Why do I feel so lonely?

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Why do I feel so lonely? These words resonate in the hearts of not only singles but all Americans. 58% of all adults are considered lonely, and minorities are at an even higher risk, with 75% of Hispanics and 68% of African American adults responding as lonely.[1] Mental health is impacted by our feelings of loneliness, and we all process that differently. It can depend on our temperament and the cultural environment in which we were raised. Still, what we choose to medicate or address loneliness is even more concerning. Here are some ways to have different perspectives on loneliness.

People don’t fix loneliness

“No one stood by me the first time I defended myself; all deserted me. … But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength.”- 2 Timothy 4:16. We think people will fix our loneliness, but they won’t. No power on this earth will bring comfort beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6). When we seek people to fill our loneliness void, we are like the woman at the well whose thirst was never quenched until she encountered Jesus.

Loneliness is a reminder to draw near

That feeling of desperation, anxiety, emptiness, and emotional exhaustion is not for nothing. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you restMatthew 11:28. If we never had loneliness, then we would never feel when we are closer to God and complete. What we learn along the way in life is that things don’t ever fill this void. Houses, cars, pretty spaces, toys, technology, money, and even people. Through these experiences of temporary feelings, we can only come to value the wholeness found in accepting Christ.

Be complete in Christ

“you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10. This is a phrase we at Table for One Ministries value profoundly and have seen resonate in the hearts of singles. As a single adult, it’s easier to feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually alone. It can even be a primary driver of reasons to be around people, places, and things to avoid being alone. But being alone is an asset, not a liability. When we see the light in our darkest moments is when we know what truly completes us.

Jesus embraced His loneliness

100% man and 100% God and sinless savior, Jesus often knew what it felt like to be lonely. He was isolated for 40 days, tempted in the desert with no human interaction. He did not sin in His loneliness. In Mark 1, Jesus often stayed outside towns in the “lonely” places, and it was there that He would often pray (Luke 5:16). In Matthew 15:34, Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” His loneliness on the cross made an atonement for the world’s sins. He sinlessly embraced loneliness for our ability to join Him in heaven for eternity.

You don’t have to be alone in your loneliness

Loneliness can have a purpose and a meaningful impact on your life and others if we allow it to. You were not made to be alone in the garden or in life, which doesn’t mean marriage “fixes” loneliness. We were made for community and to struggle alongside one another to be refined in the image of Jesus. You are never alone when you have Jesus in your life www.tfoministries.org/am-i-alone. Embrace aspects of your loneliness to draw near to the Lord, and seek wise counsel when your loneliness feelings are darker than moments and turn into a season. Maybe if we pray for purpose in our loneliness instead of praying it away, we will see God’s fullness in our lives to live on mission for Him.

See loneliness as a way to share God’s love

The statistics are clear, people are struggling with loneliness all around us. So how will we be the light that shines into the darkness to share the message of Jesus? 1 John 4 instructs us that for others to see God’s love, we have to be His love to others. That love is based on 1 Corinthians 13 and the product of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. As Christ’s followers, we must reach beyond our circle of friends, family, and neighbors to engage all the world with the love of Christ.

[1] https://newsroom.cigna.com/loneliness-epidemic-persists-post-pandemic-look

I am 40 and Still Single

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Live Beyond the What-if Life

I didn’t want this for my life. I wanted kids in middle school or high school at this point. Just like all my peers. And, I find myself renting, fearful to buy a home in case I find someone and have to move again. What if the right person came along this week? We might be married in a few months and have a family going within a year or so, giving me the life I want. Or what if I change my church? Maybe there will be someone for me somewhere else. God understands I want to be married so it would be okay to move churches for that reason, right? What if I never find a mate and this life of singleness is it?

Do you live your life thinking “someday?” Are you living a “what-if” life?

For adult singles, it is often a challenge not to play the what-if game. Constantly re-evaluating all the angles for how a mate could appear tomorrow and change everything. At Table for One Ministries, we understand many people want to be married and the life of being single is not glamorized by anyone these days. By the time singles are over 35, they are often asked, “Why haven’t you married?”

Singles, Table for One Ministries feels your pain and hears your groans. We understand.

However, playing the what-if game is not the human role to play. Psalm 37:4 tells us our heavenly Father loves us and knows the desires of our hearts. He also knows the path ahead and will reward you for your faithfulness according to Job 23:10.

At Table For One, we often say, “Be complete in Christ.” Nothing else will fill your heart, give you true love in this world, and give you contentment with your circumstances. Yes, it’s okay to feel pain and sorrow for things you want or once wanted, but as John 14:15 instructs Believers, the majority of our time should be focused on honoring God everyday to the best of our ability in our current situation.

Don’t live in the what-ifs when the better choice is God’s plan. Seeking that plan could take days, weeks, months, or years but it is worth going after to be in His direction for your life.

Single Pastors: Don’t Believe These 3 Lies

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Being called to bi-vocational or vocational ministry is unique and as rewarding as it is terrifying. Compound that with being a single adult and the calling to ministry that once felt like a spiritual high now feels like an island of isolation. Carrying the burdens of day-to-day ministry alone will often feel less than whole to the American ideal of a married couple with a family and pet.

Single pastor, you are not alone. Those whispers of loneliness and inadequacy are not founded in Scripture. However, the emotions of feeling that way are seen in several Biblical examples! Here are three things you might be telling yourself as truth when they are not.

I need a wife to complete my ministry
• The apostle Paul is walking on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 when God calls him to ministry as a single adult. Scripture is silent on if Paul was married before. Given his past role as a Pharisee, he is likely a widower or a type of single adult at his calling into ministry. God did not require a wife for Paul to be called or be active in ministry. In fact, God used it as an asset in his life in several ways to proclaim the Gospel.

I need a family to have credibility
• Paul writes to the church at Corinth and in several areas of relationships as a single adult. He gives advice on being single, getting married, how to have a great marriage, and defines love. The church heard his message as a single adult. He used his singleness as an advantage.

I need to be married to be taken seriously by others
• Pastor, more than any other lie, this one is far from the Lord. You are complete in Christ. Jesus was single. As a minister of the Gospel, you stand on the promise of Colossians 2:10 and are complete in Christ. Other people will say things, think things, or attack you for not “understanding” where they come from. Remember, Jesus shared examples of Biblical truths, not from his experiences but from the promises of God. You carry that same authority and can humbly communicate Biblical truths in any situation. As for if you will be taken “seriously” or not, that is not under your control. Be faithful to proclaim the Scripture and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

If these lies are believed, they will handicap your ministry to faithfully carry out the calling in your life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Be complete in Christ and surround yourself with community.

Single Adult POV Two Years into COVID

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“I tried going back to an in-person church, but I didn’t want to take the seat of a family who may need it.”

“My job moved fully remote, I live alone, and in two years, I have only been out to social events a handful of times.”

“I struggle with being alone. The pandemic and quarantine have made me even more alone and even harder to reconnect.”

“Being a single parent was hard already when COVID hit. I was already alone, and it was like a double hit of loneliness with no childcare available.”

“I lost my wife to COVID at 32. I didn’t want to be a single adult, and now I am a single parent and a widower.”

“I started going to church online to stay safe. Now I’m not sure how I would even start going back.”

Singles POV.

We hear you, and we are your advocate in the local church. We exist to build a community for single adults through discipleship, as we have done for 10 years. Your voice is heard, and we have dedicated our ministry to helping your pastor, leaders, community, and friends re-engage you in 2022.

All the quotes above are from real people who need authentic community now more than ever. Singles were already 51% of the adult population in the US before 2020, and the average age of widows was 57. With over 1 million passed away from covid, there are even more singles in our communities than we realize waiting to find a community to connect in.

Leaders to singles.

You have done an amazing job these past two years. You learned how to do relational ministry in ways we never imagined and may need to do again in the future. But at this moment, will you be bold enough to take action and reach singles in your church and your community? Singles are not a ministry your church used to have years ago. They are searching online and talking to friends to see where they can connect with people in their life stage. While your church should be the destination where they learn to be complete in Christ, are they driving past your building to find friends?

We are two years in, but the work has just begun for you to connect.

Singles, you will need to re-enter a rhythm of joining in a safe environment focused on Christ. We hear your pain, but we were made in the image of God to be in community and complete in Christ. Take a step to try to engage with a new church family. You may find new friends and relationships to help you be a disciple. Leaders, there are many things on your plate to do in 2022. Still, if you are bold enough to be single-friendly, you may just find half your community will now feel welcome to join you in the new initiatives. Email us at [email protected] to learn ways to connect with singles and be single-friendly.

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5 Things Married People Dont Get About Singles

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1.   How singles date now.

  • Dating for singles now is the same as it has always been, but completely different. Confused? Singles now interact with technology in every part of the dating experience. From finding that person they would otherwise never meet online, to texting post date to affirm feelings. In fact, not using technology to date is harder than it is to embrace it and use it.

