Encouragement for Singles this Valentine’s Day

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How are you feeling today, Christian single? Maybe you’re doing pretty good most days with the Christian life. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little encouragement as a Christian single. Just between you and me, I’ll take off my “strong Christian single” mask and get real with you. While I do believe there are some benefits of singleness, and I do enjoy these benefits, sometimes I also get discouraged. Sometimes I just need a big, huge dose of encouragement related to the relationship department. Do you know where I’m coming from, friend?

Here’s some encouragement I’ve dug up for myself that I hope can help you too.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”

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In this well-known passage, the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that there’s a time for everything. War and peace, death and life, mourning and dancing. We can even see this in nature – there’s dark and light, high tide and low tide, winter and summer. Some seasons are more pleasant than others, and it’s natural to want the hard seasons to be over, but that’s just not how things work.

What about your hard season of hurt? Maybe you’re asking questions after a tough break-up. That sucks, but it won’t last forever. Your hard season of feeling hurt because you got rejected? Those feelings won’t last forever. Your loneliness wondering where “The One” is? Everybody who has a heartbeat who has found the one they waited for can probably attest that the wait was worth it if they truly found their someone. Waiting is hard, but we can’t escape it. We can, however, try to keep it in perspective, and acknowledge that it’s ok to grieve when we want to.

Psalm 88:1-2 “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.”

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The Psalms are full of words of trouble and they’re relevant to us because sometimes we find ourselves in trouble too! What I love about the Psalms is that they show no matter how much we may wail, cry, moan, complain, agonize, question, or wonder, God is still present. We may not get the answer we want – or any answers at all – but God is still there. If you’re questioning things that have gone on in a relationship that ended or a relationship that hasn’t materialized, God may not give you the answers you want – or any answers at all – but He can be the listening ear for you that will never get tired of listening. This concept applies to not just relationship troubles but any troubles we face in life.

Proverbs 15:14 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

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It’s important to know the truth about who you want to date. Is this person a good person? Is he or she a Christian? Let’s go back to something even more basic – is this person a single person? It’s unfortunate that such a basic question even has to be asked, but we have to be discerning and know that there are people who have no business dating at all that might make themselves available to you. Be wise and know this! Avoid trouble and be discerning!

Be discerning as you go about your quest to find the right relationship. Using the good judgement and wisdom that God is willing to give us can save us a lot of heartache. While feelings can place us on an emotional high, they can put us in a place of being attracted to people who are not good for us. Feelings are not bad but discernment can help us so much more. Discernment can help us separate truth from reality and discernment can help us place appropriate boundaries between people who may not have our best in mind. Some people are takers that will take endlessly with nothing but selfishness in mind. Use discernment to filter these people out of your dating pool.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own  understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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Relationships can be messy, right? Maybe you’ve been through a break-up and analyzed it all. Maybe it wasn’t you but them that caused the trouble. Or maybe it wasn’t either of you but just a mismatch. No matter how much we may try to use good judgement and wisdom, there can still be unanswered questions that we have to leave in God’s hands. God is so gracious and full of love towards us, and He can use these messy situations to steer us away from people that would be the wrong match for us. God can use these disappointments to steer us onto a better path, even if we can’t see it at first.

Today, no matter what you may be feeling, keep in mind how much God loves you and that you are His treasured child!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Singles, How to Make the Most of the Time

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Have you ever thought about what it means to “redeem the time”? In Ephesians 5:16, we’re told to “redeem the time” (or, as some versions read, “make the most of the time”). Have you ever thought about how this could apply to your life if you’re a Christian single with a desire for marriage?

Waiting is hard. It can be painful, filled with hurt and discomfort. It can be filled with ambiguity. There can be tension in waiting. As Christians, we’re encouraged to “trust in the LORD” with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6), yet nowhere in the Bible are we given the promise of a future spouse. So, with confident expectation, we can do our part, and we can pray, but there’s that other part – the faith part- that means we have to hand over the reins and trust God that He will help with all the other parts in the process that we can’t control.

So what’s that got to do with our time, with redeeming the time or making the most of the time?

It’s my opinion that there’s a lot we can do while we’re waiting. If you’re praying and asking God to bring you a husband or a wife, or you’re asking God to heal your broken heart, I can’t make your prayers come true or fix your broken heart. However, I do think that waiting can be viewed as a time of preparation, rather than desperation. This can give us hope.

Waiting can be viewed as a chance to prepare for what we want – a future season of marriage. If you hope and want for marriage, you can take the opportunities now for making your single life the best that it can be. Don’t settle for dating people who don’t respect you, just because you’re alone. Don’t buy the idea that you are “less than” because you’re not in a relationship. Don’t accept the idea that you have to be in a relationship – you don’t.

