Tag Archives: singleness

Book Review: Fine China Is For Single Women Too

Fine China Is For Single Women Too

This little book by Lydia Brownback is solidly grounded in good theology and is easy to read in one sitting. The idea behind the title is that married women get to create a bridal registry and collect fine china and other household items, while this never happens for the single woman. Married women do not necessarily cook more than single women, so single women should not do without the items for doing it well. This book aims to challenge the thinking that says the single woman’s fine china buying (and by extension, the rest of her life) should be put on hold until her marriage. Other than in the introduction and the epilogue, the fine china idea doesn’t enter much into the content of the book, which is more focused on Scriptural truth.

There are seven chapters in the book, and each one is sprinkled with stories and anecdotes that are interesting, easy to read, and applicable to the topics Brownback addresses. They are real life examples that are easy to relate to from people who sound like normal people.

Early on in the book, Brownback makes a very clear and compelling argument for the sovereignty of God in your relationship status. She states, “The marital status of each of God’s daughters is divinely decreed. And if God has called you to singleness, there is nothing you can do without stepping off the path of obedience to change that.” She explores the concept of boundary lines in Scripture and establishes the fact that our lives are destined to bring glory to God. “Therefore,” she says, “if you are single it is because, for the time being at least, God has determined that you will most glorify him and come to enjoy him most fully as a single woman. If the time comes when those two ends will be achieved through marriage, God will change your life so that you will be married.” Her goal in establishing this view of the sovereignty of God is to free women from the trap of thinking, for example, that if her hair isn’t perfect one day and Mr. Right just happens to come along, she will have missed her chance for him to notice her.

The tone of the book is very matter-of-fact and non-emotional. Brownback tells it like it is and doesn’t mince words or water down her message in an effort to make it more palatable. This is one of the strengths of the book, because she is offering something real, and her manner of communicating reinforces the reality of the truth she expresses. Nevertheless, I must admit that at times while I was reading it, I hungered for a little more “heart”–perhaps a bit more of an understanding, healing tone.

And of course, I was looking for Jesus. The question I always ask when I read is, “Where is Jesus?” It came a little late, in chapter 7, but it was there. She brings the focus in to fix it on Christ. “Paul did not achieve contentment of this depth by snuffing out his personal desires. On the contrary, he pursued what he wanted wholeheartedly and received what he was after. That’s because the thing Paul wanted most was Jesus Christ and his glory.” Brownback points the reader to Christ and holds Him up as the one who truly is “the love of your life.” She highlights the joy and contentment that comes only when He is our primary pursuit, and encourages the reader to make it her prayer that God will “help you even to desire a Christ-centered heart.”

[Note: I have no affiliate links to disclose. Clicking on the book will take you to Amazon through a plain old link. I did not receive a free book or any compensation or incentives in exchange for this review.]

Putting Jesus First

(Part 3 in How to Be Content and Single at the Same Time)

If you are to be satisfied in your singleness, you must put Jesus first. If Jesus is not first, if He is not your all, if your satisfaction is not wrapped up completely in Him, then you can just forget about having victorious singleness. You might as well get used to that lonely, sad place of unfulfilled longing, because without Him, it’s not going away.

Remember how I said this was going to cost you everything?

In order to put Jesus first, it really does cost everything. See Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23. You give up your whole life, you take up your cross, you deny yourself–or you cannot be His disciple. In exchange, however, He gives you His whole life, making it a pretty sweet trade.

So practically speaking, what does it look like to put Jesus first in the arena of singleness?

  • It means to take His advice over your own to the point where you trust His leading even when it means giving something (or someone!) up. 
  • It means to trust His Word, follow it, keep it, and obey it. Whatever His word says, goes.
  • It means to look to Him first as the source of contentment and satisfaction.

Can you join me in declaring that Jesus is better to you than a husband?

If you can joyfully proclaim this and know it to be true in your own soul, then it suggests that you are truly putting Jesus first.

If not, are you willing to believe that He can become that to you?

For many Christian singles, Jesus is real, but certainly not a substitute for a husband, much less better than one. But until you get to that place, you will not be fully content in your singleness. Like I said, it’s costly to get there, but oh, so worthwhile and beautiful.

So in your everyday walk, in your day-to-day life, evaluate whether Jesus is first.