2.  Why singles wait so long to marry.

  • Some people will say the single is “too picky.” The mature Christian single hears the stats, sees friends or family members with unhappy marriages. We hear the horror stories about divorce but rarely hear the positive.

3.  We are Complete without a spouse.

  • No one needs a spouse to be fulfilled. But, what each and everyone of us, married or single, does need is a Savior. We said it before and we’ll say it again, Complete in Christ.

4.  How we spend our money.  

  • Being single does not mean you have an excess of funds. Singles have the same expenses as marrieds: rent or house payment, utilities, car insurance and car payments, food, medical insurance, student loans. For the single parent, there’s the child expense. No different than the married couple with a child.

5.  Where we hangout.

  • small groups. The local church offers the opportunity to intermingle with the body of Christ.
  • with co-workers. Those on the same team working towards a similar goal.
  • with others like ourselves: It could be the same hobby or interest. It could be others with the same calling, on the same mission, at the same place.
  • social events. Meeting friends of friends, friends of family. Meeting the stranger who enjoys the same type of music. Meeting the stranger who admires the same piece of artwork at an exhibit. Attending sports events.

How to Start a Singles Ministry or Group

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  1. Pray. This may seem like an obvious step, but sometimes an idea is acted upon out of enthusiasm and not with a clear plan guided by His hand.

You are likely to know several singles in your church. Enlist their help as you pray towards God’s plan. And when asked, “does your church have a singles group,” don’t answer with a simple no. Ask the person to pray with you. Go to the church staff and ask them to pray about it. Talk to your Sunday class about your desire to see singles gathered and request they pray about it also.

  1. Gather single adult leaders. Establish a core group of mature Believers with a heart for reaching singles. Listen to their input.

Find others with enthusiasm and willingness for the long haul. Ask for a commitment. Ask for input. Delegate tasks as the core group steps into leadership roles.

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  1. Have an outreach plan. Use the core group to make a plan, set goals and deadlines.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. The core group not only needs a plan, they need clear goals and deadlines for the steps to form an active group of singles with a heart for Christ.

  1. Plan ahead with events, missions, etc. As you meet with the core group, it will become obvious who has the heart for playing host or hostess. Divide the duties so no one feels overwhelmed.

Start with a big bang but have events in place beyond the first call to singles. When there is momentum, you don’t want to lose individuals by saying, “we’ll let you know what’s next.” Instead have a second and perhaps third event already in the works from the core group. Then share those details at the initial singles group gathering. For every social event plan a missions event and weekday Bible Study opportunity. Keep in mind you will offer more than people will attend, but opportunities spur growth.

  1.  Keep the momentum going. Try new events. Invite others. Establish small groups for specific tasks.

Move forward, seek out new ideas, keep praying and make certain established members of the group welcome new members with an open heart. Remind the group how difficult it can be to enter a room and not know anyone. And, when someone shows up for a second time, make them part of the group by assigning even a small task.

Time with God

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There are some excellent reading plans available to read the entire Bible in a year or even 90 days. These plans are great, and we encourage you to try one at least once. As a follower of Christ, you need to build a relationship with Him and know Him better. This comes through many venues. You can worship the Lord in praise. You can read about Him in His Word. You can also spend time with Him in prayer. All these require one thing: time.

As a single adult you might have been told “you have more time than married adults, so it is easier for you to spend time with God.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Every human has 24 hours in a day and can use that time as they choose based on priorities. It is a priority to get to work on time, so you do. It is a priority to eat food a few times a day to stay healthy, so you do. But it is the things we don’t prioritize that get shuffled lower on the to-do list and not accomplished. Single adults may or may not have children to tend during the day, and married adults have responsibilities to their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:33-35), but everyone sets priorities.

If you value exercise, you wake up early to work out. If you value TV time, you stay up late to catch your favorite shows. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength, you will make time for Him and He will be a priority in your life (Luke 10:27). Time with God does not always have to be reading His Word, although that is how we grow in the knowledge of Him. It may be just meditating on Him for a few moments every day and giving praises to Him for the great things He has done (Psalm 111).

Make time with God a priority as a single adult. If your relationship status changes, this will serve as a successful foundation for your marriage. Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step. The next step is to follow and know Him better.

What do you do to make time with God every day?

Stop Following Your Heart

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Have you ever heard of Lemmings? It was a popular game a few years back, when floppy drives were still in use! It’s also an animal associated with the idea of following the leader no matter what, blindly going where they lead. The problem, of course, is that lemmings follow the leader, even if it’s over a cliff! They follow blindly until something happens, whether good or bad.

