What if Singleness is Your Normal? Part 3B

by Holly DeKorte

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”  Proverbs 31:25 

Editor’s note: Holly’s last blog ended up being long enough that we broke it into 2 weeks. You can find the first half of this BLOG HERE.) Holly has been sharing her story of singleness with the hope it will encourage God’s people to love and value countercultural singles in a tangible way. If you missed Aaron message you can find it HERE. Now, on to the last blog in this series.

6. Do life with God- that means in a Gospel Centered community.
This is the point where I could be called many things including (but not limited to): bitter, cynical, judgmental, critical, and unforgiving. These are attitudes of my heart that I know can be dark and sinful. Yet, I want to tell the truth out of love.

Do you know where, as a single, I have felt the most pain and heartache? It hasn’t been with my family or at work. It hasn’t been with my friends, enjoying their company. It has been at Element and Element functions But, but, but...we’re Element! We do church “differently”; we’re not like those “other” churches! In my experience, there is sometimes a glass wall that separates singles from those who are married. The glass wall is not always present, but do I run into it at Element and it hurts. Debating who is responsible for the wall does not help us to actually break it down. Ephesians 4:13-16 shows us a picture of how the Church should be: joined with our head (Christ) and held together through Him. Glass walls should not exist at all.

It is rather easy to be unseen or overlooked as a single in any church. Programs catering to families and children are often the norm. We, at Element, pride ourselves on the fact that our church has Gospel Community (GC), not programs. You are supposed to be seen and known in GC. This has been my experience, to a certain extent. Here’s a question for you, though… What do you do if there is a single in another GC who is at your church? Do you think to yourself, “Oh, he is someone else’s responsibility,” or do you think, “What could I do to get to know that individual?” My point is Element is the Body of Christ. We, not only our GCs, are supposed to be a family. Look beyond your Gospel Community! See others who happen to be in your view. Engage them in conversation. You might even find yourself a new swimming buddy.

Oftentimes, singles are the ones initiating friendships. My most valued relationships at Element are definitely reciprocated. Many include walks, talks, beach trips, pool trips, kids’ soccer games, and wine nights. I am grateful for these friendships and by no means want to minimize them. However, more can be done. Random text messages are gifts. It means someone is thinking of me. In a world where I have not met the “one” on whose mind I’ll always be, this is encouraging. I am a busy person, but I do have flexibility in my schedule. Sunday afternoon is an especially vulnerable time for me, as I imagine weekends may be for other singles. Usually my grocery shopping is done, I’ve spent time with my family, the papers are graded, the chores are completed, and then I am alone. If you get a text from me on Sunday, it is me literally crying out for company. On my end, I need to be better about planning dinners with people. What could you do on your end? It’s something I challenge you to prayerfully consider.

I do not want to burden anyone with guilt, but I do want to open your eyes to singles who might be around you. Is there a movie that you want to see? Call a single. Is there a new restaurant in town? Include a single in your couples’ group for a dinner out. Are you at a party and see a single who arrives alone? Talk to that person! You don’t have to be an extrovert to ask them about their day.   

Many people will start to pull out a verse right about here that expresses how singles ought to be serving the Church. I agree. But...so should married people. It is my joy to serve Element. I have, though, removed myself from leadership positions because I do not feel qualified and sometimes I feel stretched too thin. Right now, I am weary and I need someone to lead me. That someone is not currently a husband, but it is the Someone who knows us and calls us by name.  

7. Be careful not to be lazy or foolish.  
This takes me back to point five. I have been known to fight against God’s best for me. He has given us free will and sometimes our free will runs amok. About a year and a half ago, I dated a Christian man who was not eligible for marriage. Though he claimed to be divorced, he was actually just entering the process. I broke things off, he reached out, and I went back. Foolish. Not only did I break his heart twice, I could very well have been a stumbling stone for his growth in the Lord. I also played the blame game. I blamed God, my family, him, anyone but myself. The truth is, I made the decision to reopen a can of worms. I was responsible and chose foolishly.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no. 

If you see singles acting lazy or foolish, there is likely a reason. The rejection is overwhelming, so they become lazy. The loneliness is creeping around them, so they become foolish. Don’t immediately judge the behaviors, but do look at the heart conditions. I know that I behave the most foolishly when I start comparing myself to others or when I’m craving companionship. Allow singles the time to talk about their hearts. Singles carry burdens alone--everyday burdens that people may take for granted. Many of you might remark to your spouse, “I always have to take out the garbage.” I literally always have to take out the garbage. It’s preferable to a smelly house! It may seem like a trivial example, but I often think about how nice it would be to have someone else who also shares this responsibility. Ask your single friends about the burdens they carry alone. The burdens themselves may seem silly to you, but added up, they can be overwhelming. Once in a while, metaphorically offer to take out their garbage.    

Well, we have reached the end of this three part blog. Anyone know of any book deals? I have got three excellent titles lined up for a book about singleness! Seriously though, it is my prayer that you have gained empathy for the struggles facing singles, that you will love singles as your brothers and sisters in Christ, and that you will help to shoulder some of their burdens. I am thankful that God has placed me at Element where we can speak about difficult things. God is our loving Father who renews, redeems, and restores. I might never be “Holly, the wife” or “Holly, the mother.” I will, however, will always be Holly, Child of the Most High King.