Single Myths: Singles Have More Time

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We all have 24 hours in a day.

Now, let us be clear. Singles do not have more time than married folks, but our interests are not divided as much as those with a spouse or kids. In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul said we all have the same amount of time every day and our priorities drive decisions on how we will use that time.

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Singles are often glamorized by the married adult world as being “free” and able to go on missions “anywhere, anytime.” While this glamorization is extreme, there is truth in that married adults often have more obligations that single adults. Marriage is a big deal. Two people become one and no longer is your world “I” but “we” and, with kids, it is “us.” Paul is addressing that issue by stating what we all know to be true. It is a very real issue that faces every couple and family.

Divided interests in a man’s life can take away from their opportunities to be used by God.

One thing to point out is Paul is single as he write this. We think he loved being single! Being single allowed Paul to travel and spread the gospel with an All-In obedience to Him. He did not have to worry about family at home or traveling with him or the commitments of a marriage relationship as some of the apostles had.

So the myth that singles have more time is based not in measuring days, hours, and minutes, but rather in wholehearted devotion to God and not having divided interests of emotional, spiritual, and actual “time.”

Singles, use your life in undivided devotion to Christ. This is why we say “Be Complete In Christ” at Table for One Ministries. A person fully devoted for the Kingdom can do more than those whose attention is divided. Dedicate your each day to the Lord and live for Him.

6 Ways to Know if You are Ready to Date

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Six Signs You are Ready to Date!

  1.  Are you Completely satisfied in Christ? If you feel like you need someone of the opposite sex to complete you, you are not ready.  If you are seeking someone to make you happy with material things, you are not ready. If you are hoping someone will improve your lifestyle, you are not ready. If you are seeking a mate to occupy your time, you are not ready. You need to be complete in the one that brings real life and truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6

  1.  If your heart is open to heartache, you are ready to date. It will happen.The first person you date after the divorce or death of a spouse or the first person you date in your life is not likely to be your forever mate. Finding someone to spend the rest of your entire life, finding someone willing to support you when you lose your job, someone to nurse you through cancer, someone to pitch in when they are too tired to keep their eyes open, someone willing to think outside themselves–it’s just not that easy.
  1. If you look beyond physical and material attributes, you are ready to date. If the first thing you do when you meet someone is judge their physical appearance, then you are limiting the relationship before the person speaks. When you aren’t willing to seek the heart of a person, you aren’t ready to treasure it.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7

  1. Do you have people in your past that you haven’t forgiven? Have you left a trail of people behind you that you need to say “I’m sorry” to? Bringing bitterness into any relationship will show up at the most unexpected times, in the most unwanted ways.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

  1. Is the relationship between you and another focused on God’s plan, rather than fun? Is there a clear focus of where God wants to take the two of you in the next few months, few years? Is there support for one another’s goals? Do the goals connect where God begins?
  1. If you are not willing to lay down your life and change your life for someone else, you are not ready. There’s a common misconception that after marriage things will toodle along just as they were when you dated. Don’t be fooled. Things will change. Bringing two people into one household changes the dynamics of a relationship. And we won’t even talk about adding a child.

All these questions cannot be answered in the span of a few dates. Hopefully, you’re praying for the relationship and looking for God’s direction on whether to continue pursuing the relationship. As you spend more time with a potential mate, have an open heart but be mindful of “red flags.” Don’t brush them aside. Be proactive in obtaining the answers you need to find a lifetime partner.

An Eternal Perspective on Worry

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I Love Jesus.

Jesus Loves Me.

I’m Going to Heaven.

 

Simple right? But how many hours do we worry over paying bills, our retirement accounts, and having nice cars? All for what? As born-again Christians, Matthew 6:25-34 is clear how we are to feel about this life. If you want to know more about being a “born again” check out our Am I Alone page on our website.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)

I Love Jesus

Christ died on a cross and rose again as an atonement or payment for our sins. “We love because Christ first loved us.” 1 John 4:9 (ESV)

Jesus Loves Me

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have life everlasting.” John 3:16 (NIV). God loves you. Jesus loves you. When you have accepted Christ you receive life everlasting.

