Yes. I have been single for a while. I have been single from my late 20s, right through my 30s, now into my 40s. Like me, you may have experienced a myriad of well-meaning friends and family members trying to match you with someone. Even to the point of creating an online profile for you on a dating site without your knowledge (sigh!).
This article is not about any of that, but before I continue I feel I need to make one thing clear: “I am not a Paul.” That’s right—I said it! I am not even going to pretend that I have the gift of singleness—although some have ascribed it to me (please don’t!). In the same breath I must attest that I am happy and comfortable with my present season of singleness—however, this has not always been the case.
Understand that I am no theologian. I am writing from first-hand experience wanting to encourage my “mature sisters” who read this article and are doing it single. I will be candid and hopefully sensitive too. You are not alone in this journey! Here are six things I’ve learned about being S-I-N-G-L-E.
As a single woman in God, it can’t be emphasised enough that you STAND on God’s promises. The enemy loves to throw lies about your character, your status, your relationships, your deepest insecurities and your past. The father of lies delights in seeing you oppressed, depressed and bitter. The only way to defeat the enemy is to submit to God and stand on the truth in the Scriptures. Don’t tell me you don’t have time. You need to make the time. His Word should be a priority. Memorise His Word as this will help to discipline your wandering mind. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. One day as I was running on the treadmill, I was gripped with strong emotions that seemed to come out of nowhere. I fell off the treadmill and slumped on to the floor sobbing as if someone had died. It was an uncontrollable flood of tears I attribute to a spontaneous pity party. I couldn’t talk for a while. I just lay there sobbing and thinking how I was tired of doing life alone and of how silly I must look. I rolled over and grabbed my Bible and demanded that God speak to me. I opened the Bible to Isaiah and the phrase “I am your Creator Husband” (54:5) burned in my eyes. I stopped crying for pity but started to laugh and cry for joy because I knew then that I had the best husband in the world. Someone who would never leave, forsake or disappoint me. Since then some of my favourite verses have been and still are: Luke 1:45; Isaiah 43:3,4; Deuteronomy 28:13; Philippians 3:13, 4:8.
Time, finances, relationships, everything we have been given is a gift from God. We need to stop kidding ourselves that we have earned or deserve what we have. We are stewards and need to treat what we have as tools for His kingdom. That starts with our time. Start the day with God—every moment talking to God about everything you are doing throughout the course of your day. Try (if you don’t already) making every decision by consulting God. You will be amazed at how time efficient and effective you will be with the Holy Spirit guiding your every step. Finances? Stop stealing from God. Give God His dues. Don’t even give me the lame excuse, “you don’t trust and know where your money goes”. First of all, this topic alone is a sermon but I must be brief. Your duty is to obey God and not allow money to rule your world—where it goes is in God’s hands and if there is someone along the track who mismanages funds, be sure that God will deal with that person. But you need to tithe. Relationships. Life is short. Don’t waste time on people who lead you on the wrong path. Invest in godly relationships. Relationships that will edify you and bring God glory. Godly relationships require vulnerability and courage. I have had spiritual mentors who lovingly have had difficult conversations with me and sure, okay, I may have gotten angry but at the end of the day I realise that God used them to help prune undesirable things from my life. We need those godly relationships where we know we will always hear what we need to hear not what we want to hear. If you are a young woman ensure that you have an older godly sister to bond with. Older ladies: we need to be helping our younger sisters out. Don’t be fooled—you can’t have those difficult conversations without the relationship. God has a plan for you. Invest in the right relationships and the right activities. Take a good look at yourself. What eats your time? If it is not beneficial then it is time to start spring cleaning your life. I know that sometimes this process can hurt but this is part and parcel of growth. You may not need to do anything but make the right decisions and the wrong people will begin to fade from your life. Don’t hold on to those relationships—let them fade and the right people will start to flow in.
What gifts and skills have you been blessed with? Nurture them. Study or upskill in those areas. Allow God to refine you to become the best version of you ever! Nurture relationships—family, friends, church and professional. What have you always wanted to do? Make a list and a timeframe and actually do them (I have been gifted a “bucket list” journal and I intend to use it!). Nurture the good in your life. Get tips from the greatest Gardener ever known.
Okay, so I am challenged in this area. I grew up in South Auckland (New Zealand) in the late ‘70s–early ‘80s and most of us were dressed in hand-me-downs and no-one cared. Truth be told, I would love to dress in jeans or trackies and t-shirt anywhere and everywhere but alas this cannot be. However, it’s not just working on your external look (without being materialistic or becoming narcissistic) but more importantly looking after your inner beauty. Some of us have been hurt in the quest for love. I know, I was bitter and angry for a while and it began to affect my family, child, friends and even work. Look, you are doing yourself a disservice by holding on to bitterness and resentment. Let God deal with those who have hurt you. Trust Him that He will and let the poison go. When you do, don’t be surprised when people comment on how different you look. You will be absolutely glowing! [pullquote]
There was a time when I was pining for love. I forgot how to live. I forgot to look up and around me and to see that I was loved and that I wasn’t missing out at all. In fact, I was so blessed I had no right to be down and depressed because I was single! God was showing me that I needed to be faithful in my season of singleness and avoid idolising the idea of marriage or even the promise of marriage. So I call you to do the same. Live! Just believe what God has promised, but rather than pining for what has not yet happened, be faithful to what is in front of you. Be faithful at work, be faithful with your relationships, your family and yourself.
Excel in the place God has placed you today. Excel in motherhood and don’t be afraid to ask God for pointers and direction (shout out to my fellow single mothers!). Excel at work, excel in your studies (don’t you dare settle for just passing or fail to apply yourself—you are studying for a reason). Excel in your appointments, excel in caring for others, excel in your hobbies, excel in all things God has placed in your hands. Yes, I’m guilty of just wanting to cruise and embrace mediocrity—but my God has me here for so much more. I feel I cheat Him and those around me when I don’t strive to give my absolute best. Go ahead girl and EXCEL!
In short, my beautiful, mature, single sister—this season of singleness is only temporary. It’s a time for you to partner with God to repair, to restore, to reconcile, to revive, to release and to recommit to your Creator. Allow Him to bring His promises to fruition in His time and in His way.
Angie Gibson worships at South Kempsey Aboriginal Church and works at Kempsey Adventist School, NSW.