Guest Author: Angie Woods, founder of Stewarding Your Story
The season of singleness can be such an amazing season if you choose to make it that. Regardless of if you are called to celibacy and service or if you are preparing for marriage you must get good at stewarding your body, desires, relationships, time, and talents. Being intentional in stewarding these takes intentional thought and planning. I want to help you do that today.
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)
How does a single person do this season of their life well?
Let’s break down each category and see what we can learn:
Stewarding Your Body
It is your job to take care of you. That means really understanding what it takes for you to function. How much sleep do you need? How much time with God do you need? What food fuels your body? What movement or exercise do you need? How much alone time and resting do you need? How much socializing and interacting do you need? Do you need counseling or a mentor to help you figure out how to handle your emotions? What do you need to help take care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being? So often during singleness you get so busy taking care of others, or people pleasing and doing everything to make everyone else happy that you forget to take care of you. God asks you to steward you and really own your life and take care of you. When you are your age and single your parents aren’t taking care of you, it is all you. So, singleness is a great time to figure that out. Spend some time answering those questions and understanding your baseline.
Stewarding Your Desires
God gives us desire. They are unique to each of us individually. You might desire to travel, serve on the mission field, learn a new language or instrument. You might have sexual desire, and/or desire to be married. You may even desire to marry someone who is in the ministry or plays the guitar. But whatever those desires are they are meant to be good. Those are all gifts from God and when we feel that pull on our heart we get to see it and with God, decide how we want to steward it. We have to first examine and see if it is an artificial desire that we think will just make us feel good in the moment and can cause damage to our lives, or if it is a God given desire that draws us closer to Him. If it is an artificial desire that can lead us into a life of sin, we can ask for help. We can find those who have dealt with that before and reach out to get practical tools to not let those lead to sin. He may give you those desires and then not fulfill them until His timing. But, what do you do with them in the meantime? You can be honest about them. You don’t have to resist them, or bury them, or feel bad that you have them. You can acknowledge your wants and then with God figure out what the best plan to have a healthy connection with those desires. You can learn to share where you are open and honestly with those in your sphere. But you must not use those desires against you. You must not think you are broken or not good enough because you have them and they are not being fulfilled. Remember that sexual desire is there to get you to go out and find someone to marry. God knew we needed an extra boost to do the hard work to find someone to love and connect with. You get to take those desires back to God and with Him come up with a great way to steward them well.
Stewarding Your Relationships
You have a relationship with God. You get to create this relationship by how much time you invest here. But the way that you think about Him is going to affect how you connect with Him. So, if you think amazing thoughts about God, you will create an amazing relationship with Him. One filled with trust, time spent together, getting to know Him, prayer, honesty, clinging to Him. But if you struggle to think amazing thoughts about Him you can feel hurt, betrayed, and even left out. You won’t want to draw close to Him because you don’t know if He can be trusted. So that can create a disconnection that makes you feel even more alone in your singleness. Create the space to investigate what you really think about God and see how this could be affecting your relationship with Him.
You have a relationship with yourself. You spend a ton of time with you. But if you are not careful you don’t have the best relationship with yourself. You think pretty bad thoughts about you and you aren’t very good at seeing all the amazing ways that God made you. You might get in a rut of comparing yourself with others and only see where you lack. But you can take this time while you are alone and create a great relationship with yourself. You can get to know yourself better and can figure out what you are most wanting in your life. You can start having a friendship with yourself where you feel safe, seen, known, and understood. You won’t hate being alone because you will learn to enjoy your own company. A great bi-product is that when you are looking for a future relationship you won’t be desperate for them to like you because you already like you.
You have a relationship with others. You have relationships with peers, family, mentors/mentees, co-workers, maybe even dating relationships. But all of them are in this season of your life to teach you more about God and yourself. Each one can be an opportunity for you to be curious about why they act the way they do and why you act the way you do in response to them. You can have amazing relationships with people around you if you intentionally think loving thoughts about them. Removing the criticism that easily creeps in can help you look at them from a place of curiosity. When someone does something we often want to judge it, but you can learn so much more if you come at it from a place of curiosity and wonder. When you engage in these relationships looking to understand, there can be more connection. We pursue relationships because we want to connect. You want to be seen, known, and understood. As a single you might not feel that way often. I encourage you to be someone who sees, knows, and understands yourself, and then looks to see, know, and understand others.
Stewarding Your Time
You have more time when you are single because you might have different responsibilities than someone who is married or has children. You get to figure out how to spend that time. God may be calling you to invest in others. We each have 24 hours every day to offer God to use us in the spaces He calls us to. So while you are single make sure you don’t forfeit taking care of yourself and spend it all, that can lead to bitterness and resentment. Make sure you are consciously choosing where your time is best spent. Do not feel guilty for resting and taking a Sabbath. Understand that your time is valuable and precious and it is not wasted. God wants to do amazing things in your time as a single. Intentionally investing it and asking God where He wants you to spend your time, can help you steward it well.
Stewarding Your Talents
You have gifts that God will use. Some women long to be married and take care of children. Others can’t wait to have a husband to encourage and support. How can you use those talents God has given you during your season of singleness, when you don’t have those things? You can still take care, encourage and support even when single. He wants you to invest your talents for His kingdom purposes. He doesn’t want you to bury them away until you are married, have a family, or feel more a part of a community. He longs to use your gifts to encourage and strengthen the body. You get to ask God how to do that while you are single, and be obedient to where He leads you.
Taking time to decide how you want to handle your time, talents, relationships, desires, and body are only going to set you up for living out the life you most want to have while you are single. You may not have what you most want right now, a husband, kids, or the picket fence, but you don’t have to let that stop you from living your single life the way you most want to. Decide as much as you can right now and work at making these days valuable!