10 Things To Do While Single

Christian Singles10 Things To Do While Single
by guest blogger, Nicole Miller

Most of my friends and I are cruising along in the single lane of life and have been for some time now.  All of our stories vary but we have this one thing in common: we never thought we would be single THIS long.

Maybe it was because we are all highly driven leaders in our own respective fields and thus are used to having a plan and executing it.  Whatever the reason, we have been surprised to find ourselves on the other side of 30 and no wedding band.  That has offered its own disappointments.  But one thing I’m really proud of us for, is the fact that we have LIVED and are LIVING our lives to the fullest.

So, just in case you feel “left behind” in the fast-paced world of milestones and societal expectations (fast-paced, because, well, waiting is SLOW) here are just a few items I encourage you to pursue that we have experienced that have made this season just a little more bearable, I mean sweeter :).

1. Complete an advanced degree. 

things to do while singleI finished my degree a couple of years ago while working full time.  It was an amazingly disciplined season of my life and also a walk of faith.  I pursued a field that was previously a huge area of weakness but I felt the Holy Spirit leading me on that path.  He was true to His word and I flourished academically.

Maybe you just need to complete your undergrad or even just a license/certificate.  Maybe you are not academic at all.  If that is the case I would encourage you in continuing to become learned however that looks for you.  Brains + Beauty = Double Threat.

Getting your schooling out of the way pre-marriage and kids is such a blessing.  Do it while you can.

2. Run a marathon!

Or a half marathon.  Or heck even a 5K :).  Just 2 weeks after I finished grad school I ran my first half marathon.  And maybe my last :).  I had been running for years and did several other races but this was by far my longest stretch.  It was a great experience.

I trained with one of my closest friends.  We were so dedicated that one night we ran 10 miles straight, ended at 10pm and went to work the next day.  That is a great benefit of being in your 20’s.  Your energy level is sky high :).

3. Accumulate assets! 

A while back I really wanted to purchase a home.  In hindsight I’m grateful that was not the route God had me take as I think I would have been in over my head.  Home ownership is a pretty big deal.  Instead, I ended up buying my first vehicle.  I tell you, there is nothing like not having a car note!  Also, I’m sure having a tangible asset can only make you even more of an asset to whoever you end up with :).

4. Pay off Debt! 

Now this is definitely a sore spot for me.  But I totally appreciate anyone who is able to accomplish this feat!  I’ve heard finances are a major reason for marital conflict.  Now is the time to get your stuff in order.  Those who are faithful over a little, can be faithful over much.

5. Travel!10 things to do while single

Earlier this year I was blessed to go on my first cruise.  Snorkeling, ATV’s, kayaking and lying on white sandy beaches filled my time. There is nothing like seeing the world to broaden your own horizon and outlook on life.

Who can feel “lonely” when taking in God’s beauty painted over landscapes of deep blue oceans? My traveling companion and I also made a really good friend who is from Italy on the cruise. We plan on visiting her in her home country next year.

6. Volunteer.

It was on my heart to do some service work in my community last year. I assisted a local organization with Christmas gift wrapping for local families. That was a great experience as the holidays are usually a downer for me. What better way to take your mind off yourself and help someone less fortunate? I also did some tutoring with this organization and helped an adult improve her reading skills.

7. Write a book.

Or paint a picture. Or whatever other creative project you’ve been putting on a shelf, yet are itching to complete. I am in the midst of getting my manuscript published. This was a total God idea as I never saw myself as an author. Yet here I am swimming in the seas of blogging and positioned to dive into authorship. Writing has been such a great therapeutic outlet for me and God has used it even to unfold His will for my life and give me PEACE. Maybe He will do the same for you?

8. Take a missionary trip.

I myself have only done a service project once but several of my friends have been on missionary trips. One friend was so taken by her experience overseas that she is now a full time missionary. Even if you are unable to get away, maybe you can donate to someone else’s trip and support their cause.

9. Zip-lining!

Christian Single Woman going on a jungle zip line Or Rock climbing! Or anything else that takes you out of your comfort zone!

