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I have a question I’m a 30 year old single Christian woman without children and during the holidays I get really lonely almost depressed. I am always tempted to call an old boyfriend just to have something to do for the holidays. How do you handle the holidays? What can I do to fill the void of not having a significant other?Thanks
30 and single
Dear 30 and Single:
First I want to let you know that you are not alone in feeling wary during the holidays! There are so many other lonely hearts out there right now. During this time of year, people start to couple up and bring their significant others home to meet the folks and it seems to highlight even more –for you and for your family members — the fact that you’re not with anyone special. I get it!
You’ve stated that you are “almost depressed,” and I do not want to gloss over that, so I will address that first. There are many levels and types of depression, the more severe kinds being of a clinical nature. If you are more than just sad or “down” about your romantic life, please find out more information about depression here (http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-health-check/default.htm) and see if your medical insurance will cover counseling (or visit a free clinic in your area) in order to nip this in the bud before it has a chance to progress. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is so important to get the proper spiritual, mental, and emotional counseling necessary to rid yourself of depression because it is nothing but a tool of the Devil to take from you what God desires for you. God desires for you to have life and to have it more abundantly (John 10:10), not to be depressed or empty! Please let me know if there is any way I can help you get counseling in your area.
Now, as for “filling the void,” you’ve definitely thought up a popular but not-quite-solution — “call an old boyfriend just to have something to do for the holidays” — and that isn’t going to work. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’m telling you — and you probably already know — that is NOT the answer. You want to be with someone special, right? That means you DON’T want to be with an ex-boyfriend who is obviously not the guy for you, or he’d just be your boyfriend. So what is the right solution to filling the void of the special someone during the holidays?
Step 1: Be with someone special!
A. Spend time with Family! Holidays are a time for family. Spend some time with your loved ones! I am four months into my Six-Months-No-Dating Pledge, I have two weeks off of work for the holidays, and I am spending a week with my parents. We are enjoying each other’s company so much and spending the kind of time together I know we would not be able to spend if I was boo’d up and married with kids. You mention that you don’t have any children. Wonderful! Spend some quality time reconnecting with your family.
B. Be a blessing to Friends and Family! Perhaps you have family members or friends with kids but are in need of a break. An awesome opportunity for you to step in! Take out your friends’/family members’ children, give them the afternoon/evening off and be an auntie to some kids and a God-send to your friends/family.
C. Spend this time being of service to someone you may not know. That is what Christmas is all about, honoring Christ who was born to give His life for you and me. What better way to honor Him and to show our gratitude than to give love to His people? It is very hard to think of yourself or to feel lonely when you are surrounded by people who love you and when you are serving others. Whenever my father would be away on business during Thanksgiving or Christmas, my mother would take my sister and me to a nursing home, homeless shelter, or children’s hospital and the three of us would sing to the people or serve them food. We still missed our dad, but we were so full of joy that missing our father no longer had the same heartache attached. I am a witness: serving heals a broken heart. When you are focused on meeting the needs of others, you are showing the ultimate form of love — God’s pure love — and that makes God happy. You will be filled with joy simply because you’ve been obedient to the voice of God and He is cheering you on, like, “That’s MY daughter down there!” (2 Corinthians 5:9, “ So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”) (Proverbs 19:17, “When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord–and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!”)
D. Spend time with Christ! You mention you are a Christian, so that must mean you know and have accepted the perfect love of Christ. There is absolutely no one more special than Christ that you can spend this holiday time with. The season is all about Him, after all! Why not take the opportunity to show Him that He is your everything? Spend some time reading the Bible, asking God for understanding of the scriptures, and just talking to Him in general! He longs to be close to you. Read Psalm 139 as a reminder of just how much He loves you, knows all about you, and wants to be near you.
Step 2: Vow never to use another person again. You want someone special, your “help mate” who was designed especially for you, your match in every way who you can share your life, joy, plans, and purpose with. You do not want to be someone’s gap-filler until his *real* love comes along, so do not use another person as your gap-filler, either. Not only are you wasting your time and continuing an unholy bond with someone God has no intention to play a permanent role in your life (You may have been hurt/abused/toyed with by someone in your past. Make a vow to never do that to another human being. We must be so careful not to use people to make ourselves feel better/important/less alone/worthwhile.
