Singleness miscellaneous

In this post I’m going to be all over the place, hence the odd title. :)

For single gals out there I would like to recommend a good book on our topic of singleness. The book is called “Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred” by Carolyn McCulley (Crossway). I’ve read the book twice and I can highly recommend it. This book is biblically saturated, hope giving and it offers wise counsel.

Next I would like to share some life management tips for singles. These are ways that help me and I’ve only learned them by God’s grace and through passing of time. I hope you will find some insight and encouragement by them!

Tips for life management for single ladies (and for single guys too, why not)

1. What I’ve found extremely helpful in my own life is not to focus too much on my singleness. Being single or being married isn’t all of our identity. We are also daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, relatives, aunts, uncles, co-workers, friends, ministry workers and the list goes on. Being single isn’t our only and definitely not defining title. It’s helpful to me not to pour all my energy to singleness, relationship books, prayers for my future husband and discussions about guys and girls, weddings and so on. It’s helpful to me to view singleness only as one part of my life and not making it the primary focus of my life after God.

2. Getting busy helps me keep on going. And no, I’m not talking about busyness that you create to forget your miserable state of singleness. I’m talking about busy life that doesn’t wait for a spouse to come in order to start. Ask and seek the Lord in prayer and through Bible reading how He might use your singleness for His glory. Get an education. Get a job. Learn to manage household and money. Learn to cook and bake. Start a home Bible study group or a prayer group. Go to Bible college. Start serving in your home church at some capacity. Go to evangelize. Dig in to Bible study and prayer and spend a lot of time in the church. Visit some other church. We have so many possibilities to live for God as single people!

3. Give thanks to God for the blessings of singleness. In case you thought marriage has all the blessings I’ve made a short list to get you started with thanking God for singleness:

- Freedom

- As a single you’re mainly responsible only for yourself

- You can freely choose what to cook and how to decorate your apartment

- You have all the time in the world to invest to God’s Kingdom and mature in your faith

And for those who aren’t single moms or who don’t have children:

- You don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night just for the baby

- You don’t need to change poop diapers

- You don’t always need to share your time with someone else

- You can mostly enjoy meals and drinks without interruptions

Don’t get me wrong. I keep marriage in high honor (Hebrews 13:4) and I love children. This list is only for the purpose of seeing how many blessings there are in singleness and this is by no means an exhaustive list. What makes you thankful for singleness today?

This post will end my series on singleness. I’ll probably write more about singleness in the future but in the following posts I’m going to write on various topics so stay tuned!

Singleness and loneliness

Being single and being lonely are synonyms… or are they? Singleness equals loneliness and loneliness equals unhappiness… or does it?

If we compare singleness and marriage we may many times think that they are totally opposite to one another. And of course, in a sense they are. It’s very different in many ways if you are single or if you are married. For us singles married life can look like another realm. Because I’ve only been on this side of marriage I really can’t tell what life looks like “on the other side”. But I daresay our lives might not look like very different if and when we get married. Let me explain why I think that.

When we get married we will still be the same person as we were when single. (Hellooooo! Even a child can understand that…)  I know. Yes, our marital status will change. Yes, marriage life will probably be very different in many ways than the life we lived as singles. And yes, marriage will change us as the years go by. (And… your point is?) My point is that we don’t automatically change and move to another realm when we get married. Man and woman will bring themselves to marriage, both the good and the bad of them. Marriage happens in a real world where sin, problems and decay are a painful reality. Why we think marriage will solve our problems? I once heard a pastor preaching in a conference that both man and woman bring their problems to marriage and thus, we have a combination of more problems, not less.

I’m not trying to sound childish or pessimistic here. I’ve noticed that in my own life I’ve sinfully viewed marriage as a “savior” which will save me from loneliness and problems and escort me to a substitute heaven. Yes, the Bible has a word for this pattern. It’s called having an idol. Already when God spoke to Moses and gave the Ten Commandments to children of Israel the First Commandment was about whom we worship: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). Leviticus 19:4 also says: “do not turn into idols, nor make yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God”. We shouldn’t view marriage (or singleness) as something that will ultimately satisfy us. God created us in a way that we will only find true satisfaction in Him and Him alone. God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17) but nothing or nobody should become more important and more dear to us than God Himself.

What comes to experience of loneliness in singleness I think we need some perspective. Marriage may not solve the problem of loneliness. Yes, in marriage you most likely have someone by your side most of the time but you still might feel lonely time to time. If you struggle with loneliness in your other relationships while single why marriage relationship would be any different? Yes, it was God who first thought that man should not be alone and His solution was to make a helper for a man (Genesis 2:18). But in the Garden of Eden God only gave man another human being who can neither fill nor satisfy our deepest needs. God gave a man only a companion. Of course the man and the woman were also able to have God as their companion and this leads to my final conclusion.

