Unexpected Apathy

Intriguing title eh? I love McCulleys honesty in this section. The next quote is hers – but in all truthfulness I could have easily said it too..

 

“I’ve look at my circumstances and concluded that God had “abandoned me to unwanted singleness”. I’ve actively complained about it, I’ve made snide remarks, I’ve been bitter when others have received the blessing I desire. I’ve even been outright angry with God for not answering my demands on my schedule”

 

Honestly, all these things are true for me too – I often feel that God has forgotten me, that I have been overlooked, abandoned – and negative, angry, selfish and bitter words can and do come out of this more often than I would be happy to admit.

 

“When our prayers seem to go unheeded, we can learn to live in unexpected apathy. We go through the motions,but we’re not convinced that God will bless us.”

 

In all honesty – I find it hard to believe that God will ever bless me in regard to having a spouse and being able to be a Mum. I am not writing this to get a reaction – just to try and be brutally honest in the hope that if anyone else is feeling this – they may know they are not alone. It helps me to know that McCulley gets this – makes me realise that its not “weird” to think this way – its not helpful – but it is more common than we think.

 

She concludes..

 

Bottom line, ugly truth – we really don’t trust God.”

 

Ugly Truth, seems to be a good choice of words. If I am honest with myself – this is the one area that I find it very difficult to trust God in. I know that is wrong and its something I need to continue to work on – but that is the truth…

 

Thankfully McCulley has some suggestions on what we can do if we find ourselves in this position.

 

What do we do about this?

  • Immerse ourselves in the Bible passages that highlight God’s promises to fulfil all that HE has planned. We must meditate on these truths (see an example below)

  • Remember that He WILL accomplish HIS purpose

  • Based on Psalm 131, McCulley suggest there are 3 principles that we can follow

    • Humble ourselves and not think to highly of ourselves

    • We must calm and quiet our souls

    • We CHOOSE to put our hope (Trust) in God in our seemingly bleak circumstances and wait quietly

Now the challenge is to not just read this but to put it into action. To choose to this when its the last thing we feel like doing…

 

The following verses are just one example of the power of God to do what He wants to do,

Isaiah 46:9-11

 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, “My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfil my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.

God is more than capable of accomplishing his purpose…

There is a lot to think about in this section, maybe even some confession to God about our lack of trust. I will leave you with this statement from McCulley – another one to remember…often….

 

“Let’s never forget that. What we can see of our circumstances is not all that is there. Whether we are single or married, God is working to glorify Himself through those circumstances, and only He knows the best way to accomplish His plans.”

 

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My business today….

Wow, another post already? I must be inspired or desperate or something!!

After yesterday quote, in the previously mentioned book “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye” McCulley continues the theme of singleness as a gift to the wider Church. She is real and honest about the pain and disappointment of finding yourself single and seeing countless others get the “gift” that you desire. She concludes with the following – which is a challenge to me..

My business today – what I know now – is that I’m single, and I’m called to do something with my singleness for the common good and the glory of God. If God has marriage for me, He will bring it about. In the meantime, I want to live the fullest of this “gracious endowment”, pouring his gift of singleness into the church – the place and people HE loves. P34

When reading this statement – it hits me in a few ways. Its encouraging, it gives me strength but simultaneously it slaps me across the face – in a good way. When I am tempted to just focus on what I don’t have – its statements like this that can help me take one day at a time and put the focus back where it belongs – to Jesus.

I know for me, the prospect of NEVER getting married or having children is more than I can honestly deal with. But I know I can do today (although some days this is easier than others). So statements like this remind me that I am only called to do one day at a time. I guess this is part of how to deal with deferred hope – doing it one day at a time and trying to keep our gaze on Jesus and the bigger picture.

My hope and prayer is that I remember this statement – everyday – and help others to remember it too. I am not saying this is easy – I know it is not – but statements of truth like will hopefully help us move forward.

If anyone has any comments on this, feel free to share….Thanks for reading.

