Why am I single?

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-why-am-i-still-single

The question of why a person is STILL single starts with all the wrong questions and answers.

Why am I all alone? – “You’re not good enough”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? – “You need a house to be settled”

Why is dating so hard? – “Love just happens”

Why can’t I make friends? – “Everyone else is loved”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Your don’t put yourself out there”

Why am I not happy? – “You need a spouse”

Why can’t I be happy? – “You don’t have kids”

Why won’t I be happy? – “You aren’t doing enough”

Why are others happy? – “They have it all”

 

These are questions singles ask themselves and answer. The world around us has expectations of what it means to be happy, assume singles are not, and then speculates on the why they are still single. This happens in TV shows, expectations of dating and relationships in college, and the portrayal of boldness in solidarity, yet observes the emptiness of a dinner table set for one. The world will always set up measures of success and failure based on opinions and social norms rather than a solid foundation of truth.

When truth is relative, then there is no absolute truth. When there is no truth, then the definition or completeness is set by advertising campaigns and media.

 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

  • Colossians 2:6-10 (NKJV)

 

But, questions started in the wrong context will produce the wrong answers. As followers of Christ, we walk with Christ. We are to be thankful and on guard against the philosophies of the world that don’t line up with the will of God. The totality of Scripture demonstrates the value of human life, not the stages of human life. The number of kids, house, spouse, or financial stability never indicate the way in which God used His people according to His will.

God uses everyone who seeks Him and is COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

So what is the answer to “why am I single” afterall? Your worth is not dependent on the value of an earthly relationship status, but based solely on your relationship with God. 1 John 4 reminds us that God loved us before we loved Him, and as His followers we ought to love others in the same way.

 

Stop letting the world answer questions to your life. Then you’ll be living for Him and not the world. Answering the questions above look different in the light of honoring His glory.

Why am I all alone? – “You are never alone in Christ”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? “This is only your temporary home”

Why is dating so hard? – “Let God direct your path, not eharmony”

Why can’t I make friends? – “You were made to live in Biblical community”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Dating is not in the Bible, mic drop :::here:::”

Why am I not happy? – “You were never promised happy, just eternity”

Why can’t I be happy? – “Your happiness is dependent on your perspective”

Why won’t I be happy? “You place value on the wrong relationships, God first”

Why are others happy? “A face is not the heart, only God knows the heart”

Mental Health and Allowing God to Use All Options

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-mental-health-and-allowing-god-to-use-all-options

Your friends, family, and loved ones already know. They see it on your face every day, and hear it in your voice when you speak. The struggle, once a moment, has settled into a season, and you’re not sure how to get out.

You pray. You read Scripture. You believe in a God who heals all things according to His will. You seek wise counsel. You go to small group. You ask for prayer, maybe not so specific. You go to Worship.

You still struggle.

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

 

One of the worst tragedies of depression, anxiety, or any mental health situation is you feel you struggle alone. But, don’t believe this lie.

God cares for you, and with Him as your Savior and protector, you are never alone. He also uses all things for His good according to His will (Romans 8:28). Sometimes the chemical imbalance of your body inhibits your personal ability to weather the storm of a season. It is this exact moment where a decision has to be made for you or by you to accept all means of God’s given methods of treatment. Here a few things to consider when everything you have tried isn’t enough.

Seek wise counsel

It’s not a question of whether an unbeliever can be wise; it’s about seeking someone with similar values when addressing an issue. The person with whom you seek wise counsel should be the one who also shares the most important relationship in your life, Jesus. It’s not that we can’t glean information from those not following the Lord, but ultimately it’s from those who hold the same value system as you that wise counsel should be sought.

You’re not a failure for needing medication

God can absolutely use anything for His glory. The only caution is, do not medicate what you can handle, only what is no longer in your control. Just as when alcohol is addressed in Scripture, not losing control is the key. Set your pride aside and let godly wisdom and counsel decide if mental health needs should be addressed with medication.

Just a season, not a lifestyle

Maybe your mental health struggle is bigger than a season. For many it is a time where emotions spiral out of control, and it’s difficult to regain stability. When seeking help, consider it a season where God uses those in your life and the resources of our current age to help.

 

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak…

1 James 1:19 (ESV)

 

For those not struggling with something mentioned here, be quick to hear and slow to speak. Sometimes our words do more damage than good when conversing with a struggling person. God can do anything. He may choose to use anything in any situation to achieve His will. For singles don’t let the lie of loneliness and incompleteness drive your situation to even greater depths. You are never alone in Christ and complete in Him alone.

