By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 500 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
1. Build Your Relationship with God
First and foremost, we have to strengthen this relationship every day. The very love we have for others comes from God himself (Romans 5:5). We overflow, because he overflows within us.
Sometimes—not in every case—God may have placed us in a season of singleness to strengthen our relationship with him. On a personal note, I have struggled with idolizing romantic relationships with men. This season of singleness has helped me to channel those idolizing efforts toward building my relationship with God by being in the word every day (Matthew 4:4).
Although some couples have an excellent romantic-spiritual balance—focusing their efforts on God first and then on each other—it’s certainly harder to maintain that balance than while single (1 Corinthians 7:8).
Once one has a solid foundation with Christ, it can create a wellspring of godly love in a future relationship, should God direct our path in that way.
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2. Encourage Other Single Christians
On a personal note, as someone who idolizes marriage, I can tend to isolate myself and wallow when I see beautiful Instagram pictures of a friend’s recent wedding.
Some of the best ways to exercise that nurturing spirit is to be kind and giving of our time with other singles. We tend to form friendships and connect with those who understand the various circumstances we are in. Daniel befriended three other Israelites in captivity (Daniel 1:6), Paul and Silas sang hymns together in prison (Acts 16:19-40), and Ruth and Naomi shared in the loss of a family member, bringing them closer together (Ruth 1).
We can encourage other singles by:
Mentoring them. Especially if we are a person who has been single for a long period of time in our life, we have a lot of wisdom to give to those who have been single for a short season.
Giving them our time. We show them we treasure their presence by setting up meetings over coffee or gathering in each other’s homes.
Offering meals. Younger singles are often trying to figure out life in general: how to be financially stable, sharing an apartment with other singles, etc. Offering a meal invites fellowship and community (Acts 2:42).
Asking how to pray for them. We show we care for others by lifting them up to the Lord in prayer (James 5:16).
- Sharing your testimony. We connect with each other’s stories, and younger singles, or people who have been single for a short period of time, will find encouragement through hearing the testimonies of others who have been single for longer.
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3. Love the Least of These
The blessing of singleness comes with an abundance of time.
When married, one spouse often has to compromise in terms of ministerial calling. He or she may feel called to devote their time to a ministry, but duties to one’s spouse and to one’s family can sometimes impede those yearnings to serve.
But with more time to dedicate to ministry, singles can use that nurturing and loving spirit to care for those who are overlooked in our world today, the least of these (Matthew 25:31-46).
In the Northeast Ohio area alone (where I’m from) we have ministries for the homeless, for teens who live in troubled homes, for adults with intellectual disabilities, for victims of human trafficking, etc.
There are so many places that need volunteers to give of their time and to give their love to people who need to see the hope of Christ in action.
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4. Serve at Your Church
There are multiple ways to show a loving and nurturing spirit at church. One of the more obvious ones would be to help with Sunday school or with the younger children in nursery care.
However, there are numerous other ways to get involved and show lovingkindness to those in your congregation (Galatians 5:13). Church greeters and ushers can often be the first faces someone sees when they walk into a building, and a warm welcome can brighten someone’s difficult week.
Worship teams can always use someone gifted in music to help the congregation focus on praising God during the first part of a service, and various events such as youth group lock-ins, VBS, and Christmas concerts need plenty of hands to make light work.
In addition to helping at church, ministry doesn’t stop there.
Offer your house as a meeting place for a small group or volunteer to disciple or mentor someone in the church. Mentors are extremely important, as we see in Paul’s mentorship of Timothy (1 Timothy 1:1-2).
If you have a lot of love to give, the church needs it. The church is full of people in desperate need of reminders of God’s goodness, love, and hope. You have that chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
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God Never Wastes the Gifts He Gives
When he gives you an intense loving and nurturing spirit, he’ll provide means for you to give that love and that care to those who need to hear the Gospel the most. Should he provide a spouse in the future, you will have spent so much time loving others, that loving him will come as second nature (Mark 12:31).
But, for the time being, ask the Lord for guidance where you can channel this loving spirit he has given you. Work on building your relationship with him and spreading the Gospel to a hurting world in need of hope.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet