My book on singleness and the church released in November of 2017, and since then, I’ve had increased opportunity to discuss my single life.
I was able to write such a book because I’m supported by my community. My family, friends, and church family do really well at rallying round to ensure that I’m well cared for. This is partly true because I’m vocal with my needs. It’s also true that when I reach out, they reach back.
Here are a few things they do for me. Consider whether or not these practical steps would also work for the single adults in your lives.
In my book, I discuss why I don’t like to eat alone and how my community helps ensure that it doesn’t happen very often. I won’t cover that ground again in this post. Instead, I’ll highlight ways in which others go above and beyond when it comes to keeping me fed.
In addition to not liking to eat alone, I also don’t like cooking for one. (Who does?) It’s not rare for me get a text saying there’s a Tupperware of lasagna or a crock of soup in someone’s fridge with my name on it. All I need to do is pick it up or (depending on my schedule) wait for it to be dropped off. Honestly, few things make me feel more cared for.
Second, I have friends with whom I exchange fresh fruits and vegetables. I mean, there’s no way I’m going to eat an entire bag of tangerines by myself before some of them spoil, and most people won’t miss parting with a few shoots of green onion, a handful of carrots, or a single stalk of celery. Sometimes the exchange rate works in my favor; sometimes in theirs. That’s just how these things go! At least fresh fruits and veggies aren’t going to waste.
There’s a difference between inviting someone along and inviting them in. The former makes sure we’re not alone. The latter ensures we’re not lonely.
Don’t just seek to “hang out.” Surround your singles, physically as well as emotionally. Don’t just spend time with us. Invite us fully into your lives.
Pray for Us
The best way to know how to pray for your single friends is to ask individually.
If someone were to ask me today, here’s what I’d say.
- Pray that I walk in the will of God.
- Pray that I can maintain a chaste life.
- Pray that my life shows off God’s glory.
- Pray that the Word dwells richly in me.
- Pray that God blesses my work both inside and outside the church.
- Pray that God grants ongoing grace as certain aspects of my life run counter to my expectations and desires.
Press Love In
A friend and I were talking last week about how in the Old Testament Book of Ruth, Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi didn’t just need to be loved. Naomi needed love pressed into her, and Ruth spends much of the book doing just that.
What a wonderful picture of Christ, not to mention a perfect description of how we’re to express Christian love. Love isn’t just a passive emotion. It’s a continual, active response.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
When you press love in, it’s not possible for people to be with you and walk away feeling neglected.
Exactly what this looks like will depend a lot on your personality and how you naturally express yourself. Pressing love into someone can be tiring. It’s work. But it’s worth it.
For more information on caring for singles in your church, please see The Proper Care and Feeding of Singles: How Pastors, Marrieds, and Church Leaders Effectively Support Solo Members.