As I stated during the Singles With Purpose online conference, I asked a couple of my fam in Christ if they could give singles some advice for their single season what would it be and this is the response that I got! This is the full list of responses that I got which is a little bit more than what I shared on during the conference. Hope this helps :)
1. Refuse to play the comparison game. Stop looking at all the people your age and what they're doing, whether they are married or just got engaged.
2. Take your eyes off people and fix your eyes of Christ.
3. Get involved in the Singles Ministry at your church. No Singles Ministry at your church, maybe God is calling you to start it.
4. Get busy for God. Stay Kingdom minded.
5. Don't waste this season, start that ministry God has pressed upon your heart, write that book, blog, go on that mission trip, etc.
6. Realize that marriage is not a prerequisite for purpose or ministry.
7. Make friends with other single Christians that live by Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
8. Be mindful of boundaries between women and men. Set boundaries.
9. Fully grasp that fulfillment and completeness is found in an intimate relationship with God not a man/woman.
10. Say no to randoms. You know that man ain't your Boaz.
11. Don't settle. Wait on God's best for you.
12. Don't date just to date with no real purpose in mind.
13. If they don't recognize your worth, chuck up them deuces.
14. Recognize that you have purpose no matter what your relationship status is.
15. Spend crazy amounts of time with God. Get in His presence.
16. Go to a conference.
17. Don't be stagnant, make sure you are growing spiritually.
18. See this season for what it truly is...a gift.
19. Read books on the single season. Ladies I strongly recommend you read Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones.
20. Do things that you wouldn't normally do like going to plays, ballets, etc. also
21. Working out and eating right because not only will that keep you healthy, you'll be more effective for the kingdom and you'll become confident.
22. Learn how to say "no" to suitors that you just know aren't God's best for you. It may get tempting to go out with them because they're a christian but if you know they aren't it then don't waste time.
23. Ask yourself "then, what?" Or find the "then what" moments in your mind...ex:you work for a six pack then what? You have a great body then what? Basically looking at contentment and desires.
24. Daily challenge your definition of or redefine success/fulfillment by your own standard and GOD'S. (No one else)
25. Try something like going to movies or lunches alone.
26. Travel; be spontaneous, try the things you always wanted to try.
27. Be around married people to see what it's really like.
28. Artistic expressions, reading- not just christian books but all types of books.
29. Find out what you like and don't like about yourself, about life, in others.
30. Take a cooking classes, finishing a degree or 2, start a business, take random classes at a local community college.
31. Run a marathon, join sports teams, get involved in other clubs or groups.
32. Get to know YOU. Fall in love with God and be selfish with your time. Do the things you've always wanted. Create a bucket list and knock those things down.
33. Seek God and get accountability.
34. Have date nights with Jesus and yourself.
35.Learn a new skill, volunteer with your favorite charities/organizations.
36. Ask God to show you His purpose and focus on growing your gifts.
37. Be content with your portion, have an accountability/prayer partner.
38. Pray & study the Word intentionally & continuously.
39. Find other single friends to hang out with.
40. Loving yourself is a big one, everyone says that they love themselves, but I mean like really embracing who you are, to be happy with yourself & be you despite what people say!
41. We all have a past & a lot of the singles haven't moved on from the past. It keeps us stuck, it didn't let us be who we're supposed to be, it makes the season we're in longer.
42. Not paying attention to society. Society says that men have no self control that they can't control their hormones! But that's not true! Guard your heart! Society says that women are emotional, I know that that's not true! All these things keep us from being happy and from experiencing real peace.
Watch the full Singles With Purpose conference here!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT6DVONydac
Let’s talk about the content single! I have been single since the end of 2009 and I mean single, single with the exception of entertaining a random once. This means no boyfriends, no dates with potentials, no texts or phone calls about the future with a guy or anything! In the last year in a half to two years this was all done by choice but prior to that it was not my choice to be that single…by any means. To be honest, up until I got saved I really did not want to be married. I had seen a number of failed marriages and I saw people stay in marriages that they hated and they didn’t like the person they were married to anymore. I knew I didn’t want to get divorced but that I also didn’t want to feel stuck to someone once I got married. Once I got saved and started to have an understanding of what marriage really is from a biblical stance and actually seeing people that did marriage God’s way and understanding how allowing God to choose your mate impacts the overall health of a marriage it brought back that desire to want to be married. Now with that desire also came an obsession!
