I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.
Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story
You might feel as if you’ve been waiting for far too long to meet your soulmate. You are doing anything but thriving as a single. Waiting can be hard. Very hard.
Are you fed up with browsing through the hundreds of single profiles on your preferred dating site?
Are you sick of spending your vacations alone?
Are you still able to cheer for your friends at their wedding?
Have you ever wondered if you are going to stay single until the end of your days?
Have you asked the question, “Why them, and not me?”
Waiting for your future husband or your future wife is difficult. There is no doubt about it. For some of us, the waiting seems endless.
I have been there and have wrestled often with these kinds of questions. And I have wondered if there is a purpose behind the waiting. As a person of faith, I wonder if God wants me for being single on purpose. Is He deliberately allowing the waiting for a greater purpose? Could it be that the waiting is an amazing opportunity to live for something greater than myself?
“Don’t waste your waiting period as a single,” is probably one of the most important pieces of advice that we can follow. That headline hit me when I read a social media post that actually wasn’t related to singles at all. “Don’t waste your waiting,” resonated strongly in my heart, knowing that this is the message many of us singles need to hear.
I Have Wasted My Waiting
“Oh no, I’m wasting my time! Big time!”
It came as a shock to me. I was indeed wasting my time.
One stupid decision cost one precious year of my life and resulted in many headaches.
“Why did I start dating that girl?”
I should have never asked her out. My emotional void had been too big. Simply put, I was so tired of being single. My craving for love and being like everybody else overwhelmed me and finally made gave in. I did like the girl, but I was not really in love.
“Well, the more time we’ll spend together, my love will grow,” I thought.
Big mistake. I loved spending time with her, but I did not really love her from the bottom of my heart. Rather, it was a rational love coming from my head, along with my desire to no longer be alone. Needless to say, the relationship did not succeed.
I had been wasting my waiting period. If you have done so, welcome to the club!
I wish I had known then, the six points I would like to share with you. Today, I would not repeat my mistake again, although waiting is still hard at times. Nevertheless, I know there is a way to thrive while being single. It’s certainly not by filling the void with a mediocre dating relationship.
There is a better way to make the best use of your waiting today.
1. Focus on God
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.
There is a better way to live than just struggling to find a soulmate. Instead of focusing on finding the one, the psalmist tells us to focus on God. If you are following God, you have found your first love. In other words, we often forget that we already have found the One. That’s great news, because it proves that we are not alone. And God promises to give us everything we need.
Wait on God, and what’s this other word? Wait patiently!
How can I wait patiently if I am approaching my forties? I still want to have kids! How can I not despair? I know that, especially for you ladies waiting in your thirties, this is difficult. Your dream to have kids is often greater than for us men.
I get your point! From a human perspective, it is extremely challenging, to say the least, to remain calm. But if God is in it, or put differently, if God allows the waiting, this shows that He has a higher purpose for your life.
Israel Houghton’s words have comforted me many times when I thought all hope was gone.
I know it’s darkest just before dawn
Might be the hardest season you experience
I know it hurts, won’t be too long
You’re closer than you think you are
You’re closer than you’ve been before
Look to the sky, help is on the way
It’s not over, it’s not finished
It’s not ending, it’s only the beginning
When God is in it, all things are new
If God is in it, there is hope. Even if we don’t see it. “I lift my eyes to the hills,” David wrote in one of his Psalms. “From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord.”
2. Trust God
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
The apostle Paul — the author of the letter to the Roman church — was convinced that all things would finally work together for good. “All things” include your waiting period as a single person. Even if God allows more years of waiting than you had imagined, God still has everything under control. He knows what He is doing.
God’s good is always better.
The waiting forces us to start believing that God has something better than we could have ever possibly dreamed in store for us. I have concluded that I often underestimate God’s goodness. Not completely trusting Him, I try to arrange whatever I can into what I think is good.
That’s not a “good” strategy.
Either it will fail completely, or it will lead me to mediocre outcomes. I don’t recommend it to you.
Trust me, God has a purpose both for your single and your future marital life. The question is: Do you believe it? And if you believe it, do you trust God?
3. Know That God Is With You
The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
The Hebrew Joseph had to wait, too. The author of Genesis tells us his story in the Old Testament. Without doing any harm, his former master threw him into prison. Imagine a foreigner, with no rights, in a dungeon. Humanly spoken, he did not have much hope to survive the prison, let alone find his soulmate. In the middle of all that, we learn that God was with him.
