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Thursday, January 30, 2014

For Singles Only--But Anyone May Read This


Photo by: marin

First, I want to thank those who participated in The Singles Survey. I think your responses were eye opening, profound, and inspirational. Some were hilarious, and some showed your real hurts and disappointments. I am grateful for your sincere answers.

Here are just a few thoughts:

1. It’s normal and biblically okay to be single. The Apostle Paul recognized that. (1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 38) If you think about it, Jesus was single, too. Quite a few of our positive biblical examples were single women: Miriam, the daughters of Zelophehad, Naaman’s servant girl, Job’s beautiful daughters, Rhoda, Dorcas, Anna, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Salome, and Philip the evangelist’s daughters.

2. It is not wrong to want to marry. The desire to have a husband and children is good—as long as it doesn’t interfere with your present contentment. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

3. Those of you who do not desire marriage may have the “gift of singleness” that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8. Wanting to remain single is just as normal and biblical as the desire to get married.

4. You can totally overcome awkwardness with men. Just follow the advice that Paul gave Timothy, a single pastor about 35 years old: Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Timothy was to treat older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, and so on—with purity. How should you view the men around you? As fathers and brothers. That’s easy! You can be a friend, have fun, and be comfortable. Do not flirt. Do not look at them as “potential” anythings, just as fathers or brothers, as age may dictate. Then, if something happens, it’s the man who makes the move, and you’ll know it is the Lord’s doing, and not a result of your actions. (Yes, I made up the word anythings.)

5. When you’re lonely, reach out to God. Many of you already look to the Lord for your strength. (I’m going to tell you a secret: married women struggle with loneliness, too. Husbands can’t and don’t meet heart needs. Only God can do that.) I think you will find amazing comfort and strength in the Psalms. Get into God’s Word. God knows exactly what you need and when you need it. A daily diet of Bible along with honest prayer is the only answer to anyone’s heart needs.

6. Reach out to other Christian women. Call someone or do something with a friend. Some of you responded that you like to clam up and “deal with” your loneliness. It’s probably not healthy to go into hiding. Instead, why not get out of the house and do something fun with someone else? Be a friend, and you will have friends. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

7. Make ministry a priority. There are needy people all around you. Open your eyes, and meet those needs that you can. Get busy in your local church.

8. Remember that insensitive remarks come from ignorance.
  • When someone says you need to get married, remember that they don’t realize that the Bible describes two different roles for women—even in one verse—1 Corinthians 7:34.
  • When someone says you need to find a husband, remember that only bad women in the Bible ever went after men. No good biblical woman ever did.
  • When someone sets you up with her nephew or some man in the church, understand that they truly want to help you—even though you and the Lord don’t need any help. You can kindly say, “No, thank you.” If you get invited to the same place at the same time as the eligible guy, just treat him nicely. You never have to do this again. (Usually, the man knows he’s been set up, too. How embarrassing!)
  • When someone points you out as single, just mark it down as “here we go again.” The truth is, many people say insensitive things, because they have no idea how the other party perceives them. It’s ignorance, plain and simple.
  • Forgive. Seventy times seven, if necessary. When you realize people don’t know what they’re doing and that their intentions truly are for your good, it’s easier. Forgive, and smile. 

Enjoy life! Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4). Rely on the Lord to fill your life and to provide you with the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4).
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You guys inspire me. Several of you are personal friends. I’ve always admired you for all kinds of reasons: brains, talent, doing right, fun, hard-working . . . . I could go on and on! Several of you are career missionaries. (I would definitely need GPS if I were going to do deputation on my own!) Some of you are teachers. All of you are serving the Lord in your churches, homes, and communities.

I’d like to address something that came up in the Singles Survey. Maybe it will help your thinking—and that awful loneliness.

A lot of women read novels. (I do, too.) Most of the novels we read were written by women for women. Women understand how we’re wired, so they give us what we want. That includes romance. Now, romance isn’t a bad thing. But, most novels feature a romantic picture that isn’t anywhere near realistic. The handsome man swoops the lovely leading lady up into his arms. (He bulges with muscles.) He says exactly the right words at exactly the right moment. She sighs and swoons. . . . Please!