I swear every single Christian man that I laid my eyes on the thought popped into my head “omg is he the one?” The funny thing is that I wasn’t sold on any of these guys because it was always something that was kinda off (i.e. too short, not attracted physically, unsure if they’re really saved or they just go to church) but they were a Christian so I figured I had to take what I could get. I became consumed with trying to identify my spouse instead of allowing God to do so and as a result of this the thought of marriage became an idol. I was so focused on wondering when would it be my turn that I would get annoyed at my timeline when I saw yet another engagement, when yet another birthday passed and I was still single, and when everyone I had went to high school/college with were not only married but had a gut full of human or multiple babies. I felt like I was living for God and He was not rewarding me with my good Christian man as He was “supposed” to (insert side eye towards myself and please see blog on PSA to singles that a spouse is not a reward for living for God none whatsoever). To make matters worse, I went to a revival when I was 22 I believe and the person speaking told me that God said it would happen when I was 25 and so I associated "it" with meaning I would meet/marry my husband at 25. I had already planned out in my head that I would meet my husband, we would date for a year and a half to two years, and then we would be engaged for 6-8 months so that means with that timetable I should meet my husband tomorrow! I know God was like girl sit down and shut up, My goodness you are getting on My nerves! Needless to say that really upped the ante of looking at every Christian man and wondering is he the one or is it that one?
Somewhere along the way this got really exhausting as you could imagine and the more time I started to spend with God He showed me that I wanted the marriage more than I wanted Him. I got tired of constantly being focused on finding the one and being in my feelings when I saw other people getting engaged. I sat in my floor one day and asked God to help me and I told Him that I wanted Him more than the husband and even if I never got married I would still want God and could accept that He was enough. That was the beginning of me really being intentional about being content in my heart in my single season versus just pretending which is what I had been doing forever. With that being said, I’m definitely not going to act like I don’t still think about marriage or that I don’t think about what my one day husband will be like but it’s not the focus of my thoughts and it’s not a thought out of desperation of wanting to be married. So, what helped me to get to that point? I’m so glad you asked!
1.Accountability/Proverbs 4:23: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. It is so important to surround yourself with other single people who are content or are pursuing being content in their single season as well versus those that are planning a wedding in their head every 5 seconds with people they just met. My best friend and I decided to read the book Lady in Waiting together a few years ago, which I would highly recommend for singles, and we made the decision that we would not defile each other. What this means is if either one of us meet a guy no matter how great his potential appears we don’t get excited about it and scream OMG this could be your Adam and we don’t start discussing colors for the bridesmaid dresses. We encourage each other to take our time to get to know the person before rushing into a relationship, to not start planning our wedding in our head, and to be God led and allow Him to show us if the guy is really legit. Surround yourself with people who want to guard your heart versus entertain your fantasy wedding and tell you everything that you want to hear.
2.Focused on Kingdom business/Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. When you really start seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, chasing or being caught by your spouse is the last thing that is on your mind! Mainly because you realize that if you put God first whatever is for you will be given to you in His timing and quite frankly you’re busy being focused on doing what God has called you to do versus being focused on a man or a woman. I’m not complaining or bragging by any means but I am so busy doing what God has called me to do that the thought of adding a man into this equation would be a lot. Something I realized the more I started to step into ministry is that marriage is ministry as well and even more so it has to be your first ministry. Although my marriage will not come before God it does have to come before Changed Hearts and Changed Hearts: I AM Woman. I refuse to have a ministry that is helping people and thriving yet my household is a mess and I’m neglecting my husband as a result of it. I realized that when I do get married I’m going to have to pull back a ton from what I’m doing right now and I really enjoy what God has allowed me to do so I don’t want to rush this season. Of course my husband will be supportive of my ministry but that does not negate the fact that I will have wifely duties added to my plate that have to come first. Bottom line get focused on kingdom business and really enjoy the time that God has given you as a single where you have more freedom to get up and go and spend time on things that you wouldn’t be able to do or do as much once you’re married.