Last summer my girls and I went zip-lining for the first time and man was it a wild experience! As we climbed our way to the top of the course, we made comments about how fun it would be to zip line with a wedding party. Well, by the time we actually performed this crazy feat, we were taking back those statements! I may or may not do zip lining again but I can at least check it off my bucket list. And I’m glad to have that shared experience with the ones who have stood by me for so long.

10. Adopt a healthy lifestyle!

I have had my share of work out classes. Ranging from boxing to zumba to weight lifting to kickboxing. I like to be active and stay in shape. Exercising is a great way to lift anyone’s mood who may be feeling a little “blah”.

In addition to working out, I have been practicing a “clean eating” lifestyle for almost 2 years now. As a result I’ve lost 25 lbs and dropped 2 pants sizes. I’m sure I’ve bypassed a lot of illnesses and diseases that I was susceptible to simply b/c of my ethnicity and family history. Another benefit of taking care of your body is, you can increase the potential for attracting that special someone :).

These are just a few of the ways I can see God has kept my friends and I busy as we continue on this path that looks so different then what we planned.

These accomplishments and experiences were not completed in any type of attempt to “do works” for God’s kingdom or “get us closer to the alter”.
They were just birthed out of His plan for our lives.

I hope you will see the good things He has in store for you in THIS season. I hope that every desire He has for you will be fulfilled in His timing.

 

purpose in waiting

Guest Blogger Nicole Miller

~ Author and Blogger, Nicole Miller

Visit Nicole’s blog … His Love is Better Than Wine
and stay tuned for the release of her book How to Overcome Heartbreak.

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Marriage Is Not About Happiness But A Ministry

Marriage Is Not About Happiness But A Ministry
by Single Sisters in University

Why do we want to get married? Why do we look forward to living with the man of our dreams?

As women, we’re drawn to those romantic movie scenes where a couple is all happy and cozy, and thus we covet a similar relationship in real life. We want the hugs, kisses, sweet words, protection, and support that come with having a husband. We want to be happy!

But does marriage really make one happy? If that were the case, then why has the divorce rate risen over the years? Why do we see some married people feeling lonely? Why do some men/women murder their spouse? And the worst part is why does the marriage bond become mundane along the years? Are we doing anything wrong?

I recently watched a sermon by pastor Francis Chan titled “Christ-Centered Relationships, part 3″ and what he shared revolutionized my thoughts on marriage.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31-32

marriage is not by single sisters in university

image: Single Sisters in University

Throughout the Bible, many references of marriage are used to describe the union of Christ and the church: Ephesians 5:25, Ezekiel 16:8, Matthew 25:1, Jeremiah 2:2, and etc. That’s why in the above passage of Ephesians 5:31-32, the apostle Paul states that marriage is not just about a man and a woman coming together, but it’s the illustration of Christ and the church.

As born-again Christians, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ to the world and what better way to do so than through the ministry of marriage. When godly husbands begin to love their wives as Christ loves the church and when godly wives begin to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, we minister the love of Christ to a lost and dying world. This, as a result, will attract the world to know more about the source of this solid marriage which is Jesus (Matthew 5:16).

How a couple nurtures their relationship will affect their children and surroundings. I myself have at times been disgusted by marriage by witnessing different couples devour each other like sworn enemies, while at other times been attracted to marriage by couples who respected and scarificed for each other. That’s the reason why we should never take marriage lightly because it’s the ministry that God has given to those who are called in order to reflect Christ to the world.

Consequently, when both spouses understand this profound mystery and they begin to serve and put God first in their relationship, the products are love for each other, happiness, salvation of the lost, and etc.

The reason why so many marriages have failed, become mundane or bitter is because either one or both spouses considered marriage as the source of their happiness. When your spouse becomes your reason for life, you therefore begin to suck happiness from him or her; reality is that they will never measure up because only God is supposed to be your life and bliss.

Do we want to enjoy our marriage when the time comes?

Do we want to have a blessed union?

Then our future husbands and us should consider marriage as a ministry to reach out to the world instead of a source of happiness. The Bible doesn’t lie when it says: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

When spouses together in unity seek first to advance the Kingdom of God, the Lord will then provide for the rest: Enjoyment, love, happiness, and all that we desire of marriage.