You can give yourself some power if you feel uncomfortable with the unknown. I think that being single can give great opportunities for positive change. Focusing on these things while you’re single can allow you to experience blessings in your own life. And, if you get the marriage you’re praying for, the results of these changes could bless your future spouse as well. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Redeeming the Time Financially

If you’re single, why not consider the state of your financial house? If you don’t have financial goals that you’ve thought about, now’s the time to think on it and go for it! Big goals like saving for a house, paying down student debt, building an emergency fund, or being able to give to a charity you have a soft spot for – these are all things you can enjoy doing while you’re single. While you don’t have to stop these things when you get married, being solo means that you’re number one with no one else to answer to. Since I’m single, I expect that if I ever get married, that kind of “Me Only” mentality that I have with my finances would not make for a successful partnership. Having a husband would mean the game would have to change from “me” to “we”.

Redeeming the Time, At Work

Some girls have only one goal in life: get married, have kids, and be a stay-at-home mom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having that goal. Motherhood is a high and noble calling. Partnerships of families where the mother is home with her young kids, and the kids feel safe and secure – these partnerships can create good kids who grow up to be good people. If this is your goal as a woman – to find a partner, get married, and be a homemaker – how can you redeem the time to that end? I don’t think that eliminates doing your best at a job outside the home. Being able to contribute financially can be an asset to your future household. Ruth, in the Bible, is an excellent example of this. Her second husband, Boaz, would never have met her had he not seen her work ethic displayed when she was gathering food.

Being single can be a great time to accomplish goals and acquire skills that can serve your family, regardless of your parenting plans. I probably never would have been able to finish my college education had I not been single when I was going to school. If I was a working mother with kids to care for, it would have been impossible. I couldn’t have done it; it would have been too much.

For men and women, being single is the perfect time to tackle time-consuming goals. What might you accomplish? Have you been thinking about going back to school, getting an extra certification, learning a new language, or going for a promotion at work? Being single gives you more time to take the steps you might need in order to advance your career before your family needs more of your attention.

Redeeming the Time, Just for Fun

Not everything has to be serious! Some things can be just for fun. Have you thought about starting a side hustle, going mountain biking, starting a website, or learning how to cook? Have you binge watched anything stupid lately, ate breakfast in bed, or re-decorated your bedroom? Would you enjoy doing a service project or clearing out some clutter, Kon-Mari style? Not everything has to have a goal – some things can be just for fun – and when you’re single, you get to be the boss!

I hope that wherever you are in your life, you can find a way to make the most of the time and enjoy it! You’re worth it!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

Four Marks of Date-Worthy Men (Or Women)

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There’s a new show on Netflix called Back With The Ex that has a unique premise. Four former couples – who dated and separated for various reasons – have a chance to re-unite and decide: Do we want to give this another go? Or should we stay apart, forever? It’s interesting to watch couples go through what is essentially an autopsy of their relationship. As a single woman, I’ve watched this series with a critical eye. For one couple in particular, I can’t help but think that the goal of marriage must be on one of the women’s minds – considering that she clearly wants it and he, well, has not proven himself to be a family man.

For Christian singles, there’s so much being said about dating, courting, and so on. Some of it is good and some of it is lacking. I believe that now more than ever one thing is for certain: if you are a true, deep in your heart Christian, it’s tough to be a “Christian single”! The path can be lonely so please know that if you’re a Christian single who desires to be married and you are patiently waiting for your future spouse, I understand where you’re sitting in life, because that’s exactly where I am. And no matter where you’re sitting in your life – maybe you’re single again, had a broken engagement, or just getting into the whole dating world, please know that the Father loves you more than anyone in this world can.

I think it can be helpful for Christian singles to think about what their non-negotiables are when looking for someone to potentially share their lives with. Especially Christian women – because it can seem like eligible Christian women outnumber Christian men – if you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, you need to anchor yourself to what your are looking for in a partner. Remember, you are are NOT crazy if you’re asking for these things:

Care and Concern for Others – I’ve done my share of church hopping and I no longer attend a church. But I do remember one congregation that gave people the opportunity to pray out loud during the service (if they wanted to). One man in our group – who society might unfairly expect to be out of touch with things – would pray in great detail for so many people. His prayers included world events because he kept up with things. His compassion was evident. While he depended on others for certain things, he was clearly a man of prayer, compassion, care, and concern for others.

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As we go about our lives, whether it’s sizing up a potential mate or striving for our own character improvement, we can look at the traits of care and concern for others. These can manifest themselves in various forms. If we look at ourselves and see that these qualities are lacking, we can always ask God to give us more empathy (but beware, ask and you shall receive!) And if you’re looking at a relationship,  you can ask the Lord if this area is lacking in the person so much that it is a red flag or if it’s an area where he or she is growing (as we all grow and mature).

While not everyone will have the gift of deep prayer, your love interest could have another gift, like wanting to give to the needy, or being a great listener, or performing acts of service. Maybe she sings in the choir at church, or he does manual work for free or just speaking a kind word to someone without anyone else knowing it can be an expression of a caring heart. Having a caring, concerned heart for those in need is a wonderful trait when you consider spending a lifetime with this person. Having no concern, no empathy, no care is something to certainly think twice about. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you suspect this to be the case.

Fidelity/Faithfulness/Integrity – Ever seen the show Cheaters? The poor folks who ask the producers of the show to find out if their beloved is cheating on them… such a sad situation. Not having trust in a relationship really leaves nothing left; perhaps this is why the divorce rate is so high. It’s critical to know that the person you’ve chosen will be faithful to you. This is not about casting judgement towards other people, but this is about what we, as singles, want for our own lives.

