I like the New Year because of the optimism it generates. Hope for the future is a good thing. In my last post I wrote about taking intentional steps to create positive change in your life. The New Year is a great time to sit down and evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go. I think resolutions, goals, and change are all worthwhile.
But… what about the things we can’t change? What if there are circumstances in our lives which might never change?
How do we approach THOSE on January 1st?
Frustrated with Your Unchanging Single Status?
“Why does it seem like nothing ever changes?”
I’ve had so many single friends say this to me. I’ve said it to myself. In fact, I’ve often viewed my single life as a long, straight road stretching on into the distance, as far as I can see, with nothing ever changing.
A lack of change feels frustrating, especially when you can’t do anything about it. It can feel like you’re on a never-ending treadmill. The New Year just seems to highlight the fact that your life didn’t, in fact, change at all last year.
I can resolve to lose twenty pounds, but I can’t resolve to change my single status.
Instead of resetting your life, reset your thinking!
Staying single isn’t the problem. It’s my point of view that’s the problem.
I thought about what I would want someone to say to me the next time I feel frustrated with my single status. I also thought about what I would say to you when you feel that way. How do we break out of the “Help, I’m trapped in a never-ending state of singleness” mindset?
Here’s what I came up with. If you and I were having coffee, this is what I would tell you:
- Look to God.
First, last, and always. If you’re ever going to find peace and contentment with your life, it has to start here. Put down your cell phone and open your Bible. Read about every amazing thing God has done and then remind yourself- the God of the Bible loves you, too. He has plans for you, just like Ruth, Esther, Mary, Deborah, and other amazing biblical women. When God says He’s working everything (including singleness) for your good, He means it.
Believe it. Hold onto it. Tell yourself the truth again and again until it starts to sink in.
And then surrender. Surrender everything- your hopes, dreams, plans, and wishes for a husband, 2.5 kids, and the big house with the picket fence. Give it all to God and trust Him with it.
- Identify your triggers.
What causes you to struggle with the unchanging nature of your single life? Some of my triggers are a lack of sleep, comments from others, holidays, and romantic movies. These things affect my outlook, cause me to question who I am, and make me discontent.
Figure out the areas where you are most vulnerable and work to avoid them or devise a plan for getting through them.
- Focus on the good in your life.
Do you have a great job? Do you revel in being the fun aunt? Has God provided you with an unbelievable circle of friends? Is your church family loving and supportive?
What are the best aspects of your live? Travel, hobbies, witnessing opportunities, meaningful time spent with family and friends, the fantastic coffee shop down the street, great workouts, or just extra quiet time to sit and read a book. Work to identify all the positives.
If you’re struggling with contentment right now, I would also encourage you to start writing down blessings or keeping a thankfulness journal. It really, really helps.
- Quit playing the comparison game.
Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop jealously eyeing their beautiful, swishy hair (hair has always been a sore spot for me), skinny bodies, cool lives, or cute kids. Most of all, eliminate the assumption that there’s something wrong with you since every other girl can get a guy and you can’t. That type of thinking will never help you. So cut it out.
- Find ways to invest in others.
I write about this a lot because I think about me, me, me a lot. Being single naturally draws the focus inward. The more I dwell on myself and what I don’t have, the more frustrated and depressed I get about my single life. Shifting the focus toward another person changes my perspective. Life becomes less about me and more about the needs of a friend, niece, or neighbor. Get creative and look for ways to help and connect.
- Love generously
This ties in with investing in others. I think, the longer we’re single, the more comfortable it becomes to withdraw or hold back. Be friendly, but not too open. That’s usually my motto. But we miss so much this way!
A lack of romantic love in our lives doesn’t mean we can’t fully, generously love other people. Being able to embrace the people God brings into our lives is a beautiful gift. We will be richer for it.
Accept your life where it is today.
To anyone who’s struggling with the question, “Why doesn’t anything ever seem to change?” I would remind you some things may never change.
It’s far better to accept that fact than rail against it. Rather than hoping this is the year you’ll meet someone, or that this is the year for big changes in your life, try making this the year of quiet acceptance.
Stop struggling and start surrendering.
I pray that the changes will be in me, and you, this year. Not necessarily in our circumstances.
This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of a hope and a future, however they might look. Together, let’s celebrate every SINLGE blessing!