Three Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow." Matthew 6:34a (MSG)
I remember the hardest day of the week for me when I was single was Sunday. Specifically, Sunday right after church.
Many of my other single friends would have plans with their families that day, but not me. My family lived nine hours away.
So, I’d walk through the parking lot, watching young moms ooh and ahh over Sunday school artwork and I’d think, Their lives seem so blissfully full.
I’d walk past an older couple holding hands and think, They are so lucky to have such an easy, breezy life.
I’d walk past a gal walking arm in arm with her boyfriend and think, She is so fortunate to feel loved.
And then I’d get in my car and decide happiness, fulfillment and contentment were something to hope for in the future, when I found the life I desperately wanted. I was focusing on what could be instead of looking for evidence of what God was doing right in that moment, like our key verse Matthew 6:34 instructs us to do.
Boy, do I wish I could go sit in that car beside my single self and tell her some life-giving truths I now know:
1. Loneliness isn’t fixed by surrounding yourself with more people.
Sure, having people to go grab lunch with you after church is great. And having the built-in companionship of your own family is wonderful. But it hasn’t fixed my struggles with loneliness like I thought it would.
Some of the loneliest women I know wear wedding rings.
I had to learn to enjoy life without being dependent on someone else to create the fun for me. That way I could bring the fun. I could bring the interesting conversation starters. And I could start to better discern the kinds of people who would get me.
What are those things you truly love spending time doing, creating or researching? Invest your lonely moments there. Create life-giving experiences around your unique passions. After all, people are attracted to others who are full of life.
2. Learn from the pitfalls in friendships.
If only I would have dared to really look, I could have seen patterns of pitfalls in my relationships. Some of the same relationship struggles I had in my single friendships quickly popped up in my marriage.
Being a little more self-aware of how I contributed to frustrations in friendships would have helped me work on having a healthier marriage even before I met my husband.
I could have learned valuable self-improvements like taming my spontaneity a tad, remembering that not everyone likes to talk before the sun comes up and working to not interpret everything with way more emotion than necessary. Just to name a few.
I absolutely would have encouraged my single self to make good use of those hard friendship moments by learning … really learning … from them.
3. Stop expecting perfection.
All those people I was watching those Sunday afternoons weren’t living perfect lives. They were having a moment of perfection in the midst of very imperfect relationships.
None of those moms were perfect moms. None of those couples were perfect couples. None of those families were perfect families.
I obviously know this with my head. But sometimes my heart gets tripped up looking for perfection and missing what’s really good.
Single self, realize perfection doesn’t exist on this side of eternity, and it’s exhausting to chase something that doesn’t exist.
So, look at relationships through the lens of grace. Instead of asking, "Is this the perfect relationship I’ve dreamed about?" ask yourself, "Is this a person with whom I can both give and receive grace?"
Sundays are no longer the hardest days of the week for me. But it wasn’t because I got married and had kids.
It’s because I finally learned how to bring the joy I wanted to experience, became a healthier version of me and stopped chasing perfection.
Dear Lord, I’m choosing to give my full attention to what You’re doing in my life today. Help me to keep the right perspective as I place my plans and my future into Your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Whether you’re single or not, consider the three points Lysa talked through. Which perspective do you need to work on embracing this week?