This is the first entry of the Single in the City Series. This multi-part series is geared towards helping you become a healthier, happier single.
Are you single? Have you been single for a long time?
Do you feel like something is wrong with you because you’ve been single for so long? Are you beating yourself up or racking your brain trying to make sense of it all?
You’re not alone; many men and women are looking for love; some in all the wrong places. While there’s nothing wrong with longing to be in a loving relationship, if you allow the fact that you are, or are not in a romantic relationship to determine your level of happiness in life, you will constantly be on an emotional roller-coaster.
If you don’t know how to be happy while single, you won’t be happy after you’re married either. Contrary to popular belief; it’s not your spouse’s job to keep you “fixed” or “happy” and sadly a lot of people go into marriage not understanding that simple truth.
I believe God’s perfect plan is to have two whole people come together in preparation for marriage to become one. Not two broken people looking for the other person to complete them. Jesus never gave us a charge to complete our significant other. Rather your strengths and abilities should compliment your spouse and vice versa.
Here’s a secret: No one is going to complete you; that was already done in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
I know you may not feel whole and complete, and grasping something that an invisible God has done for you is not easy. Applying this verse in my life lets me know that I don’t have to actively go looking for anybody to fill me up and give me what’s missing in my life, because God has already done that. He will arrange the right people and situations in my life through friends, mentors and others to compliment my weak areas and pour into me.
I know it sounds romantic and loving to say “you complete me” but romance alone doesn’t carry a marriage through 35-45 years. You should be a healthy and whole person yourself before you go looking for love.
So you might be asking “How do I do that? Where do I start? I don’t know where my broken or hurting areas are exactly.”
While I can’t say exactly what the process will look like for you I can provide you with some tips that I and other individuals that I admire have pursued.
- Prayer–and lot’s of it. In the New Testament Paul spoke of laboring in prayer. To labor means to work, especially hard. This definition shows us that it’s not something done easily or passively. Meaning it’s going to cost you something. It’s not always easy, or convenient or timely to pray, but it’s necessary. Through prayer God reveals answers, insights and direction about our situations and heart. Sometimes we receive those answers instantly and sometimes they are revealed over a period of time. Short quick prayers throughout the day are always helpful; however, I believe the labor Paul was talking about was made through a definite segmented time of prayer. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut out all other distractions and just tune in one-on-one with God. Much like you would with a significant other; give Him your undivided attention with no distractions. Ask God to reveal issues, problems and patterns in your life that may be hindering you or holding you back, keeping you from moving to that next level in life.
- Support groups-Set apart time to meet with other supportive people in your life, church or community that can help you along in your journey. Likely there is someone in your life who has struggled with similar issues and can provide you with wisdom, support and insight. Churches often have small groups sometime specifically tailored to certain areas that can help you in your walk. Pray about who and what you should share with certain individuals and trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit to open up at the right time to the right people.
- Counseling–this is a word that garners a lot of shame and judgment. I am a firm believer that it is much better to actively work through a problem with an objective third party than to sit at home moping around and repeating the same broken patterns. There is an unnecessary stigma about counseling because it implies that your life is out of control or that you are weak in some area and un-able to cope. Well, I’d argue that 1) there is something wrong with everyone because we all have our share of past hurts and 2) only God is in control. You have nothing to prove to anyone, especially when you’re on a journey of wholeness. Don’t be ashamed and pursue professional or spiritual counseling if you need it. Your church may be able to provide you with some great referrals.
- Christian Resources-books, teaching tapes, websites, etc. I am an avid consumer of Christian books and teaching materials. I wasn’t always that way; it’s something I picked up in my late twenties as I began looking for practical tips and advice in certain areas. It quickly became a hobby, and now I often worry if it’s an obsession, LOL. But seriously take advantage of Christian resources offered through your church or local bookstore. A lot of time we need to hear something over and over again to get it down into our soul and hearing it once during a sermon is often not enough. I am not saying go crazy and buy the whole bookstore and neglect your prayer and bible reading time but consider it as an investment in yourself. We often invest in our outward appearance, from clothes to hair, makeup or other trinkets; why not invest in something eternal like your spirit?
Lastly, please don’t think that I am saying you have to be 100% perfect before you begin to date or get married. No one is perfect and we ALL are a work in progress. I’m just saying use some of that free time you have as a single and pursue wholeness. Once you get busy doing something, God will honor those efforts. You never know, you might meet someone special on your journey. I’ve seen engagements and great relationships form in my support groups at church.
Deep down we all want to be loved. We were created that way; God himself is a tri-part being; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the author of relationship and He desires for each of us to be in relationship with people. Take some time and incorporate some of the above suggestions along with your own to make sure you are your best self before you get married.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Single in the City Series.
Christian websites I frequent:
Inspiration for Singles http://www.inspiration-for-singles.com/
Joyce Meyer Ministries http://www.joycemeyer.org/
Celebrate Recovery http://www.celebraterecovery.com/
Books I highly recommend:
Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Understanding the Purpose and Power Of Woman by Myles Munroe
Understanding the Purpose and Power of Men by Myles Munroe
Articles I recommend: