Overflow Monday is an opportunity to give life to a bunch of content I couldn’t fit into Sunday’s message. Last Sunday, during my message on singleness, my first draft of the message was almost 1,500 words, but I ended up with a little under 1,000. About 1/3 of my original content had to be cut.
This week was Part 3 of our relationships series, It’s Complicated, where we are finding clarity in the complexity of relationships. It was a message on singleness that I called “Rings Are Overrated,” as we learned that our purpose is not found in a ring box, but in a relationship with Jesus.
Make sure to swing by awaken.church/itscomplicated for social media art and to submit questions for Thursday’s Facebook LIVE Q&A, where I’ll answer your questions on singleness!
Historically, the church hasn’t done a great job with its approach to singleness. Sometimes we’ve ignored the topic altogether, and other times, Christians just give really bad advice, tips, and ideas to single people, as though they’re broken and need to be fixed.
Here are some thoughts for married people and single people as we rethink our approach on the topic…
FOR THE MARRIED PEOPLE
1) Stop playing matchmaker.
Constantly trying to set your single friends up with each other is insulting and not helpful. It communicates to your single friends that you think they are broken and that romance is the remedy. Both are false assumptions.
2) Remember they are people, not just babysitters.
Your single friends may be happy to babysit for you, but they’d probably also love to go to the movie with you. They’re not just babysitters; they’re people with social lives. Involve them. Don’t assume they will feel like the third wheel. They learn from you and you learn from them.
3) Pray for them (like you would anyone in any season).
Praying for single people isn’t a pity party – it’s an act of love. Ask for guidance on how to support or encourage them, and for God’s guidance and provision for them.
4) Stop encouraging them to lower their standards.
Comments like “you’re too picky” subliminally encourage single people who desire to be married to lower their standards. Low standards is a relational epidemic in our culture. It seems that many people are playing the limbo with the relationships bar: “how low can I go?” Encourage people to RAISE the bar, not lower it!
5) Stop making assumptions about single people.
Your snide remarks or underhanded comments about their need to find someone assumes they want to. Don’t let your assumption or comments contribute to a lack of contentment in their lives. Believe it or not, married people, “Happily single” is a thing.
FOR THE UNMARRIED PEOPLE
1) Romance is not your remedy.
Take it from someone who has been happily married for 13 years, romance isn’t the perfect fairy tale that Disney and Nicholas Sparks make it out to be. Ask my wife. She got her “Prince Charming,” but it’s been far from “Happily Ever After!”
2) You don’t need a wedding ring for God to use you – just a willing heart.
A spouse is not a prerequisite to being used by God. He’ll use anyone in any season who is willing and available – wedding ring or not! In fact, according to 1 Corinthians 7, as a single person, your time is more focused to serve the Lord even better!
3) Make the most of the season you are in.
Singleness is lifelong for some and temporary for others. Every season has a reason and a unique set of lessons to learn. Don’t rush the season you’re in – embrace it. Pump the brakes, learn some lessons, and enjoy the time you have.
4) Re-gfit your gift of singleness.
That’s right: GIFT. Singleness, according to 1 Corinthians 7, is a gift. Paul describes it with the same word he uses to describe spiritual gifts (tongues, prophecy, healing, etc) in 1 Corinthians 12. That tells me that like spiritual gifts, singleness should be cultivated, explored, invested in, and re-gifted for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
5) Be careful and prayerful with relationships.
Relationships require intentionality. You’re dealing with people and potential heartbreak, if done wrong. Pray for them, pray with them, and pray for yourself. If you believe marriage is in your future, start praying now! And in the meantime, become the answer to your future spouse’s prayers.