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Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

As I said in my previous post, I have been struggling once again with the area of singleness. This time the issue has been highlighted by yet another disappointment of what I thought could have been a good relationship not becoming a reality. This led to having to face a reality that I never want to consider but have to – the real possibility remaining single and the particular issue of never being able to be a Mum.
At my house group (which is great) a week or so ago, when these issues were very raw – I shared with a couple of the girls in my group how I was feeling and they prayed for me. A day or so later, a podcast came on my ipod while I was driving by Carolyn McCulley – a single woman in her forties who had been through all the issues I had been struggling with. During the podcast she mentioned her book titled “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? : Trusting God with a Hope Deferred” – which I then downloaded onto my kindle (http://amzn.to/1rhhTVU). This was clearly a God thing – the book is exactly what I need right now. I feel like I should share some of the gems in this book with you. Its not always easy reading – but its good, if any of this resonates with you – I would recommend a read.

I am hoping to add a few posts in the near future from this book but here is just a starter for you

“The good news here is that the singleness is not about you – either your good qualities or your sinful tendencies. You have a “gracious endowment” that is for the good of those around you” p31

I can confidently say that most single women I know struggle with the feeling that there is something “wrong” with them which contributes to the fact that they remain single (not pretty enough, too fat, too thin, too needy, too boring etc..). I find the perspective that Carolyn brings here very refreshing. That our singleness is for the good of those around us – that it may well have nothing to do with US – but to do with what we can add to the church body. I spent some time thinking about this, and although it certainly does not take all the pain away, I do realise that the time and freedom I have as part of my singleness allows me to spend quality time with people and to give to people in ways that would be much harder in different circumstances. It helps to start taking my eyes off my own situation and looking to the bigger picture.

There is much more to bring from this book but today I will stop there….the next post will not be too far away…. Thanks for reading.

did i kiss marriage goodbye

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Its been a while…

….it has now been quite a while since I have added anything to this blog. I have thought about it quite a lot but to be honest, I have been struggling with this issue and was afraid anything I added to the blog would end up being a self-indulgent, self pitying rant…so thought that would be far from helpful so should keep that to myself.  In the last few weeks I have thought a lot about this issue and have recently started to read another book on the subject (one of the few that I find helpful). I will start to add some highlights from the book in the near future. But for now – here is a helpful sermon from St Aldates Church in Oxford on Singleness – you can download it using this link http://www.staldates.org.uk/resources.asp – its the sermon titled “Godly Singleness”.

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Article

Someone put this on facebook – its a good article – I don’t think I have much to add. Will add something from me soon.

http://peterwchin.com/really-its-okay-to-be-single/

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It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone…part 2

bench by water

After writing my last post I have been thinking a lot about the tension that the subject matter leaves. The balance between knowing that we have relational needs – and not feeling condemned about that – and knowing what to do about it.

The first part is a huge shift – to have the struggle of singleness and the need for companionship acknowledged, in itself is a huge encouragement. But acknowledgement does not solve the issue – there needs to be something we can do about it. If the answers were easy, I guess we would have already sorted it out.

From discussions with various single women, most of them, given the option would always prefer to have a husband to meet these needs – but as most single Christian women know, there is a shortage of single Christian men – a huge shortage.

So what do we do? HOW do we meet these real and important relational needs where husbands are in short supply?

If we don’t do anything, we will suffer. In the same way that our bodies suffer if our physical needs are not met – our emotional, psychological and spiritual selves are harmed when our relational needs are unmet1. Others may minimise these needs, but God will not.

Our needs ARE important and God cares about them.

Often others counsel with the best intentions, that if we deepen our relationship with Jesus and discipline our minds, we will be victorious. Although these aspects are of course very important – there are still relational needs that are not being met – and the ache remains……it is not good for (wo)man to be alone….

God did not intend for us to live the isolated lives that our culture suggests that singles should live.

So what do we do?

