In this first post of a two-part series, we'll look at some ways that we singles can create our own family. Here are a few steps to get us on our way...
Step 1: Lift your eyes up to the mountains (Psalm 121:1-2) and away from your navel.
As singles, it is tempting to focus on ourselves and on our lack of love and family. We think about love, we talk about love, we read about love, we listen to love songs, we watch movies about love. No wonder we are semi-obsessed with the idea that romantic love is what will fill our insatiable desire for value and worth.
On the one hand, God is incredibly gracious toward us in our pain. He doesn't question or downplay the difficult process we are walking through as singles.
On the other hand, he knows that wallowing in our loneliness on a regular basis is destructive to our well-being. Even more importantly, it distracts us from being our best, beautiful self in a world that desperately needs the love that we have to give.
It is important that we start doing the hard work of thinking about things other than our love life or lack thereof. We need to take active steps toward giving ourselves to others.
Step 2: Determine to understand God's heart toward the lonely people around you and the poor throughout the world.
A few years ago, I did an exercise that shook me out of my self-absorbed bubble. I was listening to a teaching on biblical justice by Rob Morris, founder of Love146, a wonderful organization that fights child exploitation. He asked us to flip through the Bible for ten minutes and write down every verse we found about loving the poor, the outcast, the orphan, or similar sentiments. He asked us not to use a concordance or go to verses we already knew, but just to skim the pages.
I flipped to the Psalms, and the first verse I read was, "Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lᴏʀᴅ will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psalm 41:1). I kept reading through the Psalms and found verses about the poor everywhere.
It made sense that they were everywhere, because there are about 2000 verses on this topic. If the God we love is this passionate about loving the lonely, maybe it would be wise for us to be passionate about it as well.
Step 3: Pick one or two causes that you will devote yourself to.
I know there are a million causes that want your resources. It can be overwhelming to hear all of the statistics. Sometimes you don’t know where to look. You don’t know if you can make a difference, so you don’t look anywhere. You look away.
But behind these causes are real people with real faces and real voices and real senses of humor and real tears.
My advice for you is to prayerfully choose a cause (or two) and be passionate about it for the rest of your life. Learn about your cause. Introduce yourself to the people who are behind that cause. Find out what you and your friends can do to make a difference.
These three steps have led to some of the deepest joys of my life. While I still feel the void of not having a traditional family, my service to others brings me joy and meaning in a different way. I desperately need to be less lonely, and so do the homeless, the refugees, the poor. But I had to take the initiative in order to connect.
You can't really control your love life or lack thereof. But you can control the love that you put out into the world.
For more insight on making sense of the unexpected single life, check out Kate’s new book Cupid Is a Procrastinator. And watch for Part 2 of this blog series, with more advice for Christian singles on living in community.
Kate Hurley is a worship leader, singer-songwriter, and teacher based out of Boulder, Colorado. She writes the popular blog The Sexy Celibate and has a passion to care for the poor through her art and her friendship. The mission statement for her life is "to paint an accurate picture of a passionate God." Visit her at www.katehurley.com.