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single (practicalities)

  • February 12, 2014
  • By Happy
  • 8 Comments
single (practicalities)

Today’s post in this series on singleness and the church is a guest post by my dear friend, Sara Rendall (who should probably write a book about this stuff). Enjoy!

If you are anything like me, you are sick to death of reading about being single. Mostly because a lot of articles, blog posts, and books about being single seem to come from the place of “suffering well”, as if being single is a time to simply suffer through as best we can, with our hope, eyes, and hearts all pointing towards the golden days of no longer being alone.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to spend my life “suffering well.” My life isn’t something to suffer through, it’s the only time I have to LIVE well, to do God’s work well, to feel joy and love with abundance and abandon.

There are always going to be young people rushing into marriage to avoid the stigma of singledom and the temptation of lust. There are always going to be people who never really lived life as a single adult and just don’t understand. They are going to be all up in your business any time you happen to be speaking to someone of the opposite sex. They will ask you if you’re dating every opportunity they have and will attempt to console you by reminding you what a catch you are. You will want to punch them right in their faces some days. Other days you will want to curl up in the fetal position and cry from the sheer weight of being lonely in a way that can’t be quenched by friendship. You will cringe every time a pastor who has been married since they were 20 years old tries to give practical advice on being single when you can tell he/she didn’t actually speak to any single adults before offering up those words. There will be days you feel helpless.

But here’s what we CAN do, single Christians; we can dig in and do the hard work.

#1 – Tell the Truth!

We can be honest and loving with our married friends and TELL THEM when they are being horrible. How else are our friends going to know? Part of a culture that treats marriage as the end goal, is that it’s normal to act like we have it all together when we are in a relationship (married or dating). And part of feeling like we have it all together is feeling like we know everything. Feeling like you know everything leads to feeling like we need to impart that knowledge onto everyone around us. Be honest, we have all done it, most of the time with good intentions. The only way to change that culture is to be willing to have hard conversations with the people we love and do life with.

So singles, suck it up, sit down over a cup of coffee, and tell your friends in relationships when they are being awful. But don’t stop there! Tell them specifically what will bless you and help you through this time of being single.

#2 – Rejoice with Your Friends!

When our friends get married, we can refuse to let it put a wedge in our friendships and find ways to make adjustments. If your friendships are important to you, and they should be, you will understand that things will change and be able to have an open and honest conversation about how that can happen, because your friendship WILL NEED TO CHANGE. Different doesn’t mean less awesome, just a new kind of awesome.

We can stop taking things personally; no one is getting married AT YOU*, even though it feels that way sometimes. Our friends are not getting married to spite us or rub in our faces the fact that we are still single. Hopefully they are getting married because God led them into a new season of life that includes being part of a partnership that will help them grow and find new ways to bring the kingdom. Celebrate this! It has absolutely nothing to do with you and where God is taking you. Honestly, if you’re offended by your friend’s new relationship/marriage, you are being selfish and petty. Believe me, I have been there, and I had to have some hard conversations with God about why I was upset when I should have been happy. Focusing so much on you is a fantastic and quick way to isolate yourself from Jesus.

#3 – Trust God & Do the Next Thing**

We can keep doing what God calls us to do even if we don’t have the support or encouragement of “churchy” people. Not everyone is going to understand, or even try to understand your season of being single. And that is ok. Your job is to stick close to Jesus and keep doing what he’s instructing you to do.

OH, AND A SIDE NOTE FOR MARRIED PEOPLE…

You can take some responsibility too.

Understand that matchmaking isn’t helpful, and in fact it makes a lot of us feel like you think we aren’t good enough on our own.

Stop acting like single people are missing out on something; you are missing out on some pretty amazing things that come with being single!

Make the effort to include your single friends, especially if they were your friends before you got married; being married doesn’t mean some of your friends aren’t good enough anymore, if they were good enough before the wedding, they are good enough after.

And most important, recognize the places where your thinking may not actually line up with what God says and take the time to repent to your single friends for the times you may have wronged them because of it. So much healing can happen after you simply own your mistakes.

In the end, when we are all in infinite community with God in a perfect world, the last relationship status you were able to put on Facebook isn’t going to matter.  Marriage as we know it won’t exist, and we probably aren’t going to care. We will have something better. So why put such importance on something that is so fleeting? Instead let’s focus on what Jesus said was important; loving our God and loving our neighbor.

