“Fear tricks us into living a boring life.” Donald Miller wrote those words, and how true they ring in my ears and heart. I want to stay safe. I want to avoid risk, pain, and difficulty. I don’t want to be stretched or pulled beyond my comfort zone, my natural limitations; I want to stay on the safe side.
I wanted the same when I was single. I wanted things to go according to The Plan – my carefully laid out, neat and tidy plan, the one that kept me safe and comfortable. But in each season God has pulled me over my line in the sand into an adventure I never anticipated. I was not a willing participant in many of these excursions, but each one left me stronger than the one before.
Many of you are just like I was: living in a safe singleness, bored with life but too scared to do anything new. You might think you have to do something “crazy for God” for your life to matter, so you don’t do anything at all. Or maybe you think a job and savings account are the scary stuff – too mundane and mediocre for what you want. So you run wildly into a different kind of fear, a different kind of “boring” – one you’ve defined in your own heart and mind. But in all this fear-based living, neither of these ends in God’s will.
Eventually, I gave up my boring singleness – and started to really live. The abundant life Jesus offers starts today, here, where our feet are planted! Following are three fear-based actions to STOP doing and three faith-based choices to START today – right in the middle of your singleness.
Stop “Making Room” for Marriage
As a single person I struggled to make life decisions that could potentially affect my “marriage trajectory”. I declined certain opportunities because I wanted to “make room” for a future marriage (when I wasn’t even dating at the time). I though I had to leave space for God to work – which showed just how small my view of God really was!
If God has marriage for you, He can interrupt you right in the middle of your current calling. The best preparation for marriage is your simple obedience to God’s will for today. You don’t need to pave the way for God to bring a man into your life – God Himself can do that. Just follow His leading, your gifts, and the doors He opens.
Start Living Boldly Where You Are
So if you’re no longer orchestrating your life around a future relationship, what do you do with your time? Live boldly where you are! Fruitful singleness doesn’t just happen. Thriving orchards and abundant gardens don’t just spring up on their own; they are seeded, tended, and fertilized to produce maximum yield. To produce the maximum yield for Christ in this season, you must be completely rooted in the present.
No more waiting around for “life to start”. Life is already begun. It’s under your feet.
Stop Wondering Whether You’re “Called to Singleness”
I devoted a whole post to this topic which you can read here, but here’s a quick recap:
You can’t know without a doubt that you’ll get married someday. You can’t get a guarantee that you’ll one day marry (though most people do). But to the woman who follows God with abandon, those questions aren’t being asked. The question isn’t “What if he never comes?” but “What can I do NOW in case he does?” The reality is that marriage and children bring with them an enormous responsibility, and while these responsibilities have their benefits and their joys, they are a ministry in and of themselves. If you refuse to accept the ministry God has laid before you now, how will you be ready for the ministry of marriage?
And if marriage were not, in fact, a part of God’s plan for you, would you rather look back on years of fruitful living, or wasted days spent in discontent?
Start Embracing God’s Will for the Present
God has laid out your purpose in this world. He has chosen you, for such a time as this, to love Him will all that you are and to actively pour that love into the people around you. He has called you not to a life of limiting fear but to a life of reckless love.
So don’t worry about tomorrow. Fix your thoughts on what is “true, honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable… keep putting into practice all the things you have learned and received…Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8-9)
Stop Letting Fear Dictate Your Decisions
The Enemy knows how to bait us. He doesn’t plant fear in places it won’t take root; he starts with the things nearest and dearest to us. He wants us to cling to our desires and plans – even the good ones! – more than we cling to Christ. He uses fear to accomplish this.
In singleness, there are many ways fear can manifest itself; it can be fear of long-term singleness, fear of commitment, fear of failure, or fear of making the wrong decision. When we let any of these fears dictate the course of our lives, we end up with a vanilla, safe, lackluster existence. We wonder why discontent haunts us and why we feel so unfulfilled. Many times, it’s because we’ve let fear dictate our decisions instead of Jesus Christ.
Start Stepping Out in Faith
Instead of living by fear and playing it safe, step out of the boat. Step into the uncertainty and the uncomfortability, because that is where Jesus is waiting. Our trust is not in our circumstances – present or future – but in the Person of God made flesh, Emmanuel, God with us. It is the fact He is with us that eradicates fear and empowers our faith. Because faith is “the assurance… of things unseen” (Heb. 11:1)
Don’t settle for a safe single season. Live boldly, radically, presently – by faith. Because abundant life begins now.
Read more about overcoming fear and living boldly in your single season in Fruitful: A Year Long Guide to an Abundant Single Season! This ebook launches on September 1, 2017.