Sunday, February 12, 2017

Challenges Facing Christian Singles

I was asked by a friend of mine about a year and a half ago to write something for our Bible Study class. I found this while going through an old flash drive.

Challenges Facing Christian Singles

1.      Places to go-there are not as many activities for Christian singles as there are for the non-Christian. Most Christians who are serious about their walk with God will not want to go to nightclubs or bars. There need to be more activities on the weekends for Christian singles to attend, even if they are not intended as activities to bring singles together for dating.
2.      The absence of Christian singles, especially in the more rural areas such as ours, is something that cannot be dismissed. In a more urban setting in a bigger city this might not be as much of an issue. At my previous church, I was the only middle-aged Christian single person; there were several singles who were senior citizens or teens, but no one in my age range. I figure the problem is pretty widespread, especially in rural areas.
3.      Loneliness is a BIG concern for Christian singles. There’s an old saying about being alone in a crowd of people. This is something that I feel like at times. I can be in a church service surrounded by friends/family, but I feel alone. I know I’m loved by my friends/family as well as God, but it does not take the place of wishing for a Godly spouse to lean on in hard times or to share the happy times with. Friends mean well and tell you that you “have them” if you never find someone, but it’s not the same. I would never want to hurt feelings or make a friend feel less appreciated, but it’s truly not the same as having a Godly spouse/girlfriend. In some cases, seeing a happily married couple in a loving, committed marriage rubs salt in the wound. You begin to question “why me, Lord, where is my blessing?”
4.      Getting frustrated is yet another issue facing Christian singles of today. The majority of us have social media whether it be Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or whatever the case may be. Seeing happily committed couples on social media, whether they’re newly married or engaged, can lead to sadness. Yes, I’m happy for that couple, but as I stated before, it leads to a feeling of “why not me; why am I unable to find someone?” It can lead you to a point of feeling like God has you on the “back burner,” blessing everyone else before you.
5.      Scammers and fakes are something that I know all too well about. In my case, I married someone who wanted to “play church” and played the game well. In the public eye, she was this Godly, upstanding woman of God who went down to the altar and could cry a river of tears, while being the total opposite at home behind closed doors. We have to remember that the Bible tells us that Satan appears as an angel of light, so why should we be shocked that there are people with less than honorable intentions in church? This is why it is SOOO important to pray long and hard before getting married, as well as listening to advice from God-fearing family and friends.
6.      Abstinence before marriage is looked upon as taboo by many in our culture, even among some Christians. I am currently taking a class on marriage and the family and the professor pointed out that it’s “next to impossible” to abstain before marriage. While I disagree with her viewpoint, that is the viewpoint that many take; they want to “try it before they buy it.” We are saturated with sexual messages at every turn. Porn channels are available for immediate consumption on cable/satellite as well as the Internet. Even run of the mill TV shows feature what was once considered soft porn. Even going into WalMart can be problematic for those who struggle. You see magazines with scantily clad women on the cover all the while the magazine gives you headlines about “best sex ever.” While this isn’t a temptation for every man obviously, men are visual creatures and it can present a problem for them.
7.      There is a temptation for many to settle for less than God’s best. Even Abraham had this issue when God wasn’t moving fast enough to suit him! Many people get tempted to “missionary date” out of absolute frustration, thinking if only they could get them to church, they’d be saved and have “instant Christian relationship.” God knew what He was doing when He gave the command against being unequally yoked as the non-Christian is more likely to bring the Christian down to their level instead of vice-versa. As a teenager, I was given a brilliant illustration. You had two people; one stood on the altar representing the Christian, while the other person laid in the floor representing the non-Christian. The person on the altar attempted to pull up the person in the floor, a task that proved to be very hard. Then the person in the floor took their turn trying to pull down the person standing on the altar, a task much easier accomplished! The point in this simple illustration is that it is much easier to bring the Christian down to the level of the non-Christian.
8.      You can also settle for the wrong person even if they’re a Christian. While I don’t subscribe to the “God has only one person for everyone” philosophy, there is also a danger in settling even with someone who is a Christian. For example, I don’t feel someone who has been saved for many years would be a good fit for someone who just got saved and is a baby Christian. As time went on and the person got to know more about the Lord, maybe so, but not settling right off the bat just because they’re “now a Christian.” This would actually come close to the missionary dating scenario in some ways.
9.      Another issue that has worried me is how many changes will I have to make when/if I do meet someone? After right at 9 years of being single, I have become set in my ways. If I decide I’m going to go somewhere, I go. If I decide I want to stay up until 2AM, I stay up until 2AM!!! That all changes in a relationship/marriage. You have someone else with whom you are making plans with whether a relationship or a marriage. In a marriage, you can’t simply stay up until 2AM and watch TV if you so desire. You’re no longer cooking for one in a marriage, but for two! It isn’t to say that two people can’t have individual tastes and do things that they like from time to time, but if a marriage or relationship is going to work, it has to have common ground.
10.  Children are a factor, especially for us older singles. Mine are almost grown at this point, but children come into play in a potential relationship, opening up a virtual Pandora’s Box in some cases. What if you’re interested in someone who also has children? If the relationship led to a marriage, how are you going to make room for more children? Do you want children together? How do the children get along with the potential stepparent? Do you even agree on parenting styles?
11.  Finances are a biggie facing someone who wishes to pursue a relationship. Times are tough and the economy isn’t the greatest these days. Do you even have money to date? Factoring in children as mentioned in #10 can really make for troubles in dating. As a college student who’s surviving on grants, loans and the occasional opportunity to substitute teach, I’m not certain I could sustain a relationship due to finances.
12.  Singles are in many cases expected to get married. Oh, you’re 30 and unmarried? What’s wrong with you? Many people today want to hold off on marriage and build up their finances to a secure point, as well as their personal life. The older generation doesn’t understand this. Gone are the days when people were getting married at 16 or 17 years old, but well-meaning people of that generation think it should still be that way.
13.  Let’s face it, though it is tough to admit, we singles sometimes think that God simply doesn’t know what He’s doing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re supposed to be “good little Christians” who never doubt God and trust Him with every aspect. We’re also human. Going back to #7 and Abraham, apparently even he had doubts about what God was doing; if not, he wouldn’t have listened to Sarah and followed her foolish advice.
14.  Is there something wrong with me? Am I simply too weird to find someone? I’ve had these thoughts and I guess other Christians have as well. “I’ve been single for x-number of years, so it must mean I’m not desirable to anyone.”

15.  The thing that pesters me almost more than anything is the “you’ve got God and He’s all you need.” Yes, I do have God. I feel that we as Christians should pursue God before a relationship. However, even God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone, that He would make him a helper. I don’t know how many times I’ve reminded God of that verse. If God Himself said it wasn’t good for a man to be alone, why do some feel that “God is all you need?”

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