I Love/Hate Being Single
- Thursday, April 19, 2012
"I love being single because . . . I hate being single because . . . " is my new topic that I have been discussing with singles from every walk of life lately. From widows to single parents to never marrieds to twenty-somethings, from black, white, Hispanic and Asian, I have asked the same question: "What do you love/like about being single and what do you hate/dislike?"
“Well, to be honest, I don't like anything about being single. What is so great about it?” said one single woman named Missy. “I mean, isn't it wrong to be single? Shouldn't everyone be focused on being married? If I told you what I liked about being single, God might think I want to stay single. I just can't do that . . . stay single.”
Wow. Did I hear what I thought I heard? Talking about what is good or what you liked about being single might tell God you are OK with it and as a result, keep you there? As I spent some extra time with Missy, I shared with her the value of being single—that there are some great things. But I will share more on that later. In the meantime, I want to share with you what some others have said about what they loved or hated about being single. As I asked these questions, I was encouraged to hear some of the answers. Some of you are truly happy and content where God has you while others are still struggling. I pray as you read that you will allow the Lord to ask you these same questions and be honest with him in your answers. They just might surprise you.
What do you love/like about being single? What do you hate/dislike about being single?
Joan, single mom with grown kids, 50 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: What I love about being single is how God uses me regardless of my marital status. I get joy from being able to be flexible and fluid to pursue dreams, goals and assignments as the Lord lays them out. I like the relational capital that is available to me. I meet people at social events, meetings, in ministry, through friends and a variety of ways. It is through building relationships that I am able to cross-match spiritual gifts and natural ability as the Lord leads me. Plus, it’s fun! I enjoy that my life is complete in him, as I am not standing idly by waiting for God to give me a mate. I can move in the things of the Lord with boldness, confidence and complete joy.
HATE/DISLIKE: Truthfully, how utterly shallow others’ perception is of being single. I personally don't like to see others limiting themselves because they don't have a mate. Probably at my life stage as an empty nester, I miss the physical intimacy the most.
I love Joan's attitude regarding her singleness. She has finally learned that this is a season to do what God wants her to do. That whether you are married or single, the goal is the same—to pursue the Lord and what he wants.
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Rom. 14:19).
Eric, divorced, single dad with a child, 49 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I like that I am free to do what I want without having to get approval and compromise on every decision. Just deciding where to eat requires approval when you are married. I like that I can date or not date depending on my mood. I love that when I travel it is half price. Marriage is compromise. Single is a great time to appreciate who you are, work on what you want to become, and do it without scrutiny. I loved having a family, but since that didn't work out, I love being a single dad.
HATE/DISLIKE: I hate being divorced for my child.
Eric may be able to do what he wants now, but he still needs to live an example worthy for his child and God. I love that he is aware of how his divorce has affected his child. My own mother grieved the loss of her first marriage and how it affected her kids. But she knew she had to divorce. But through her time of singleness, of being a single mother, she led by example. She often spoke of her mistakes, while allowing us to see her pain. She made sure she would live a life worthy of the Lord, living the example we needed to see. I would encourage Eric to remember his child is watching him as well as others.
Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example (1 Peter 5:3).
Rob, always single, 25 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I have never really thought about it too much. I guess I just like the freedom of my singleness, of being young and single. I know I am going to get married. I look forward to that.
HATE/DISLIKE: I like having a girlfriend so when I don't, I usually work toward having one. I guess I don't like being alone.
When I heard Rob's answer I just smiled as he was so optimistic about life. He just knew he would be married, so being single wasn't that big of a deal right now. He also felt he was still a kid in many ways, not having to worry about such serious matters. What concerned me about Rob was the fact that he always felt he had to have someone, even at his young age. Why was this? Had he been left alone as a child too much? Had his parents divorced, and he felt abandoned? What doesn't seem like a big deal now will grow over time. He will end up going from one relationship to another with no real commitment. My advice to Rob was that he learn to be alone with the Lord only. That being alone could be a wonderful thing as it allows time to get to know yourself. It allows time to make changes. If you only see yourself as a double, then how does the Lord truly know who YOU are?
"Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”(John 16:32-33).
Susie, always single, 32 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: The freedom to spend more time in my work, and (selfishly) the freedom to build my schedule.
HATE/DISLIKE: I'd love to have a partner, someone who is looking out for me, protecting me, challenging me, etc.