I’m Going to Heaven

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (NIV). Christ followers have assurance they will spend eternity in heaven despite our sin, despite our worry.

Life is hard. Things happen. Worry creeps in every way we turn, and we struggle over and over until we worry about worrying! John 10:10 is a simple and powerful reminder to live with less stress and as God wants us to live–abundantly!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

 

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.

What’s the Rush to Marry?

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Being engaged is undervalued these days. When did the idea of making a lifelong commitment based off a short term relationship become the norm? The average engagement in America is 14 months, that is right over one year. Yet, in the Christian community, that is considered a “lifetime” of waiting for the “obvious” to happen. Nearly a third of engagements are ended before the wedding day and the divorce rate scary high  for remarriages. So again we ask, what is the rush?

Engagement is not a void time before the wedding day. It should be filled with intimate moments of sharing and growing spiritually together. Once the ring is on the finger, there is no questions from the other person or those around you what your intentions are. So rather than talking about “someday” you get the opportunity to talk about reality.

Dating always has some side to it of being our better self, being engaged is the first chance to start letting down all your guards and being completely committed to someone else knowing they share that same level of commitment. That said, it’s not marriage. Emotionally and spiritually you should be growing closer daily to one another, but physical intimacy should wait until the wedding day. That’s where the line is drawn between being engaged and marriage.

Being engaged is not being married, so it is still a time of transition for things to come, but also a time where a person can leave a relationship before committing to something more. If you are going to marry, be engaged and use that time to grow as a couple to verify the commitment of marriage.

To Marry or Not: Living Together

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As a leader in your singles ministry you will have a dating couple in your group at some point that choose to live together or have a couple come into your group already living together. Sometimes these cohabiting/fornicating/living in sin adults will find their way to a married adult class trying to pass off as a “normal married or engaged” couple. Regardless of the entry point into the church these adults are singles until the wedding day. Then comes the dilemma for the church.

This cohabiting couple wants to marry, but your pastor will not marry a couple living together. While there are many angles to this situation, the product of the church’s position has communicated to this couple to “let the state fix our problem and not the church.” Sure the minister can say separate until the wedding day, but reality is they are living together most likely to save money or they can not make enough to live alone. So demanding a move often never happens. After all, if the church denies the request for this couple to marry, they can go to the courthouse and in a week be married. The church must meet people where they are, but hold the line on what Scripture clearly says is a sin.

So will the same church who said no to the union now say yes to the marriage? Affirming that the state government can fix a situation that the church could not?

Christian Idolatry

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In Biblical terminology, an “Idol” can be anything we value, honor, or pursue more than we value, honor, or pursue God. It is anything that takes priority in our lives. We tend to think of idols as “evil,” as things that are themselves inherently bad. This thinking misses the point. The evil of idolatry is not in the object of our attention, but in our own misplaced priorities.

Number 21:4-9 provides the first, and I believe most compelling, example of God’s people turning a blessing into an idol. This is the account of the bronze serpent.

For those that don’t know the story, here is a quick summary. Once again, while wandering in the wilderness, the people of God complain about their condition. God sends poisonous snakes among them and a lot of people die. The people repent and ask Moses to pray for them so God will take away the snakes. Moses prays. God replies and tells Moses to make a bronze snake and nail it to a pole. He then tells Moses anyone who gets bitten by a snake should look at the bronze snake nailed to the pole. If they would do this, then the snake-bite won’t t kill them. So Moses, and the people did what God said, and they lived.

So, what is the problem? Was the bronze snake evil? No, God told Moses to make it. And God used the snake to provide salvation from the consequences of their sin; a symbol of ultimate salvation Jesus applied to Himself (John 3:14-15, you know, right before “For God so loved the world…”). The snake itself was a blessing God, himself, gave His people.

Scripture, however, mentions the snake again in 2 Kings 18:4. By this time in Israel’s history, several hundred years later, the Israelites had given the snake a name and were burning incense to it. King Hezekiah, while purging the kingdom of idolatry, destroyed it.  The bronze snake became an idol. The object God had given them for their good, which pointed to their ultimate Savior, had to be destroyed.

