7 steps for being single and content
Part 2: How I learned to trust God's timing ... and celebrate my singleness
By Hannah Ellenwood
Use this time to learn and practice being in real community - not as a means to marriage, not for the sake of marriage, but for the sake of community.
Be committed to the holiness of your friends. Practice engaging in hard conversations with grace and with truth. Practice hospitality and open up your life and home to others. These are beautiful things to practice as a believer who is representing Christ and engaging the Church and world. It is also a good time to invest in yourself.
You want to be wise with your resources, but proactively leave your comfort zone, take yourself on trips (treat yo' self!), get a gym membership, eat healthy, take a cooking class and start crossing things off your bucket list. Do things that refresh and restore you and that make you feel excited about life.
I've filled this season with good books, great coffee (as I try to make my way to every craft coffee shop in Chicago), becoming a "regular" at one of my favorites, intentionally focusing on being healthy with the food I buy and going to the gym, and spending a lot of intentional time getting to know new people I run into in the places I frequent as I build my community in this new city.
I get to genuinely celebrate the beautiful relationships my siblings are in, stand next to friends as they commit their lives to one another, and buy baby clothes and books for my pregnant friends.
I know that their happiness doesn't come at the expense of mine, so I get to give the gift of my celebration and presence even more generously. I give from a place of overflowing because I am enjoying the gifts I have received and embracing my life in the present.
I don't have to withhold my genuine joy for others to make myself feel better about someone else being given what I believe I am lacking.
Most importantly, I have found that the key to true contentment is learning to abide in Christ. St. Augustine said so poignantly: "You have made us for Yourself and our heart is restless until it finds rest in You." Our hearts are going to be dissatisfied and restless until we look to the only One who can give us true rest and ask Him to fill us in a way only He can.
In order to abide, we need to know the One we are abiding in. So, these past few months, I have been very intentional about spending time getting to know who God is. I practice taking Him at his word and resting in that, instead of grasping and controlling. And here’s the thing: I didn’t always have a desire to know Him this deeply. Most days, I just wished He would give me what I wanted. But I wanted to have that desire...so I prayed for it.
As I’ve become more familiar with God and His character, I trust him more fully with my life. I trust His timing. I trust in his sovereignty. And I don't feel like I have to try and put myself in situations where I will meet someone, or make myself seen. I don't have to try and manufacture or manipulate my circumstances by hopping on a dating app or constantly trying to "put myself out there" just so I feel like something is happening in that department of my life.
Although I do think there is a healthy level of being proactive and making myself available, I want to do that from a posture of openness to how God might be at work in my life versus operating out of a place of discontentment and restlessness. When I trust God with my life and act in obedience to him, I live at the center of His will. And that puts me in the best possible position to meet someone. But more importantly it puts me in the best possible position to live well, serve well, and love well.
As I've practiced all of these things I have found deep contentment. And, YES, there are days that it feels harder to watch everyone around me get engaged and married and start picking out baby clothes and posting all of it on social media. And those are the days that I just need to unplug, be present and enjoy my life for exactly what it is, where it is, and with whom it is. Because that is what is real, and that is the life I’ve been given to make the most of and be faithful with.
Hannah is a global citizen - born in the Northwoods of America and raised in the heart of Europe. Upon graduating from Biola University in 2015 she has worked in the world of marketing and branding and is now pursuing work in vocational ministry.