Singleness – Burden or Blessing?

When the Good Shepherd speaks to His own ...

Singleness – is it a burden or a blessing?

Each of us who are single would likely give a different answer to that question depending on when we were asked. And both answers would be correct. Singleness, like marriage (and almost every other aspect of life), has its burdens and its blessings.

When I feel my singleness is a burden it’s often because I’m not seeing it from God’s perspective and design. At other times it’s because I haven’t been connected enough with others and it’s time to pick up the phone and call a close friend or plan for interaction with others.

In general, I’ve found that …

Singleness is a BURDEN when I:

  • focus on what I don’t have.
  • squander my freedom on self-pity.
  • view being single as being “less than.”
  • complain about my life.
  • think my life doesn’t have purpose.
  • think I’m a failure.
  • spend too much time isolated from others.
  • don’t invest enough time in my closest relationships.
  • am not focusing on how all-satisfying my relationship is with Jesus.

Singleness is a BLESSING when I:

  • focus on the abundance I have!
  • use my freedom to relate to God without distraction.
  • view my singleness as being a valuable asset to me, to others, and to the Body of Christ.
  • express gratitude about my life and all I’ve been given.
  • know and live God’s unique purpose for which He created me!
  • realize how much God has accomplished through me!
  • spend time relating to others.
  • invest in my closest relationships.
  • grow in my relationship with Jesus and in experiencing how all-satisfying He truly is!

Perspective is the Key

Perspective is an amazing thing! Many times in my life the “blues” have lifted simply because my perspective changed, even though nothing else in my life changed a bit. I have learned that the enemy of my soul loves nothing better than to get me to view my life negatively rather than positively. Negative feelings will bring my pursuit of life and purpose to a grinding halt quicker than anything, and prevents me from living a joyful life to the full!

There’s a quote by Roy Lessin I have gone to again and again over the years to remind me when my perspective isn’t coming from God and needs adjusting:

“When the Good Shepherd speaks to His own, He never uses words of despair, hopelessness, frustration, defeat, discouragement, fear, confusion, or failure. Instead, He gives His sheep words of hope, rest, victory, peace, power, joy, triumph, and love.”  —Roy Lessin

When I am feeling in despair, hopeless, frustrated, defeated, discouraged, fearful, confused, or that I’m a failure – I know my perspective is not God’s. Even if I need correction in my life, His correction always comes with hope, never with despair. Truth – which is God’s perspective – always brings freedom, as Jesus said in John 8:32: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus also said that Satan seeks “to steal and to kill and to destroy,” but that Jesus came so that we “may have life and have it in abundance.” Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy our joy and peace. He is the father of lies and makes his perspective appear to be truth so we’ll take it to heart. But when we do, we end up with negativity that sends us on a downward spiral. When we change our perspective to God’s, we are freed from that negativity and instead experience hope, rest, victory, peace, power, joy, triumph, and love!

How are you viewing your life, whether it is being single or some other aspect? Is it a positive view or a negative view? What helps you the most to change a negative perspective into a positive one, or to change a burden into a blessing?

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To Those Wondering What They’re Living For

Christ's love motivates us

Here you are. Frustrated. Living the mundane life you never wanted. You were going to be different! You were going to be purpose-driven! You most definitely weren’t going to join the rat race, work a normal job, live a normal Joe-Blow life. But somehow you ended up doing just that.

You’ve prayed for direction, begged God for answers, told Him you’re willing to go wherever He wants you to. And all you get is closed doors and confirmation after confirmation that you’re supposed to be right here, in the most boring of places.

You’re not a missionary in China. You haven’t given an orphan a home. You haven’t started a non-profit ministry helping troubled teens. You haven’t preached to packed-out stadiums. You haven’t given years of your life to minister to those in prison.

What is your deepest purpose, your driving force? Why are you still aching to have a job that makes you excited to get up every morning? Has God forgotten you?

Is your past unworkable in His plan? Are you too imperfect for Him to use? Are you not talented enough for Him? Are you just slated for a drifting, boring life?

No.

I know this because I’ve been where you are, wondering if I’m actually making a difference in this broken world. I’ve quietly thought that maybe, just maybe, I’m not good enough for God to really use. And I’ve faced the gut-wrenching feeling that perhaps I have no purpose at this stage in my life.

However, I’ve also stood in the trenches of the mundane life with my head held high in victory, fully assured that I do have a purpose right here and now.

You wanna know where this confidence comes from?

God’s Word:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV)

Go ahead and read that again.

(Seriously. I meant that. Read it again. Those are the most powerful two sentences you’ll read in this entire article.)

In His death, Jesus paid the highest price possible for us, and now we no longer belong to ourselves, but to Him. When we understand Christ’s love for us, it motivates us to love and live the same way He did.

Too often we look to what we do for our sense of purpose. You can do many great things, but without the love of Jesus motivating you, it’s useless (1 Corinthians 13). When the thought of Christ’s love for us and our love for Him drives us in our daily lives and interactions with people, God’s plan is being fulfilled in us, often without us even realizing it! When we no longer live for ourselves but for our Savior, God can use even the most mundane task to bring Himself glory, because He’s God and He’s super awesome like that!

So in your mundane life, look at Jesus. Fully focus on Him. Draw your daily energy and purpose from Him. Let Him spur you onward, not a cause. Living for causes quickly draws energy out of us and can leave us disillusioned. But when we live for Jesus, He graciously pours His strength into our weakness and gives us the “umph” to keep pursuing the purpose He has for us, no matter how boring it may seem.