The question isn’t if praying, reading, and believing is enough. The question is, will you let God use those means to help you in your mental health.

Do I expose my old life to share with others?

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Do I expose my old life to share with others-

A single wrote into us asking “I really need to help another person thru their addiction… in order to provide inspiration, I have to expose my prior self… I am trying my best to let Christ rule my life, and I think I am surrendering to Him… my question to you is, do I expose my prior life as an example to the other person at a possible expense for me losing, in others eyes, or do I just go on with what my heart tells me to do? Please pray on this matter with me as it could affect not just his future life, but mine as well…”

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 11:30

Dear friend, we can tell in your question that whatever the affliction you had in your past was a painful one and not an addiction you share with most people. It does seem, however, that you have connected with this person and the Lord is prompting you to share with them your pain so that God may be glorified. As Paul said above, if you are going to talk about anything, why not make it those things that expose us for what we truly are, weak and sinners.

The view of those around you should not be based on your perfection, but Christ’s perfection! While we cannot tell you what to do, we can only suggest that in sharing your past you are allowing God to use what Satan meant for destruction for His glory. Try not to hide behind the sins of your past as your future is built of those successes and missteps. We are praying for you!

One Way To Grow Your Singles Ministry You Missed

Pregnancy centers are commonplace now in our cities and towns. These centers of hope of a life yet to be born have contributed to the steady decline of abortions in the past decade. Churches and evangelicals alike praise their existence, from a distance. The sad reality of pregnancy centers are they lack volunteer and church involvement to see the family in need through all stages of their life, not just a pregnancy.

On a recent trip the leaders of a local pregnancy center told us they desire to connect young mothers and families to the local church. These are Christian brothers and sisters on the front lines of saving lives, yet they feel alone in their battle. The sad irony of our pregnancy center leaders feeling isolated and alone as they reach out to mothers who feel the same should be heart-breaking to any Christ follower. Something has to change and it starts with each one of us. Nearly 40% of all families in our community are single parent families. Does your church reflect that statistic? To see single parent families connected to your church, here are some strategies for empowering our pregnancy centers beyond resources:

Connect with a Pregnancy Center

Not every church has a pregnancy center connection but they should. Establish that connection or find the one your congregation has and reach out to their leaders. While volunteering at the center may be where you feel led, we think everyone should be able to take the next step after connecting with a center.

Develop a Connection Pathway to Your Church

Pregnancy center leaders tell us that the amount of churches willing and committed to connecting these young mothers and families to a church is embarrassing. We simply are not doing enough as a church to empower these leaders with a pathway to a church home for their clients. Your church can distribute information about your congregation, but the most effective method is to go in person, meet the pregnancy center client with their permission, and greet them at your church when they come. We are talking about taking time to hold the hand of family and connect them to your church family, potentially changing changing their family lineage for generations to come.

So You Want to Grow Your Church?

Growth strategies for churches come and go, but the core messaging is the same. To reach people you have to go where people are! They will not come to you, and in our culture that is growing increasingly true as fewer Americans identify with church as a social norm. We propose this method of reaching into the lives of a mother and family in need is not only a Kingdom win, but one that will grow your church numerically as well. It may seem crass, but churches live in the reality of needing to add people to grow or they cease to be relevant. We think starting with pregnancy centers is a place where life change happens; would you want those lives in your church family?

In a generation when parachurch organizations can be very effective in reaching people where they are, churches have nothing to lose in extending an open hand. Worst case, the mother never visits your church but you shared God’s love and were welcoming. Potentially, one conversation and invitation could change generations of lives to follow Christ.

Single Myths: You’ll Know When the Right Person Enters Your Life

The falsity of the statement in this title reaches many levels. If you are a Christ follower, we’re sure you felt the same immediately as a single. Except the importance level, searching for a mate is no different than seeking and drawing closer to Jesus.  

A relationship whether with Jesus or with a friend or with a family member takes time and effort on the part of all parties.  Although we know that Jesus is always present, our acknowledgement of Him, our conversations with Him and our study of His Word and ways are essential for a healthy, loving relationship with our Creator.

Seeking a relationship for friendship or marriage is much the same. We must spend time with the individual to learn his or her morals, lifestyle, and beliefs. We must see the potential mate during his or her best of times and worst of times. In order to do that, we must make the time to connect and spend face-to-face time with the person. We cannot expect a godly, healthy relationship to come from texting, Facebook interaction or tweeting. We cannot think a long term commitment can be sustained on the initial attraction to the humor or physical looks of a person.