I am interested in other’s opinions on this, I think a discussion on this would be helpful. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. More shared/community houses?  Maybe we need to resist the cultural pressure to get our “own place” and enter the messy world of living in community with others. Where we live openly with others, warts and all so to speak. There will be difficulties and messy bits – dirty dishes, messy rooms, noisy people – but maybe its worth it to have the close companionship that can accompany living with other people?
  1. Stronger relationships between couples/families and singles?  Singles need to be in relationships with families as much as with other singles. The couples/families who really invite others into their house and allow them to just come and be – they are gold dust. Giving much needed companionship alongside the a reality check about what marriage/family life is really like. Also the single could be a great assest support for the family as well as vice versa.
  2. More Accountability?  When you are single, its easy to get away with stuff – we could be doing anything. Accountability is vital. We could be in a bad mood for days and no one could call us on it. We could have not spent any time with God for a few weeks – and no one would know! We need to be intentional about this, to find a couple of close friends, and keep each other accountable on a regular basis. Its easy to not do this, to let it slide – but its really important.

 These are my opinions, would be great to get your feedback.

 

 

 

1MvInerney, Viginia. Single Not Separate (Chrisma House: Florida, 2003), 98

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It is not good for man (or woman) to be alone…

I have often struggled with the tension between admitting/being honest about my relational needs alongside the pressure not to beat myself up by thinking that this suggests that God alone is somehow not enough.

We have legitimate relational needs. We all do

Let’s start by looking at Genesis – the very first problem that God addressed is that it was not good for man (Adam) to be alone (Gen 2:8). Let’s just think about the implications of this – Adam had an unbroken relationship with God, this was before the fall, before sin entered the picture – yet God still saw that Adam still had relational needs that were not being met – even with a perfect relationship with God. Ok – let’s breathe……read that again……take it in. Even Adam, with a perfect relationship with God, without sin – STILL had relational needs. Our only conclusion has to be this…we need relationships with others as well as with God – that is how God made us. So what does that mean for us….We don’t have to despise or feel guilty about having relational needs – these are God given.

Here is a quote from Virginia McInerney: Single not Separate.

Companionship and belonging are our two chief relational needs. Having companionship means having at least one person with whom you feel safe and comfortable, at least one with whom you can be yourself and be confident you are loved. Its enjoying the sense of having a person walking beside you comfortably whether in silence or conversation – one who cares about the details of your life. P98

If I am honest, this is an issue which wrenches my heart. One of the aspects that I find hardest regarding being single is feeling alone, having to face hard times without someone next to me, without anyone who really knows what is happening on a day to day basis.

What I find helpful about what is above is that it actually takes away some of the guilt that I often feel regarding having unmet relational needs. I guess the next question is how to address these unmet needs……think that will have to be another post…

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Possibly the best article on this subject I have read – opening up the lid on the hard questions singles are scared to ask

The Toughest Questions Singles Ask – Virginia McInerney

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2004/may/9.58.html

Virginia McInerney

The growing number of single women in our world today have more freedoms and opportunities than this demographic ever has experienced. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t occasionally hounded by struggles—or haunted by tough questions. For example, why is this such a growing demographic? And what are they supposed to do with occasional lonely feelings—year after year?

For answers to some of the most challenging of these queries, we turned to Virginia McInerney, a single woman who’s a regular speaker at her megachurch in Ohio, and who wrote Single Not Separate (Charisma House), which tackles these and many other difficult singleness issues head-on. Here’s her frank, insightful take on five of the toughest questions singles ask:

1. What do I do if I’m angry with God because he hasn’t given me a spouse?

A while ago the Lord began to deal with me about my own anger toward him over my singleness. Frustration had been building inside me, and I wanted to blame God. After all, in his sovereignty, this was what he’d chosen, or allowed, for me—and I didn’t like it. I knew I had to admit to my anger, but I was afraid to do so. I thought, I can’t express that to God … I mean, this is God we’re talking about! I can’t yell at him.

But then one day several things in my life went wrong in rapid succession, and I blew up. As I drove to a church seminar, of all things, I started to yell at God. Between my angry words, I apologized, “I’m sorry I feel this way. You have every right to strike me with a bolt of lightning. But this is how I feel.”

