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How can I survive until I get there?

I’ve been a single Pastor for over a decade, so I’ve gotten that question hundreds of times from other single people.

By there, they often mean marriage.

By survive, they are usually being dramatic.

But they are talking about the very real struggles that come with singleness.

Loneliness. Confusion. Struggles with sexual temptation. Insecurity about their past. Worry about the future.

The list goes on and on.

All valid struggles.

But there's a problem with that question. "How can I survive until I get there?" presupposes marriage is going to fix everything. But as my married friends love to remind me, that’s not how it works. Believe it or not, married people still struggle.

The truth is, every season of life (including being single) comes with its own set of questions and obstacles to work through.

Singleness is not some holding pattern—a season of life you have to get through or graduate from to move on to the real show. You don't have to wait until you're married to start living; you just have to decide to embrace where you are.

I know this because Jesus was single.

You don’t have to merely survive until you get there. You can thrive right here.

Here are four ways to do that.

1. Embrace Today

Have you noticed how many of the questions and worries we face as single people have to do about something that hasn’t even happened yet?

Am I going to be single for the rest of my life?

Am I running out of time?

Am I going to be single again next Valentine’s Day?

But Jesus (who was single, by the way, have I said that yet?) said things like, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34).

Jesus was on to something. When you spend your entire day worrying about tomorrow, you miss out on all the opportunities to embrace today.

Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way (many times).

If you want to thrive while single, you must embrace today.

You may not be in a relationship, but who are the friends or coworkers in your life today who could use some encouragement?

You may not be married, but what is one step you can take today to become the type of person the person you want to marry would want to marry?

You may not have other mouths to feed, but plenty of people around our planet will go to bed hungry tonight. How can you embrace this moment and help feed someone today?

Time spent worrying about tomorrow is energy we could be putting into today. Do you want to thrive while being single? Get really serious about embracing today.

2. Give Yourself Permission

In elementary school, I needed a hall pass to leave the room. If I wanted to use the restroom, I had to raise my hand, ask permission, and then carry around a giant stick that said, “Mrs. Coke’s class.” I get why elementary schools do that, but I also remember a day, decades later, when I realized I still carried that hardwiring.

Several years ago, I bought a townhome. It was my first time purchasing a home, and on day one, I was ecstatic. Then, on day two, I was overwhelmed.

What do I do? What furniture should I buy? How do I decorate? Don’t I need a theme or something?

All the questions were paralyzing. It took me a few days to realize the answer: I can do whatever I want; every square inch is mine. I don’t need a hall pass. I don’t need to run my plan by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Permission isn’t pending; permission is granted.

Decorating your home is one thing, but what about that single friend who has been talking about moving to that city for the past five years? Or bringing up the same business idea at every dinner since you've known them? Or dreaming about the same trip to see the northern lights in Iceland for a decade, but isn't a single step closer to pulling the trigger?

Or you can learn to give yourself permission.

When you’re trying to make a decision, here’s a quick test you can give yourself:

1. Would this decision be good for me?

2. Would it be helpful for the world?

3. Does it align with God’s Word?

How’d you do? Three for three? Great. Give yourself permission and start making some moves today.

3: Be a Blessing, Not a Burden

Do you ever get stuck being the third wheel?

One couple going out to dinner is date night. Two couples going out to dinner is a group date. Me tagging along with a couple going out to dinner is uncomfortable.

Most of my friends are married, so it happens to me all the time.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about being the third wheel. It’s awkward because you feel like a burden, but it actually creates an opportunity to be a blessing. You just have to shift the conversation to the other side of the table.

If you can learn to ask really good questions, the attention won't be on the empty chair beside you. Instead, all the attention will be on the two full chairs across from you.

Start with some level one questions: “What’s new in your life?” And then shift to level two: “What do you love about each other?” And then, if you’re feeling crazy, put that three-wheeler into third gear: “What’s one thing you’re learning about yourself by being with each other?”

When you’re flying solo, you have a unique opportunity to turn things back on the couple and get them to take a deep dive into their relationship. The empty fourth chair doesn’t have to be a relational burden; it can be a blessing.

That little tip can turn any awkward moment into an opportunity to thrive as a single person.

4. Don’t Be Single Alone

On the second page of the Bible, God makes a very important statement: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18).

It's not good—even in the middle of paradise.

Adam was in the garden before the Fall, and everything was good—except for one thing. It wasn’t good for him to be alone. Because as great as all the animals were, there is something different about having other people in your life.

So God created Eve, marriage, and a beautiful picture of two becoming one and living happily ever after.

Which was great for them. But what about us? What about the single people who don't have another person in their corner?

The answer is simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy.

When you are single, you have to double down on finding healthy community. You have to find friends who are willing to dive beneath the surface with you.

People you can be honest with about your fears. People who aren’t afraid of your tears.

There are other people out there who are willing to be in your circle, but they won’t just knock on your door and hand you their friendship resume. The biggest mistake I see single people make is thinking community will fall into their lap. That's not how it works; you have to be proactive.

The best way to do this is to get involved in a church. By getting involved, I don't mean sneaking in the back and leaving before it's over. I mean, serve on a team during the weekend services and get in a group during the week (I know I sound like such a pastor, but it's true).

In the last two decades, there has been a rise in loneliness and a decrease in church attendance.

I'm not saying that's the only reason for the rise of loneliness, but it plays a part.

If you’re thinking, I already tried that. The church was mean, and the Group was weird.

I get it. But remember, finding community is not for the faint of heart. It’s not easy to find, but it’s essential to have. Get up and try again.

You may be single, but you don't have to be alone. Find people who are willing to be in your corner and then be in theirs. Spur each other on by reminding one another that marriage is a beautiful gift, but you don't have to just survive until you get there; you can thrive right here!

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