~Contributed by Single Sisters in University

The Purpose in Waiting on God (For Marriage)

purpose in waiting

Blogger Nicole Miller

The Purpose in Waiting on God (For Marriage) by guest blogger Nicole Miller.

I would like to be 100% honest and share that I never wanted to be single. Growing up I saw how hard it was for my mom being a single parent and I made up in my mind that, “yea, marriage is definitely better!”

So I set out to “find love” as a teen and that misguided notion led me to a world of heartbreak (I have a blog post to prove it “How to Overcome Heartbreak: Recovering from Misguided Love). But thankfully Love found me anyway and set me on a better path (Love’s name is Jesus by the way).

Even as I journeyed on this better path which up until this point has included 9 years of singleness, I still nursed my best kept secret that “marriage is better”. So when friends married off and had children and bought houses while I sat and twiddled my thumbs anxiously, I envied and coveted the seemingly better life. My desire for love and marriage relentlessly burned within me and the daily denial of self was an inward battle.

This unmet desire, coupled with the reoccurring waiting periods God kept implementing in various areas of my life, created a serious challenge to be content in the season I was in. It wasn’t until recently that I finally saw the other side of the coin: marriage is HARD.

Now, people kept telling me it was hard, but no one ever told me why.  It wasn’t until I read “Boundaries in Dating” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend that I learned why (this book is recommended on Candra’s “Resources for Christian Singles” list).

God also threw in a few real life events to further hammer home the lessons on marriage He was teaching me.

Upon reading “Boundaries in Dating” I learned marriage is hard because it is a set up for two people’s characters to rub up against each other for years and years. I learned that it is the character of a person that you are stuck with for life (this includes their level of maturity and any unhealed wounds they are carrying around).

You see, my past experiences in relationships consisted of romance, feelings, emotions and passion. I was confusing my emotional connection with a person as love. I was overvaluing looks, personality and gifts/talents and undervaluing character and maturity.

Even after my first bout of heartache, I had still not matured in my understanding of the purpose of marriage. I had heard others say that marriage depended on selflessness, but I had no concept of the depth of selflessness that was required. I only knew that I had this desire and it was not being fulfilled. I only knew that I kept being obedient on the path that God called me to walk, and He was not rewarding my obedience (of course it was His obedience through me but “Self” has a tendency to forget that).

My culture, (both American and the Church) kept telling me that I was not ok being single. I was told that I needed someone to complete me. I was also told that by a certain age I should have met this person and started a family. And even though these were lies given to me by my culture, I really did want this family. I really did want to have someone to share the holidays with and celebrate with. I really did want to be a part of a pair.

The deception lies in the fact that if a relationship does not have a solid foundation, then it will easily dissipate and my culture does not like to wait for anything, let alone a good foundation to be laid. Furthermore, all things this side of heaven are temporary and cannot satisfy. My culture sends the exact opposite message, leading many into unrealistic expectations and hope deferred.

So in my 9 years of walking this thing out God’s way, in His mercy and grace, He was laying a solid foundation in me.  He saw that my desire for marriage was skewed but He still honored the desire He put within me and set out to make sure that it would be fulfilled in such a way that it would last.

There is always purpose in waiting on God and that has been His purpose with me: to lay a sure foundation. 

I finally understand that the purpose of marriage is to give of yourself and not receive (although that is always great when that happens). This purpose can only be fulfilled if there are 2 healthy people (healed and continuing on paths of healing), operating in systems of growth and who understand the need for putting each other first.

So even though I still struggle in this single state (especially being over the 30 mark with no children) I can honestly say I’m thankful for the wait. I am thankful that God has given me TIME to mature and learn His ways which includes His purpose both for marriage and singleness.

 

~ Author and Blogger, Nicole Miller
Visit Nicole’s blog here… His Love is Better Than Wine

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God Is Building My Testimony

I have been singing Marvin Sapp’s song titled “My Testimony” for several days now. Life seems to never be short of battle’s, but the lyrics of this song stir up the spiritual warrior in me every time I hear it.