Christian women (and men), if you want a partner who is loyal and faithful to you only, you might feel like you’re waiting forever, but you are not crazy! Want a guy who is dating you but doesn’t get an ego boost from flirting with other women? Yeah, you might feel like that’s a rare catch, too! The saying goes that how you catch them is how you keep them, so while you might feel lonely not trying to catch a man with short skirts and low cut tops, you’re more likely to “catch” a man who is like-minded, morally speaking.

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Solid Work Ethic – Charm, looks, muscles and a good tan – sounds good, doesn’t it girls? But I have to tell you what my mom has always told me (and still feels the need to tell me) – it ain’t all about that. One of my favorite YouTubers says that we all get old and we all get ugly – that’s also another way to put it! The person you’re interested in – do they have a desire to work? (At least while their employer is paying them to?) Does she want to be a Proverbs 31 woman so she can create a warm, loving household or a successful business venture? Got your eyes on that man at the office, girls? Those TPS reports he has to do at work may seem stupid, but does he do his work as unto the Lord? Work comes in various forms, so look at the person you’re interested in and ask yourself (and God) if they have the character trait of a good work ethic. While we all like to rest and have fun (I certainly do), there’s a time for work too. A man (or woman) who abuses their employer’s time will probably find themselves without a job (or at the very least, on thin ice), which can cause a great amount of stress.

Good Steward of Resources – Does he blow all his money gambling? Does he spend more than he earns? Does she have to have the best of everything, getting all tied up in having a high status, top appearance, and making other people think she’s the best? Or does he try to save a little bit, even if it means he can’t have the fanciest car? Even if you don’t believe in God, there’s a good reason to look for this in a potential marriage partner – most married couples would probably say that money is the top cause for arguments. And, while there are times in life that we can fall upon bad luck through no fault of our own, you can ask yourself if the person is, in general, a good steward of their resources. Do they think about the future in general terms of what they want? Or are they irresponsible, making huge, messed up choices, that could impact you or your children, in a big way? No one is perfect and we all do things we shouldn’t. No one is in perfect condition – we are all works in progress and will be until the day we die. But if you’re attracted to someone who has a major issue of irresponsible living, it will impact you. Especially when there is no desire to change, it’s probably best to just cut your losses and move on, and consider that you’ve dodged a bullet.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Study the Bible When You Don’t Have Time to Study the Bible

Do you study the Bible on your own? Maybe you’ve been told at church that you need to have Bible study as a family, or that you need to read the Bible on your own, or that it’s good to be able to read through the Bible in a year, but honestly, just between you and me, are you on a plan of studying the Bible?

I won’t lecture you here because I know how things are.  Some seasons of life are more challenging than others. As the Bible says to everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose. Some times are rougher and come with less ease. Maybe you are in one of those times – a season where you’re being a caregiver where you don’t have a lot of time for yourself. A time that is draining you to the max, full of doctor’s appointments, waiting, and worrying.

Or maybe your season is busy for some positive reasons – full of family commitments, schooling, work, and activities that you love, but with a jam-packed schedule, the only quiet time you have with God is when you’re tucking your child into bed or when you’re jumping into bed yourself.

Or perhaps it’s not so much a time constraint that’s keeping you from studying the Bible so much as a distance you might feel from God. It might feel like God is far from you, so it might feel hard to get into the Bible right now. Maybe this is a feeling you’ve felt before. Mature Christians know that this feeling of distance from God is not a sign of a lack of faith, and that feelings don’t mean an absence of faith, but it can make you not want to read your Bible.

So – how can you study the Bible when you don’t have the time, or the desire, to study the Bible? Here are some practical tips for getting a little bit closer to the Word when time and energy are in short supply:

Pick one verse that relates to your week

With a Google search, you can do a search of the Bible for any topic of your choosing. Dealing with discouragement? Fear? Want to know what the Bible says about happiness, money, or success? Pick just one verse to focus on for the whole week that you connect to. That might not sound like “Bible study” to you, but in my opinion, it’s better to understand and relate to one verse than to plan to study an entire chapter and never touch any of it. You can also search online for images with the verse to set as your computer’s wallpaper, cellphone screensaver, or if it relates to your kids, place it where they can see it too.

Bible Coloring Books

Adult coloring has become popular for a reason – it’s a great stress reliever that isn’t unhealthy. Bible coloring books for adults combine this trend with Scripture verses. This can help you unwind when you don’t have time for “quiet time” by reminding you of a Biblical truth that you already know. It’s also a nice activity to have on hand if you spend all or most of your day behind a computer screen.

Consider an e-mail subscription

Bible Gateway has an email service that works well for busy people. If you don’t want the constant stream of emails, you can visit their website to access the verse of the day. Bible Gateway also gives you the opportunity to access Scripture in the translation of your choice, and to opt to hear it read. You could open one window and read the Bible while another window has the Scripture being read by a narrator. Today’s verse of the day is Psalm 136:1, 26 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.