Four Mistakes Singles Make

Stay the course because the one for you will come. Here are some mistakes to avoid when waiting on God in dating.

1) Settling: 

To accept or agree to something that one considers to be less than satisfactory.

Settling usually occurs after a long period of being single (or a short period, depending on the person), and we’ve decided that “waiting on God” is taking too long.  We start getting nervous thinking of the prospects (or loss of prospects), our age and all the other what ifs. God is not a God of settling, He is a God that has always given more than the best to His children.  We decide if we settle, not God.

You are not missing out; you are getting in position for God to bring the right one to you, in His timing.  Anything less than that will inevitably fail and bring unnecessary heartbreak.

2) Blind to Red Flags: 

Lacking perception, awareness, or discernment.

In order to not be blind to the red flags, you must be very clear on what the red flags are to you in a person and/or a relationship.  Also, be aware of blind spots in your relationships in the past, in order to avoid them in the future. Remember, old ways won’t open new doors.  I will list some common red flags that you should be alert to.

Common Red Flags:

  • Easily angered
  • Controlling
  • Jealous
  • Critical of you
  • Inconsistent
  • Lies (even white lies)
  • Unreliable

3) Dating a Lukewarm Christian:

“He’s kinda a Christian.  He says he loves God.”

Have you ever thought that when you were interested in someone?

“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.”-Francis Chan

You will know a lukewarm Christian man when you observe him.  Some may be more stealth at hiding their luke warmness, but the proof is in his fruit!  

So check his fruit, not his mouth. A lukewarm Christian man will be incapable of leading you anywhere but to him, so be extremely cautious.

One of my favorite poets is Janette Ikz.  In her poem, “I Will Wait for You,” she hits the nail on the head.

“So it seemed that it was cool, for everyone to be in a relationship but me.
So I took matters into my own hands, and ended up with him.
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, and a thief.

So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?
I called 911, but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting,
Cause it was me who let him in…
Claiming we were “just friends”.
It was already decided for me by the first date, that even if he wasn’t
I was gonna make him ‘The One’
You know, I was tired of being alone.
And I simply made up in my mind, that it was about that time.

So I decided to drag him along for the ride,
Cause I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride.
A virgin in the physical, but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat!
Who was tired of the wait!
So I was gonna make him ‘The One’.
He had a… form of Godliness… but not much.
But hey, hey I can change him! So (honey) I’ll TAKE him, I mean he’s close… enough…

I will no longer date, socialize or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirstiness I have for attention
And short-lived compliments from ‘sorta kindas’.


You know….
He ‘sort kinda’ right, but ‘sorta kinda’ wrong?
His first name LUKE,
His last name WARM.
I, I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms.”

4) Peer/Family Pressure:

I’m sure you have been at a family function and had someone ask, “So are you dating anyone?” 

You reply with a “no,” quickly to move it along.

Meanwhile, everyone’s ears have perked up to hear your answer.  In your mind you’re thinking “Move along there’s nothing to see here.”

Everyone around you is getting into a relationship so you should, too.  Don’t feel pressured to go on a blind date that your friend wants to fix you up with, or don’t feel pressured to sign up for online dating.

God see’s you, all of you.  Stay the course because the one for you will come.  Continue to seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness first.

Singleness

 

by Caolyn McCulley
Sanctification is the process of becoming spiritually mature. What does this look like for single adults?

Sanctification in the Season of Singleness

Sanctification refers to the process of becoming spiritually mature or being set apart for holy use. For single adults, sometimes it feels like we’re just being set aside.

This is an unintentional byproduct of the typical marriage testimony. When couples speak of their first year of marriage, they often remark that they thought they were mature—until they got married. Then their selfishness was revealed. Yes, that’s one way God works, and it can be fairly intense. But it is not the only way. When said to an unmarried adult, we can hear: “Not only are you unwanted for marriage, you are also consigned to a lifetime of immaturity!”

