Single Riders: An Opportunity, Not a Stigma

Recently, James and I visited my cousin on the East Coast of Florida and enjoyed a day at the South Florida Fair. When I was a child, my parents had steered my focus toward the animals and educational aspects at the fair, so James decided I needed an introduction to the midway rides.

We enjoyed over half a dozen rides, but seriously, why do they all have to SPIN?

As we waited in line for the ferris wheel (much more my speed than some other rides), the attendant refused a little girl at the front. She slipped back through the line with her head down.

“He won’t let her go because she’s a single rider,” James said. “Here, why don’t I wait this one out so she can ride with you?” (Yes, my husband really is that nice.)

I spotted the girl as she walked up to a lady in a wheelchair and called out, “Excuse me, would she like to ride with my cousin and me?”

The woman smiled. “That would be wonderful. I can’t go on the ride, and they won’t let her ride alone.”

I waved the girl, who was maybe ten or eleven, back in line next to my cousin and me, and without a word, the attendant let her join us.

Responding to the “No Single Riders” Rule

I did an internet search on the “no single riders rule” at fairs, and honestly, couldn’t find much information about it. My hunch is that people cite it for “safety” reasons, but to that, I would point them to the single rider line at theme parks which seems to be a popular option.

Regardless, I’m not here to advocate against policies that a leadership team decided was in the best interest of guests. What I am suggesting is how each of us can make a difference one person at a time.

  1. See other people. We often get so absorbed in ourselves that we miss what’s going on in the lives of people around us. This ability to see others is something that attracted me to my husband. If we were at an event, he was the first to welcome the newcomer or the person standing by himself. That’s an example I want to follow.
  2. Empathize. There is a point in all our lives when we’re single riders. Whether we’re young adults, single, or newly single due to life circumstances, all of us have been that single rider at some point. Don’t forget what being alone feels like.
  3. Foster community. Whether at a state fair or in any other life setting, invite that single rider to join you.

I was a single rider for a long time and have many amazing friends who still are. My experience is that when you welcome the single rider, they’re going to bless you so much more in return. They have wisdom and experience you need. They can offer a more flexible schedule than you can. They can love others in incredible ways.

To My Single Rider Friends

If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others to build community with all the different people who are riding this journey of life. My challenge to you today is to let others tug you into their circles.

Sometimes, it’s easy to develop a loner mentality, but whether we think we can sustain our own island or not, the truth is that we need others.

When I moved away from home to help some friends start their own business, I remember feeling very isolated. Each weekend, I tried church after church, looking for a place that had a young singles ministry. Time and time again, I was rebuffed. “We have a growing young marrieds class,” I was told. (Thanks, not helpful right now.) Or, “Our college ministry is booming.” (That’s great, but I’m not in college anymore.)

Feeling like I didn’t fit in could have made me withdraw, but instead, I became more determined. I did internet searches for a singles Bible study, and sure enough, I found one. It was led by three married couples who loved on us and invested in our lives, while also having a rich singles-led ministry team.

While married couples and families have a responsibility to welcome singles in need of community, single riders also have a responsibility to seek out and embrace relationships with others.

We need each other. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul craved time with his church families. He writes in his epistle to the Romans, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12 ESV)

Whether Paul was single or married at one point in his life doesn’t matter. (Scholars disagree.) The point is that Christian community is essential to growing in one’s faith and encouraging one another.

When singles and marrieds both do their part, we’re all better for it.

~ Kristen

If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others.

My Parting Thank-You to Singleness

In a few short weeks, I’m donning the white dress in my closet and crossing the threshold from singleness into a life-long marriage commitment. Entering this covenant will be the most important decision I’ve made apart from my salvation, and I’m praying for courage and wisdom to honor it well.