Spending time with the individual we see as a potential mate must encompass many situations and events. The actions and words of Individuals can be very different, whether in a group situation, a family situation or a one-on-one conversation. Think you’ve found the one? That’s great. Give the relationship the time to grow.

See the individual’s reaction to a bad situation. Watch the person’s moves when someone requests help. Are they involved in their church or do they walk through the door on Sunday but nothing more? Are prayers offered before meals? Is his or her Bible covered in dust on the living room coffee table? How does he or she treat your family members? Does he or she respect elders? Does he or she respect you?

All these things take time to discover and nurture. Just as Christ wants us to get to know Him, grow closer to Him, our earthly relationships benefit from the same effort to ensure a long-term, healthy relationship.

Community after College

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-community-after-college

Graduation day has come and gone. Celebrations of “no more school ever” have faded and college room furniture donated to the next incoming student hopeful for the year ahead. Graduating college is a big day,  the start of a new chapter in your life. Maybe you will move back home with your parents or have found a job in a new city. Wherever this new chapter in your life starts, it will start with new community.

 

Relationships forged in grade school have evolved and in college you found new friends that will be in your life for years to come. However, they, like you, have moved forward and now your schedule is more empty and there’s more  time for Netflix than you care to admit. This leaves you with a question, where is my community? Here are some tips to finding your new community in your new chapter of life.

 

Get out there

You won’t find friends while watching TV or cat videos on Youtube. The starting point for community could be found online, through your co-workers, or a local church. Many singles struggle with just taking the next step, which is any step! For introverts this can be an even bigger struggle than the extroverts who are always throwing a party. Just like our relationship with God where we are called to ask, seek, knock, we have to be willing to go into the world to connect and find community with other believers.

 

Do things you like doing

You already have things you like doing. Bowling, shopping, pottery, hiking, board games, and all kinds of interest. There is something you enjoy doing, so why not do it for the Lord and find community with other Christ followers who enjoy the same things. It is much easier to make connections in a social group when you enjoy doing the same social things as the individuals in the group.

 

Try new things

You already have set yours ways after graduating college more than you realize. By your early 20s almost all of our habits have been formed, from eating to cleaning and social interactions. Maybe you hate tennis, but going to a tennis match with some new friends or even playing a match or two could reveal something you did not even know you liked! It is also a great way to share the Gospel by interacting with new people and experiences and sharing God’s love through it all.

 

This new chapter after college is an exciting one. See it as a way to continue growing and honoring God while engaging in community to become more like Him. Not all community is edifying, so be sure to make up the majority of your community time with those who share the same values as you, and use the rest of your time to share about God’s love. Take the unique opportunity you have now to be involved in community, to lay the foundation for years of community and relationships to come.

Wise Counsel

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-wise-counsel

Who do you turn to when you have issues in your life? Your phone, social media, a co-worker, or friend? Have you considered the priority order of who you go to? Maybe the order of whom you take your life challenges speaks to your spiritual walk maturity. Consider this:

 

#1 Take it to God

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

  • Instead of finding someone or something to take your request to, take it to God. It sounds simple, almost overstated. But when something happens in your life and you need help, is your initial reaction to take action or take it to prayer? Keep in mind, prayer is not meant to be a long, drawn out oration with fancy words and a formula for success. It is your heart petitioning your emotions and making a request to our God.

 

#2 Take it to Wise Faith Counselors

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

  • It’s not a question of whether an unbeliever can be wise; it’s about seeking someone with similar values when addressing an issue. The person with whom you seek wise counsel should be the one that also shares the most important relationship in your life, Jesus. It’s not that we can’t glean information from those not following the Lord, but ultimately it’s those who hold the same value system as us that we should seek wise counsel from.

 

#3 Take Action

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

  • If you’ve already done Step 1 and Step 2, don’t fall short of step 3 and doing something about it. We’re not called to only process the issues and challenges, but we’re called to take action and be bold for our God. Joshua needed the encouragement to move forward, take action, after seeking counsel with God. We should do the same. When faced with a life challenge, we need to be bold and take the steps needed to honor God.

Singles, you need to be complete in Christ to fully approach life’s challenges. A relationship with Christ is the foundational relationship for all others you have or may desire in your future. Live your life now in the way that honors God and places Him first so He may use you in mighty ways for the Kingdom.

