Navigating sex, faith and relationships is tricky at the best of times. The internet is rife with well meaning advice on how to wait, the gift of singleness and how to traverse the murky seas of singledom as a Christian.
For me, learning how to navigate the often painful, sometimes downright humiliating but mostly ok journey of being single has been the biggest learning curve. Learning how to be single, how to date and how to wait has been a labour of love, a hard lesson and not something I’ve always found easy. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time getting it wrong. But here’s what I have learnt.
1. Waiting has as much to do with trusting as it has to do with patience
For so long it felt like waiting was just a game of patience where I’d be rewarded if I just held out long enough but what I learnt when I inevitably failed and heaped shame and guilt on myself was that this isn’t a waiting game. God isn’t testing us to see how long we hold out. He’s refining us. He is shaping us, changing us and He has incredible plans for us in all seasons. Waiting is not about reaching a balance in order to pass a level and move on to the next relationship level.
2. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but it’s actually greener where you water it
Life always looks rosier when you look into other people’s lives from the outside in. But that is not always a rounded perspective. People are imperfect. Imperfect is messy and a perfect Instagram full of loved up pictures don’t always mean happily ever after. Resenting where you’re at and wanting what someone else has does nothing to build your confidence, help you appreciate what you do have or what you can do to enjoy whatever season you’re currently in.
3. Attitude is everything
You can’t always change where you’re at, whether you’re coupled up, newly single, dating or having been single for a while. What you have every control over is your attitude. Mine isn’t always consistent or the best example of me but over time I’ve learnt that renewing your focus and aligning your perspective with heaven is the best way you can serve yourself and your current or future spouse.
4. Your relationship status does not define you
Inevitably this is something we’ve all heard or been told at some point. But no it doesn’t. Whether you’re deeply in love and having the time of your life or not, being in a relationship defines you no more than having a job or not, being good at art or not. Jesus is who defines you. God is who you find your identity in. My hope is that this is something you hear afresh today, something of encouragement not condemnation.
By Sara Bennett
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