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Single and Thriving

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Embrace your adventure in this season of singleness.

One Christmas Day, I chatted on the phone with friends about the presents their boyfriends had given them: jewelry, treats and flowers. I was excited for them, and yet I couldn’t help but feel a bit left out. I was flying solo that year, without even the hope of a relationship on the horizon.

Those early single years were hard. I shed more than a few tears and often cried out to God. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, being single taught me to find my identity in Jesus, to be content with who I was and to recognize a good relationship when it came along.

Though it may not always feel this way, being single is a gift that’s filled with exciting possibilities and opportunities. As a solo soul, I had the time and freedom to pursue my dreams and focus on growing spiritually. I also discovered that I could be happy and thrive as a young woman . . . without a boyfriend.

Being single is a perfect time to work on becoming the best version of yourself, instead of obsessing over how God might bring someone special into your life. Here are a few ideas:

Discover who and Whose you are

Looking back at my single days, I can see that I wasn’t very confident in myself. I didn’t truly know who I was, and therefore, I didn’t know the kind of guy I wanted. Step one in the single life is to know Whose we are. We belong first to Jesus and are daughters of the King. Being single gave me time to practice being like Christ and to focus on pleasing Him rather than devoting all my attention to a boyfriend.

The single years often drove me into Jesus’ arms, which helped me gain confidence in my identity. I also had more time to read my Bible, join Bible studies, seek out mentors and grow spiritually. Through it all, I learned how to rely on the Lord’s strength and be content whether I was single or in a relationship.

When we know Whose we are, we become more confident in who we are. Ephesians 2:10 says that God created us as His “workmanship” for the ultimate purpose of doing the “good works” He has called us to do. Whether you’re in a solo season or in a relationship, you can live out God’s purpose for your life.

Develop your interests

When we’re single, we often have time to explore interests and work on personal development. I remember nervously asking a girl I met at Bible study if she wanted to go mountain biking with me. That began an adventurous friendship that involved many bike rides—even one in the snow. As it turned out, my interest in mountain biking led to an injury that prompted my future husband to strike up a conversation with me at church. You never know what might happen when you pursue your interests.

Do you like playing tennis? Grab a friend and go for it. Want to learn to cook? Find cookbooks, and hit the grocery store. Interested in starting a business or learning something new? Put your free time to good use by delving into hobbies, creating healthy habits, joining a Bible study, singing on a worship team, helping an elderly neighbor or learning new skills, seeking out experiences that highlight who you are.

For me, it was mountain biking, exercising, serving in children’s ministry and even babysitting to help young couples at church. Other single women I’ve known have pursued their passions by starting a flower farm, keeping bees, serving in music ministry and much more. A girl who is passionate about life is usually a very interesting person to be around.

In Psalm 144, young women are described as “pillars carved to adorn a palace” (verse 12, NIV). They’re not only beautiful; they’re also strong and useful. Being single gives you the opportunity to develop yourself as a person so you can become a strong and beautiful pillar.

Cultivate a positive outlook

I mentor a single young woman who spends time with my kids and me each week. She is cheerful and views life as full of possibilities. Because of her positive attitude, she has been a wonderful blessing to my family.

We often chat about life as she helps me chop veggies and fold laundry. She has watched my kids, planned parties for her friends and even made flower arrangements for big events. She recently graduated from college and is excited about exploring job opportunities with local and international organizations. My young friend looks forward to the future because she knows her happiness doesn’t depend on having a boyfriend. It depends on her relationship with God and her outlook on life.

There will always be circumstances in life that we wish were different. But if we choose a positive attitude and allow the Holy Spirit to control our emotions, we’ll find that we can be joyful, hopeful and helpful in every circumstance. Cultivating the fruit of self-control that Galatians 5 talks about is key to a joy-filled life.

Being content regardless of our circumstances is another important quality to develop. The apostle Paul learned to be content “in plenty or in want“ by relying on the strength Jesus gave him (Philippians 4:12, NIV). And so can we. A wise woman once told me, “Even a prisoner chained to a wall can choose what to think about.” What we focus on matters.

If you’re single right now, treasure this season as a gift. Get busy discovering who you are in Christ, developing yourself as a person and cultivating a positive outlook on life that blesses others. Most important, find your joy and worth in being the young woman God has called you to be. If you do, your solo years can be rich and satisfying.

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