As believers today, we are in no less danger of abusing the goodness of God’s blessings than the ancient Israelites. Whether that blessing is a godly leader, a loving small group, or a healthy relationship, unless we remember God alone saves and is the only Satisfier of our souls, we are at risk of corrupting the blessings.

God loves us enough to give us good gifts, but He also loves us enough to take those gifts away when they interfere with our love for Him.

Single Struggles: Fear

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“Only thing we to fear, is fear itself”  – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

– Psalm 43:4

Fear can be gripping, keeping us paralyzed from taking any action because it could turn out to be the wrong move. Fear is not something we should be taken captive by as we can seek the Lord in all things and the peace of God will come over us. Philippians 4:6-7. All we have to do is humble ourselves to our God and cast our fears unto Him because He cares for us that much! 1Peter 5:6-7.

As a single adult you may fear commitment, relationships, social situations, financial stability, among many others, but praise be to God that we can cast those fears to Him and let Him handle it all! God is love, He loves you so much His Word tells us to seek Him and let it all go so that we may have a peace that goes beyond all understanding in our trials.

Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is vital to not letting fear take over your life. That is why we, at Table for One Ministries, believe that the most important relationship in your life is your relationship with Jesus Christ. All other relationships flow from that relationship and define who we are as children of the one true King. Have you made that commitment in your life to place your relationship with Christ first? Have you made the first step of trusting Him as your Lord?

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

– Isaiah 41:10

Singles Struggles: Baby Envy

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Maternal instincts for some women are deep and for single women this causes a challenging problem. Some single women have a deep desire to be mothers, some more than others. For those ladies who have this deep desire, but have not found a spouse to share this with, this post is for you. God made you uniquely as you are and this desire is no less important as a single woman than a married woman. He knows when you walk past others mothers with children, your heart breaks because you desire the same for your life. This desire is baby envy. This is nothing new to the world. In fact, it even happened in Scripture in 1 Samuel 1:1-20. Hannah wanted a child so much, and was in anguish to the point that when she prayed her lips moved without making a sound, causing Eli to think she was drunk. The Lord heard Hanna and answered her prayers.

For the single ladies who are not single mothers, God knows the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. But you also need to prioritize your relationship with God and allow that to help you emotionally with your desires to be a mother. There is nothing wrong with having those emotions, but the Lord will give you ways to be around children if you ask Him to. Focus on finding ways to be around children, volunteer in places where that desire for you to mother will be met. This may be your church, a local organization, through your married adult friends that have children, or through extended family.

In a conversation with a lifelong single adult missionary, she talked about how she accepted not being able to be married and have children. The older she got the more of a reality it became that a family may not be in the cards for her. So she focused on serving those around her with families and offering them “nights out” frequently to help their marriages and allow her time to express her motherly instincts. It does not fully replace a family of your own, but the Lord will provide you strength in that area of your life if you allow Him.

Lastly, you never know at what age the Lord will provide someone in your life to marry. That person may also have children they are bringing into the relationship that provides an instant family for you to serve. Also, some ladies may choose to adopt a child in need while as a single adult. While not common, this it becoming increasingly possible and an option if the Lord leads you down that path. Trust in the Lord your God in everything (even wanting children) and He will provide the path for you to follow, Proverbs 3:5!

Single and Having the Time of my Life?

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There is a thought out there that somehow when you are single, you should “be having the time of your life.” That before marriage and kids there is a magical time of singleness that is full of freedom, without responsibilities, with no regrets, and no worries. The only support for this notion is found in a shallow understanding of 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 where Paul acknowledges that being married can create a “divided interest” between serving God and serving your spouse.

True life happens when you give your life to Christ and follow Him. Laying down any distractions, sins, or lifestyles that pull you away from His will. We all have 24 hours in a day to live for God as His followers. The time of our life should be focused on using that life for Kingdom purposes!

Being single is great! But so is being married, having kids, having grandkids! Every life stage is great when you follow Christ! As a single adult you do have the advantage of making a decision, consulting with God and taking action. Other life stages may require more input from affected parties, this is why Paul wishes we were single like him even though he supports marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:7)

Be bold for Christ as a single. Have fun, go on trips, go on mission, go and follow the One who has saved you by grace! This is not the “time of your life” but a time to give your life to Christ and follow Him undivided wherever He may take you.