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God Sees Me and Cares

God sees me, God loves me, He has a plan and purpose for me

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had what she thought was a brilliant idea to fulfill God’s promise to her and Abraham that they would have a son. Rather than waiting for God’s timetable, she convinced Abraham to conceive a child with her servant, Hagar, so Hagar could bear a child for them.

But once Hagar became pregnant she lorded it over Sarah, and in response, Sarah mistreated Hagar so badly that she took her baby and ran away into the wilderness. There, the angel of the Lord found her and told her to return to her mistress, promising her a future for the child she carried. Hagar was so touched by this encounter that she referred to God as “the God Who sees.” She said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?”[1]

Although used by her mistress to fulfill her own plans, God Himself was looking over her and came to her personally to reassure her that He had a plan for her and her unborn child.

When she returned to Sarah’s household, peace did not reign between them. Likely still feeling used and belittled, Hagar’s attitude again turned sour when Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Furious, Sarah demanded that Abraham send her and her son away. With a heavy heart, he did.

This time she ran out of food and water in the wilderness, and her son was close to death. But again God did not forget her. He spoke to her again, assuring her of the plan He had for her son, and then miraculously provided water right there in the wilderness, saving her son’s life. [2]

This story has God’s redemptiveness and compassion written all over it. Abraham and Sarah stepped outside of God’s plan and involved an innocent bystander in their scheme to get what they wanted, without any regard for Hagar as a person. But God didn’t desert Hagar. God created and loved her as much as he did Abraham and Sarah. When others used her for their own purposes and then rejected and discarded her, He reassured her of His love and plan for her and her son, and took care of them both.

Hagar was by no means the last person to be used by others. Many individuals have been used by others for their own purposes, and then discarded. Sometimes it’s by a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, other times by a trusted friend or family member. The shame and rejection that follows can be overwhelming and devastating.

If you are going through such a situation, be assured God sees you and what you are going through. He loves you and cares about you and will come to your aid as you call out to Him. He will never forget you, never abandon you, never forsake you.[3] He has a purpose and plan for you, and regardless of the actions of others who seem to have destroyed your life, He will fulfill his plan for you.

He is the God who sees you, the God who loves you, and the God who brings good out of everything![4]

[1] Genesis 16:13

[2] Genesis 21:17-20

[3] Hebrews 13:5

[4] Romans 8:28

 

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Coaching, Purpose, and Weekend Reading

Purpose cancels loneliness

This blog post could also be titled “This ‘n That,” because it is a number of topics rolled into one this week:

Life Coach Training

Last week I attended training to become a Life Coach. I’m convinced more than ever of the value of having someone to come alongside you to encourage you in this journey of life – someone who has been trained in listening and asking the sorts of questions to help you sort through the “noise” to hear God’s voice and know the direction He wants you to take. The training was under Shari Baer, the Life Coach I’ve introduced you to before, who offers her coaching services to you here on Purposeful Singleness.

Part of the training was learning to help individuals write a Life Purpose Statement. What an intriguing process of discovering with someone the “who-ness” that God created them to be! It has been such a blessing to me to know my life purpose after going through this process with Shari, and I look forward to being a part of helping others in this process, too!

Purpose Cancels Loneliness and Depression

I am convinced more than ever that knowing and living one’s purpose cancels out the type of loneliness that is suffocating and soul-crushing. I’m not talking about the twinges of loneliness from time to time from not having enough connection in our relationships, but rather the day-in and day-out loneliness that is a constant companion with or without interaction with others.

When we feel that our lives have no purpose, we are bound to sink into a loneliness and depression that is difficult to escape. But when we know that we know God has created and designed us for a specific purpose, and we have a sense of how to live it out – or at least what next step to take – loneliness and depression are usually obliterated. It’s a beautiful thing!

I again invite you to contact Shari to set up a time to meet with her via Skype or phone to discover your own Life Purpose, and for coaching to taking the next step in living it out and finding the abundant life God has for you! At some point – after I’ve completed all the requirements for becoming a Life Coach – I’ll be offering coaching here on Purposeful Singleness, too. But if I were you, I wouldn’t wait, and would take advantage of coaching with one of the best Life Coaches around – Shari Baer!

Weekend Reading

As we head into the weekend I’d like to recommend two books to you that I’ve recently read. One is non-fiction and rather heavy reading, but for me was life-changing. The other is fiction but has an amazing message which is also life-changing.

Redeeming SinglenessRedeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life

This is a refreshing book by Barry Danylak (foreword by John Piper), revealing that singleness is not the absence of something better, but rather a God-designed role for accomplishing His purposes for good! It shows us how Jesus removed the curse associated with singleness and childlessness, thus redeeming them for His glory and our good. While marriage represents Christ’s love for His bride, so does singleness, but in a way I’d never thought of before! It’s an encouraging and inspiring read. Grasping these truths is key to finding fulfillment in the life God has given us as singles for today!

You can read more about this book and purchase it on Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle format:

Redeeming Singleness – Paperback

Redeeming Singleness – Kindle

 

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love: A Novel

I normally don’t read romance novels. I find most Christian romance novels especially disturbing because of the message in most of them that life isn’t complete until one finds Prince Charming (or Princess Charming). Since I don’t believe this for an instant – and in fact believe this is one of Satan’s lies to harm both those who are married and those who are single – I usually choose to read other books instead.

But Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is different! It’s a story of love and romance, yes, but it’s also a story of Christ’s redeeming and faithful love for us, with the message that true fulfillment and happiness in life come only through a relationship with Jesus, not from finding our Prince or Princess!

Redeeming Love – Paperback

Redeeming Love – Kindle

 

In full disclosure, if you purchase these books on Amazon through these links, Purposeful Singleness will receive a small commission without any additional cost to you.

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