God is building my testimony. Every disappointment and every pain is adding another level to my testimony, my story of victory.

I know many of you can relate. You know what it is like to make it through the storm. You know what it is like to cry tears of joy at the end of it all, and breathe a healthy sigh of relief because you know that in spite of calamity, you made it!

Our testimony of victory is ever growing. Read these lyrics carefully. Even if you already know the song, let the words strengthen your heart.

 

my testimonyMy Testimony written by Gospel Artist Marvin Sapp

So glad I made it
I made it through 
In spite of the storm and rain, heartache and pain 
Still I’m declaring 
That I made it through 
See, I didn’t lose 
Experienced lost at a major cost, 
But I never lost faith in You 
So if you see me cry, 
It’s just a sign that I’m 
I’m still alive 
I got some scars, but I’m still alive 
In spite of calamity
He still has a plan for me 
And it’s working for my good 
And it’s building my testimony 

So glad I made it, 
I made it through 
In spite of the storm and rain, heartache and pain 
I’m still alive to say 
I made it through 

I didn’t lose 
Experienced lost at a major cost, 
But I never lost faith in You 

I’m so glad I made it 
So glad I made it 
I made it through
I made it through

So glad I made it 
So glad I made it 

I made it through
So if you see me cry 
It’s just a sign that I’m, I’m still alive 
I got some scars, but I’m still alive 
In spite of calamity 
He still has a plan for me 
And it’s working for my good….. 

 

You have some scars but you are still alive. God is building your testimony. 

 

Love, Grace, and Blessings,

~Candra

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The Single Season: A Purpose Filled Journey

single seasonThere is a percentage of the population of Christian single women who choose to embark upon a single’s journey.  I, however, frequently made it known that I was an involuntary participant of the single season.

For many of us, we pray and ask God for an understanding as to why our lives have taken this path. “What is this single season all about?” I would ask. “I did not sign up for this.”

But because we know that God is just in all of His ways we conclude that there must be a purpose. There must be one or several reasons for this. What is it that I should gain? Honestly the only thing I hoped to gain from being single was getting married. Oh, how in the dark I was. (Smile) I mean really… what a waste it would have been to journey for so long and not gain the greatest extent of what God had for me.

When walking in God’s plan, I soon found that there was much for me to gain. The greatest gifts for me were spiritual and emotional deliverance.

My single season was hard sometimes but it brought to light character flaws that needed correcting and brokenness that needed healing. It exposed my true self.

The call to “wait on God” exposed my insecurities and apprehensiveness about my future. I was lacking in patience and longsuffering. I thought I had great faith, but my single season exposed the limitations I put on myself as a woman of God.

I was very unwise in thinking that marriage would fix all of that.

In my reality, marrying at the age of twenty-five or even thirty would have only put a mask on the deficiencies in my heart. Marriage seemed like the easy way to security and contentment, but in the end my mask would have been uncovered again.

I did not want to bear the pain of loneliness or face the judgment of people. I did not want to be the third wheel surrounded by married friends or spend another Valentine’s night in my bed alone. Why did I need the frustrating tug-of-war battle between contentment and unhappiness? Just like the clay on the potter’s wheel, we are daily being made by our Creator.

God is ever molding us, beautifying us, and growing us into great masterpieces. Sometimes it takes a season of waiting to find out what we are really made of. Are we made of good stuff… joy, contentment, long-suffering, goodness, patience? Or is there still yet some tweaking to be done in our hearts.

In pain we find purpose and in waiting we find truth.

I would rather endure the sculpting of the potter’s wheel and be healed within, than to get married and remain broken, incomplete, and undone. No, I did not choose this single’s journey, but I trusted God enough to take His hand. He led me to greener pastures and still waters.

God broke many chains on my journey. Without the journey, I do not know where I would be today. I shudder at the thought. And when this journey is complete, there will be more to come. Hallelujah. If I had to do it all over again, I would walk the same path… except I would strut more in the joy of God’s healing of my heart and soul. ;)

I hope for you… Love, Grace, and Purpose in Waiting

~Candra

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