaken (Mark 15:34).
May your greatest delight be the Lord and may you never make an idol from your singleness or from getting married. And may you find out sooner rather than later that God is enough for all the longings of your heart! One of my favorite mottos is: when God is all you have, you realize that God is all you need! But, as I tell myself, often we need to lose everything to realize that we actually only need God.
Make your singleness your loudest gospel! Living the single life is easier with Jesus!
Do you agree?
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