A Broken Engagement = Broken Dreams

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-a-broken-engagement-broken-dreams

According to leading wedding industry averages, nearly one-third of engagements end before the wedding day. That means when the right one says “I do,” there is more work to be done besides the wedding details. Engagement is not a time to stop focusing on your relationship, but rather the time to dig deeper into the reality of a lifelong commitment before God.

 

Don’t make a lifelong commitment on a short-term relationship

  • Maybe you are reading this and are not engaged. Regardless of where you are (or aren’t) in a relationship, time is meaningful. Spend time with the person and see a future that cannot be replaced by bursts of conversations or non-personal communication. This is the person you should see yourself building a family with, to whom you need to stay committed through good and bad times. How do you know this person is the one if you have not been around them long enough to see their values demonstrated by life actions, not just talk?

 

While your dreams are broken, you are not

  • Cue the song lyrics “Love Hurts.” You had your future, or at least a piece of it, planned out, and you were excited about the adventures ahead. It’s not just the broken relationship with your spouse-once-to-be, but there friends and family to notify too – not to mention social media. What appeared to be a dream became a nightmare. Let yourself process these feelings and emotions, but remember the Truth is found in God’s Word. As a Christ follower, you are a child of the One True King, and He knows the number of hairs on your head. You are eternally loved, never alone, and complete regardless of a called-off wedding day.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7

 

Trust His plan not your plan

  • The wedding spiral can be brutal. Once the question is asked and a ring is placed on the finger, the rabbit hole of planning, bridal shows, and pinterest boards begins. The tidal wave of budgeting and opinions can be brutal, even when it’s about the happiest day of your life. But when the engagement is called off, the reversal of all those emotions and decisions must happen, including notifying everyone involved. Your plans are derailed, but His plans never were. Regardless of the reason, God’s got this. Turn to wise counsel in this time of shifting plans, and keep your eyes focused on Christ.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

 

Many singles have experienced an engagement that did not end in marriage. It is actually more common than expected. When stories are shared of past relationships, many can recount a very serious breakup or an ended engagement. Learn from the experiences in your life that may wound you, but never let them leave you broken. With Christ, you are never broken — you are complete in Him.

A Singles Thanksgiving

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - A Singles Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving for a single adult has some different nuances that married adults don’t have. For one, if there is family to be with, it is an easier decision to make to go see them than choosing which side gets which holiday this year. Singles, like married adults, may live in the same city as their parents or live miles and miles away, while some may still live with their parents.

But here is where Thanksgiving changes for singles. Those singles who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving are left over the holiday alone, with possibly no one to share it with. Even the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving can be stressful as everyone is talking about travel plans and big dinners, while some have no plans at all. Some singles with siblings are often given no opportunity to host Thanksgiving at their homes, rather the married family member gets priority. As the family grows, the single vote seems to be diminished somewhat to the siblings with spouses and kids.

The church you’re involved in needs to recognize these singles and organize some type of gathering for them leading up to Thanksgiving. You may be the one to organize such an event for your church. Also, there is an opportunity on Thanksgiving day for people to open their homes to those who have nowhere to be and offer them a seat at the table. If you’re a single adult with nowhere to be, let your friends know so they can bless you with a place to join in as family and give thanks to God above from whom all blessings flow.

Many Faces

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Many Faces

Have you ever experienced great customer service? “Out of this world” kindness from a store or restaurant that compelled you to tell others about it on Facebook or Twitter? Now, have you ever wondered if the person that made that experience great was that same way at home as they are at work? Sometimes when people are paid to do something, they do it with excellence and exceed all our expectations. Truly serving another person beyond what is expected. But are those same people with great customer service the same at home as they are at work?

Two faces is an easy trap to fall into. You put on a face for work and then have a face for rest of your life, or maybe you have different faces for many areas of your life. Many faces for many people may seem to work for a short period of time, but over the long haul your faces begin to crack. The charade of faces becomes too hard to maintain and you become who you are, your real face. This can be seen in older adults, who have lived their whole lives and now are simply who they are without effort. Some are grumpy and mean, while others are sweet and kind regardless of their physical circumstance. Their true face is showing.

1 Peter 2:12 NLT “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” When you have many faces, you are inconsistent and your walk with the Lord suffers. Others should be able to find no fault in you because of your honorable and consistent behavior. Phrases like “Live what your preach” come to mind as standard believers should have on their lives.

Shed your many faces so that your light may shine bright in this world. Be the same person at work, as you are at church, home, around family, and with friends so the Lord may be glorified in all that you do.