In this stage of life, Singleness can be a hard road to travel down and I know I have hit my fair share of speed bumps and pot holes along the way. So I feel like after 18 years of being single ( I am starting at 14 years of age for this number, because this is when relationships really pick up in your young life) I can bestow some wisdom that I have discovered while I have been on this road.
Of all my years, I can condense them into four lessons, or as my title puts it – four best practices to follow to help ease the sting of singleness:
This is the first lesson I have learned, but this is the hardest because it deals with our sexual desires. The world culture will tell us that giving into our sexual desires is good and not wrong, but God calls away from sexual immorality.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 ESV
So what is sexual immorality? It is adultery, prostitution, and/or two unmarried individuals have intercourse. In this day and age, it is even harder and harder to abstain from this because with media and culture it streams right in our homes. So if we don’t put up boundaries, we could easily be sucked into the world views. Not saying boundaries fixes everything, because we are human and make mistakes, but with boundaries it will be harder for the world to deceive us.
See the thing the world forgets to mention, is as you give yourself to another, you become one – there is an emotional and spiritual connection you cannot see. Once you break the connection there is an emptiness that is hard to fill. This continues with each blazing to burn out relationship because instead of finding peace in Christ, you try to find fullness in the world. This connection doesn’t just form with sex, but it could form in the simplest thing such as a kiss – or something further.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
See when we don’t put up boundaries, we sin against ourselves, creating a hole that only God can heal. So how do we set up these boundaries? This is a mental and a physical exercise
- Pray and ask God to help you see where you need to set up boundaries in your life.
- Write down your boundaries.
- When you are in a relationship – verbalize them to your partner and make sure you agree on them together (if they don’t agree with you, then they might not be right for you).
- Don’t put yourself into situations with your partner that could lead to challenging the boundaries you set up.
- When challenges in your boundaries arise, this is the hard part, STAND STRONG IN THEM.
This one can be just as hard as establishing boundaries because it is a time to look within and we are our worst critics. As I discussed in my podcast there are two sides to self-reflection. The first one is the obvious one and that is to search for the places in ourselves where we need ‘work’ as the world calls it, but I call it healing. What traumas infect your heart? What beatitudes do you need to work on in your life?
This is also a great time to talk to someone – pastor, friend, therapist, etc. And just FYI, just because you see a therapist or a psychologist doesn’t mean you are sick – it means you are human – broken. We are all broken because of sin and our healer wants us to work on being more like him. I am thankful that He works through therapists to help heal our mind and traumas.
Now the second type of self-reflection is in relation to your activities/hobbies/work. What can you do or do you do that brings you joy? Photography? Writing? Accounting? Are you a teacher? During your single stage of life is a great time to hone in and strengthen the skill sets that God has given you. Also, it is a great time to look at your career path to see if it is the right place for you? Singleness has allowed me to go back to school, to get two different degrees in the careers I want and now I am doing one of them (ministry) and working on the other (writing). Don’t let this time pass you by.
Friendships are so important, but I feel as singles we tend to think we can only have single friends. Why? For me it was because my married friends and I weren’t in the same stage of life and I felt they were able to move one, when I had not.
Boy was I wrong!
Due to my age, most of the friends I had were almost 10 years younger than me. I am not saying that I don’t love hanging out with them, but even with the time gap, sometimes you feel as if you are there parent instead of their friend. We can’t think just because we are single that we can’t have married friends. Some of my best friends are married! Yes, we are in different life stages, but as long as you have the right mindset, this will not effect your friendship.
Now if you walk into a friendship with a married friend and have a negative mindset and become jealous for what they have and you don’t, then it will not be a good friendship. If you walk into the friendship with a positive mindset and being thankful for what you have, you can learn so much from your married friends.
4. Relationship with God
Last, but certainly not least, is building your relationship with God. Paul writes how when you are unmarried you are not focused on the needs of a partner, so you can be solely focused on God.
Paul is right.
As a single, I have been given a great opportunity to fully focus on growing my relationship with God. Sadly, I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity until my late 20s, but it has been a refreshing time in my life. Because I have fully focused on our relationship, I have seen the doors God has opened up for me – getting my ministry degree, moving to Nebraska, and so many other moments. To know God’s heart is the best treasure of all and as a single take advantage of this time.
- Ask God what direction you need to take.
- Listen to his voice and follow his instructions
- Get to know him better, because he wants to get to know you.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!Psalm 119:10
Want to listen to my episode about this post? Go to my 139FOURTEEN Podcast page to listen.