By Liz Lampkin, Crosswalk.com
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the lovely couple with a baby carriage. For as long as I can remember this has been a part of life’s blueprint for adults, young and old.
You get an education that will drive you towards a promising career, you meet the perfect mate, fall in love, plan a family and live happily ever after.
But, while growing up, no one is taught that your happily ever after can exist without the benefit of marriage. Maybe it's because people fail to see the splendor of existing in an unmarried state or believe that being single means to be alone and unhappy.
For many years I thought being single was a stage of life that was short-lived. I saw it as an interim period that was purposed for preparing one for marriage because I was never taught to see the blessing and the gift of being single.
My focus was on what the world and many older Christians thought about a single person. Many believe that going through life without being married meant that you were desolate or unworthy of such an honor.
My eyes and ears only focused on having a relationship that could lead to marriage which took an emotional toll on how I viewed and valued myself. Then one day, the spirit came to me and asked the most profound question, “Are you a reflection of the mate you desire”?
This question lingered in my mind for quite some time as I was fearful of the answer. After two weeks of intentional avoidance, I decided to give the response to this question which was a hard and loud no!
After answering this question I laughed at myself and realized that I was not ready for marriage because I did not know how to be single. I soon realized I didn’t know how to be single because my mind and heart did not allow me to understand what this period in my life was intended for.
So I decided that I would take steps towards learning how to live as an unmarried woman and how to reverse what I knew about being single.
Here are eight steps I took to turn my head knowledge about being single into heart knowledge.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1:5-6
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/deniskomarov
1. Shift Your Visual Focus
Shift your visual focus from outward to inward. Many singles focus on the beauty of having a relationship with someone rather than focusing on the splendor of living single and miss out on the blessing it is.
When shifting your focus the first thing you must do is take a moment to internally reflect on why you desire marriage or an intimate relationship. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How will a relationship benefit my life’s purpose?
- How will I change someone’s life for the better?
- Am I spiritually equipped to be someone’s spouse?
As you ask yourself each question, jot down your responses. Be sure to be completely honest about your desires and pray for God’s vision for your life to be your primary focus.
Rather than visualizing yourself as one with someone else, take some time to consciously change your perspective about being single. Brainstorm and be open to ways that you can still receive these desires and blessings, even if it's outside of a romantic relationship.
Create a fresh outlook on your life as a whole and not simply base the quality of your existence on your relationship status.
2. Transform Your Thoughts
Train your mind to focus on the gift of being single. More often than not, singles focus on preparing for marriage or pouring energy into intimate relationships and fail to think about the many benefits there are of being single.
This is the season in life to develop a profound relationship with God as an individual before He decides to unite you with someone else. It’s also the time for you to develop a positive mindset on who you are as an individual.
Take some time each day to positively affirm your status. Silence your mind from the negative thoughts that sneak upon you and fill them with thoughts of gratefulness for having this time and make the most of it.
Changing your thoughts about being single will create positive actions. Taking positive actions will generate a positive lifestyle and a new outlook on your life.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/YakobchukOlena
3. Read God's Word
Read, study and understand what God's word says about who you are to Him and how you should live the life He’s given to you.
There are so many uplifting words of encouragement from God about how much He loves and values each of His children no matter what state they are in. When your thoughts are filled with discouraging images of being single, take some time to delve into God’s Word to reaffirm His love for you as the individual He created you to be.
Here are a few suggested verses to read to reaffirm God’s love for you:
Begin each day with God by reading His Word. This will change your heart, mind, soul and will ultimately change your life.
4. Own Your Single Truth
Be honest with yourself about how you truly feel about being single and why those feelings exist. Reflect on what you believe being single is and how you came to believe those things. You can begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why do I struggle with being single?
- Are my desires for marriage rooted in God’s Word or the world's expectations?
- Have I fulfilled God’s purpose for my life during this season?
- Do I desire marriage because I’m lonely?
As you answer each question be sure that you are completely honest with yourself to get to the heart of your truth about living single. If you discover that you’re having a hard time with owning your truth, take a moment for prayer and ask God for guidance with your responses.
Open your heart and take time to acknowledge your state of mind about your present status. This will lead you to genuinely live your life based on your newfound knowledge.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Digitalskillet
5. Reinvent your Single Habits
What do you do to celebrate your relationship status? Do you partake in activities that allow you to get to know who you are?
If you don’t, now is a great time to start!
Begin developing your new habits for living single. Start by reading God’s Word and praying daily if you don’t already do so.
Learn how to take care of yourself and really own the life you're living. And discover new ways to find joy!
You can also plan solo trips, begin new hobbies or perfect old ones, take time to meditate and reflect on the beauty of being single.
No matter what you decide to do, make a conscious decision to start fresh in your single status so you can truly get to know who you are as a person. You’ll be surprised at what you discover.
6. Know Your Purpose
Understand that your purpose for being single is not to get married. This is the season in life that has been designated to focus on who God created you to be, building your relationship with Him and understanding the work He has for you to do.
Serving God's Kingdom isn't just the backbreaking self-denial we can assume it is--there are so many ways to serve that also align with your gifts and talents.
God has a plan for your life and has placed you here for a special purpose to serve in building His Kingdom. Take some time to pray and ask God what work He has designated for you and get to work!
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Danielle Cerullo
7. Know Your Expectations
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2
Never conform to the standards the world has set for singles. As children of the Most High, we have been set apart from this world, therefore we have different expectations to live by.
Take steps towards viewing yourself as God sees you and live from that perspective. What are those steps?
Begin by measuring yourself with Biblical standards. Select one of the many scriptures or commandments God has set in place for Christians to live by and make a conscious effort to incorporate that into your life.
Be prayerful and consistent with your endeavors. Keep the expectations God has for you in His Word at the forefront of your mind by studying and meditating on them daily.
Living and measuring yourself with the Word of God will demonstrate to the world that you are separate from it and you live your life according to what pleases God. It’ll also show that you have set a standard for yourself as a single Christian to walk in this season as God intended you too.
8. Live Happily Ever Present
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11
Know and understand that your happiness begins and ends with you. Learn to live in joy and know that God will supply your needs as He sees fit.
Stop looking into the future and the past and enjoy each day in the present. Release your past relationships and thoughts of what could have been and embrace your life in the present as an unmarried individual who was created to do amazing things.
If you wait to live in the myth of happily ever after, you’ll never know what you're missing out on right now. Don’t overlook this season in your life. Accept and embrace it for the blessing it is and walk boldly in that truth.
Turning head knowledge about being single into heart knowledge is a daily process. Consciously practicing each of the steps listed will give you a different perspective on what being single truly means and how to make the most of this time.
I pray that any negative thoughts you have about your relationship status leave your mind and heart so you can live the way God intended for you.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kieferpix