I don’t know about you, but every other day on my Facebook timeline, it shows someone who’s getting engaged or married or having a baby. The misconception is that life isn’t fulfilling until we’ve tied the knot with the one we love or settled down with a family. Now, this really is a beautiful thing for those who have reached this point in their journey. While I think there’s nothing wrong with the genuine desire to be married or have a family, for those who are single, it can be dangerous to view this as life’s sole purpose. Anyone who has been married for years or has kids will let you know in an instant that you can STILL feel unfulfilled because purpose is far more about who you are as an individual than relying on other people to fulfill you, no matter how much you love them.
That said, here are 15 ways to remain purposeful in your single season.
1. Cultivate solid friendships. Now is the time to build those solid friendships that are genuine and deep-spirited, encourage you in your walk with Christ and bring out the best in you. God never intended for us to do life alone, and I fully believe good friends are an extension of His heart in our lives—surrounding us and supporting us through thick and thin. When and if the time comes for you to have a family, your spouse and kids become the priority. They become your focus, period. While you’ll still be connected to your friends, it most likely won’t be in the same capacity as priorities shift. So be sure to take the time in this season to invest in building those solid friendships that you can carry with you.
2. Let go of toxic relationships. Bad company corrupts! You are responsible for setting the foundation of your life and what the culture of that foundation looks like. You are fully in charge of what is and is not allowed in your life right now. We can pour out love to any person on this Earth unconditionally, but that is completely different from allowing unhealthy, ungodly and toxic individuals to have influence in our lives. The Bible says that you have been called to peace (Colossians 3:15). Why would peace be a calling? So our lives can be a witness to others of the refreshing peace and goodness of God. It’s also in your right to protect that peace and that very well looks like letting go of toxic relationships by many times loving from a distance.
3. Be planted in a church. The Bible says that we are many parts of one body, each a necessary part and belonging to one another, like a family! Being a part of a healthy Christian fellowship community can only help expand your life right now—spiritually, socially and purposefully. Notice I said healthy, not perfect, but aligned with the heart and character of Christ. When you are invested in a group of people who edify each other, everyone grows together in ways much more enriching and effective than when you try to do it alone.
4. Join a Bible study or small group. This ties back into everything said with my last point! But consider setting aside an hour or two of your time to commit to going even deeper in your walk with other like-minded believers in a more intimate setting like a small group Bible study. As you continue to work on your personal growth, it will only sharpen you. You don’t have to subject yourself to being alone. Check your local church or even think about starting one yourself!
5. Serve. They say one of the greatest ways to cure loneliness, besides the love of God Himself, is to simply start considering others. The world is so much bigger than us. Think about serving in an area of ministry, going on a missions trip or volunteering for an organization that’s giving back to others! Unashamed Impact is currently having a volunteer initiative, if that’s something you’d be interested in as well!
6. Exercise. There are so many reasons I believe physical health should be a priority, but one thing we should prevent is waiting until we’re ill to take our health seriously. Start appreciating the body God’s given you. It’s like when you get a stuffy nose, you really start appreciating the times you could breathe! This is such a great time to work on being the best you. If we’re living and breathing, it’s a gift, not an entitlement. You know you’ve been wanting to improve your fitness, but you’ve been putting it off. Make the decision to start, even if it’s in baby steps!
7. Practice spiritual discipline. Okay, I will say this from a personal standpoint and even let the words of Paul weigh in: When you’re single, you just have more time to devote to God. In 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul talks about how when you have a family, your interests are divided, your responsibility weighs more and you have the added dynamic of focusing on how to please your spouse. When you’re single, you’re without restraint. And that’s not to say marriage or children hold you back from God, because they help us glorify Him in a different way. But when you’re single, you simply have more time and focus to commit to your relationship with God. Start developing your habits now of reading your Word, making prayer a practice and learning how to apply the character of Christ to your life.
8. Invest in one of your God-given skills or a new one. When God gives you a gift, that is a blessing to you. When you use that gift to glorify God, it is a blessing to Him. Your natural passions and skills are all there for a reason. Your makeup is a part of your calling. Whether it be writing, drawing, singing, starting a business or ministry, etc., make an intentional effort to invest in it! It will give you life to be doing what God created you to do. Also consider learning something new like a language, instrument or sport. That allows more ways for God to use us!
9. Map out your short-term and long-term goals. We know that we can make plans, but God ultimately leads our steps. However, that doesn’t mean we neglect having direction for our lives. This is the perfect season to start thinking about mapping out short-term and long-term goals to progress toward. Remember, goals are all about direction. They’re always flexible to change as God leads, but they help keep us moving forward instead of living life in a standstill. When you’re focused on growing yourself, you won’t be stuck on waiting for a spouse.
10. Master budgeting your finances. Budgeting is one of those disciplines that is never too early to start. Create a system for handling your money now. How much will you save, how much will you give back, how much must be put aside for personal responsibilities? Be faithful with little now, because when and if you have a family, this responsibility will grow and other lives will depend on the system you create.
11. Get to know your family better. Family can look different for everyone. Whether that’s your biological family, adoptive family or those who practically raised and grew up with you for your entire life, don’t neglect these relationships. They helped you get where you are today and are a part of your history. They are a part of you because of the role they played in your life. But have you ever asked your grandparents or aunts and uncles what their story is? How they got to where they are? You might find more similarities to you than you think.
12. Mentor. Invest in the next generation. Teach someone younger than you what you’ve learned so they can avoid some hard-core mistakes. Give them the love and understanding they may not be receiving anywhere else. Be that person who changes the course of their life because you were just willing to build someone else. And you’ll also be surprised how much you’ll learn from them.
13. Get counseling. Here’s the truth: We all have hurts and hangups that may have shaped us in ways we never realized. Reading a book, journaling or speaking with a professional can help us work through our deepest faults and flaws. Counseling doesn’t mean you’re crazy, either. Many counselors have counselors! We all have a human journey that has affected us. Plus, marriage will not fix you, despite what we believe. “Once I get married, I won’t be lonely and everything will be perfect.” False! You take yourself into your marriage and the culture of your marriage will be made up of what’s inside of you. Get whole now.
14. Develop better eating habits. I’m not saying live off of green smoothies for the rest of your life. What I am saying is as you’re focusing on you and your health, start becoming better aware of how you’re treating your body by what you feed it. Maybe it’s time to make that change to lay off so much fast food and plan better meals, to decrease the soda and increase your water intake, or to start eating more fruits and veggies. Use this season to make the decision to be mindful about your health.
15. Stop looking around and start looking in. That’s right, focus on where God is taking you. Focus on what He is trying to do inside of you. Work on yourself. Stop looking around all the time wondering, “Could this person be my future? Where is my man or woman? When are they coming? When will I be married?” Not only will this constant reaching, reaching, reaching leave you unsatisfied and discontent, but it’s misplaced focus. Stop reaching out and start reaching in. Reflect on questions like “How can I be a better me? How can I be the best me, so when that person does come, I’m ready mentally, spiritually and emotionally? How can I grow toward the person God is calling me to be?” I fully believe that those of us who are called to marriage find that person when two people who are chasing God for themselves cross paths and decide to chase Him together. God knows when we are ready, but it starts with us, not with someone else.
Any other ideas on how to remain purposeful while single? Comment below!