Ten Things God Has Taught Me About Being Single
By Michelle McKinney Hammond
Several years ago I co-wrote a book with a dear friend of mine, Holly Virden, entitled “If Singleness is a Gift What’s the Return Policy?” It was a tongue in cheek look at the advantages, disadvantages and struggles of being single. Mine was the voice of the older more seasoned single sharing what I had learned with a younger single. Looking back it was accurate to say that there is no secret to arriving at a place called joyful and content. It is a journey that you walk out until you are surprised by joy in the midst of surrender that can only be wrought over the time it takes you to get to the end of yourself. Having said that it is only when you get to this point that you can have clarity about the blessings associated with being single.
I have covered the gamut of emotions and questions in my past offerings, “What To Do Until Love Finds You”, “Secrets of an Irresistible Woman”, “If Men Are Like Buses Then How Do I Catch One”, “How to Be Found By the Man You’ve Been Looking For”, “What Women Don’t Know and Men Don’t Tell You”, “Sassy, Single and Satisfied”, “How to Avoid The Ten Mistakes Single Women Make” and finally arriving at “Single-Minded Devotion”. Even the titles tell a tale of the path I’ve trod.
While being single is not for the faint of heart it is a wonderful opportunity to become your personal best if you allow the time to well spent learning valuable lessons that will position you for victory whether you ever marry or not. Allow me to share my top ten things that God has taught me about being single.
1) Being Single is not a Death Sentence and Marriage is not the Answer to Everything. Let’s face it. Generally speaking, those of the single persuasion have placed marriage as an idol on the mantle of their hearts. The divorce rate alone, in the church and out, should be the first revelation that marriage is not the end-all-be-all. It’s been said with much aplomb on various occasions “and the two shall become one”. This is our great expectation. But what if both people are broken and unprepared for the work that a long term commitment requires? Alas and alack, two broken people usually have a predictable end– a broken relationship. One translation of Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.” Plans for your wholeness…” God longs for us to be whole above all things. Unfortunately we mistake wholeness with being attached to someone else. The truth of the matter is our wholeness can only be established and maintained through our relationship with the Lover of our Soul, Jesus Christ Himself. As a single all the time is ours for nurturing this relationship which is the Ultimate in love relationships.
2) Your time as a single is an incredible opportunity to embrace and utilize all that you are and exploit your gifts to their fullest potential. It is time to get on with the business of living and experiencing all that you can before your priorities have to shift to more selfless ones. Right now you are in an incredible place and the world is your oyster. All of your money, time and space belongs to you—use it! Get out there! You’ve got a lot of living to do. Now is the time to discover what your gifts are and how you can use them to bless others and profit yourself. You have the awesome freedom of living and giving generously – celebrate that fact and enjoy all the opportunities it brings into your world.
3) Being single is not something to escape or be rescued from. Trust me when your prince shows up he is going to have issues of his own. His armour might be a bit rusty and his horse might have a limp but he could still be a good quality man who needs the kiss and encouragement of a princess to transform him into a king. Misplaced expectations are the major killer of promising relationships. Make sure that you seek to be as much of a blessing as you want to be blessed in all of your relationships.
4) Your single season is an amazing time of learning how to treasure and enjoy the significance of every moment and season you experience. Living for tomorrow is a certain way to miss the treasures of the present. God is an I Am God. He does not dwell in the past or pine for the future. The present is just that — a jewel you’ve been given to enjoy today, examine all the facets of that truth and appreciate the beauty of the moment.
5) When you are living for one specific portion of your future you tend to overlook the big picture and how to prepare for life, period. Whether single or married you need to carpe diem, seize the day as they say. Love as if you’ve never been hurt, dance as if no one is watching and live as if your circumstances won’t change. How would you plan your life differently if you knew you would never get married? That’s right sister, start living that way now. That means you invest in your future, save, buy a home, do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. At the end of the day if, and when, your knight in shining armour arrives you will be a far more interesting person with much more to offer than if you waited for him to make your life happen.
6) The single season of your life is a great time to perfect yourself and your relationship skills. One doesn’t just snap into being a great communicator and problem solver. Years of working issues out with family, friends and even co-workers are all preparation for the great test of living with someone in a committed relationship. Now is the time to nurture good habits personally, domestically, financially and professionally. Now is not the time to fall down on the job of life. Be the best that you can be and that way you are sure to be a gift, not just to your husband, but to all that encounter you.
7) The greatest and most prominent sin among singles is selfishness and self involvement. The more selfish you are the lonelier you will be. Self involvement will always breed frustration. We were created to give and love, when we give ourselves with joy to those who are available to receive all we have to give, love and fulfillment overtakes us above and beyond our wildest expectations and desires.
8) It is easy to abandon the two most important relationships you will ever have when you are pursuing someone else to make you whole. That would be the relationship you have with yourself and God. Though this may seem to contradict the former point it really doesn’t. The first two commandments point to you having a healthy love and appreciation for yourself that is translated into how you treat others. Having the type of love that translates to taking good care of the temple God gave you coupled with a passionate love for God will naturally set you on the right track in your relationships with others. You will love them as you love yourself and God. This can only lead to a beautiful and fruitful relationship.
9) Being single does not mean that you are free to live anyway you want or do anything you want to do. Discipline should be your best friend. The choices you make today will affect your tomorrows and more importantly the quality of your relationships. Make all decisions in the light of what you want to live with for the rest of your life. Trust me, your choices will come back to haunt you. What will you want to share with your future mate? Will your choices cause you shame, pain or joy? Your decisions will affect someone other than yourself in the long run.
10) Ultimately you are not alone. You are loved and promised to the Ultimate Bride Groom. Never give up or cave in. You are more available to love and be loved than the average married person. The Word in Isaiah 54:1 says to, “Sing O barren woman for many more children will you have than she that has a husband.” Paul said that the married woman has to think about how to please her husband before being available to serve God or others. Too much time and energy is spent looking for someone else to complete the life that God already gave you. So feel the love that is already available to you. Go for it- get out there and get a life!
The bottom line on this whole single thing? Singleness has countless advantages. Once you decide to exploit your freedom you will discover a richer life than you ever imagined with unlimited opportunities for joy and fulfillment.
By Michelle McKinney Hammond, author of over 35 books including Single-Minded Devotion and Sassy, Single and Satisfied.