Serving alongside my husband in the Singles Ministry for over 7 years had its challenges, but it was also a space to positively impact those moving through young adulthood. I carried some life lessons into my twenties. I also learned some crazy life lessons during this important time in my life. Serving in singles ministry gave me the opportunity to help alongside my husband to develop and encourage others who are sizing the shoes I once wore. Looking back, I can recognize a few crucial things that I’m so glad I learned that now help me live life in a way I never would have considered before.
1. RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD NOT RELIGION
Focus in on learning and internalizing who God says He is. We spend so much time listening to what other people say about him, but what we really need to dive into scripture and find out for ourselves who He is and what God really is all about. So many singles feel as if because they are single they have a Scarlett letter on their forehead and God can’t use them because they don’t have a spouse. Honestly as a married woman can I just say that as a single you can do so much more for God! Paul never was married and he said in 1 Corinthians 7:8 “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.” Paul knew what he could accomplish being single, it is NOT a crutch, it is a strength that God can use your life in so many ways if you stay close to him! You have that availability, you have the flexibility to do exactly what God wants you to do when he needs you to do it. So with that said, discover a relationship with God and develop that through daily prayer, diving into scripture, and connecting with others to hold you accountable. Don't just "go to church" or "do the right thing" all the time.
2. FIND YOUR IDENTITY
When you know you are somebody, you will quit wasting time trying to be somebody. Colossians 3:3 says, " For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. " So often we try to identify with a group or circle of people. We do this to be accepted. When we gravitate to being accepted by others we start losing who God created us to be! Everyone is created uniquely to complete different things for God’s kingdom. You can't effectively do what God created you to do if you are trying to change who you are. When you know who God created you to be , you begin to identify the “labels” that limit you, and you begin to know yourself. Knowing yourself will launch you into #3..
3. DISCOVER YOUR CALLING
Consider corporate calling (Why do we exist? What are we here for?) Why? Because when you see the big picture clearly, it becomes easy to use that as a filter for the smaller picture of your personal life. We complicate God’s calling on our life too much! It is simply this: use how God’s wired you (gifts, skills, personality, experiences) to further “the big picture”. The reality is that you can do anything with your life. But if you have the blessing of living a long healthy life, toward the end when you look back , will you be able to say it was time well spent for what is coming next? I used to think I had all the time in the world. Now, as a woman in my thirties, I realize how fast my twenties actually went. I can never get that time back. Find out what God is calling you to do, start ASAP, and stick with it!
4. DEVELOP SOME CHARACTER
Character development is a life-long process, but during young adulthood your character is being formed in a way that can set the tone for the rest of your life. Invest your time and thought into this. It will open up doors for you. It will lead you into knowing your personal gifts and into your calling. It will define relationships and it will become your greatest gift to others. I think of David in the field tending his father’s sheep. He spent a lot of this time wielding a sling , doing basic shepherding , and farming before he became a King. However, these years shaped his heart in a way that would set him up to be an incredible leader. Looking back I’m thankful for my parents and people in my life who showed me tough love over the years. I am also thankful for the people spoke many words of wisdom in my life that have stuck with me. Your character is what makes you, you.
5. COMMIT TO DISCIPLINE.
Discipline is a characteristic that comes at a price. It requires pushing and stretching yourself in ways that will be uncomfortable. Since I was kid , I remember being taught that it takes discipline to reach goals and improve my life. My secular job apart from serving alongside my husband in ministry is a work from home position. I need discipline daily to do my tasks as I don’t have an office to report to and am far from micromanaged so it takes discipline to daily accomplish the personal goals I have in my workplace. For years, I have woken up early in the morning to plan out my day. For one hour every morning I sit with my coffee and do nothing but personally develop. I read, pray, meditate, and strategize. That time is strictly devoted to becoming better at figuring out how I can use that precious 24 hour day. I saw a meme once that said “Oprah has the same number of hours in a day you do so what is your excuse?” I am not saying we should strive to be Oprah, but it is so true, she has tremendous amounts of discipline to achieve what she does on a daily basis. Discipline is what is going to set you apart from everyone else. It is what is going to make rise to the next level of excellence in life, and in your relationships.
6. FIND YOUR VALUES.
Determine early on what matters most to you and write your goals down. Ask yourself what matters the most to you, and then ask yourself , "Does this matter the most to Jesus?" Look at Jesus’ life as an example. Study what He valued in His earthly ministry. Pick some role models who value the things that line up with God’s principles. Remember that goals are always time-specific, but values are timeless. Your values will guide you through the major times in life. What you value will determine your outcome in business dealings and personal relationships. Values also align your priorities, priorities will determine your habits, habits will determine your lifestyle, and your lifestyle will determine your destiny.