  • Does He get the best hours of your time? 
  • Do you delight to be with Him? 
  • Could you spend unlimited amounts of time in His presence if you had the chance, radiant with the enjoyment of Him?
  • When you read Scripture, do you see Jesus in every page, every chapter, almost every line?
  • What would your reaction be if He suddenly disappeared from your life? Would you notice the difference? 
  • Does a girl with a crush put you to shame when you compare how much she delights in her guy with how much you delight in Jesus? 

I myself am convicted by this list. I am not as close to Him as I should be. There is always room for a deeper, more love-filled relationship with Him. But I can say that I order my life to put Him first. I take steps to reserve time with Him each day. And even the thought of Him suddenly disappearing out of my life is enough to cause me panic. (I know he will never do that. He will never leave me or forsake me. But just the “what if?” brings me a sense of the horrible darkness and misery that it would bring if it ever could happen.)

If you have not genuinely put Jesus first in your life, then don’t give a moment’s rest to your eyes until you have taken steps to die to yourself and make Him the king of your existence. If you need help to do this, try listening to this sermon. It makes a different application, but the principles for singleness are the same.

One caution: If you catch the vision for loving Jesus supremely, make sure it is for His own sake, not just as a tool to get you into a happier frame of mind regarding your singleness. Jesus is not a means to an end–HE IS the end. Delighting in Him is not a formula to get what you want–HE IS what you want. Be careful not to “use” Jesus. He is not a stepping stone to something else.

May the Lord bless your pursuit of Jesus and truly allow you to put Jesus first. May He guide your steps and grant your desires. He promises that He will fill those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. This is not a futile pursuit. Fix your eyes on Him by faith, and He will reveal Himself to you, flood you with His presence, dazzle you with His glory, and touch your heart with His sweetness.

The Choice and the Gift

Part 2 of How to Be Single and Content at the Same Time

Contentment in singleness is both a choice and a gift. We choose the right road, and it leads us to the gift–or perhaps we receive the gift, and it gives us the strength and grace to walk in the right road.

So what is it that one must choose, and what is the gift?

The Choice

Being content, satisfied, and constantly replenished as a single requires a number of choices. There is a definite cause-and-effect sequence here. Certain actions feed your discontent, and other actions starve your discontent. So it’s only common sense to avoid all the actions that feed discontent, and do all the actions that starve discontent.

What do I choose, as a single person? What choices have I made that contribute to my well-being and healthy sense of fulfillment? What choices of mine hold loneliness at bay? How do I choose to live in a way that will bring victory over lustful thoughts and other inappropriate places that the mind likes to go?

  • I choose to saturate myself in the Word of God. I do not let a day pass without reading it. I study it. I journal about it. I love it. I delve into cross-references, finding passages that connect with each other. I think about it. I memorize it. I look up Hebrew and Greek words. I don’t give up until God has spoken to me through it and His presence is evident and begins to change my life.
  • I choose to make Jesus a priority. A girl who has a crush on a guy thinks about him constantly, talks about him nonstop, and sees all his good qualities in the best possible light. Do I think about Jesus that much? Do I love Him that much? Does He not deserve MUCH MORE than the quality of affection we find in the girl with the crush?
  • I choose to protect my mind from influences that tend to temptation. I set very high standards for the kind of books I will read, movies I will watch, and music I will listen to.
  • I choose to interact with the opposite sex with dignity, modesty, and honor. I treat guys like my brothers and girls like my sisters. I do not allow the least bit of flirtation or suggestiveness in my manner. (When you think about it, this is more than just a “conservative standard,” it is actually a protection for your heart. Flirting, teasing, and trying to be sexy will throw your mind into turmoil as it wonders if the other person noticed you and invents a million different scenarios for how things could play out. This causes your emotions to run out of control and creates a continuous cycle of flirtation and emotional upheaval.)
  • I choose to trust God to write my love story. I do not need to manipulate circumstances or do things the world’s way in order for my love story to turn out beautifully. I choose to trust that God loves me better than anyone and knows exactly what I need, and I know that He wants the very best for me, and He will give me His best when I walk in obedience and faith. That includes my love story. And that includes the fact that it hasn’t happened yet for me. I trust and fully believe that the last 10-12 years of my life as a single were BETTER than they would have been if I had been married, simply because if God has seen that it would be better for me to be married, He would have arranged for it to happen.
  • I choose to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God. I choose to die to the flesh and walk after the Spirit. I choose to enter into the victorious resurrection life that Christ provided for me.