The Bible says God desires truth in our innermost being (Psalm 51:6). Finally I was telling God the truth about how I felt. Even though I was seeing the situation in a wrong light, it had to come up and out, since God is the only one who could right my thinking and diffuse my anger. By stuffing my anger inside, I’d really been turning my back on him.

I’m not condoning anger with God. But we can’t just pretend it isn’t there. We can’t make it go away by a sheer act of will. Acknowledging it by being honest is the starting point. Confession follows. Then God forgives us and cleanses us (1 John 1:9).

Great people of faith—such as Moses, Job, and David—experienced anger toward God, too. Thankfully, he understands our humanity, and he’s merciful.

2. How do I deal with haunting, sometimes unanswerable questions such as “Is there something wrong with me?” or “Am I not married because of past mistakes?”

All of us, married and single, have questions that may not be answered this side of heaven. Still, Jesus welcomes our queries. Many times he answers our questions; sometimes, for reasons we don’t understand, he doesn’t. But in either case, it all comes down to faith.

When we don’t sense God answering these questions, we need to believe:

  • God has his reasons for not answering.
  • He is good even if his apparent lack of response makes it seem as though he isn’t.
  • What the Bible says about God and about us is true even when our experience seems contradictory.
  • If God truly wants us to know the answer to the question, he’ll tell us at a later time.

Believing what’s true about God’s character ultimately resolves our questions, even if we don’t get answers. We know God loves us. Consequently, we can rest in knowing he has a good plan for our lives. Romans 8:28 says he works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This means even without knowing the answer to our questions, we can rest in the knowledge God can make everything turn out all right in the end. Even if the reason you currently aren’t married happens to be because of past mistakes, God can redeem those mistakes, turning them into something good.

As for the question about there being something wrong with you—well, ultimately the answer to that question doesn’t matter. There’s something wrong with everyone, married or single. “For all have sinned … ” (Romans 3:23). If there’s something about you that’s a hindrance to marriage, God can take care of it, no matter what it is. Ask him to address any issue that may be standing in the way. Then yield to him when he does. True peace and contentment come when we focus our attention on God’s ability to resolve problems more than on our tough questions.

3. If God is all I really need, why do I still yearn for something more?

While it’s certainly true Jesus is the ultimate source through which all our needs, relational and otherwise, are met, he meets those needs in diverse ways. Sometimes he does so directly, but often he does so indirectly through people and circumstances.

Many Scriptures—such as Genesis 2:18 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12—point to the necessity of human companionship. In the Epistles alone there are more than 50 references to “one another”: “love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9); “forgive one another” (Ephesians 4:32); “serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). God places great value on our relationships. While our relationship with God is primary, we need each other, too.

Unfortunately, a lot of false guilt can stem from a failure to grasp this truth. Here’s what can happen. Let’s say someone counsels “Mary” to find total relational satisfaction in Jesus. She earnestly tries, but because God designed us for relationship, she fails. She then begins to wonder what’s wrong with her, why she can’t get close enough to God to satisfy her unmet relational needs. Now she’s left with a false belief that her relationship with God is flawed. So poor Mary feels like a failure at human relationships (presumably because she isn’t married) and a failure at her relationship with God. We need to work hard to set singles free from this unhealthy, untruthful cycle.

4. How active should I be in the process of finding a spouse — or should I leave it all up to God?

This question makes me think of a recent job search I did when I first moved to Ohio. I worked hard to find employment because I didn’t assume a job was going to fall in my lap simply because I needed one. While I asked God to open the right doors and shut the wrong doors, I also acted responsibly by doing the normal things one does when looking for work.

There’s a biblical basis for this dual approach—of allowing God to work and taking action—in the Old Testament account of how God brought together Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2-4). I often wonder if Satan is deceiving some singles whom God has called to a role of action into thinking this is one area where they can be passive and simply wait for a spouse to show up one day on their doorstep.

