I gave my first sermon addressing the topic of “singleness” while serving in Hershey, PA, when I was newly married and new to full-time ministry. I worried that I might not appreciate the subtleties of the issue, so I made appointments with two older single congregants and asked them to share about living singly over the long haul. Recently, I stumbled across my notes from the interviews and was once again moved by them. I share them here as a practical follow up to last Sunday’s sermon on singleness.
Here’s their advice:
- Count the blessings of singleness (lack of constraints, time to help others, time to do good).
- Don’t believe the lie that marriage will fix all your problems (the “if only” syndrome).
- Remember that marriage is a desire more than a goal.
- Rather than asking God, “Why me?” ask, “What are you saying through these times?”
- Keep tabs on your spiritual life (regular devotions, regular church attendance, regular small group participation, etc.).
- Find an accountability partner.
- Don’t let yourself get isolated; the community is there to help bear your burdens.
- Resist jealousy, for it has the power to isolate you from community.
- If you get depressed, get out and help somebody.
- Regarding sexual urges: remember you are not the only one to struggle with these things. (Don’t fan the flame by going to bars, pool halls or reading certain magazines. Buy a small TV. When out with a woman or man, don’t put yourself in compromising situations. (Remember Jesus is also with you on every date))
- Acknowledge that loneliness is a legitimate feeling, but remember that God can redeem your loneliness.
- Embrace singleness as your portion for today.
My guess is that there is a lot more collective wisdom out there. Please comment and share with us!