3. Desire to be equally yoked/2 Corinthians 6: 14: Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? The thing about marriage is that it has to be so much more than you just “liking” a person. I like chicken but I’m not trying to marry it, just saying. The desire to honor God has to trump your desire to get married to just anybody. I really became content when I developed a standard of who I wanted to marry and how I wanted our marriage to truly honor God. It will take an amazing man of God to take me off the market and I will not apologize for saying that. Get a standard, a realistic one, and don’t settle for anything less than God’s best for your life (Mariah and I did a video on deal breakers that can be found on my youtube page). Trust that it is so much more worth it to be married to someone that you love doing life with, that pushes you towards Christ, prays over and encourages you versus one that is attractive and gave you some attention but is so far from being God’s best for you.
I know the single season doesn’t always seem like the best but it really is a great opportunity to really learn yourself, who you are in God as an individual, and to just really experience life without the cares, commitment, and devotion that is required in marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying marriage is like being in prison and you’re tied down and can’t do anything. Marriage is also a great season that comes with other great opportunities but don’t rush through the single season and miss out on everything God is trying to show you and do in your life as an individual. Contentment in singleness comes with time and I still find myself checking myself and working on my heart in that area. Don’t beat yourself up and also don’t go from one extreme to another! There are moments where I have gone from being a content single to being a very guarded single which I will discuss next week. We have to remember that the desire to get married is not wrong it’s how we respond to that desire that ends up becoming the problem. Allow God to be your heart’s desire whether single or married.
Have you ever been in a season where you just felt like man, ain’t nobody giving me any kind of play! Nobody is asking for my number, no one is blowing up my phone other than my bestie or my family, and in the plainest way to put it nobody is trying to holla! Typically two thoughts run through your mind; the first being is something wrong with me? Does my breath stink or am I walking funny or something??? The second thought is what can/should I do differently to get people of the opposite sex to notice me? Pump your brakes single and enjoy the moment where God has you hidden because trust and believe it is for a reason and for your own good!
The reason why I chose these four types of singles to discuss is because I have been all four of those singles at some point and let me just say my attention seeking single days were a hot mess! There was a point that I was feeling myself just a little too much and I was thinking I don’t get how I’m single. I’m cute, I’m in college, I have a good job, I have my stuff together yet nobody is trying to be on! Really though? So what I would do is get dolled up and put myself in positions to be seen by men as if it validated me or something to have a man talk to me. The sad part of it all was that I wanted guys to like me that I wasn’t even attracted to and would never actually date but I just wanted the attention. I would accept dinner dates, talk to them on the phone, and I would even flirt with them just enough so they would keep coming back but also vaguely enough that they didn’t know for sure whether or not I liked them, which I really didn’t. I did however like the attention and the thought of knowing that somebody wanted me while having that I’ve still got it feeling. Can you scream Jezebel honey! That is very manipulative behavior and Proverbs 31 is on the complete opposite side of that spectrum.
Granted I am speaking from a female’s perspective but men can also be attention seeking too so don’t get that twisted! Singles, you have to understand that God has already predestined who you are meant to be with. God took one of Adam’s ribs to create Eve for him specifically. Notice He did not create Eve, Evelyn, Jackie, Ashley, and Miss Thang so why do you feel like you need all of these options? Think about it like this, ladies if God created you for a specific person and men He created a specific person for you, why do you need attention from all these other people? While you’re entertaining these people that you really aren’t interested in, your future is walking pass you thinking that what is supposed to be their seat is already preoccupied by people that you’re just playing around with simply because they’re giving you the attention that you want so bad.
There was a time when I was in undergrad and I was messing around with this guy who had a girlfriend and I was well aware of this from the beginning. Although I knew it was wrong and I knew it wasn’t what I really wanted I entertained it because I liked the attention. I continued this thing that wasn’t even a relationship of any kind all in the name of attention from a guy that I knew I would never date and who would likely never date me. I remember being at his apartment one day and things were going a little too far and I knew I didn’t want to sleep with him and things got really awkward and really uncomfortable. I waited for him to go to sleep and I got up and walked home in the middle of the night and that was when I thought what am I doing? I share that story only because you have to understand that when you are being attention seeking, you are dangling some type of bait. The thing about bait is that different bait attracts different kinds of animals. Similarly, the bait you dangle is going to attract a certain type of person and it might not always be the kind that you were going after. Regardless of what your intentions may be, the people who you are dealing with may not perceive it in the same way. You end up in uncomfortable situations, fatal attractions that you end up having to take restraining orders out on fools, being unequally yoked, and so much more all in the name of you wanting some attention! This always sounds drastic….until it happens.