Neither of those thoughts is true, of course. Every believer can (and should!) pursue spiritual maturity. Fortunately, Hebrews 5:13–14 shows us one of the ways this process works:

“Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Maturity here is described as a process of training for discernment, which is the ability to distinguish good from evil. This verse says the immature person is “unskilled in the word of righteousness,” meaning the Bible is not the standard for good and evil, but some other measure is—emotions, expectations or cultural standards, for example. The good news is that maturity is not dependent upon marital status. All believers are called to train their powers of discernment through the constant practice of saying, “Is this good or evil in God’s eyes?”

For single adults, there are some common areas where it takes vigilance to distinguish good from evil. These hindrances to maturity can fall in three areas: identity, self-centeredness, and secrecy.

1. Discerning True Identity

It can feel shameful at times to be solo. You upset the balance at dinner parties. You present a problem for seating at wedding receptions. You can feel like a walking advertisement for failure or rejection. You can be the object of gossip and speculation, even in your own church.

We live in a period where the church highly esteems the commitments of marriage and family—as it should, for many in our surrounding culture do not. But I think this regular emphasis on our roles as men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and so forth can obscure the one aspect of our identity that we have in common: We are adopted children of our heavenly Father and siblings to one another. While many roles end in this life, this one does not. Since our “siblinghood” is not addressed as often as other relationships in the church, it is easy to forget. Because of that, some of the hardest work we will do is to hold fast to the truth of our identity in Christ while sitting in our own churches. But don’t become discouraged or bitter if this happens. It’s just a training opportunity.

It takes constant practice to take our thoughts captive to the realities of God’s Word instead of thinking we are forgotten or less valuable than others simply because we are unmarried. We are loved by the Supreme King of the Universe. This is the real deal. The love of another human being is wonderful and exhilarating, but it is only a reflection of God’s love because we are His image-bearers.

This sibling identity is also critically important when it comes to dating/courting/relating within our churches. This is a separate topic of its own, but here is the takeaway point: The people we date are not consumable goods to be used and tossed away. They are people for whom Christ died so that we could be with Him throughout eternity. This truth should entirely revamp how we view, speak of, and interact with all those people we do not marry.

Evil is when the Enemy accuses God of holding out on you because you are still single. Training in truth means you discard that lie and replace it with a promise from Scripture. One of my favorite verses to write in my single friends’ birthday cards is Psalm 34 verse 5: “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” As we look to the Lord, our misplaced shame about singleness can be replaced with the radiance of His love.

2. Discerning Self-Centeredness

A wise friend of mine once observed that single adults become emotionally stunted when we have not pushed ourselves to love others sacrificially. Loving and serving others is how we grow in Christlikeness. While marriage and family does not guarantee maturity, it certainly creates the opportunity for it. Therefore, single adults who want to pursue maturity should look for opportunities to be self-giving in the face of boundless opportunities to be self-centered.

I am a task-oriented person, so I have put reminders on my calendar every month to think about ways to serve others. It’s a sad truth: I have turned my relationships into To Do reminders! But if I don’t, my calendar defaults to being all about me. By intentionally thinking about whom to serve, by planning for other people’s milestones, and by putting down prayer reminders for the needs of others, I’m taking small steps to battle self-centeredness.

Our prayers are a good barometer of self-centeredness. Do they start with glorifying and thanking God? Are they full of petitions for His people? Have we first woven in thanksgiving for any answered prayers before firing off our petitions?

Self-centeredness is a hard thing to measure by yourself—maybe impossible. The Holy Spirit will prompt us through His Word, but we need to assume we have huge blind spots. Having a prayer and accountability partner, one who has regular access to your life and thoughts, can be immensely helpful for this evaluation. More than one partner is great, too. I say prayer and accountability because grace and truth need to be equally present.

I also recommend periodic prayer retreats to soberly evaluate your calendar and your checkbook. The records of how you spent your time and your treasure often present a sober reflection of your spiritual maturity. Then I recommend sharing that information with your accountability partner(s). Get some feedback from them and ideas about where you could change. This is a great way to cultivate humility when you are not used to answering to others for how you spend your money and your time.