Singles are no different when they follow only their heart in relationships.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Jeremiah 17:9.

We are obsessed with a Romeo-and-Juliet culture where love is nothing more than following your heart to find true love. This is made even more popular by shows like “Once Upon a Time,” where every character is centered around finding their happy ending. And it never comes!

Christ wants you to follow Him! Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Trust Him with everything! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Christ says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.

Following your heart leads to paths that are not always what God wants for our lives. Sin can creep into our decision-making and relying on our “hearts” leads to poor choices.

And as for that happy ending? In John 16:33 Jesus says, “The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” Christ has defeated the world through death on the Cross!

This world will never bring a happy ending, our happy ending as Christ followers is hearing the words “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.

It’s Just Me This Christmas

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Regardless whether a person is completely content with being single or not, the holidays for older single adults reveal a somber truth. It is logical then to see when time marches on, things change, and those who are dear to us pass on. For singles, this can create a situation they never saw coming.

 

It is just me this Christmas.

 

Small families have some amazing abilities to do more with everyone since there are less people to logistically connect with. This also means less siblings, if any, and for most singles, one Christmas day they find themselves the last of their family. We know this sounds extreme, but for one single adult this was exactly what happened.

 

Robert was an only child. He had dated a few times but never really found a person that shared reciprocal interest in marriage. Holidays were spent with mom and dad at his house. In the span of three years, both parents had passed to be with the Lord and then it happened.

 

Robert was alone for Christmas. Years of traditions with family are gone and his extended family were too far away to travel to see them.

 

Where was the Framily?

 

Robert was active in his church and had several friends. Many were close as family, they were framily (friends considered family). But they all forgot that he was a single child and both his parents had passed away. His close network of friends forgot to reach out. In all fairness, Robert also failed to reach out and seek a place to go to on Christmas Day. But, he also didn’t prepare to spend it alone.

 

We Have to Pay Attention.

 

Singles, leaders to singles, and anyone reading this blog: We have to be observant of singles in our lives and make sure we reach out often to keep them connected. In this case, Robert may had forgotten he was going to be alone for Christmas due to the busyness of the holiday season. Robert may have wanted to spend the day alone, which would be fine. But, the issue is that everyone lost sight of their single adult friend and where he was going to spend Christmas.

 

Churches Need to Connect Singles.

 

Church, however you connect singles you need to make it a priority. Singles like this one and others make up nearly half of all adults in America and as more and more adults age without a spouse, this number and scenario is going to increase. Churches need to have a focus on connecting singles in whatever discipleship strategy they have to minister to singles all year. Some will still fall through the net you build to catch singles, but your strategy to reach them will connect more than it misses.

 

Being alone for Christmas does not have to be the saddest thing ever. This blog was not out to say everyone needs to be with people on Christmas. This blog is an attempt to shine light into an area of need for the Church to connect singles at some of their most critical life moments and for the Church to reflect Christ in those times.

 

How does your church reach single adults? Do they do a good job trying to connect singles? Anything done to ensure the lone single is included during the holidays?

I Don’t Need You Today, God

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Going a day without prayer is like telling God “I don’t need you today.” Wow. As followers of Christ, would we ever want to even think such a thing? But we all do, we all go a day without praying sometimes. Maybe it is because you had a long day, or you are busy and can not fit in a quiet time daily.

Regardless of your situation, you need to be praying daily and here is why. You have conversations every day with people on the phone, in person, online, or in your head.  We build relationships with others through communication, and the Lord wants us to do the same with Him. God wants us to ask ANYTHING in prayer and He just may give it to us, Matthew 7:7-12. If you know of someone who is sick? Pray–James 5:14-16. Are you anxious about anything? Pray–Philippians 4:6-7.

How do you pray? You can pray throughout your day, giving God praises and asking for His help–1 Thessalonians 5:17. Pray out loud using your voice and have a conversation with God–Psalm 66:17. Find a quiet place if possible and pray honestly to God without worry of what others will say about your prayers–Matthew 6:5-6. Martin Luther said, “The fewer the words, the better the prayer.” And, if you need a template of how to pray, Christ gives us one in the Lord’s Prayer–Matthew 6:9-13.

Every day you should pray, and when you lie down at night you can quickly pray Psalm 3:5 as your final thoughts of the day, “I Iie down and sleep: I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”  As a single adult you have the opportunity to pray undivided to God daily–1 Corinthians 7:33-34. Use this as a chance to pray for others, friends who need to know Christ, and as a way to build a relationship with Christ. Spend time in prayer and never go a day saying you don’t need God.