The thing about wanting attention from the opposite sex is that it is way more deeply rooted than just wanting someone to hang out with, talk to, or tell you how great you are. When you find yourself being attention seeking it’s usually because you’re trying to fill a void with a person. There’s usually something going on in your heart where there is an empty space that God so desperately wants to fill but you replace Him with a person. The irony in all this is that as you’re trying to get the attention of other people God is trying to get your attention and He’s pulling on your heart just wanting you to notice Him. The truth is people who are whole in Christ and who truly have the joy of the Lord tend to draw people to them. It has nothing to do with the way they look, how well they dress or speak but it is the God that rests on the inside of them. The real truth is that those people are so busy seeking after God and desiring His attention that they don’t even care about the attention or praise from people.
When you find yourself wanting attention from others really take the time to ask yourself why you want it. Why do you feel like you need it? What is it that you feel these people can give you that you can’t get from God? We have to be real with ourselves and acknowledge that an attention seeking spirit is not of God. Anytime that we want attention on ourselves it takes the attention off of God. So many people don’t even realize that they’ve made attention an idol in their life because they think since it’s not a tangible object it doesn’t apply. That’s a lie that the enemy wants you to believe. Anything that you seek, crave, and desire more than or in place of God is your idol (Exodus 20:4). I can honestly say that when you get serious about living for God and you’re focused and not trying to date, there is really nothing more frustrating than to have people trying to pursue you especially when you know they’re not God’s best for your life. There have been moments where I have yelled God please hide me in your secret place and away from all the randoms shenanigans! When God has you hidden it is for your own protection so stop trying to expose yourself. The very things that we think we want the most are often the things that we end up begging God to take it away once we get it.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5, NIV).
One of the topics that consume Christians is the season of singleness and wondering God when is it going to be my turn? Personally, I can appreciate people who are married giving their two cents on the single season because at some point they were there….here comes the big ole but….BUT sometimes you don’t want to hear it from someone who is happily married. Will I be one of those married women giving advice to singles and telling them to enjoy their single season? I can almost guarantee that I will be that annoying married woman that you love but also kinda want to tell to shhhh when they start going off on a tangent on how you need to embrace your singleness when they are happily married. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to discard the wisdom that you can receive there but sometimes you just want to hear it from someone who is in the same position as you…single. So let’s chat Let’s have a heart to heart right quick about singleness.
There are a couple of things that people have to get regarding singleness:
1. A spouse is NOT a reward for living for God. Salvation through Jesus Christ is. Your soul not burning in eternal damnation is your reward for serving God and quite frankly that is more than enough if God does absolutely nothing else! I get it, we see all these lovely couples that did marriage God’s way and you think gosh I can’t wait to do life with my husband/wife and share Christ together. So now you think that if you get serious about following Christ then that will speed up the process of you meeting your spouse so you two can be a beautiful example of a God ordained marriage, right? Isn’t it funny how we can twist our selfish desires so that we can justify them? What if God tells you that He created you to be single forever and wants you to be like the Apostle Paul, then what? Are you done following Christ because God didn’t give you what you wanted? If so, you never had a real relationship with Him. We don’t serve God to trick Him into blessing us or so that we can bargain with him to get a mate! We serve God because of who He is and because it is our reasonable service and the least that we can do to thank Him for giving us Jesus to die in our place.
2.Single DOES NOT mean available or lonely. Just because you are single that does not mean you are sitting around looking to be pursued or that you are lonely! I can never shout this from the rooftops enough!!!! There will be so many randoms (both men and women) that see that you’re single and they will boldly come after you trying to take you off the market when you are perfectly fine being single. They come out of the woodwork and all you can think is God will you please hide me in your secret place?!?! What people miss is that just because you have a desire to be married that does not mean that your time to be married is right now! There are a lot of singles who have no desire in being pursued/pursuing right now but that also want to be married at some point. A lot of people are focused on Christ, they want to finish allowing God to work on them as an individual, and they’re working on becoming a better man or woman not just specifically to be someone’s spouse but to be used by God. They will be single until God shows them it’s time to acknowledge their spouse and they’re completely okay with that.