What is glorious under a New Covenant is that we might suffer from loneliness even in marriage but truth is that we aren’t actually alone even then. With a spouse or without a spouse each Christian has Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Because God is triune God it means that God, all-sufficient great I am, is now closer to us than any other human being. People, even those closest to us, can fail, sin, disappoint, leave or die. But “let your conduct be without covetousness: be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). As Christians we truly are not alone and we can find true joy also in singleness because we have God. When loneliness is nagging look unto One who is ever with you. The One who will never leave you nor forsake you.

Submitted dream

In the “About this blog” page you can find a story of how I began writing a blog. I shared how there became a time in my life when the Lord asked me to give my dreams to Him. And so I did. I wrote all my dreams on my notebook and then gave them to God in prayer one by one. I shared how writing a book was one dream and here I am, writing a blog. It came as a surprise to me that the Lord began almost immediately using that dream. But there was also one dream on my list which wasn’t so easy to submit to the Lord. It was a dream and a prayer from my heart which hasn’t been answered yet. That dream was my desire for husband and marriage.

I’ve probably never cried so hard in my life when I submitted my dream of husband and marriage into God’s hands. At first I wasn’t even willing to submit that to God. But it was almost as if an arm with an open hand was reaching out to this dream and a voice was saying: “I want that“. It was painful but now even that dream is held in the arms of my God. And surely there is no safer place for our dreams than Father’s arms.

By submitting this dream to God I gave Him a permission to do whatever He wills with it. That may mean I might spend my life as a single. That may mean I will get married soon. That may mean I need to wait other 25 years to get married. That may mean something that I’m not even able to think about right now. The idea is that I allow God to do His best in this area of my life, whatever that might be. Disciple of Christ is supposed to have only one will at work in his life and that is the Father’s will.

Through pain and tears I will follow my Lord who is more important to me than my dreams. I follow Jesus and trust that “those who sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5). With a husband or without a husband Jesus still needs to always have the first place in our hearts. What have you submitted to Lord’s hands and how you might be sowing with tears?

So you are single?

So singleness. Do you ever have “that kind of feeling” when you say you’re single? I’m talking about that feeling when you feel you need to say “single” with a bit lower voice. It’s almost as if there’s something negative in a word. I’m single again. I’m still single. No, I don’t have anyone special in my life at the moment. Singleness often needs explanation. I’m not dating because… I’m single because… We might not even want to say that we’re single. It’s as if there’s a whole different caste for singles and nobody wants to belong to that group.

I’ve been single for 25 years. (Silence) What’s wrong with you? Do you have some kind of infirmity? Are you ugly? Are you afraid of commitment? I’m sorry for you. I can arrange a blind date for you. Poor you. You must feel so lonely. Do you even want to find someone? (I just love the way I can be ironic on this topic. Although, I do know it’s much easier to write it than say it. Poor me.) I’ve had a lot of crushes in my life and I’ve had “things” going on with some guys. The Lord saved me from drinking and partying culture where physical contacts with the opposite sex were not unusual. But yes, I have never been in a real relationship or not even on a real date. (Oh, poor thing! I can still arrange that blind date for you…)

So yes. Singleness. Why is it so big a deal anyway? I think it’s because we all want love. We all want to feel special in someone’s eyes. We all want to be cherished. But as we know everything doesn’t usually go the way we should want. I remember being 10 years old and wanting someone by my side, but still to this day that someone hasn’t come by my side. (Do you need a tissue?) I’ve heard that couples are relatively happier and will live longer. Couples are everywhere. So why am I still single? My honest answer is that I don’t know.

Being a Christian hasn’t solved my “problem” of singleness. I’ve followed the Lord for five years now and I’m still single. I’m surrounded by married couples in the church. I would like to get married one day myself. But until this point the Lord hasn’t provided a companion for me. I used to be discontent about my singleness. The nagging voice in my heart said “if I would just be married then everything would be alright”. Lord, if you would just give me a husband then I would be happy and I wouldn’t ask for anything else. Yeah right. In my heart of hearts I know that wouldn’t be true but I still dream it would be. In the coming posts I will dig deeper into this topic of singleness.

Series on singleness

I would like to write a series on singleness. “Hi, my name is Iiris and I’m single.” (Hi Iiris!) So now as I’ve that out of my chest I can breath again. Just kidding. Anyway, I would like to write about singleness because I think it can be a neglected topic even in the church. I once heard a quote that “the world would like you to fornicate and the church would like you to get married”. So where is the place for singleness? The world wants you to couple with someone and the church wants you to join with another Christian to a wedded bliss. We who are (still) single might feel left out. We are either waiting for the one to share our life with or wondering what we should do with our lives without that someone. I have many questions myself on this topic, being a 25-year-old Christian single that I am.

Am I called to singleness? How should I spend my time as a single? When will I get married if I do?

So in the coming posts I would like to write about singleness as a single to single people. Stay tuned!

Daily bread

We all need balanced breakfast. My physical food may vary from day to day but the spiritual food stays the same every day. This breakfast included Finnish Karelian pies, yoghurt with bananas and tea. And of course my daily morning devotional on the Word of God with a notebook ready and waiting. “Raamattu” is a Finnish word for the Bible.