I sat by myself in a church pew almost every Sunday. After the service I always ate lunch alone.
Mondays through Fridays I drove to work alone, went to the gym alone, and spent the evenings alone. The only deviation to that was Wednesday night church and Bible club.
Saturday was the day I would hang out with my friends or my sister- my favorite day.
This was my life for eight years when I lived in Illinois.
This is the life of many single people.
Don’t get me wrong- I liked living on my own. But there were many times when I felt the aloneness deeply. One of the major reasons I moved back to Ohio was because I was seeking connections and support.
I was very, very lonely.
Sound familiar? This was the opening to my blog post two weeks ago, when I wrote about the importance of extending hospitality to single people. Hospitality is a biblical mandate, but it’s typically ignored in today’s churches. In my last hospitality post I geared my thoughts toward “others”- married people of all ages who seem to forget single people exist.
Today I want to turn the tables and talk to singles everywhere. I believe we are gifted with extra free time for a reason: to use our time in service to God and others. Yes, I want people to reach out to me. I want them to invite me to lunch, or coffee, or whatever.
But when they don’t do that then it’s up to us to step up. We need to become “single women who dare to live boldly” and learn to put ourselves out there, to practice our own brand of hospitality.
There are a lot of great things about being single. I’ve written about the many reasons we have to celebrate our single lives. But we also have a lot of challenges to work through.
One of the most difficult aspects of single life is the deep loneliness. We are often alone. That’s just the way it is- even if we have lots of friends, a close, supportive family, and a home church, we can’t be around people all the time, or even most of the time.
There’s going to be times of loneliness, but they don’t have to define us or get us down. We can channel that loneliness and turn it into a positive.
Hospitality. God commands it. We need to do it.
People need us!
Seven Tips for Practicing Hospitality as a Single Woman:
- Start simple. Bake a loaf of bread for someone and write a note letting them know you’re praying for them that week. Little steps are better than none at all.
2. Just talk! Do you know how often I have the same conversation about my job?
Well-meaning person who has no idea how to connect with me because I’m single: “How’s school going?”
Me: “It’s going pretty well.”
Well-meaning person: “Well, that’s good. Have a nice day.”
Then they walk away and we’ll have the same conversation next week. And that’s as far as most of my connections ever go.
Want to practice hospitality?
Look someone in the eye and talk with them. Really talk.
3. Make a goal to connect with one new person. Who needs you today? Don’t feel like you have to reach everyone at once. Pick one person and actively seek them out.
4. Get to know people outside your age bracket. In the book of Titus, Paul talks about the importance of older women influencing and ministering to younger women. You don’t have to be the same age or social standing to practice hospitality. Ask an older woman to disciple with you or make an effort to hang out with someone younger.
5. Don’t do it alone. Make hospitality a group effort. If you’re blessed with a single’s group at your church, or if you have a big group of single friends, get together and do a service project. Seek out a needy person and find ways you can help them.
6. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. You don’t have to make big meals and clean your house and invite people over every week. Keep it simple, relaxed, and fun. Meet for coffee, exercise together, or ask someone to attend an event with you. No pressure.
7. Bring people into your home. This is a bigger step, but one that can be very meaningful. Inviting someone into your home is inviting them to get to know the real you. If you have space, use it. Host bonfires, tea parties, crazy parties, or game nights. Bring people together and help them connect. Use your home to make someone else less lonely.
Life is busy, sticky, and messy. But it’s also meant to be lived in tandem with others. Society has conditioned us to believe that “man should not live alone” means a spouse, but that’s not what the Bible teaches. There is a multitude of ways to live life together.
You just have to be intentional about it.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. I Peter 4: 8, 9
This week I’m thankful for the blessing of single friends who open their doors and lives to me. It means more than you know, and hopefully we can all do more. Together, let’s practice hospitality and celebrate every SINGLE blessing!