Instead of creating divisions, create community. Love each other and serve each other. Lift up the weak and needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, weep with the mourning, give family to the orphan, and seek out justice and truth. Above all, be the brightest reflection of Jesus that you are able to.

*Thank you to Glennon Melton, who in her blog post “Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me”, gave me the concept of people doing things “AT ME/YOU”. Check out her amazing parenting post about stopping the competition and not being the center of the universe here.
**Oswald Chambers

 

© 2014 Sara Rendall

© 2014 Sara Rendall

Sara Rendall is a Jesus Girl and mom to the most adorable and awesome 4 year old boy; writing has always been her therapy of choice, but enjoying a good night at the theatre is a close second. When she isn’t being a mom or putting pen to paper, she prefers to be knitting or reading anything she can get her hands on and thanks God daily for the internet and all the ways it provides a constant stream of amazing reading material right to her pocket. Her current blog obsessions include Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Glennon Melton and of course her dear friend Happy.

Sara writes sporadically about Life, As It Is… at lexicaltherapy.blogspot.com.

By Happy, February 12, 2014
  • 8
8 Comments
  • Arman Sheffey
    February 13, 2014

    Ok. THIS IS AMAZING STUFF!!!!
    My favorite part of this post is that these points are so profound that they can extend well beyond the realm of singleness! Excellent stuff, Sara. I hope you decide to start writing more! #LoveIt

  • Jennifer Ellen
    February 13, 2014

    Great stuff! On this – “Understand that matchmaking isn’t helpful, and in fact it makes a lot of us feel like you think we aren’t good enough on our own,” I’d just add –

    Ask! I’m post-40 and single. I’m not desperate, but I’d certainly be thrilled to meet someone with potential. And I love to meet new people generally. That’s harder and harder to do unless my friends – most of whom are now married – are willing to introduce me to people (including single men) they know. Too many don’t because they don’t want to be seen as “matchmaking” or sending me messages of inadequacy.

    So my suggestion to married friends of singles is, Ask your friends if they’d like to be set up! Don’t assume either way. Singles are all different and we can be in different places in life with different comfort levels about lots of things.

    Also, one of the best gifts my friends who have gotten married/had children/etc have been able to give me is the freedom to both rejoice and celebrate with them, and still cry and grieve. They aren’t mutually exclusive and for me at least, tend to come intertwined in messy ways, and it means a ton when friends let me know that’s ok, let me rejoice with them, and also cry with me.

    • Sara
      February 18, 2014

      Thank you so much for your comments Jennifer!

      I totally agree that matchmaking is something that should be asked about by friends who may want to help us singles meet new people. I’ve stuck to a no matchmaking policy as of late because I am a single mom and there are only about 5 people on the planet I would trust to introduce me to a man who could potentially be a father for my son. That blanket policy has been a great help to me, but as with so much of life there is really no one size fits all. 🙂

      You are so right that mourning is often part of rejoicing for our friends! And I have always felt that moment of mourning with our friends over a dream we have not yet reached is part of that honest conversation about how the friendship will change when one us gets married. I have been blessed with wonderful friends who are willing to hear me say “I am thrilled for you, but also sad for myself”. I feel like there is a vast difference between mourning for a changing friendship and unrealized heart-longings and being offended and petty; that is were the danger lies. Thankfully, we serve a God who understands the importance of mourning and built it into healthy relationship.

  • Brad Gross
    February 7, 2015

    I need to reshare this on chasethesunrise.com, can I get some permission, ladies?

    • Happy
      February 7, 2015

      Hey, Brad! I just talked to Sara, and she says that’s fine, as long as you’d be willing to link back to my blog (since that’s where it was originally posted) and hers.

      Thanks so much for asking! We’re honored. 🙂

  • Brad Gross
    February 7, 2015

    Links for everybody!!!!!

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Simple Felicity is, at its heart, a blog based on the unshakeable belief that happiness really isn't all that complicated. Sometimes finding it can be - but happiness itself is pretty simple, and it's often found in the simplest of things: good food, good books, and good company. So those are the things I write about, along with a few other things that really matter to me, including faith and feminism.

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