On the other hand, I know people whom God instructed to continue doing the things to which he’s called them. They had an assurance from God that meeting a spouse just would happen. Certainly, for many people, God simply puts them in the right place at the right time. We see this in the account of God providing a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24).

For those who do actively seek a spouse, when are they going too far? When are they taking matters into their own hands? I think we go too far when we get impatient and try to force things to happen by our own doing. While it’s important to do our part, we also need to keep our hearts soft toward God, even in a long wait. The bottom line is, we need to discern what God is directing us to do, then trust and obey God.

5. Does being content mean I’ve relinquished my desire to marry?

Being content isn’t the same as saying, “I have no desire to marry.” But it’s easy for people to invert those two concepts so being discontent is equal to saying, “I desire to marry.” And since we know discontentment is a negative thing, that puts that desire in a negative light, as if there’s something wrong with wanting to get married. This trips us up, making us feel as if we have to give up our desire in order to achieve contentment. But it is possible for a person to be content and simultaneously desire to marry. These aren’t mutually exclusive.

Throughout life, all of us—whether married or single—are bound to experience ebbs and flows in our level of contentment. Various factors influence this. For example, I’ve had instances where, within a short time, several friends got engaged, married, or had babies. At times such as these, I may become discontented and desperately want to marry. There are other times when I can say, as the apostle Paul did in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Yes, I’d love to marry, but I’m OK being single.

Christian singles know we’re supposed to live on the contentment end of life’s continuum, but it’s much easier said than done. Thankfully we can take hope in the apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-16, where he tells us that although we’ve not laid hold of perfection, we should press on and peacefully trust God will, without condemnation, show us where we’re off the mark. As with many things in the Christian life, we’re striving toward the right goal; yet in reality, we’re not always there. However, if God isn’t condemning us, let’s not condemn one another. Let’s encourage each other instead!

Adapted from Single Not Separate. ©2003 by Virginia McInerney.

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Peace in Singleness article

Taken from http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/9872-finding-peace-in-your-status-as-a-single-woman

As a 45-year-old single woman, I have had my share of surprises and struggles. In my late 20s, I was surprised by how few resources there were to help me maneuver through the challenges I was experiencing as a single adult.

I discovered there were numerous books on dating and books that centered on contentment as a single, but I couldn’t find much that addressed the tough things I faced day to day. More importantly, I couldn’t find any books that simply validated what I was feeling.

There are many misconceptions about singleness held by those who are married and by singles themselves. If you are plagued by any of the questions singles commonly ask, I encourage you to read on. If you’re married, the answers may help you know how to respond to your single friends.

WHAT IF I AM ANGRY WITH GOD?
Even though we know it is sinful and makes no sense, some of us become angry with God because He hasn’t given us a mate. We know the Bible says He is good, loving and kind. He’s perfect!

Our head may agree with what the Bible tells us, but there is a proverbial “12-inch drop” between our heads and our hearts. That’s where the problem lies.

One of the reasons it is so hard to win this battle to keep a pure heart toward God is that everywhere we turn, there are reminders of what we want but don’t have. These incessant reminders continually fuel our longings and desires, day after day, year after year. Each season carries a reminder that time is passing and we are still alone.

It is the constancy of facing frustrated longings that fuels the temptation to be angry with God. Your anger can be fueled by plaguing, unanswered questions such as, “Why must I wait so long?” or, “Why have You blessed my friends with a family but not me?”

Anger about your situation can build inside you, and you want to blame somebody. In His sovereignty, God has chosen or allowed singlehood for you, and you disdain it.

The good news is that because God is merciful, patient, compassionate and understanding, He beckons you to get your pain out in the open, even though you have no right to be angry with Him. He knows what is in your heart, so hiding it is futile.

The Lord began to deal with me about my anger toward Him. I knew I had to admit it, but I was reverentially fearful to do so.

Then one day several things went wrong in rapid succession, and I blew up. I was driving to a church seminar, of all things, and started to yell at God.

Interspersed in my yelling were all kinds of apologies, such as, “I’m sorry I feel this way. I know You are God, and I’m afraid to be telling You this because You have every right to strike me dead, but this is how I feel.”

