If you missed the previous article, you might want to read it first (CLICK HERE). It gives the introduction to this article and the motivation behind it. This article is the final installment of my series “My thoughts on singleness (a series. . . )”. At the end of this article, I would love to hear the thoughts and ideas you have regarding this article.
Here are five of the “best practices” I have learned (mostly the hard way) which have helped me thrive, not merely survive, in singleness.
Do activities that draw you into community
I have written often on this blog in the area of community (CLICK HERE and HERE for two examples), so I will keep it short here. However, I do seek activities which draw me into community with others. In Atlanta, I played softball on a team of old friends (old both in age and length of friendship with the likes of Pat Ku). Here in Asia, I try to only do stuff like scuba dive and dirt biking with friends with whom I want to spend time.
Side note to marrieds . . .
do reach out to singles around you. We don’t always act like it, but we need you to help draw us in. It is huge to have married folks invite us to stuff and include us in life events. I have been personally blessed beyond measure by my married friends including me in their lives over the years. When I don’t have this, it is extremely challenging. When I do, life is much more rich and full.
Stay/get in shape
I’m just like you. I HATE getting my but out of bed early and schlepping my corpse of a body over to the gym before the rest of the world is moving. I hate it. However, one thing I have noticed over the years is just how closely my mind, emotions, and spirit are connected with my body.
As far as food is concerned, I love all food that is terrible for me. I dislike anything that was either not alive at one time or is not made of sugar. This is not good.
When I allow my exercise, diet, or sleep to get out of whack, everything else quickly follows suite. Besides, I hope to one day have children. If I let myself get too far out of shape now, it will directly affect my ability to engage with (potential) future children. I’m already resigned to the fact that I will be that old dude sitting on the bleachers at his kids’ high school graduation(s), but I don’t want to be the one in terrible shape also! Even if no kids are on the horizon, I will never regret investing in my personal health.
As I said earlier, I try my best to incorporate community into this process. Right now, I have a great group of men to do Crossfit with several times a week. Alex agrees to beat us around in the gym and we agree to not cry openly in public. Sometimes I succeed. Additionally, we try to get outside to throw the football, play Wiffleball, or hit the tennis courts any time the weather is good (which is rare).
Have a roommate as much as possible
I know, I know; living with the wrong person can be brutal. I have had a few horror stories myself. This has been many of our arguments for living alone. However, living alone can, and often does, make you become self-centered and fixated only upon your own personal preferences and perceived needs. I’ve had stretches of both having roommates and in living alone, so I can attest to this personally.
Living alone can cause you to waste time and put you on a path where you can easily become bitter and angry. Find a roommate, even if they are not ideal. We all need human interaction on a regular basis. If not, we can easily slide into deep isolation and the problems this leads to.
Don’t believe the lies
We as singles will hear lies regarding our social status as single adults. If not from those around us, definitely within our own heads.
Bottom line, it is imperative that we understand and embrace Biblical singleness (and marriage for that matter). Like any other area where false thinking is the case (lust, coveting, jealousy, etc.), we must learn and choose to embrace truth above that of the noise within our own heads and from that in the world around us.
I’m sure there are good books out there on this topic. I suggest two sermons from friends of mine (and who I feel are the best two communicators of the Bible today).
Rankin Wilbourne of Pacific Crossroads Church in Los Angeles gave this message last year to his congregation which is largely single. Rankin, one of my best friends and closest confidants, was single into his late 30s, so he brings this perspective. His message, Single like Jesus, is the best message on the topic I have ever heard.
David Platt is pastor of the Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Great guy and does a tremendous job of espousing a Biblical context for singleness in Singleness and the Next Generation.
Experience different cultures/places, both in missions and for pleasure
God is a global God. He loves all peoples and places. He created them all for His glory and to exhibit a picture of His person and character. There are aspects of the God of the Nations which become more personal and clear when interacting with other cultures and peoples.
Whether in work, leisure, or study, take advantage of your singleness to see the world. Even if travel is impossible for you, befriend and invest in people from other nations and cultures in your own hometown. The experience of learning new cultures, foods, places, languages (if time permits), and people is an incredible blessing.
Single adults are in the best position to do this. In doing so, you will be blessed and will understand God a little better, whom created and loves all peoples and nations.
Smile and laugh
Don’t take yourself so seriously that you forget to simply enjoy life. I see far too many of us singles (a few marrieds also) which seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Honestly, I struggle with this myself, as many of my friends could tell you. As a single, I think we are more prone to see the world as revolving around ourselves. I know I do. When this happens, we will naturally be discontent.
However, as I often remind myself, life is meant to be enjoyed and savored. We are at our best when our laughter is often and our sullenness is kept at bay. We can always find SOMETHING to stress over. Contrarily, we can also always find SOMETHING to smile and laugh about. . . even if it’s our own sullenness and sense of self-importance!
I would love to hear any thoughts or practices you have in this (even for married folks!). This one could be a fun and helpful comments section below, so I invite you to add your suggestions.
(This article is from my series called “My thoughts on singleness (a series). . .” If you liked this article, please check out the rest.)