Weekly Thought – July 28, 2015
Fred spoke to singles’ retreats and sometimes received unusual requests. After one presentation a woman came up and waited patiently while others spoke to him. Finally, her turn came and she simply said, “I need you to find me a husband.” “Pardon, me, ma’am, but we have never met so why do you think I am to do this?” “I was told older men have the responsibility to find proper men for single women… and you are old.” He graciously declined. His practical wisdom helped many singles throughout the country. This 2002 article gives an insight into his thinking.
The Stress of Singleness
Mary Alice and I will be married 66 years June 25, 2003. We haven’t been single for a long time, but I have been asked a lot throughout my life to speak to singles groups. Here are a few of the common stressors.
1) Time pressures – too many confuse the fast track and the frantic track. But what a significant difference there is! I believe in the energy and excitement of the former, but distrust and deny the latter. Unfortunately, some singles equate inactivity with loss of inclusion. They say “yes” to every invitation seeking belongingness. And, singles just pushed by time when others assume they are available “because they don’t have families at home.”
2) Peer pressures – the stress of adolescent peer pressure should lessen as we age, but I see too many who still fall into the trap of giving too much control away. When they let others set their direction, goals, and definition of accomplishment, they open the door to unhealthy stresses. There are no age limits (or even marital status) which keep us from looking to others for approval, but I see many singles who put too much emphasis on the acceptance of friends and colleagues. Because of this stress, it is critical to carefully analyze and appraise those who are influencers.
3)Money – I notice when I talk with singles groups I find a particular weakness for advertising claims…and it eats them up. Madison Avenue invests big bucks to reach this particular demographic. Sporting activities are a prime example. Have you ever considered how much it costs to “look like a golfer? Tennis player? Bike rider?” No one just takes up a hobby without all the proper accoutrements. Living the lifestyle often squeezes singles into a tough spot which creates debt and stress. A plan and financial strategy are necessary elements in anyone’s life, but particularly for those who are targeted for impulse and emotional buying.
4) Relationships – Developing healthy relationships can be difficult. Many times when I speak to groups I find informal discussions coming around to the loneliness of singleness. Finding people to trust isn’t easy. Growing in a spiritual relationship doesn’t come more readily just because there is no spouse and children to consider. Being single doesn’t automatically create spiritual depth. The stress of being Mother Teresa or Apostle Paul can lay heavy on single shoulders.
God calls each of us to our own walk. Whether married or single, our focus is to be on Him and in Him. He is the answer to the stresses. He gives the peace. He moves us toward maturity.
This week think carefully about: 1) How can I serve those who are single? 2) What does singleness mean in the Christian community? 3) Who is struggling with loneliness as well as aloneness?
Words of Wisdom: “Money is a tool, not an idol. It gives option. It is a stewardship.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” (Proverbs 12:25 NET Bible)