This last point is of primary importance, so much so that it merits its own post in detail, which I will share in the future.

The Gift

When we as believers arrange our lives according to God’s pattern, He blesses us. He always fulfills His promises. He always acts consistently with His word.

What is the best gift that God could give to a person He wanted to bless?

What is the best thing in all of the universe?

God Himself.

And God gives His very self, the very best and most delightful gift there ever could be, to the person He wants to bless.

Are you single? Has God said to you, “You don’t have a guy/girl right now, but you have Me”? Did you reply, “Yes, but…”?

Then you need to get to know God.

Drop everything, forget about everything, run to the Word, and look until you discover God. Go to your closet every night and cry out to Him for His presence until He reveals Himself to you. Abandon all pursuits–education, career, marriage, family, and even basic survival if necessary–and pursue God. Hunger for Him. Thirst for Him. Make knowing God your only focus.

If you have not God, you have nothing. If you think you have Christianity and have not God, you do not even have Christianity.

But if you have God, you have more than a guy, more than the world, more than the universe. You have the best gift, and you know it, and you are surpassingly delighted with it.

To Be Continued.

How To Be Content And Single At The Same Time

[An audacious title, yes?

Who dares to believe this is even possible, let alone write a “how-to” about it?

I do.

I believe it is possible because I am living proof of it, and I dare to write a “how-to” manual because I don’t think there’s anything that special or esoteric about my contentment in my singleness. Anyone can have what I have. Why couldn’t they? And wouldn’t they be happier if they did?  So in the interest of spreading happiness to lonely singles everywhere, let’s dive in without further ado.]

The Answer in One Word

In a nutshell, the answer is Jesus. But that, left unexplained, may leave you just as much in the dark as ever, because you’ve all heard about Jesus and you’re still full of longing and sighing and the occasional bitter tear.

A Few Preliminaries

  1. This journey is going to cost you everything. Just a heads up.
  2. If you want all the beautiful, rich treasures God offers, you will have to things the way He says.
  3. There are no shortcuts. This is not a “10-step plan” or a magic formula to contentment.
  4. What we are talking about is spiritual and supernatural, not physical.
  5. The reward is well worth the cost.

Does that daunt you? Interest you? Tantalize you? Does it whet your appetite to press in, or does it turn you off and make you say, “That’s not for me”?

If you’re already saying, “That’s not for me,” let me just suggest one thought: You have nothing to lose by reading on. Just think! You have the chance to be content, satisfied, and fulfilled, even in the midst of your singleness. I bet that deep down, you really want it, even if you don’t believe it’s possible or aren’t willing to pay the cost to get it.

If, on the other hand, your heart is pounding with anticipation and you have the wild hope that here, perhaps, at last, is someone who understands you and offers you something real, then come along for the journey and discover what I have discovered.

What it looks like to be content in your singleness

  • You go through each day entirely at peace with the fact that you are single. 
  • You are free from sexual thoughts.
  • You experience no loneliness, ever.
  • Your life is full of rich, meaningful experiences.
  • You are full of overwhelming thankfulness that you are single.
  • You find in Jesus everything that you need to satisfy your heart.

In other words, being content in your singleness is basically living the impossible life.

(And I still have the audacity to write a “How To Be Content” post?)

Oh, yes, I do.

Why? Because I experience each one of the bullet points listed above. I am not lying or exaggerating to say this is my daily experience in its fullness.

If this is mine, it can be yours too.

Therefore–Onward! to the impossible life.

Continued as a series:

Part 2: The Choice and the Gift
Part 3: Putting Jesus First
Part 4: Coming Soon!

 

A Call to Write

I started this blog because I believe that there is a great dearth of valuable materials written to encourage believers in their singleness. Much of what is written on the topic of singleness is not properly focused on Jesus, which is the only place where a person can find healing, victory, and joy in his or her singleness. Many other materials are written by people who are married–not that that disqualifies them from speaking to the topic (after all, every married person was once single), but that it makes their relevance one step removed from the single person who says, “That’s all right for you to say. Your love story turned out fine.” So the Lord prompted me to write, and I obediently (though somewhat tremblingly) forge ahead.