Step 3: Trust God! When you entertain men to stave off the loneliness, you’re admitting to Christ that you do not trust Him, you do not believe Him when He tells you you’re not ever alone because He is “with you always; even until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20), you’re telling Him He is a liar. Reading these statements or even saying them out-loud sounds ridiculous, right? Of course we know God is NOT a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19) and we know that He is faithful and will keep His promises to us (Psalm 108:5). It is one thing to know it, and a whole-nother thing to LIVE like it! How do you live a life full of faith? How do you gain more trust in God?
A. Tell God About Your Lack of Faith. Say out-loud: “God, I do not trust you with my dating life. God I am feeling lonely and alone. Help me to trust you in this area of my life and help me to feel your presence so that I know that I am not alone! Reveal yourself to me, Father, so I remember that you are with me always and You promised to never leave me. Help me to overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) God promised that when we get serious about finding Him and we seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him, and we will not be disappointed (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
B. Pray specifically for what you want. You want a spouse to share your whole life with, not just for appearances on the holidays, right? Tell God so! Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that Christ is the kind of God who — because He was flesh and blood on earth — knows EXACTLY what we’re going through, the temptations we face to be downtrodden over our love-lives,the pressures of being unmarried in society that weighs worth based on marriage, the sting of loneliness, He’s felt ALL of that. Because of that, Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace *with confidence,* so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Pray: “God I can confidently go to you and ask you for what I want, because You know what I’m going through, you’ve been through it yourself and because of that, I know you will help me get through this and I thank you!” Pray: “God send me my soul-mate when YOU (and I) are ready to send Him to me.” (Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”)
C. Prepare to receive what you want. What if God sent you your soul-mate tomorrow…would you be ready? Are you confident that you could love Him with the love of Christ, be diligent in your wifely/motherly duties, bring something to the table besides a coke and smile? If not, it’s time to use your singleness to start preparing yourself to receive the blessing God has for you in your soul-mate. Rid yourself of baggage (physical and emotional), practice living out true love (as love is an ACTION, not an emotion; it is giving to others unencumbered by the expectation of reciprocity, 1 John 3:16); reach career goals and pursue your passion/purpose; and form a rock-solid relationship with Christ. If you haven’t already, check out the book I’m using as a guide for my Six-Months-No-Dating Pledge, “Your Knight in Shining Armor,” by P.B. Wilson, to find more ways to work on yourself as a sign of your faith that you expect God to bring your soul-mate to you, and you expect your soul-mate to be working on himself and preparing for you, as well!
D. Worship and praise God while you wait! Telling God, “THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for the soul-mate you have made just for me and are preparing me for!!” — is an act of faith. Faith is believing against all odds, believing without physical manifestation of proof. God tells us that it is impossible to make Him happy without us having faith (Hebrews 11:6). Start praying: ”God I believe the promises You made to me! I believe you will give me the desires of my heart!” The greatest ways to increase your faith is to thank Him in advance and watch Him reveal Himself to you. Always pray for patience while you’re waiting: for you to get yourself together, for your prince to get Himself together, for God’s perfect timing to take place. You don’t want anything half-baked, so just pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) that you develop a patient spirit and a trusting spirit,knowing that God’s plans for you are to “prosper you and not to harm you, to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Watch and pray so that you do not fall into temptation,” Matthew 26:41. It is tempting to get swallowed by loneliness, hurt, despair. Don’t fall into the strangely comforting trap of self-pity! Remember, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. Memorize these scriptures and pray continuously so you’ll remember who God is, who He’s already proven Himself to be in your life! Bind up that spirit of depression, rebuke it in the name of Jesus, it has no power over you, for Christ in you is greater than any force that would come against you! Be strong in that, take care of yourself in every way possible, and please let me know if I can help in any way, whether praying for you or anything else.God bless you sis, and enjoy this holiday season knowing you are NOT alone, you are so loved, and you have so many wonderful things to come in your future, so just keep your eyes to the hills, and not on the downside of your current situation. But if you must look down, rejoice in the preparation you are undergoing and in how far He’s already brought you!
Love you and praying for you always!