I was telling God the truth about how I felt and what I thought. But my thoughts were wrong. And my feelings were the direct result of my wrong thinking.

However, God was the only One equipped with what I needed to help me out of that dark place. I had to start by being honest. At least then I was connecting with God instead of turning my back on Him in hostility and fear.

By acknowledging my anger, I opened an entry point for God to straighten out my thinking. I’m not condoning being angry with God; it’s sin. But we can’t pretend the anger isn’t there, and we can’t make it go away by a sheer act of our will.

Acknowledgement is the starting point. Confession follows. Then God forgives and cleanses us (see 1 John 1:9).

Things really began to change for me after I acknowledged my anger. I believe this was chiefly because I personally and tangibly experienced God’s kindness as He permitted me to vent (see Rom. 2:4). The sin I was spewing out on Him, He was putting on Jesus instead of turning on me with righteous wrath.

God softened my heart and caused me to see His true character again. I had lost sight of it because I had fallen prey to deception–thinking that God was cruel because He was putting me through or allowing me to go through so much pain.

Moses, Job and David all became angry with God (see Num. 11:11-15; Job 10; Ps. 73:21-22). I believe God recorded these examples to illustrate that although we may encounter things in life that provoke us to anger, He understands our humanity, and He is merciful to us when we come to Him.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
All of us, married and single, have haunting questions that may not be resolved on this side of heaven.

Many times God gives us specific replies, but sometimes He does not. In either case, we must exercise faith to deal with our questions.

If we don’t get a specific answer from God, we must exercise our faith to believe that:

* God has His reasons for not answering us directly.
* God is good even if His seeming lack of response to us makes it appear as though He is not.
* God will tell us more at a later time if He truly does want us to know the answer to our questions.

Believing what is true about God’s character and nature ultimately resolves all our questions, even when we don’t get specific answers about why we are single. For example, if you are concerned that your current single state has to do with past mistakes, you can rest in knowing God can use those mistakes and turn them into something good.

The answer to another commonly asked question, “Is there something wrong with me?” does not matter. There’s something wrong with everyone, which includes those who are married!

Scripture says, “For all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23, NKJV). Obviously people’s flaws don’t always hinder marriage.

However, even if there is something about you that is hindering marriage, God can take care of it. Ask Him to address any issue that may be standing in the way. Focus your attention on God’s ability to resolve the problem more than on the problem itself.

IS GOD ALL WE NEED?
Often, when single adults admit their longings for relationship, people respond by advising them to deepen their relationship with God. This bad theology has made the lives of singles more challenging by setting forth the false notion that we should derive all relational satisfaction solely from our relationship with Jesus.

Though it certainly is true that Jesus is the ultimate source through which all our needs, relational and otherwise, are met, He meets those needs in diverse ways. Sometimes He does so directly, but often He does so through people or circumstances.

We have to gain a new perspective on what happens when singles are constantly directed to seek relational fulfillment in Jesus when admitting their longings for a spouse, family or just companionship. Although well-intentioned, this advice often implies that our primary problem is that we are not close enough to God.

Though exhortations to grow closer to Jesus are good for all of us, this counsel, so often shared with singles, can be interpreted to mean: “It is wrong to look for relational satisfaction through people; look for it only in God Himself. He is enough.” A single person who loves God but still yearns for more can come under false guilt because he or she can’t say, “No, God is not enough.”

Let’s sort out this twisted truth. Many Scriptures point to the actual necessity of human companionship.

Genesis 2:18 says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 reads, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.”

In the Epistles alone there are more than 50 references to “one another.” “Love one another” (John 13:34), “forgiving one another” (Col. 3:13), “serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).

These verses illustrate the value God places on our relationships. Our lives were not meant to be lived with God alone.

We are made in His image–an image that deeply desires relationship. Although our relationship with God is primary, we need each other, too.

In Single, Not Separate (Charisma House), I share my belief that God is bringing about significant changes in His church so that singles will become more integrated and included. This will serve to eliminate much needless isolation in the future.