I realize if you’re currently single, you might be snickering right now. Why do you need courage? I’d sprint down that aisle if I had the chance! Hear me out, friends. Although I’m beyond excited for this new adventure in my life, I’m also convinced marriage is going to require as much, and probably more, sacrifice than singleness. That brings me to my first “thank-you” to my time as a single:

I thank my single years for teaching me to practice sacrifice.

As my single friends know, singleness has its fair share of sacrifice. Christian singles may have to die daily to their desires and submit them to the obedience of Christ. They often choose to give of themselves when they so much desire for someone to invest in them. And while life isn’t always lonely, it sometimes is. Even well-meaning friends don’t seem to understand the struggles they face.

Just because I’m saying ‘I do’ doesn’t mean these sacrifices and struggles are going away. They’re just going to change. For example, I will have to submit to my husband’s headship. Even though I’m so happy right now I can’t imagine this responsibility being a challenge, I’ve observed enough marriages to know that conflicts will come. I’ll have to sacrifice what I want for our marriage’s good. On a daily basis, I’ll need to die to my selfish desires to love James, my future husband, well.

Whether single or married, we are to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1 NKJV) and model our lives after Christ who “gave Himself” for the church, His bride (Ephesians 5:25). Our relationship status doesn’t change the command to live sacrificially. It just provides different circumstances in which we are to exercise it.

I thank my single years for showing me that my identity is found in Jesus Christ, not circumstances or a relationship.

When I was single, I often felt as though I had to prove myself in my career, writing, and service. While I certainly believe my single years gave me the opportunity to cultivate my God-given abilities, I had to learn that my identity isn’t found in anything I do or anything I have.

Regardless of my relationship status, my identity is in Christ alone. I’m God’s daughter first and always will be. Once married, I’ll still be God’s daughter and then James’s wife. And even if there are days I feel like a failure, I can take comfort knowing God is still my Father, Savior, and Sustainer. He’s faithful and will remind me that even when I fail or make mistakes, I am still His. I’m so glad to serve a God who gives second chances! Single or married, we all need them.

I thank my single years for teaching me to depend on God and establish a deepening relationship with Him.

My single years often drove me to my knees and to search the Scriptures for God’s promises. Many years, God seemed strangely silent, but I had to learn His timing is better than mine. His plans far surpass my stubborn expectations.

My walk with God has had its share of bumps and detours, but along the way, I’ve learned I can trust Him. I need time with Him each day just as I need air to breathe. My relationship with God has plenty of room for growth, and I’m excited about that. As I begin my marriage, I know I can depend on Him, even when hard times come, because He is always faithful.

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV)

Whether God has called us to be single or married right now, His faithfulness remains the same.

I could add more to this gratitude list, and perhaps you could too. If you’re still single, waiting, or searching, please know this bride-to-be is cheering for you. My prayer is that you would not only find a godly spouse, if that is your desire, but also make the most of your single years. One day, you just might thank them.

~ Kristen

I’m grateful to DailyPS.com for hosting this post on their site. For more encouraging and inspirational posts, visit DailyPS.com.

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6 Things Singles Need to Know about Marriage, Pt. 2

If you missed last week, you’ll want to look back at the first in this two-part series by Tami Myer. In these posts, she maps out a beautiful and biblical perspective on marriage for Christian singles.

Today, we pick up where we left off last time with the fourth thing singles should know about marriage.

If this post is a blessing to you, please leave a comment below-or share it with your single friends to encourage them in their walk.

***

#4. Marriage will not complete you.

Single people are not “halves” waiting for their other “halves” to join them. Two single people are two complete people. But after a man and a woman marry, God unites these two individuals as one married couple. Two people become one flesh and one team. [i]

Christ is the only One who is able to fully satisfy us. Whether we are married or single, Christ is the Lover of our souls who knows us completely, loves us unconditionally, and cares for us perfectly.

#5. Marriage is not the cure for loneliness.

Singles struggle with loneliness, but so do married people. In fact, some people say that the loneliness they experienced within marriage was more intense than the loneliness they felt when single.