Don’t ruin it for these people! Do not be a stumbling block in their life or assume that because they’re single that they’re unhappy or are waiting to be pursued or that they are too passive to pursue. The thing about God ordained relationships is that they just work and they’re not forced! Stop telling that fine good Christian man that you think he is your husband because he is the only Christian man that you have met who is saved and actually attractive. That man is trying to pursue Christ not you so calm down ladies! Just an FYI, it is typically a huge red flag for a Christian man when a woman tries to pursue him; people can agree to disagree on this but it’s true. Stop focusing on your limited thinking that there is a shortage of good Christian men and so you have to jump on it when you finally meet one. No ma’am! Jesus could care less about the uneven ratio of men to women in your church, school, or job because limitations have no power over Him. He fed the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread….Need I say more?
Men ya’ll next; stop assuming that every single woman wants to be pursued!!! Stop trying to holla at every single, saved, attractive Christian woman! Yes it is your role to pursue but if you’re pursuing any and everything that calls itself a Christian it shows that you are not God led and it also makes you look mad shady and suspect as you jump from woman to woman. It can be frustrating at times as a single Christian to be pursued by people when you are just trying to be focused on Christ and not be distracted. Be God led and influenced by purpose in all of your dealings with people! You never know how people have struggled with getting to that place of being content in Christ alone so do not be a distraction to them. If God does not show you that they are anything more than your brother or sister in Christ treat them as such and leave them alone!
3. God knows when you’re ready/“in need” of a spouse. The problem with singles is that we can have a tendency to feel like we need a helpmeet way before our time because we try to fill a void with a love that only God can fill. So we go out to find our suitable helper instead of allowing God to create/develop them for us and we end up with a suitable hinderer instead. This person hinders you from growing in Christ instead of helping you because they were never God’s best for your life but you just had to have you a man or woman so bad. Singles, REST!!!!!! I can never say this enough! Seriously, rest…please…go take a nap…no seriously! God knows when you need it and who you need. Stop trying to make it happen in your timing. God has not only chosen your wedding date but he’s also chosen your spouse already so calm your nerves! He will provide you with all of this when He knows you’re ready for it.
When we look at the creation of man and woman in Genesis it clearly states that it was God who acknowledged that Adam was in need of a suitable helper. I don’t know what Adam had going on in that garden but God saw that he needed a suitable helpmeet which He provided when He saw the need. Once again, it was God, not Adam. Adam was not sulking, coveting, or begging God for a wife and it’s safe to say that he had not acknowledged himself that he was lacking anything by not having a spouse. I know what you’re thinking, go ahead and say it. Well Angel, how could Adam feel like he was lacking something that didn’t yet exist? Besides the animals, he was the only human being in the garden, however, for us there are tons of other human beings that make it evident to us that we’re “missing something” by not having a significant other. Here’s the thing, even before Eve was created, Adam was not in the garden by himself; it was him and God. During this time Adam did not feel like he was missing out on anything because God was enough. You see Adam’s thoughts were not consumed about wanting a wife or even wanting help because he had God and that was enough for him.
The point of this is that until you realize that God is enough, you will continue to be consumed in your singleness of feeling like you’re lacking something and you’ll completely miss the beautiful moment of fellowshipping with God when it’s just you and Him. You have to stay focused and learn how to enjoy being in the presence of God and learn how to enjoy Him without having anyone to distract you. Let’s be real, when Eve came into the picture Adam got distracted and it led to him disobeying God. Yes your spouse will be a blessing and should not distract you from God (when you allow Him to pick your spouse) but marriage does change your relationship with God as you now have to balance your time tending to your family and working on your relationship with Him. Apostle Paul even said that it's better for people to remain single because when you're married your focus is divided and you no longer have as much time to devote to The Lord (1 Corinthians 7: 32-35). The real truth is that no matter how great of a man or woman of God you marry they’re still human and even with best intentions can still make mistakes and get you distracted sometimes.