Susie, I know firsthand, has learned to be very independent. She has had to rely on herself through the Lord's help to get through life. Due to the type of work she does, it requires a lot of time. Time that if she was married would be jeopardized. She knows it’s a catch-22. Sometimes her work gets in the way of personal relationships. She loves what she does but sometimes questions that maybe a different career would help get her a mate. My advice to Susie is to simply know God can bring a mate anywhere. But to continue to pursue the path he has given her. And to know God is your mate and he is the one protecting, looking out and challenging you. I know it’s something we all know . . . but do we really believe it?
"Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you whenever you go" (Joshua 1:9).
Mike, widow, single dad with kids, 38 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: The incredible 1-on-1 with my kids. The freedom to choose by myself.
HATE/DISLIKE: Lack of support and encouragement, dating (and the lack thereof), and isolation from others.
When I read Mike's answer in regards to lack of support, encouragement, and the isolation, it brought to mind my own feelings as well. Married people for the most part do not get what being single is about. They ignore us, are afraid of us (it might rub off), keep us from serving in leadership at our churches, never call us to see if we need help, etc. And if you are a single parent, they forget about the extra needs you might have. If we are truly one body with many parts, what has happened to the other parts? I join Mike in prayer that married adults would seek to build friendships with singles, learning about who we are, support and encourage us. Remember, unless you do die when your spouse dies, you will be single (just like Mike). Then what are you going to do with your life?
On another note, if you are feeling isolated due to not getting involved and serving at your church and not attending, then you need to make some changes. Sometimes this lack of support may be solely because people do not know what you need. Involve yourself in the body and see how the body may become involved in your life.
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:25).
For the body does not consist of one member but of many (1 Cor. 12:14).
Candace, always single, 44 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I love the freedom to be as I see fit. I love making new friends without limits, etc.
HATE/DISLIKE: I don't get to have sex. I don't have someone I can count on, someone I can learn and grow with.
I often tell friends the only thing I don't like about being single is the lack of physical intimacy. I really miss kissing, cuddling and sex. As a young adult I did not wait on God and chose to have sex. I would spend several years going from relationship to relationship, seeking something that only God could provide. Once I gave my life to Christ, I chose not to have sex again. I chose for God to fulfill all my needs, even the intimate ones. I know he made my body, and he knows how it works. I know he knows what I need and what I don't need. I choose to trust in him and his timing for all things. Are there some tough days? Of course. But as with most things, they pass, especially as I keep my eyes focused on him.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb (Psa. 139:13).
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14).
Joyce, divorced/widowed, single parent with grown kids, 69 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I love that I do not have to always get up, put my makeup on, clean the house and have three meals put on the table every day. But that is also what I dislike. As much as doing all those things required daily discipline and in some ways being single allows me to not be in such a rush, this discipline helped keep me focused and on target. I seemed to get a lot more done.
HATE/DISLIKE: I miss the love of my life. I am thankful that the Lord has helped to fill this void.
Joyce has had to learn what singleness is all about. She was married her entire adult life. Singleness for her was a type of mystery. I know Joyce personally and can tell you that even though she desperately misses her husband who has passed, she is learning to be all that God wants her to be as a single. She isn't sure of the next steps but knows that her Savior will be there with her as she makes them.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psa. 23:4).
Jack, always single, 34 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I love the freedom to be able to do anything and ease of making decisions.
HATE/DISLIKE: I get lonely sometimes.
Although the Lord never got lonely, he was at times left alone, by those who didn't want to hear the gospel, by those who would hear the gospel but rejected it, and by his own disciples. He had the entire world on his shoulders to bear. So he knows firsthand what you are feeling as a single. However, being lonely is defined as "without hope." As a Christian, we have hope. So next time the enemy makes you feel like you are lonely, remember that more than likely you are feeling alone. Pray and ask God what this alone time is about. Is God trying to talk with you and you don't want to listen?
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "Are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?" (Mark 14:37).
Raul, always single, 45 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: Nothing, there is nothing I like or love.
HATE/DISLIKE: I don't think the majority of us were supposed to be single. I don't know why God hasn't given me a spouse. I hate everything, everything about being single. Jesus had his cross, I guess I have mine, too.
Can we say angry? Can we say they might need some counseling? Please don't get me wrong. I totally understand where Raul is coming from. There is a point when you feel called to be married and when it doesn't happen you can get very frustrated with God, especially if you have done your part. Oh, wait a minute, define “your part.” Why does God allow some singles to get married and others not? Well, I don't have a perfect answer for you, however, I do know that some of us are not healthy enough to be married. Sure, we could just get married and it be horrible, ending in divorce. But is that the answer?