3. Discerning Secrecy

Throughout the New Testament, truth is described as light breaking into the darkness. We should be eager to live in the light. As John 3:20–21 says,
“Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Single adults have to choose to live life in the light. This is true of every believer, married or not. But I think it is easier for single adults to live privately and nurture secret sin. Even in shared housing, it’s easy to slip away and not be known. But whatever we think we are getting away with is already known by God, and He brings it into His light so we can experience the forgiveness we have already received in Jesus. But Satan wants us to remain in the shadows, feeding our secret sin, so he can use our actions to entrap us and disparage the name of Christ.

Spiritual maturity recognizes the seriousness of hiding things from others—habits, relationships, weaknesses and temptations. But we have these struggles in common. I have communicated with hundreds of single adults since I began writing and speaking about singleness more than ten years ago, and I can only think of two people who never had a desire to get married. The rest of us wrestle with unfulfilled hopes, sexual temptations, longings for intimacy, and dangerous daydreams. As we bring those things into the light, we will come to learn that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to choose what’s right, even if it’s hard.

Finally, of the many things we need to learn as we mature, arguably the most important is what to prize. Some may not receive marriage and family in this life. Or, in the case of many single adults, it takes longer than expected. But whatever happens, don’t think that you have received less than anyone else. The prize is not marriage to another human. The prize is Christ. He has set you apart—for Himself.

Red Flags

By Lysa TerKeurst

A group of teenage girls were recently asked if they would date a boy simply because he was good looking. Hi, I’m Lysa TerKeurst for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Most said yes, they would date someone on good looks alone. My friend who was asking the question asked another, “But what do you know about him?” The silence made her point.

She then talked with the girls about 5 red flags to look for before entering a dating or courting relationship with a guy.

Does he lose his temper frequently? Does he consider himself a failure and seem to be looking for a rescuer? Has there been abuse in his home? Does he often put you down or disrespect you? And, does he appear to be jealous, controlling, or need to spend all his free time with you?

I thought these questions could help everyone avoid getting into a situation that could lead to heartache!

Beware of the Snares

By Leilani Glassmyer

Stay the course because the one for you will come. Here are some mistakes to avoid when waiting on God in dating.

1) Settling: 

To accept or agree to something that one considers to be less than satisfactory.

Settling usually occurs after a long period of being single (or a short period, depending on the person), and we’ve decided that “waiting on God” is taking too long.  We start getting nervous thinking of the prospects (or loss of prospects), our age and all the other what ifs. God is not a God of settling, He is a God that has always given more than the best to His children.  We decide if we settle, not God.

You are not missing out; you are getting in position for God to bring the right one to you, in His timing.  Anything less than that will inevitably fail and bring unnecessary heartbreak.

2) Blind to Red Flags: 

Lacking perception, awareness, or discernment.

In order to not be blind to the red flags, you must be very clear on what the red flags are to you in a person and/or a relationship.  Also, be aware of blind spots in your relationships in the past, in order to avoid them in the future. Remember, old ways won’t open new doors.  I will list some common red flags that you should be alert to.

Common Red Flags:

  • Easily angered
  • Controlling
  • Jealous
  • Critical of you
  • Inconsistent
  • Lies (even white lies)
  • Unreliable

3) Dating a Lukewarm Christian:

“He’s kinda a Christian.  He says he loves God.”

Have you ever thought that when you were interested in someone?

“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.”-Francis Chan

You will know a lukewarm Christian man when you observe him.  Some may be more stealth at hiding their luke warmness, but the proof is in his fruit!  

So check his fruit, not his mouth. A lukewarm Christian man will be incapable of leading you anywhere but to him, so be extremely cautious.

One of my favorite poets is Janette Ikz.  In her poem, “I Will Wait for You,” she hits the nail on the head.

“So it seemed that it was cool, for everyone to be in a relationship but me.
So I took matters into my own hands, and ended up with him.
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, and a thief.

So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?
I called 911, but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting,
Cause it was me who let him in…
Claiming we were “just friends”.
It was already decided for me by the first date, that even if he wasn’t
I was gonna make him ‘The One’
You know, I was tired of being alone.
And I simply made up in my mind, that it was about that time.

