Before we jump in, I HAVE to tell you that I was invited to a private One Direction concert this weekend. You’d think between Beiber, the Jonas Brothers (last night), and now THIS, that I am a thirteen-year-old girl. I am not.
|Northerly Island last night.
Jonas Brothers announced their new album
title for the first time. “V” (As in 5th album)
However, I am as excited as one and can’t wait to share the pics and experience with you. (First, I actually need to learn their music–and yes, I realize that 1D fans everywhere hate me a little for that.)
As we continue our series on Singleness, Deb Sergeant, who has a lifetime of experience at being single, (and writes about it at www.debsergeant.wordpress.com) shares her struggles with “S” words. Deb is involved in Junior High Ministry at Community Fellowship in West Chicago, co-leads an awesome small group of women, and works as the communications and administrative assistant at CF.
Struggling with “S” Words
There seems to be a divide between single and married people. I’ve joked that singleness is not a disease and cannot be spread from close contact. I don’t know the highs and lows of being married, but I do know that doing life alone can be exhausting. Here is a glimpse into the â€œSâ€ words I struggle with, as a 27-year-old unmarried woman who loves her life…well, most of the time:
Seclusion â€“ As I watch (what seems like) everyone around me get married and begin having babies, it’s easy to have an extreme sense of alone-ness. It’s the keen awareness that if I don’t take care of myself (financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually) no one else will. Sure it’s great to be self-sufficient, but it’s also nice to know that someone else is looking out for my best interest.Of all the potential struggles, this is the deepest â€œfelt needâ€ of the single people I know.
Rather than desperately searching for the ever-elusive â€œone,â€ I’ve decided the best solution to loneliness is community. I don’t just mean the kind of friends you make at work or by attending church…I mean really doing life with people! Think about it, why do we love TV shows like Friends, the Office, Cheers, Dawsonâ€™s Creek (Busted. Deb didnâ€™t write that, but I had to sneak it in.) etc? These shows are about a group of people who do life together in a raw and real way, but still love each other. I have found some great married people and some great single people who have let me be a part of their lives and let me be authentic with them…I wouldn’t trade them for the world! Whether you are single, married, young or old, be intentional about building this type of community into your life. We all need a Barnabas (an encourager, see Acts 9:27) and a Timothy (someone to mentor, see 1 Timothy 1:2) in our lives.
Shallowness â€“ One of the biggest blessings in marriage is having someone in your life whom you trust to point out (or sometimes bring to the surface) the areas where you need to grow spiritually. Often this is in the midst of conflict or tough times, but it’s still a blessing. Spouses are great at helping identify rough edges and then beginning to file them off. People who are not married don’t usually have anyone in this role in their life. No one is there to bring out my worst and then force me to deal with myself. On the flip side, no one gets to see me at my best and inspire me to be that person all the time. Unless I’m aware of the tendency to remain stagnant, I will never achieve spiritual or personal growth in the way that a married person might naturally from the dynamics of their relationship.
The solution to shallowness is fostering mentoring/accountability partnerships with people you trust and admire. These people need permission to speak into your life and point out some of those jagged edges. These type of relationships often naturally come out of the community previously mentioned.
Singleness â€“ This might seem obvious but, one of the biggest struggles for a single person is being single. There are days when I wouldn’t choose life to be any other way…and then there are days when I would choose to be anything but single! Some people seem to do single well, but even those people would admit to having days/weeks/decades of loathing their singleness. Let’s be honest, anyone can find someone to marry if they are desperate enough. Even the most hateful and ugly person can achieve getting married, but staying married is a whole other issue. I’m personally not going to settle for just getting married, I will hold out for a loving Christ-centered relationship. This might mean I’m single for quite some time, but I will not be dissuaded.
While I look for the right kind of person, please do not say any of the following platitudes to me: â€œYou’ll find him when you’re not looking,â€ â€œGod must be preparing him/you,â€ or â€œMen are intimidated by you.â€ None of these statements are the least bit helpful. The most kind and helpful thing you can do for a single who wants to get married is casually introduce them to other single people. Invite them along to join your family or group of friends for an activity.
Shame â€“ This one is huge! Admittedly, I have not been in very many relationships and never in one that was headed towards marriage. These facts alone can play on my insecurities and make me wonder what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I seem to attract the right kind of guy? I must not be good enough. I must be intimidating, uninteresting, or ugly. I know in my head that I’m not those things, but when I meet an attractive guy and he won’t give me the time of day, he unwittingly affirms each of those thoughts. I must be unworthy.
The other insecurity that causes a great deal of shame is the â€œyou’re single, you wouldn’t understandâ€ mantra that married friends sometimes default to rather than explaining themselves. Seriously, don’t belittle someone else to excuse your verbal laziness. We may not have experienced the same thing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the mental capacity to put ourselves in your shoes and care about how you feel.
Married people, would you help give some community to a single person? Would you step into their world and pull them into yours? Would you give sincere encouragement and criticism? You may be surprised at how investing your time into a single person will prove rewarding. If you don’t know how to start, pick someone you don’t know very well and invite them over for dinner. I can’t speak for everyone, but being allowed to join a family for dinner ministers directly to my soul. If this is true for a 27-year-old-never-married-woman, imagine what it would mean to the widow or the divorcee.
Give it a whirl. We might surprise you with a bit of wisdom or a perspective you hadn’t seen before.