Ravi Zacharias points out that the only lasting cure for loneliness is worship.

That may seem like a strange statement unless we understand that true worship is actually an expression of relationship. Worship is not a monologue of verbal praise or a one-person performance. Instead, it is a two-way relationship: we delight in knowing God, and God delights in knowing us. Genuine worship requires that we know God in our spirit (not just as facts in our brain) and in truth. [ii]

Without worship, we experience only temporary relief from loneliness through various distractions. But true worship can be a continual posture of our soul; it becomes a lifestyle. If we live in worship, then we can live free of deep loneliness.

#6. Marriage is an assignment from God.

Instead of looking for a soulmate, listen for God’s calling. Click to Tweet.

Marriage is a calling to serve another person. It is as much a calling as a missionary’s call to Africa or a pastor’s call to preach. A wife is called to minister to her husband’s needs, and a husband is called to minister to his wife’s needs.

If you marry because someone makes you happy, what will you do on the day that he or she doesn’t make you happy? (And that day will arrive sooner than you expect.)

Most of the reasons that people give for marrying then flip into their reasons for leaving: “he was kind, but now he’s not,” or “she was attentive and appreciative, but now she’s not.” However, if your reason for marrying is to serve, then you will never have a reason to leave because you will always be able to serve.

If God is calling you to serve Him as a single now, then fulfill that calling with everything you’ve got.

If God calls you someday to serve as a husband or wife, then fulfill that calling with everything you’ve got.

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. (1 Corinthians 7:17  MSG)

The calling is God’s business. Faithfulness to the calling is our business.

~ Tami Myer, MannaForMarriage.com

Notes

[i] Genesis 2:20-24; Mark 10:6-9

[ii] John 4:24

 

6 Things Singles Need to Know about Marriage, Pt. 1

Tami Myer is my friend and fellow writer who blogs about godly marriage and what that looks like. I asked her if she could share a biblical perspective on marriage for singles that we could apply to our walk now, and she graciously said yes.

Whether you’re a teen, young adult, or adult who’s not yet married, it’s my hope that Tami’s two-part series will bless you as much as it has me.

***

Why should singles care about the topic of marriage?

If marriage is not on your radar or even on your wish list, you may think that the subject is not relevant for you right now. But regardless of your marital status, you will benefit from understanding the divine design for marriage. [i]

Here are six important things to know about marriage.

#1. Marriage is a profound revealer of spiritual truths.

When we look at the universe, we know that there is a God. And when we look at marriage, we learn who this God is. The created world reveals the existence of God, but marriage reveals the nature and character of God. We learn that He is a God of relationship and that He is loyal and loving.

In the Scriptures, God makes a stunning claim:

For your Creator will be your husband. (Isaiah 54:5 NLT)

God will be our husband? What does that mean? As we study biblical marriage, we learn that a man is to be the protector and the provider for his wife. The husband is responsible for the well-being of the woman. He lays down his interests in order to love her well. His very life is to be a covering of protection over his bride. He honors, nurtures, and cherishes her.

Amazingly, God is eager to be this kind of “husband” to everyone who enters into a covenant relationship with Him.

I will take you to be My wife forever. I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion. (Hosea 2:19 HSCB)

As a type of “wife,” we accept God and welcome Him. We take His name as our name. “I am His” becomes our identity. We become covenant partners with Him, and we allow Him to carry the weight of responsibility. We give up being spiritually single. We end our other spiritual love affairs (pursuing pleasure, prestige, or possessions), and we devote ourselves to Him. Instead of being spiritually independent (“I know what is good for me”), we depend on His guidance and wisdom.

We live to know Him and to make His name great. We trust His care, knowing that His goal is our radiance. [ii] Our thriving is His glory.

We abide in Him, and He abides in us. We delight in Him, marveling that He delights in us.

As a groom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
(Isaiah 62:5 HCSB)

#2. You can have a great impact on others in the area of marriage.

