Article Aug 12, 2016

5 strategies for being intentional while single

Extended years of singleness seems to be a growing trend in our culture, whether we like it or not. Due to a variety of reasons, most young men and women aren’t getting married as soon as they’d like to.

As a 27-year-old single girl myself, I can relate to the struggles, sorrows and difficulties that accompany those extra “unwanted” single years. Although I haven’t lived these years out perfectly, I’ve learned a few things that have been extremely beneficial to me during this time.

Whether you are single or married, I hope these tips will encourage you—or help you encourage the singles you know—to live with intention and purpose during this time.

1. Don’t view singleness as an “in-between” stage

There have definitely been times in my own life that I’ve viewed these single years as a season to be “endured.” I viewed marriage as the good stuff and singleness as the bad stuff. I wanted the single season to end as quickly as possible so that I could move on in life and be a real and purposeful adult. Thankfully, God has helped me to see that singleness isn’t an “in-between” season that I should endure, but an important and valuable season of life.

I want to encourage you, as a single, to embrace this season of life. God has you in this season for a reason. Don’t waste these valuable years waiting for marriage to come your way. Take advantage of the time God has given you. and make the most of this season.

2. Get out of your bubble of single friends

In our society, there is a huge push to stick with our own group of people. Teens hang with teens. College kids hang with college kids. Singles hang with singles. Married people hang with married people. Older people hang with older people. There isn’t a whole lot of encouragement to mix up the groups and spend time with people in different seasons of life.

I personally think this is a terrible mindset and one I hope never to embrace. Instead of restricting your friends and groups to “singles only,” try mixing it up a bit. Spend time investing in those younger than yourself. Spend time with your grandparents or the elderly couples in your church. Spend time with young families or couples who have been married for several decades. Get outside of your normal friend groups, and start investing in and benefiting from those in different seasons.

3. Choose gratitude during this season

Nowhere in Scripture do we see singles given a special “pass” to live in discontentment and ingratitude. God commands us to give thanks in all things, despite our circumstances. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Gratitude is a choice. It’s something that you have to choose to do, despite how you feel.

I love how Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth puts it in her book, Choosing Gratitude,

I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can't worship without giving thanks. It just isn't possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.

4. Use these single years for God’s glory

Single people have so much potential to make an impact for the kingdom of God. We typically have energy, youthfulness, flexibility and the time to be used in ways that married people can’t. Instead of twiddling our thumbs waiting for “the one” to come our way, let’s live with purpose and intention. Let’s take advantage of this incredibly unique season and live with eternity in mind.

As I say in my new book, Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity, “When forever comes, only the things you did for Christ will truly matter.” Let’s choose to be single men and women who truly live with that in mind.

5. Actively look for opportunities to serve

There are so many needs in our churches and communities that desperately need to be met. There are young boys and girls that need godly role models. There are elderly people in need of love and companionship. There are single moms who could really use help in a million different ways. It doesn’t take long to find a need. We need to start actively looking for opportunities to serve. We need to stop waiting for God to bring opportunities to our doorsteps and start making big efforts to love and serve those God has placed around us.

By God’s grace, let’s live with purpose and intention during this season. Don’t wait for the “greener grass” to come your way. Choose to live out every day for the glory of God.

ERLC2018