Normal men get it right sometimes, but believe me, if you’re looking for any man to be able to read your heart, always say the right words (Most men aren’t verbal, and they think differently.), and always react in the right way—if you’re looking for a man to meet the needs of your heart, you’re living in a fairytale world. (Sorry to burst your bubble!)

Most women’s novels represent that fairytale view. That fantasy world is something that makes even married people feel dissatisfied (because husbands don’t/can’t always add up).

When I noticed this—after blotting away my tears—I started reading more Christian novels written by men. There are a few female Christian authors who don’t overly romanticize, and I enjoy them as well. There’s nothing wrong with a touch of romance, but I’ve found that our emotions can really be manipulated by sappy, unrealistic stories. I pretty much steer clear.

So, a little bit of advice to my lady friends: protect your heart by being choosy in what you read and in the movies you watch. Don’t allow unrealistic romances to twist your thoughts and play with your emotions.

This is Truth: there is only One Person Who can meet your heart’s needs. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot ever be complete without Him.

Draw near. God can read your thoughts. He completely understands your heart. He hears your prayers every day and night, and He whispers exactly what you need to hear, through His Word. Only in the Lord will you find true joy.

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Again, thank you for sharing your heart! We appreciate you, your ministry, and the way you’ve helped us to understand your life. God bless!

6 comments:

  1. Specially add my "amen" to the part about the sappy romance reading for ladies in all walks of life. Your words of encouragement were also right on target! A blessing for all ladies to read. love, Joy

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  2. I loved this. But can I say one thing? I wish you hadn't said that no "good" woman in the Bible ever goes after a man. Boaz made no romantic overtures whatsoever towards Ruth, other than just being a good godly man to her. It was Ruth who went after him in a romantic way--I think you could consider showing up and lying on a man's bed to be "flirting", at the very least! It's not quite accurate to say that according to the Bible, no flirting or actively showing romantic interest in a man is okay. How is he ever going to ask you out if he has no idea if you're interested? This is a good way to remain single forever in spite of a strong real desire for a husband. Imagine going to Taco Bell and waiting for the person at the front counter to ask you what you'd like (which, no argument here, they ARE supposed to do) and never stepping forward if you're ignored. Would you simply wait around, minute after minute, waiting to be attended to? Would you leave disgusted at the employee's passivity? Or would you, perhaps a little miffed at the lack of initiative shown, step forward and take the first step towards you getting something you actually want? In America, at least, when you want something done for you or to you, you generally have to make some effort in acting like you're interested. Like with Ruth.

    Look at that story again. Boaz never romantically pursues her despite his obvious interest (obvious only in hindsight, though, based on his actions the following day). I think what God may be showing us in that story is that there are some times when men don't know if they "should" pursue you, as Boaz was (it appears) unsure because of their age difference. Is that a poor reflection on the man? Perhaps--it seems that way, though Boaz is never shown in a negative light. But at the least, I can't see how it's unbiblical for the woman to take the first step in showing that she wants romance.

    Everything else here was great. I mean, SO good. (10 points for what you said about romance novels. Romance novels as well as pornography are so damaging to women; they both paint extraordinarily misleading pictures of what true romance is.) I just wish you hadn't forgotten about Ruth in that one bullet point.

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    1. Thank you, Happy. I have heard about Ruth being the one exception, and so I did a detailed study of her, the customs of kinsman redeemership, etc. Have you read my post titled "Did Ruth Chase Boaz?" I am glad you enjoyed the series on single women. I was blessed, too! Thank you for your visit and your comment.

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  3. AMÉN. Me ha encantado, me alegra mucho saber que no voy tan mal encaminada como pensaba en un principio.

    Bendiciones:)

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    1. Sí que vas en buen camino. :o) God bless you!

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