Happy Where You Are – Week 1-Being Single

Joy in the Single Life
By Wayne Clinton

I questioned at first if I was even a good candidate to write about this, but then I realized that in just 6 more days I will have lived my life as a single man for the last 7 years. I went from being a fully committed husband, to a struggling single overnight. I had to redefine my life and learn all over again what it’s like to live single. I was fortunate to have someone living with me, my son, who brought me comfort and camaraderie to help me from being too lonely, but he had his own life too. So, I began to study what contentment meant for me: I had to relearn how to pursue joy, and really define for myself what “Joy” truly was.
John 16:20-22 NIV says…
(Jesus talking to His Disciples about his upcoming crucifixion..)
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

….. I was in LOVE with how that sounded. “and no one will take away your joy”.  The key to my contentment and joy was in Him. Jesus. even though my days were tough right now. Joy was to be found in Him.

Romans 15:13 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit……
Hope and Joy….and Peace. How do these get acquired? By trusting in Him, says Gods Word”.
And finally, in Philemon 1:7 NIV
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people”.

…I wanted to be able to refresh people’s hearts through Christ.  So, I began to engage in relationships that were safe. I must admit, it was very difficult for me at first. It seemed like everyone was busy, and already committed, and I wasn’t very good at reaching out, or setting up long term goals for events and planning for future dates with friends to do things with. I was more of a spur-of-the-moment person, and I found that most of the people I dealt with were not. They also had to check in with their significant others to see if they were available or could break free to do things. I didn’t really have to check in with anyone, it was really kind of nice. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to, but not with whomever I wanted to. 
There were boundaries, there still are. I also had to fight off the voice that would constantly call out my singleness, like this phrase in my head, “you’re the only one without someone here”. Those that I was with didn’t care, why did I. So I started routines, small ones, ones that I could accomplish and feel good about. I found I had a lot more time on my hands, time that I wasn’t used to, the reality is relationships take a lot of time. The one thing I found great satisfaction in doing was serving other people. Sometimes I would directly for friends sometimes indirectly. Directly, was a hands on serving, helping people move, helping them fix something or clean up some mess, watching their pets and kids, while they went on vacation. I enjoyed it all, but it wasn’t very fulfilling, at least not completely.

For me it wasn’t until I got in alignment with God’s plans for me, His plans to use me and stretch me beyond my comfort zone. To challenge me in my faith and beliefs, and He did exactly that. I began serving in youth ministries. And WOW what a ride. I’m still on it and the rewards have been amazing. It was a commitment of only 2 hours a week at youth group, God grew that into much more than I could have expected. Now, years later I’m dating again and I am very happy. Life returned to me long before the dating commenced and is probably what made me look worthy of dating to her. Gods provisions for me were and are my Joy and Hope. He has met all my needs and has left me longing for very little that I have not received from Him already. I trusted His care for me and also trusted those around me that He placed there to guide me, walk with me, and correct me and at times, rebuke me. I may be single, but I am NEVER ALONE.
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