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Navigating Relationships

Now Serving…Party of One.

Managing the Single Life.

There is nothing exciting about being single when you want to be in a relationship. There is also nothing more annoying than people telling you to embrace single-life happiness when it seems they can’t grasp the party-of-one loneliness.  When support seems minimal, and emotions are running high, remember, life is often about managing the short-term, even when it feels long-term. Our feelings are real, but the situations are temporary. God cares and He will answer in due time, but in the meantime, here’s some insight on how to handle the single life…Jesus style.

Get off of social media.  We have previously survived as a society without it, and today is no exception.  Social media is the stomping ground of alternate realities.  We don’t know who is happy and who is not, yet we take it all in. If you are keeping track of the lives of people whose numbers are not in your phone, or you haven’t spoken with in the past six months, you need to stop. Other people’s experiences should not cause them to be added to the “list” of people who seem to be doing better than you.  Honestly, you don’t really know what is happening in their lives, and seriously, why do you even care?  If you are going to track other people’s joys, try tracking their divorces, affairs, and deaths too.  I hope you come to realize that you are wasting time on other people’s lives while neglecting your own. I completely understand that it doesn’t feel good if you are the only single person in your group of close friends, but there’s no need to make it worse by lamenting over family photos on Facebook. You’re comparing yourself to a version of society that only emits the best, at the right angle with some serious Photoshop.  Every time you do this, you will lose.  I would like to believe that there is something better you could be doing with that time.  If not, just send me an email. I could use some help.

Guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) goes beyond who we let it and extends to what we let in. So deactivate your accounts, and feel good about it.  Life will thank you later for the courage to face the reality of your own life and the desire to put your energy towards personal and spirituals betterment.

Burn the past.  Notice, I didn’t just say let it go, I said set it on fire.  Letting go is an active experience.  It does not just happen with time.  We have to put effort into letting go, and we do that by spending our time reaching ahead to what is next.  I’m not talking about avoidance, I’m talking about focus.  In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul says “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Paul understood the value of putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a direction blessed by God.  So if you’re moving forward with your delinquent ex, you actually aren’t moving forward, you’re running backwards.  If you still have the sad Spotify playlist going, delete it. God isn’t asking us to make up, relive, or wallow in the past; He gave us permission to simply forget it.  There is life left to be lived whether you’re 35 or 65.  Don’t let the battle wounds of past mistakes, doubt, and fear cause you to lose the war.  Take your lessons and keep it moving.  Every moment you look behind is a moment you aren’t looking ahead, and trust me, with God, the future can be incredibly bright. You just need some patience.

Leave your local church.  I know this won’t be a popular sentiment, but I stand by it.  Local church activities are a great way to pass the time when feeling lonely.  They are also an excellent place to hide pain when we busy ourselves with choir practice, youth activities, weekend services, and mid-week prayer. Don’t use church as a distraction. Don’t use Jesus as an avoidance tactic. I don’t think He is cool with that. Instead, face your loneliness, embrace your circumstances, and at a minimum, try out a new church.  I’m not asking you to throw in the towel on your home church or denomination. I’m merely stating that if your church life is habitual, I’m sure a few other things are as well.  There’s nothing wrong with that if you don’t mind meeting and reaching the same people every week. However, if that isn’t the case, then go out there and explore the world God gave us. If Jesus didn’t ask his disciples to keep it local and low key with the same five friends every week, what makes you think we should? He told them to go out into the world and spread the gospel.  If you want new circumstances, you have to be open to new experiences. And what better way to grow spiritually and personally, than to take on some new adventures with our eyes focused on God.  You may start off solo, but that doesn’t mean you finish that way. So wait upon the Lord and let Him renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31) Only then, will the idea of walking on water even seem feasible.

As servants of God, we are called to respect the phases. Personally, I’m not saying I like it, but I am saying that it’s incredibly necessary.  I completely understand wanting to be in control, and wishing God would just follow my timelines even though I’m fully aware it would be beneficial if I followed His instead.  I also know that the phase of singleness can be a seriously lonely place that toys with your every emotion as people remind you of your solo status.  My best advice to you is to talk to God in a daily devotion that draws you closer to Him as opposed to making irrational self-focused decisions based on fleeting emotions. That probably isn’t the most exciting answer but it’s the only one that can stop you from interrupting God’s signals with your own short term desires.  You will start to see the world in a more vibrant way as your growth process soars.  You will have the courage to step out and be bold, all while others are judging you.  You can face the loneliness and know it is only temporary.  In moments of weakness, God will give you patience. When life is hard, God will expect your honesty. And while you are on your own journey to a better life, God will bless you in ways that may be like nothing you’ve ever imagined. Okay, it will be like nothing you’ve ever imagined because it’s a journey worth the wait.

Remember, God is the only phase that lasts forever, everything else, well it’s just temporary.

E.

Any insight to share? Sound off in the comments below and check back next Sunday for a new blog.

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