It's not always easy being single: third wheeling it at the movies, persevering through some awkward dates and scrambling for a good answer when well-meaning friends and family members ask if you've met anyone "special" yet.
Although it has its fair share of uncomfortable situations and weekend nights sitting on the couch in pajamas, being single does not have to be the time in your life you barely get through.
Here are a few ways to live life fully and pursue growth in your single season:
1. Go on adventures. Travel. Take road trips. There might be a day coming when you can't just pick up and leave because you'll have a family, so go places. Take your friends, take pictures, see new things, try things you're scared of, spend time with people from other cultures and fill your journal up with stories.
2. Don't overdose on romance movies and books. There's nothing like getting totally absorbed in the life of someone else who has a girlfriend or boyfriend, to send you into a whirlwind of sorrow and loneliness. It may not be romantic movies that send you into the whirlwind. It may be certain music, websites or particular places or environments. Be kind to yourself and stay away from the things that make being single more difficult.
3. Do things that make you come alive. Write, draw, paint, exercise, cook, play field hockey, program computers—whatever it is that makes time disappear and makes you glad you were born.
Pursue other interests. You can even take risks on some of them that would be more difficult to take with a spouse and children, like starting a business.
4. Get dressed up. Ladies, put on a dress, really cute shoes and some lipstick. Guys, this isn't just for the ladies. Take a shower, shave the scruff, pull out your sharpest outfit. When you're single, there are times apathy can start to sneak in because you haven't gone on a date in 65 weeks and you'd rather sit on the couch watching reruns than try to go anywhere. Getting ready and putting time and effort into your appearance shows you value yourself and you will value whatever relationships you enter in the future.
5. Be nice to your friends in different seasons. Celebrate their engagements. Buy presents for their new babies. Don't shut down your relationships with people because you're in different seasons. Someday when you're having your moment, you're going to be so glad the people you care about are there celebrating you.
6. Hang out with families. People who are happily married have a wealth of wisdom for you to learn from. Ask questions, play with their kids and watch how they treat each other. What do they love and what do they find challenging? They've been in your shoes, and you will probably be in their shoes some day, so let them help set you up for success with healthy expectations for marriage and family.
7. Learn to get really good about having fun. Become a master at enjoying the moment and the season you're in. There will always be something to worry about or something more you feel like you need. Get good at enjoying your life right now, and you will be able to fully enjoy it later. This is a unique moment in time, and you'll never be here again. Don't miss it.
8. Realize that problems don't disappear when you're married. Married or single, you're still going to be you. All your problems, addictions and bad habits go with you. If you're struggling in the area of purity or sexuality, work through it now.
The reason God gave you a sex drive before you were married is because He knew you'd have to be able to manage it when you are married.
9. Hang out with Jesus. This is the only time in your life Jesus can have this much of your time. One day you might be up all night with a crying baby or running around trying to get your kids to school and you're not going to have time for a shower, let alone a nice long quiet time with your latte and your Bible. Get deeply rooted in His love. Write His Word on your heart so you have it inside you during the busier times in life.
10. Let God tell you who you are. You're not beautiful because boys say you are; you're beautiful because God says so. You're not a handsome stud of a man because all the ladies love you; you're a man because God says you are. Get your identity from Him because He knows you, created you, and His love for you is steady, unlike the wavering opinions of people.
There are more ways than these to make the most of your singlehood. Figure out what works best for you. The important thing to remember is there is no part of your life where you simply have to survive and not thrive.
God uses every part our lives to grow us and prepare us for the incredible things He has ahead. Chase after complete freedom and abundant life, not only in this season, but in every one to come.
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