As you interact with people every day, you can be a powerful influence. You don’t have to be married to know what God teaches about marriage. Understanding the Scriptures will enable you to share helpful truth with others.

It has been said that wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective. Whether married or not, we all need wisdom in this area because the marriages around us affect our lives. Marriages shape our society and culture.

#3. You may have heard that sexual purity is a gift to your future spouse, and that is certainly true. But purity is also a valuable gift to yourself.

You are far more than physical instincts and chemicals. You are more than an animal, which lacks moral strength or character. You have inherent honor, for you are a man or a woman created in the image of God Himself. Women have the God-given glory of being women. Men have the God-given glory of being men.

Your sexuality is deeply linked to your spirit. If you are abused sexually, there is a deep wounding in your spirit. If you give your body away sexually, your spirit is dishonored and demeaned. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT)

Perhaps you don’t know how much you are worth. Perhaps you don’t know that you are a person of high value. God says that you are a treasure. You are priceless!

Your body and spirit are worth far more than cheap words and empty promises. You are worth nothing less than someone’s solemn vow before God and witnesses to honor you “til death do you part.” Guard yourself against anyone who says you are worth less than a lifetime commitment.

Sexual purity isn’t just physical. It is also mental. Stay away from porn. It will destroy you. We live in a pornographic society, so it takes strength to fight back, but it is well worth the effort. Porn promises pleasure, but then it sabotages even the ability to enjoy pleasure. It is highly addictive, encourages abusive behavior, creates dissatisfaction, destroys empathy, and causes users to view people as objects.

Pursue sexual purity in your behavior and in your thinking. You will reap great rewards from this, both now and later, whether single or married. Purity will free you to be healthy physically, spiritually, and in your relationships with other people.

Whatever may be in your past, you can embrace purity now because God loves to give fresh starts and clean slates.

~ Tami Myer

To be continued… Be sure to come back next week for the second part of: 6 Things Singles Need to Know about Marriage.

Notes

[i] One of the best books on marriage was originally written for singles. The Meaning of Marriage is based on a series of sermons which pastor Timothy Keller preached at his church in New York City, where his congregation is predominantly single.

[ii] Ephesians 5:27, NIV

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2 Lies the Enemy Tells Us about Being Single

This week’s post talked about God’s timing, and I think it’s “timely” that my guest post for DailyPS.com on singleness also published the same week. In every season of life, most of us would probably admit we’re “waiting” for something … to get through that advanced math class, to hear back on college applications, or to receive that long-awaited promotion.

Many people are also waiting and wondering when their relationship status might change. Though I don’t often blog about singleness, I think this topic is important, because it’s often misunderstood. If you’re single or know someone who is, I’d encourage you to click over to DailyPS.com to read the full post.

Regardless of your “status” or the item on your “waiting” list, the bottom line is this: Live abundantly where God has you today.

Post excerpt

Often, we single adults don’t stress about our relationship status until someone suggests we should. Not long ago, my church’s youth pastor shared from the pulpit how he met his wife online. The woman in front of me twisted in her seat and raked me over with a look that said, “Sweetheart, what are you waiting for?”

Well-meaning though she was, she doesn’t know my story. Well-meaning though people may be, they don’t know yours. Whether through not-so-subtle suggestions or other prickly tactics, Satan can make us question our confidence in Christ.

To deflect his darts, we should consider Paul’s challenge to the Ephesians, equipping ourselves “to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11 NKJV). Dictionary.com defines wiles as “a trick, artifice, or stratagem meant to fool, trap, or entice.”

In other words, wiles are lies that parade as truth, and perhaps we’ve entertained a few before. Something’s wrong with you. You’re not good enough. You missed the bus.

When lies rear their heads like ugly dragons, the only way to slay them is with truth. Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word “is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (NKJV). It’s the weapon we need to defeat the doubt and live the abundant life God’s planned for us (John 10:10).

Click here to read the full post.