I believe God has uniquely built and qualified me to speak on this topic, first, because I am single, and second, because I am absolutely content, satisfied, and happy in my singleness, and I can show others how to get there.

What I write will be focused on Jesus and pointed toward equipping the reader to find contentment, satisfaction, and purpose in his or her singleness. Scripture will be the basis and foundation for my perspective in everything I write. The heartbeat of this blog will be to see the glory of God lifted high and magnified, to see self and the flesh disappear in the crucifixion with Christ, and to walk in the power of the Spirit, not just for victorious singleness, but for victorious life in general. I intend for this blog to be a haven for all the Christian singles out there to whom this vision rings true.

A note about what this site will NOT be:

  • It will not be in the flavor of a “singles’ group” thinly disguised as a dating club.
  • It will not reflect the popular sentiment that singleness is merely a passing stage to be endured, as if it was a toothache. Singleness is so much more abundant than that.
  • It will not focus on tips to make the reader as marriageable as possible, how to catch a godly guy, how to look attractive, or anything along those lines.
  • It will certainly not endorse, condone, or countenance any kind of impurity, immorality, fornication, or lust.

So with a prayer for grace and wisdom, I thus embark on the journey, and trust it will be a blessing to all who will come with me.

How is Jesus Better?

I remember a day at a job where a few of my coworkers and I were sitting around during lunch break. The conversation turned to relationships. One of the women was single, and she expressed the fact with a note of regret in her voice. Then everyone looked at me.

“Rebekah, what about you? Do you have a guy in your life?”

“Oh, I’m single,” I said, “but it’s not like I cry into my pillow every night about it.”

A twinkle came into my eye and a smile spread over my face. “In fact,” I continued, “I’m very much in love.”

“Oh, so you DO have a guy in your life?” the other ladies asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Jesus.”

Their faces fell. The single girl made a comment to the effect that Jesus is great, but it would be “nicer to have somebody hold you in their arms once in a while.”

This wasn’t the first time that people suddenly got bored when I spoke of my love for Jesus. Why is that? Why do we listen with tantalized expectation to hear someone’s latest relationship story, but we shrug and roll our eyes when it turns out to be about Jesus? Is it because we do not believe that He is better than having “somebody to hold you in their arms”?

Because He truly is better. Anyone who has truly tasted of His presence knows that there is nothing to surpass it. The pain of singleness vanishes when Jesus comes into the picture.

So how is Jesus better than having a guy?

  • Jesus is love. All other human love is a mere shadow, a bare copy, of the pure, strong, unquenchable love of Jesus. Love and be loved by Him, know the original, and you’ll never again be able to settle for a copy. 
  • Jesus is the Creator. He made you, so He knows you intimately. He will never misunderstand you or pretend to not know what you’re on about. 
  • Jesus is All Powerful. We talk about guys being strong and buff. We admire their strength and speed and athleticism. But Jesus is stronger. He is a warrior. He vanquished the prince of this world. He is strong enough to rescue His bride.
  • Jesus is Omnipresent. A mere mortal man goes away–to work, on a business trip, to his man cave, to be alone–but Jesus never does. He is always near. He is always available. It is possible to continually dwell in His presence.
  • Jesus is Eternal. He never dies. A man dies and leaves his widow heartbroken, but we will never lose Jesus.
  • Jesus is our Provider. It can be a scary prospect to face singleness and figure out how you’re going to provide for yourself, but Jesus provides better than any husband. He makes it His NAME (Jehovah Jireh). Jesus is guaranteed to be good with money.
  • Jesus is the model authority. He is never abusive, controlling, manipulative, or bossy. He commands only what is perfectly righteous and pure, and He supplies the power to obey His commands. He wields His authority with love and faithfulness.
  • Jesus is wisdom. How many times do we look to a partner to lean on for advice? But Jesus knows the future, and the past, and the hidden details of the motivations of men’s hearts, and His counsel is perfectly reliable.

These are just  a few of the ways that Jesus surpasses a mere mortal man in satisfying our heart and meeting our needs. What other ways can you think of? Add to the list in the comments section.

Meditate on the surpassing excellencies of Christ today, and seek to know Him more intimately.