[Sooo what had happened was: This post started as a talk I gave at a College Night group I lead with my husband & a couple other leaders last year – it’s been updated & edited. Now it is a blog post w/ a bit of a bonus opportunity. My suggestion is to think of this as a study – do it by yourself with a journal handy or with friends to discuss. Do something cool with it. IG Story & tag me if you decide to be cool and go over it in a group or journal it or what-have-you!] How to be single successfully Bible study
I was single into my 30s. For a lot of years I singled real wrong. But eventually, after I was (mostly) done being hard-headed – God began to show me how to single righter (i.e. how to be successfully single). He clearly, however, has not spoken to me about grammar – He’s not through wit me yet.
I wrote this thing once about lies the world or people tell about being single (that can be found in my new book Quarter Life.) There are so many myths and, frankly, annoying perceptions that people – particularly those who’ve been coupled up already – hold about the single life. It’s like leaving singledom brings on some sort of amnesia of their time being on their own. One such misconception that annoyed me then and is wholly untrue is this: That you have to stop being single before being great.
If you find yourself or your best friend or an acquaintance or even someone you have mild disdain for to be single – this is for you/them. Tell them all about it. This post – discussion hybrid is complete with questions at the end for asking yourself or others. Grab a friend and/or journal & let’s get to it. How to single successfully Bible study
Singleness is, I discovered after I wronged it up real good, a calling. A really powerful calling. I wanted to be careful not to talk about this call as the opposite of marriage. I feel like, especially in the church, we treat singleness as a losing game until you win & by getting married.
Marriage is a totally different calling. It’s it’s own separate thing. It’s not a prize. Don’t get me wrong – it’s mad cool and if you feel called to be married one day, certainly be intentional about preparing yourself for it – but I hated, as a single person, when people would talk to me like my life hadn’t really began yet. Like I was desperate for a partner and my life would start to matter as soon as someone put a ring on it. It irked my very soul. It still does on your behalf. I had my difficult days, but for the most part, I was good. I was enjoying life. I’m going to assume you are doing the same. How to single successfully Bible study
As we think about being single, I want to think about it as a calling. As a specific time in life that is not necessarily dependent upon another – whether you are called to it for a season or as a lifestyle. If you are single in this moment, it is something you are graced to be. The thing about callings is that they serve purposes.
Let’s read one of my fave scriptures:
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
“Workmanship” – I love that word. Other translations say, “handiwork.” Those are purpose words. We are God’s on purpose creations. His specific intentions. On translation of the greek of “workmanship: is “Poiema” – his beautiful poem / work of art – So who we are, our life, is God’s work of art. Where you are fits into the amazing picture of all He made. Even if it doesn’t seem to now – but we walk by faith & not by sight, right.
So we’ve established that we are/this is God’s purposeful artwork.
Also, we were created to do Good works prepared in advance – God already knew what this part of the art would look like – we were created to do this thing now – not wait until x, y & z. Not waiting until we are married have a title or have more money or a better job. We don’t have to wait until we are brave enough or until we feel ready. The work is here, now.
Listen, singleness can be a challenge, weather it is by choice or just where you are in life. I’m not gonna act like it was always easy or I enjoyed it everyday. The truth of it is, though, I was, just as you are, graced to handle it.
How do we access that grace?
This idea of “calling” & “works prepared in advance” these all sound big. It’s easy to get lost. I am a very practical person. My question is always, “how?” I get these concepts in theory, but how do I literally use them or do them right now? What does this work look like?
This is not an exhaustive list, but:
-It looks like seeking understanding as to who He made you to be at your best.
-It looks like the humility of giving mentors access to your life to tell you about yourself so you can be better.
-It looks like the humility of actually listening and taking their advice -that was hard for me.
-It looks like understanding how we affect our community – fostering self-awareness and emotional intelligence (This is HUGE! Whether your next chapter is a promotion on your job or holy matrimony – cultivating these two areas will help you big time!).
All of those things are good, but there’s one piece of the work that stands out above the rest. And what it looks like, most of all, like serving.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Says:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Singleness is a gift. I know – I didn’t believe it either for a long time. Need some convincing? Read the following:
1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (MSG)
I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
God’s grace has various forms – you are a living form of it right now. Are you being a faithful steward? Singleness is a resource. We are not being a good steward of this amazing gift if it only comes to us, but doesn’t move through us. If we don’t use it for good then we waste its value.
I want to end w/ a story I go back to often:
Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. How to single successfully Bible study
So many things about this story give/gave me hope.
1. During my single season I didn’t know how long I was called to it. There were certainly some years (if I’m being honest) that I began to wonder if it was a lifetime calling. And it might have been. The nice thing though was, it didn’t matter what I knew – only that if God placed something in front of me to do — I could do that.
2.God’s promises don’t come back void & allllll of my mess ups & my wrongnesses didn’t mean they magically disappear. He promised all those things to Abram/Abraham was a whole mess quite a few times in those years before the promise came to pass. But the promise still came to pass.
3. My responsibility as a good steward is simply to move. To take a step. To not wait until conditions are what I think in my limited understanding (Prov 3:5) should be. Abram didn’t even know where he was going, only that God told him to go. That was enough for him & it can be enough for us.
4. Abram was a good 75 years old. Ain’t no time limit on this thang. I don’t care how old you are, you are fantastic. God has a work for you to do.
Singling successfully is, really, doing the work of being a steward of the season you’ve been given. As I’ve heard it said, the only definition of “success” in the Kingdom of God is “obedience.” Obedience often looks like work & serving qualifies in every season.
So go on and werk, ladies & gents. How to single successfully Bible study
Now for the fun:
- Read 1 Peter 4:10 again. What are some practical ways we can be good stewards of singleness? How can we use this gift/resource?
- Is there something God as told you to do? Some work He has for you? What, if anything, has stopped you from being obedient in doing it?
- Singleness is defined as anything other than being married (lemme clarify: Singleness is a calling. Marriage is a calling. There isn’t a dating/courting “calling.” Howeva – if you are in a dating/courting relationship you should obviously honor the commitment you’ve made to that person. I’m not saying this as a license to go off and do dirt. Ok – as you were.) So if you are single, what are some things you enjoy about being single? (refer back to 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (MSG) if you need help).
- What could you say to encourage your single friends to fulfill this calling in their season?
Feel free to answer #4 in the comments! Let’s encourage each other! Let me know if you do this with your peoples. Don’t forget to IG and tag me! I want to know what you thought & what brilliant things you came up with! Find more relationship & singleness insights here!