Growing In Godliness Blog
Finding Contentment in Being Single
By Bethany Taylor
When you look around and see so many happily married couples but notice that you are becoming one of the few (and sometimes only) single person left in your friend group or church, the feeling of loneliness may creep in. And when you hear sermons on marriage and children and the beautiful plan God has there, you can start to ache for that stage and want to escape what could feel like the worthless state of “being single.” But I think if we evaluate this rationally, my dear Christian, we may find the opposite is true. There is so much value in the single life, and so many ways to bring glory to God that I hope you will be rejuvenated in your sense of value in the “opportunity” God has provided you in your singleness.
I think a first step in finding contentment with anything is seeing if there is any benefit. Paul seemed to think so as he states in 1 Cor. 7:8, "But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.” Here he is most likely addressing Christians at a particularly heavy time of persecution. But he is pointing out that as a single person you are not encumbered with the cares and anxieties of a family, since when you are married life gets harder and more complicated (1 Cor. 7:32-35). There’s a blessing of freedom in being single with less responsibilities and a different set of opportunities. But with this benefit of more freedom and time, one must be careful how it is used, since each one will give an account of it. Matt. 5:14-16 tells us to “let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Are the ways you’re using your time and freedom as a single person to glorify God, or are they only for your personal enjoyment?
Contentment with being single can also be found by remembering to trust that the One who created you knows your heart. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and hears our prayers. So, if your prayer to be married hasn’t happened, could it be because He has a plan for you and being married isn’t the plan at this time? We see throughout scripture righteous people praying to God for something and yet He has a better plan for them than what they prayed for. My favorite example of this is Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-7,13). We see they had prayed for so long to have a child, but God’s timing was not their timing. I wonder if waiting wouldn’t have been hard had they known their child would be John the Baptist,.
It is hard to feel content when you feel like a failure. As single, know that you are the opposite of that! You are worthy. We all know the “Worthy Woman” of Proverbs 31, one whom all Christian women admire. Prov. 31:10, “A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies.” Now look at Ruth 3:11, in this verse Boaz is talking to the unmarried Ruth: “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou sayest; for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a worthy woman.” Both of these verses use the same Hebrew word for “Worthy women” which is “Eshet Chayil.” Just as Ruth was single and worthy, others can be as well. You have value and are worthy as a single person serving God - married or unmarried isn’t a criterion.
I will close with a challenge to those who are married. As you strive to support your brethren who are single, and want to help them find contentment and see their worth, do your words show that? Do your questions tell singles that being married is the most important thing… is their relationship status the *first* question you ask about when you talk? When they are in a relationship do you encourage them to take time to know the person they’re dating instead of inquiring if they’ve “made wedding plans?” Perhaps the next time you find yourself comforting someone after a break-up, instead of saying “one day the right person will come” how about instead saying, “God knows what you want and what you need. Live today pleasing to Him.” As married or single Christians we need to be Heaven focused not only in actions, but also in our questions and responses. In this way, we can help others see what is truly valuable and worthy and how to find contentment in any stage of life serving God.
The Power of the Mind
By Larry Coffey
I have just finished reading a 600+ page book called “Life Force” written by Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, #1 New York Times bestselling author, and philanthropist honored by Accenture as one of the top 50 business intellectuals in the world. This book covers new breakthroughs in precision medicine. It deals with things like new medical technology, regenerative medicine, stem cells, gene therapy, etc. The last two chapters are about the power of mindset and decision. This is a medical book written from a secular viewpoint, but I believe Christians can benefit from some of what is taught.
He contends the mind has the power to heal the body in certain instances, and provides some examples where this has happened. He mentions the use of placebos can have tremendous power over pain. Placebos are harmless “medicines” or procedures that are used to test a therapy’s effectiveness. In a migraine pain study at Harvard Medical School, the placebo was found to be nearly as effective as the actual drug.
He mentions another Harvard study, in which one hundred medical students were enlisted to test two drugs: a “super stimulant” red pill and a “super tranquilizer” blue one. Unbeknownst to the students, the drugs were purposely switched—the red was actually a barbiturate, and the blue an amphetamine. Even so, the subjects who were given a downer experienced stimulation because of their expectations, while those who took the upper felt tired. Talk about the power of the mind!
Several pages dealt with the subject of stress of which there are several levels. Suppose your mail was not delivered for several days in a row and you were expecting to receive something you needed. That could cause some stress. Then you receive a letter telling you a company in which you had a significant investment had gone bankrupt. That would be a higher level of stress. Another few days pass and you receives results of a recent wellness test and you are asked to return because a tumor was detected. The stress increases further.
Robbins says, “extreme stress is going to be a given in your life. So, the real key to have an extraordinary quality of life….is not to hope you get lucky and that nothing happens, but to develop the kind of psychological and emotional strength that makes you resilient enough to use whatever life brings you to create something even greater.”
Now what do Jesus and the apostle Paul have to say about the power of the mind and stress. Jesus deals with these two things in Mt. 6:25-34. Jesus says do not be anxious about your life, don’t be anxious about clothing, don’t be anxious about what you are going to eat. He adds, which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Therefore, don’t be anxious about tomorrow. How does Jesus expect us to use the power of our minds? We are to focus our minds on seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things we need will be added to us.
Paul says in Phil. 4:11, whatever state he was in he was to be content. He further addresses this in I Tim. 6:6 & 8, by saying there is great gain in godliness with contentment, and if he had food and clothing, with these he would be content. In Col. 3: 1-2, Paul says to seek the things that above where Christ is, SET YOUR MINDS on things that are above, not on things on earth.
Robbins tries to help us have better lives on earth. Christians are to focus our minds which God has given us on things above. And our minds have the power through Christ to truly achieve an extraordinary life in heaven.