When we read this passage, we tend to skip over that sentence. Chances are that you already know the outcome of this story. We have a greater perspective, and we know that there is a happy ending.
Joseph did not have that perspective. But he knew that God was with him. To remind us of this truth, the narrator of Joseph’s tale interweaves that phrase and its variations a couple of times into the story. He intuitively knew that we needed to hear it more than once so that this confidence would sink deep into our hearts.
When I read his story, I get the impression that this phrase also concerned Joseph himself. I think he knew that his heavenly Father was still with him, despite the hardship he was facing. Over time, even through the waiting, Joseph’s confidence grew.
4. Choose to Thrive
Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw stars.
Joseph put his eyes onto the Lord instead of staring at the prison bars. Might he have seen the stars behind?
You have an important choice to make. Don’t take it lightly. It’s a choice between surviving and thriving. Why is it that so many of us singles are desperately looking for our soulmate? We are made for relationships. That’s certain. Look at Adam and Eve. Adam wasn’t happy, even in paradise, until he had someone by his side. Having the desire to meet him or her is perfectly fine and absolutely normal.
But can it be that you’re just seeing the mud? Are you settling on your disappointment? Joseph had many reasons to do so. Instead, he wholeheartedly served the keeper of the prison. Joseph refused to see the mud.
If you want to thrive, you have to choose the stars. You can’t change your circumstances, but you can change your attitude. Have you ever considered that being single could be the opportunity of a lifetime?
5. Prepare Your Future While Waiting
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.
Waiting is not always negative. Often, God uses waiting periods to prepare us for the next season.
He did it with Joseph in the prison. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before leading the Israelites. Hannah was childless for many years before God granted her petition. After Samuel — Hannah’s son — anointed David as the new king, the young David had to go back to tend his sheep for more than a decade.
They all waited. Their waiting seemed eternal. But they did not waste their waiting. They let God change them. In the waiting, our attitude changes. Waiting builds our character.
There are many ways you can intentionally leverage your waiting. I would like to suggest the one I feel is key. Use your time and energy to get closer to God. Put the energy you are spending browsing through the single profiles or trying to get a date into your relationship with God. Try to be a happy Christian single.
The day I closed down my profiles on various dating platforms, I immediately felt more fulfilled. Why? Because I spent more time reflecting on my life and reading the Bible. I felt that my relationship with my Savior became more intimate. By the way, there is nothing wrong with dating sites. In my situation, I put more hope into the dating site than I was in God. It was a matter of balance.
It feels so relieved now. Your investment in your relationship with God is the best preparation for your future.
Because of his intimate relationship with God, Joseph was able to serve the keeper of the prison and all of the other inmates. He was ready to make a difference in his world.
6. Make a Difference
Be the change you want to see in the world.
When you are thriving, you and the people around you will notice the change. You will be different. Above all, you will have a different attitude, and you will feel fulfilled.
In other words, when you are thriving, you are ready to make a difference. In the survival mode, you focus on your own needs and desires only. As I wrote in my article “Is It Really Possible to Be a Happy Single?”, you make a pivot from yourself when you start serving others, and hence, you begin living for a higher purpose.
Now, notice this important point. Joseph started to make a difference while being in prison. He did not wait until the Pharaoh promoted him.
Instead of waiting for your relationship status on social media to change, start being the change in your world. Use your time, ideas, energy and talents to serve in your community. Invest in learning new skills. Why not organizing a mission trip overseas? As you may be able to live with less income, why not work part-time to volunteer at your church or for your preferred charity? Why not open a prayer group at work or offer workshops with your extra time, instead of wasting your time watching hours of Netflix series or scrolling up and down through your social media newsfeed?
The possibilities to make a difference are endless. Use your creativity.
Could it be that you are single for a purpose? If this is the case, why not become a single with purpose?
As a single, you have an amazing opportunity indeed. You can leverage this season to make a bigger difference that you would have ever imagined. It’s an opportunity to skyrocket your skillset, to invest much energy and time, and to travel to places you are dreaming of visiting. Be one of the Christian singles who spend their precious time for God.
Begin to Thrive as a Single
It’s time to change your attitude. Trust God and start making a difference for Him to give Him the glory. Now is the time to become purposefully single. Choose to begin to thrive as a Christian single women or Christian single men today.
Don’t waste your waiting period as a single. If you waste your waiting, you will miss out on an amazing opportunity!
Are you taking up the challenge?