Finding yourself single again, especially amid a culture that puts so much emphasis on relationships, can be very difficult. No one plans for a relationship to end; no one gets married intending divorce. Whether a spouse was taken by death or leaves in divorce, the result is not what we would have chosen. Yet our churches are organized around families and family activities, compounding the isolated singles feel from community. Here are some thoughts on living well through the change.
We are designed to be in fellowship with others, so the isolation can feel overwhelming. You may have a relationship that did not work out the way you planned, and that stinks. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way and on your own time. If you or those around you feel that your grief is out of proportion, enlist the help of a professional counselor or grief support group to give yourself space to feel what you really feel.
Spend time in prayer and in worship on your own and with others. You need God to get through the challenges so draw close to him. We often blame God for life's pain and distance ourselves when we feel hurt or stressed, which only adds to our sense of isolation. Prayer, scripture reading, journaling, singing, time in nature, and connecting with God's people in worship are all different ways of connecting with God. You may have to nudge yourself at times to worship when you don't really feel like engaging. When our hearts are weary and words fail us, the Holy Spirit even prays for us (Romans 8:26). We can be assured, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord(Romans 8:38-39).
We may pull away from God, but God never leaves us alone.
There may be a temptation to pull up the covers and stay in bed for days. That may be okay for a day, but it is not a healthy way to live life. Choose to engage in something that interests you. Sign up for a class that sounds interesting, do yoga at the gym, join a library book club, or volunteer for an organization you value. Pursue a passion that God has placed on your heart. Keep participating in the normal flow of life.
A great way to see beyond your own stress is to engage in the life of others. God desires that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves; we demonstrate our love for God through the way that we care for others. Discover your gifts by participating in helping others. We all have things that we can do to help others.
Are there gifts, tastes, or hobbies you haven't been able to explore previously? Maybe this is a chance for renewal. You have lost something important, and life won't be the same. But you are not without talents and gifts from God. Even as you reflect on what you've lost, think about what you want out of life, or what you want to explore. What do you want life to look like in a few years, and how can you invest your gifts to move in that direction?
Being single again can feel devastating, but it doesn't have to stay there. It may even be liberating and a chance to explore latent gifts. In any case, God will walk with us through every challenge that we face in life. Take life a day at a time or even a moment at a time, focusing on letting God give you the strength to face your fears. In God’s economy, nothing is wasted, he will use even our struggles for his glory.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Deb Koster