I think some singles are single because they are not facing their junk, their pain, their past mess. I believe God is not going to bless them with a spouse until they get healthier, so that their marriage is healthy. Some singles are single due to sin such as being in personal debt/abusing credit cards, laziness, selfishness, etc. But others are single because I believe with my whole heart it is not the path God is leading them on. For God's purpose is far above anything we could come up with. So I know some of you are still angry with God but considering we are on this earth for such a short time, perhaps this anger should be directed to be used in the right way. In the meantime, get some counseling to find out if there is anything in you that needs to be dwelt with.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psa. 16:11).
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psa. 139:24).
LaTonya, divorced, no kids, 48 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I like being single because I get to meet a lot of people like me who have gone through a bad marriage. I can be a support for them, encourage them. I also like being single because I found out what I do want in a marriage and what I don't want again.
HATE/DISLIKE: Missing the intimacy that I had with my ex-husband. Once you have had that level of closeness with someone, it’s hard to not want it again.
Thank you, LaTonya, for seeing how your past, your mistakes and even some of your right choices could help someone else going through the same thing. I remember years ago my mom asked me why I share so much about my past. I told her that everything that has happened to me (whether my choice or the Lord's) is used by God to help others. Through my own mistakes, God has shown me his forgiveness and his plan for healing. As singles, we need to be available to help others in their journey.
If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Rom. 12:8).
Pam, divorced, single mom with a child, 34 . . .
LOVE/LIKE: I love my independence and no accountability. I do what I want when I want including eating, spending my money and time. Because I have been married and single, I realize as a single I am more apt to try new things.
HATE/DISLIKE: Having a companion to help out during stressful times and do fun things with. While I love my independence, it's also very nice to know someone is waiting for you.
No accountability? Wow, that is the one thing as singles we can get in trouble with. As a single I find it very important to put people in your life who will hold you accountable. It's one thing to value your independence and freedom, but not having accountability can lead to destruction. I encouraged Pam, like all of us, to ask people to come into your life that will hold you accountable to God, to them and yourself. If you know you struggle with a certain sin, have others praying and asking you the hard questions. Accountability helps us all to grow to be more like God.
Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice (Prov. 13:10).
As I continued to share with Missy, I explained that this is a season that God has her in for his purpose. That by being honest before the Lord in what you liked or didn't like about it was healthy. It allows you to hear if you are truly content with where you are until God moves you. It allows you to hear your own voice, listening for anger and lack of trust. It allows healing to begin of past hurts. It's OK to be angry about where God has you. But it’s also OK to be happy and full of joy.
So what do I love or hate about being single? For me, I think due to being single for so long, I have become attached to my singleness and love it. I love the uniqueness of my life. I love being able to stop during the day and visit with a friend, shop for a new pair of shoes, have a long phone call without having to concern myself of a spouse. I like and love the most the freedom that being single gives me. I also love the spiritual freedom of being single. I can talk to ANYONE about Christ, not worrying if it’s appropriate as a single woman. I can stop during my day/evening to share Christ. I can go on mission trips abroad, help with local missions and serve without concern of a spouse.
Now don't get me wrong—sometimes there are tough days of being single. I greatly miss physical touch that being married (well, you hope) would provide. I miss having someone to share some of my deepest thoughts and fears. Someone who really gets me and loves me anyway. But because I HAVE been single for a while now, I have learned to be content. I have learned to turn to the Lord to meet all my needs, even the ones a mate would provide. And as a result, my life of being single has become a life of joy. I see my singleness as a place of power, of purpose and of passion.
So what about you? What you do you love or hate about being single? Tell the Lord now and begin the next step of your life.
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment, co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources; From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions (includes a leader's guide and conference/retreat of the same name). Kris is currently working on her fourth book: FAQ's of Singles Ministry coming this fall 2012.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
FromHisHands.com Ministries is Kris' speaking ministry. If you've ever heard her speak, you know that Kris is the kind of speaker who keeps the crowd captivated, shares great information and motivates people to make a difference in the lives of those around them! She speaks to all church audiences on everything from "first impression" ministry to women's topics to singles and young adults. She can speak on a Sunday morning, at a woman's retreat or for a single adults conference. Bring Kris to your church today!
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