Joy in every season: The heart of a single young lady
JOY IN EVERY SEASON
By Emily Sanderson | M.ED, LPC, NCC
When I started writing this article, thinking of the upcoming Valentine’s season in particular, the last thing I wanted to write is another one of those articles.
I have read so many articles about being single, and they honestly make me cringe. I want to live my life in a way that glorifies God, no matter what the stage. Being single is hard, but so is marriage. As a single therapist who does marriage counseling, I have a unique perspective into both sides of the coin.
Believe me, single person, marriage is not a cakewalk. Most people in our culture, especially in the church, idolize marriage as the ultimate. It’s almost as if singles are missing the mark in some way. Friend, many of our heroes in the faith are single people. Jesus, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Corrie Ten Boom, Lottie Moon (she makes me proud to be a Baptist woman), and many others in our modern day. Paul even said that it was better to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:8).
Whether you’re reading this as a single too, or reading it to try and understand this season to better encourage singles in your life, it is my hope over the next few minutes you will find encouragement and hope in your journey.
Jacob Simmons, Minister to Single Adults at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, has often said that, “Marriage and singleness work the same spiritual muscles.” He means that in singleness, we are asked to remain celibate. In marriage, we are asked to remain faithful. The Lord didn’t tell you to just deny yourself because you are single, he asks our married friends to deny themselves of things as well. As believers, we are asked to deny ourselves on a daily basis. We deny ourselves to glorify God.
COMMUNITY IS ESSENTIAL
As a single person, it is easy to feel lonely and isolated. However, I have come to learn that intimacy was not reserved only for the married. Do not wait for marriage to experience community and intimacy. You will miss out! I polled several of my single friends to ask them what they wished they had known earlier in their single journey. Most, if not all, told me that community is essential.
Author and speaker, Curt Thompson, conveys the idea in Anatomy of the Soul that we were created to know and be known, by God and other people. Without allowing yourself to be intimately known by other people, the loneliness can become dark and hopeless. Allowing vulnerability, in safe spaces, invites other people to know you, and for you to know them.
Family can also be part of our community, and I’ve learned that family was not reserved just for the married. I have been blessed with wonderful family members who are related to me. However, I also have several “family” members that are not related to me; friends who have become like family to me.
In particular, some of my neighbors are the family I have chosen. They are married, about a decade older than me, have three children, and have allowed me to step into their family. I am the one who goes on walks and buys ice cream. I am also the person who drives their oldest home from Bible study, and gets to be another voice in her life.
To me, they are the phone call I make when I am lonely, and I’m the phone call they make when they have extra roast beef! I am fully aware this is rare. However, it doesn’t have to be. The Church was meant to be family.
CLING TO JESUS
While community and family are helpful, the one thing that I have learned to be essential is Jesus.
Remember to draw hope, rest, and true intimacy from the Lord. Through the droughts of life, the Lord has called me deeper to himself. He has proven to me that he pursues my heart, and is closer than a brother. We find family, intimacy, and community in Christ himself. Be encouraged that you don’t have to wait for marriage to be known and loved.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” —1 John 3:16 ESV
Emily is a National Certified, Licensed Professional Counselor serving with Pathways in central Alabama.