So I decided to drag him along for the ride,
Cause I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride.
A virgin in the physical, but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat!
Who was tired of the wait!
So I was gonna make him ‘The One’.
He had a… form of Godliness… but not much.
But hey, hey I can change him! So (honey) I’ll TAKE him, I mean he’s close… enough…

I will no longer date, socialize or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirstiness I have for attention
And short-lived compliments from ‘sorta kindas’.


You know….
He ‘sort kinda’ right, but ‘sorta kinda’ wrong?
His first name LUKE,
His last name WARM.
I, I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms.”

4) Peer/Family Pressure:

I’m sure you have been at a family function and had someone ask, “So are you dating anyone?” 

You reply with a “no,” quickly to move it along.

Meanwhile, everyone’s ears have perked up to hear your answer.  In your mind you’re thinking “Move along there’s nothing to see here.”

Everyone around you is getting into a relationship so you should too.  Don’t feel pressured to go on a blind date that your friend wants to fix you up with. Or go online dating because well, there’s that Christian site “Christian Mingle.”

God see’s you, all of you.  Stay the course because the one for you will come.  Continue to seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness first.

God and My Sex Life

By Diana Kerr

To be honest, I did not want to write about this topic. Nope. Not one bit. When a message appeared in my inbox suggesting I blog about this topic, my head thought, “No way. Don’t wanna go there.” Christians and their sexual choices . . . it’s such a sensitive, heavy topic. I didn’t want to deal with it at all. It’s so hard to talk about this stuff without sounding judgy. And I never know what to say.
Which is exactly why I felt God nudging me—I had to write about it. Because I don’t like dealing with this issue, and I don’t really know how. But as much as I hate to admit it, the issue’s not going away. (And before I go on, let’s be clear that I’m just as guilty of breaking commandments as anyone else. I come at this topic without judgment. It is God’s place to judge, not mine.)
To continue this theme of honesty, I’m going to be really truthful: It breaks my heart how Christians have detached their faith from their sexual choices and viewpoints. ChristianMingle.com recently asked Christian singles ages 18 to 59, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The percentage who said yes was 63%. That means there are Christians out there who feel that what God says about sex either doesn’t speak to them or doesn’t give them a compelling enough reason to dissuade them from having it before marriage.
I wish I could say that surprises me, but it doesn’t. Last week, I mentioned to the Christian girl who does my nails that my sister has a great new boyfriend, a guy who’s going to school to be a pastor. The first words out of her mouth were, “Wait, so does that mean they’re not going to have sex before marriage?”
Um, yes. But their choice has nothing to do with him being a future pastor. Imagine her response when I told her that my husband and I had waited too.
I can’t tell you how many Christians, even Christian friends, made fun of Kyle and me for that choice. Even worse, so many of them expressed pity and concern for me that I was missing out.
Missing out? Hate to break it to you, but I didn’t just save myself for marriage because I’m a good Jesus girl. Yes, we should obey God even when it’s not easy or convenient, but there’s more to obedience than simply appeasing an unreasonable God just to make him happy. Sex is God’s gift to married couples—an intimacy meant to bless the two people who share it. Though it wasn’t always easy, I am thankful that my husband and I chose to share that gift with only each other.
When did we Christians decide to start viewing God’s laws as punishments, as meaningless oppression imposed upon us by a meanie-pants, out-of-touch God? Have we forgotten the beautiful truth that he gave us his laws to bless us? I didn’t make the choices I made just for God—I made them for myself and my husband and my future children too.
I still struggle when this whole topic comes up in conversation. It’s never easy to decide how to react. I think what I need to strive for is finding a place between the two extremes—responding like a judgmental Pharisee or not defending my values at all. The law does not change hearts, but silence doesn’t help either. Instead, I’m trying to find a way to focus on the beautiful gifts our loving Father has wrapped up for those who obey. (And that even for those who think it’s “too late” for them, God eagerly wants to bestow forgiveness and second chances.) Turns out the people “missing out” are actually the ones God will bless abundantly.

I Wish

By Lysa Terkeurst

“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?

Three Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Single

 

by Lysa TerKeurst
Rather than yearn for the future or long for that special “someone,” why not choose to give your full attention to what God is doing in your life right now?

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?