REAL PEACE FOR REAL STRUGGLES
Today, you may be surprised by the things you are dealing with as a single. You may choose to avoid admitting your struggles because you think you should just “get over it.” Or perhaps you feel that experiencing pain means you are an immature Christian.

Jesus said that in this world, we would experience tribulation. But He also added, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

As singles, we, too, want to overcome through Him. And we can learn how to live well in the midst of our struggles. Remember the words of Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

When you have exhausted all your energy struggling to understand the answers to questions that are beyond you, it really is OK to give up the fight. It is not a sign of weakness to lower your head and say, “God, I just don’t understand.”

Neither are you a “bad” Christian for vigorously asking these hard questions and seeking answers in the first place. God does not despise you for asking, and you should not despise yourself for quitting the quest, as long as you end your quest in trust, not defeat.

The greatest peace comes not in understanding the answers to our plaguing questions but in having a submitted heart that rests in the knowledge of God’s goodness despite everything that may argue to the contrary. God will help you to surrender if you let Him.


Virginia McInerney is the author of Single, Not Separate, a sensible application of God’s Word on the single life, published by Charisma House.

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Isolated: single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches – Article from the Independent

This article is taken from the Independent online – check it out here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/isolated-single-christians-feel-unsupported-by-familyfocused-churches-8586640.html

Single Christians feel “isolated, alone and lonely” within their churches, according to new research. More than a third of worshippers who were not married or in a relationship said they did not feel treated the same as those that were part of conventional families.

Nearly four out of ten single churchgoers said they often felt “inadequate or ignored” whilst 42.8 per cent said their church did not know what to do with them. A total of 37 per cent said they “did not feel treated as family members”

The findings were based on the responses of 2,754 people who used the Christian dating site Christian Connection and suggest there is a significant minority of worshippers who feel alienated by the prevailing attitudes within protestant denominations in Britain including the Church of England.

The survey found that older people were more keenly aware of their single status and that women not in a steady relationship were treated as “threats to couples”. Singles said they often felt more valued outside rather than inside their church.

Independent researcher and writer David Pullinger who analysed the data, which included single parents, said churches needed to respond to changing times.

He said: “People are incredibly loyal to their church. One of the key findings was that they felt embraced but whilst this should be something warm they said they often felt isolated and lonely. They say they are accepted but they are not included socially. They feel invisible and think about leaving.”

Figures from the last census reveal that single people now make up the majority of households in the UK. More than 500,000 single person households have been created in the past decade with the number of single adults reaching 15.7m

Mr Pullinger added:  “This is a time bomb for the church. All their natural contact points with the community tend to be with families – people coming forward for marriage, births and through Sunday school and church groups. They have to take seriously singles aged over 30 and think how they can reach out and embrace them and start to make it an attractive place for people to come.”

Among the comments made by respondents were that they felt the “pain” of being single in a predominantly family setting and that there were few activities aimed at those aged between 30 and 60 for those without a partner.

They said they felt excluded from leadership positions and that there were few other single people of similar age with whom they could relate.

Christian Connection founder Jackie Elton said single people in churches of all traditions wanted to share their experiences. ‘We hope churches will understand and learn from the findings. Single people often feel marginalised in churches which concentrate on the needs of families. However, as the number of single people grows in society, it is more important than ever thatchurches identify ways to make them feel welcome and fully included.”

WHAT SINGLE CHRISTIANS THINK

I have heard the nuclear family preached as God’s ideal plan, whereas I think it’s a modern evil, and we should promote the extended family and community which can embrace all.”

I don’t think that churches place enough emphasis on the importance of friendship, and give far too much significance to the family. The church should be a place where natural families are more dissolved into a larger community.”

The problem is there is a general lack of understanding about the implications of being single – most people who are married in the church have never really been single so don’t really understand this issues or even acknowledge that there might be any.”

My GP actually recommended I attend another denominational church (at the time) because of the lack of care I was experiencing.”

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