I recently had a meeting with a friend regarding how hard it can be to be single and handle the hardships that life throws at us. While hardship is not something uniquely faced by single people, it can often be extra difficult for us to shoulder the burdens on our own. Those who are in a God centered relationship or marriage often have someone readily available to help carry-on when hardship strikes. While this is not true for everyone in a relationship, hear me out.
The friend that I met with is a single mom of 2 teenage sons. She recently had her elderly father move in with her so she is essentially the breadwinner and sole provider for 4 people. One of her sons was recently in an accident and needed to have surgery, while her father demanded more and more of her time and her job demands were sitting there everyday screaming for her attention. She was feeling split between her sons, father, work, and ministry that she’s involved with at church. She had to work (to help support her family) while also taking her son to doctor’s appointments, calling insurance and other agencies involved in the accident. She had to cook, clean, drive her younger son to football practice, while also being the emotional rock for everyone in her household.
She expressed the frustration that she was feeling at not having a husband to help her bear the burden of this trial. She expressed that all she wanted was someone to help her make the phone calls to the insurance, the doctors, and everyone else involved. She wanted someone who could help drive her son to doctor’s appointments or make sure her younger son made to football practice on time. She wanted the support of a husband to help strengthen her resolve so that she could feed back into her son who was having a difficult time emotionally dealing with the accident. She also wanted a Godly husband who could help take some of the burden so that she could get back to having her quiet time with God.
Life is hard. That’s a fact, no matter what your relationship status. Trials and hardships do not discriminate based on whether you’re married with kids or single with no kids. At some point you are going to struggle with something in your life and when you’re single, you usually (not always) have to seek out assistance more than if you have a spouse who is available to help you work through your situation. Now, I’m well aware that not all married people have a solid rock to fall back on when hardship strikes and that trials will put stress on even the strongest of marriages. It’s worth mentioning, however, that as a single person, we can often feel isolated and alone, which makes handling difficult situations all the more difficult to combat.
I’ve been open about my struggles with an anxiety disorder and some depression over the years. When I experienced the most difficult time in dealing with my anxiety and depression, I felt completely alone. While feeling alone is one of the hallmarks of these disorders, I felt mostly alone because I didn’t have anyone to help me handle the daily things that needed to be taken care of despite the fact that I was too tired and stressed out to care. Even though I didn’t feel like making dinner or going to the store, I was the only one available to do those things. I couldn’t ask my boyfriend or husband to stop by the store on his way home from work to pick up milk and bread. I didn’t have anyone to help me do the laundry that was pilling up or do the dishes that sat in the sink for days. This is what I’m referring to when I say that single people feel alone. We often feel like we struggle alone because we don’t always have someone as equally invested in a positive outcome as we do.
Now, we all know that we are never truly alone because our loving and omnipresent Father is always with us. But, let’s be honest, sometimes it can be hard to rely solely on God when all you want is someone to take care of the phone calls and take out the trash so you can take a nap. While I have no doubt that God, Himself, could easily snap His fingers and present me with a cooked meal, clean dishes, or freshly folded laundry, God often uses those around us to care for us in our hour of need.
When we struggle, as Christians, we have a whole body of people to depend on and that body is the church. While married people often do rely on the church for assistance with things from meal trains, to counseling, to sermons that focus on healthy marriage, single people don’t always take advantage of what their church family has to offer. It may be our own pride, it may be that we don’t always see ourselves as a solid member of the church because we’re not part of a married couple, or it could be any one of our other numerous excuses. Those reasons however, are the main driving force to get yourself involved in your church family. While my church often seems to forget us single people, they definitely do an amazing job of encouraging EVERYONE to get involved in a small group, support group, or community group so that you can feel more at home within the church family. This is an amazing way to find the support that you may be needing even if you don’t have a boyfriend or spouse to back you up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
While you may sometimes feel alone as a single person, you should know that if you are plugged into a supportive church you are never actually alone. God calls us to care for one another and we even see His instructions through the words in Ecclesiastes that when we have each other, we have someone to help us up when we fall. If you isolate yourself from those around you, this verse from Ecclesiastes suggests that you won’t have anyone to pick you up when you fall, so it’s imperative to surround yourself with supportive and loving brothers and sisters in Christ.
While finding a supportive family is important, it’s really only half of the battle. What good is it if you have supportive friends at church and resources available if you’re too proud or scared to ask for help when you need it? I mean, I’m terrible at asking for help, let’s be honest here, but now that I’ve recognized it, I find it much easier to look for occasions when it’s appropriate to accept someone else’s offer to help. Remember to allow God’s people to feed into you. God is using your neighbors, friends, pastor, and small group to help do His work! That is how He meets our needs.
So while you may feel angry, frustrated, or even left out and all alone when enduring the tiring race of trials and hardships that life throws us, know that God has blessed us with the church to be our family and do His handiwork in caring for each other during our hour of need. You may feel like you’re struggling alone when you’re single, but that doesn’t mean you actually need to struggle alone when you have a loving Father who has graciously provided a way for us to feel His love and support through the love and support of our church family. So what do you need to ask your church family for today? OR how can you help to support your other single (or married) brothers and sister who may be struggling?