You Have A Choice

August 17, 2014

 

 

        

 

          I remember it like it was yesterday.    I was almost 21 years old and a junior in Bible College.   I’d just spent another exciting Friday night babysitting two adorable little boys while a professor and his wife had a date night.   Afterwards, on the ride home, my professor (trying to make conversation) asked, “So what are your plans for after graduation?” 

 

            At the time, I hated the question because I didn’t really have a good answer.   That’s actually humorous because a few years earlier when I started college I thought I had a fool proof plan for my life.  

 

           Go to Bible College---Meet future husband---Fall in Love---Live happily ever after as a pastor’s wife.  

 

           Only now there was a problem.   Here I was, well into my Junior Year and I wasn’t dating anyone.    Even worse, I was BIG TIME disappointed with God and life in general because the guy I had fallen in love with and thought I would marry, didn’t seem to have the same plan in life.   So here I was, heartbroken and kind of angry, being asked about my plans for the future.   

 

            That’s when I spoke a sentence that was filled with more honesty than I’d probably admitted to myself until that time.   I said, “I don’t really know what I’m going to do.   It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of options available to me as a single woman.” 

 

           Then my professor said some words that at the time seemed ludicrous but I now see were the absolute truth that I needed to hear.  He said, “What do you mean there are no choices?   The whole world is available to you.  This is the greatest time in your life because you can choose any life you want.” 

 

           And with those words, we arrived at my dorm.   He went home and I thought, “Yeah, right, what do you know?”  

 

            Now, 20 years later, I realize that he knew A LOT.   In fact, he was absolutely right.   The problem was that I couldn’t see it at the time because I had tunnel vision that wanted what I wanted, the way I wanted it, at the time I wanted it, and I refused to see that there were possibilities beyond that one choice I’d given myself in life. The blinders I chose to wear were blocking my view of all the limitless possibilities for a rich, full life that are available to the Christian single woman who is willing to live her life for God’s purposes.  The truth is that when we change our attitudes and open our eyes to all the possibilities, we see that my professor was right…the choices and possibilities are endless. 

 

           This is true whether you’re a young woman just venturing out in life, a more mature woman that’s never been married, or a woman who’s single again after losing a partner to divorce or death.    Just because your life didn’t turn out like the romantic fairy tale that you imagined, doesn’t mean your choices or opportunities to have an amazing life are over.     In fact, the truth is that they may have just begun. 

 

           Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at a Single Moms Ministry Event.    As I sat listening to the other speakers, I realized that even though we hadn’t coordinated our messages or workshops beforehand, the Holy Spirit drew each of us back to the topic of choices.   Specifically, it was said over and over again throughout the event:  “As single women you have the chance to make choices that will reap positive results in your life.   Today, you have the opportunity to say, ‘Whatever happened in the past, today, I am going to make a choice to start following the principles that God laid out in the Bible and let them direct my future.’”  

 

             If we really think about it that is one benefit that single women have over married women.   We have both the power to make positive choices that will lead to positive consequences in our lives.   The Apostle Paul puts it this way: 

“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.   I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 7:34-35) 

 

            Reality is that a married woman is restricted in the options that she has in life.  Her decisions need to be made in partnership with her husband, taking his preferences, his needs, and his wants into consideration.   If we were all really honest with ourselves, we all know married women who say, “I would love to be able to make this choice, but my husband would never go for it.”    This can apply to anything from career goals, to financial decisions, and even extend into whether or not a woman can fully follow and apply God’s principles to her life.   The truth is that a married woman is part of a team and her choices are limited and influenced by the other members of that team.

 

             Please, do not misunderstand me.  I’m not anti-marriage or pushing a pro-feminist agenda.   When it is God’s will that a woman be married and live her life serving God in partnership, it is a very fulfilling life.   However, this article is written to single women to make a specific point. 

 

            The point is:  Too often, when God allows us to experience a season of singleness in our lives, we can feel like our choices are limited because we aren’t married.  Looking at life through this blurred lens makes us feel like we will never be able to live happy, fulfilled lives because our choices are limited.  

 

             The purpose of this article is to show you that nothing could be further from the truth.   Rather than having limited choices, as a single woman, you actually have more choices and more freedom to follow whatever God’s plan is for your life.   Because you have fewer commitments, you are actually able to explore more possibilities and take more opportunities than your married counterparts.  

The truth is that my professor was right:  “The whole world is available to you.  This is the greatest time in your life because you can choose any life you want.  As single women you have the chance to make choices that will reap positive results in your life.”

 

           I just wish it hadn’t taken me 10 years to realize he was right.  

 

           Thankfully, I did eventually come around.  Sometime in my late 20’s I really began to realize that wishing my life was different and waiting for my prince to come, wasn’t really leading to a fulfilled and happy life.    Instead, I learned that I needed to start making the choice to lead a happy and fulfilled life NOW, as a single woman, and if things changed later, great.  If not, this is my life, I might as well start living it, loving it, enjoying it, and getting as much out of it as possible.   

 

           Here are some of the choices that I made that completely revolutionized my life and outlook as a Christian single woman.  Just like my professor challenged me years ago, today I’m challenging you to make these choices in your own life, and see if you don’t eventually find that the possibilities for a happy fulfilling life really are endless for the Christian single woman who chooses to make right choices. 

 

 #1   Choose to Submit Your Life to God’s Will

 

            One of the biggest reasons that Christian single women are unhappy and unfulfilled is that we spend too much time focusing on our own will for our lives.   When our plans don’t work out, we become angry with God, jealous of other women, and generally miserable as we become the constant guests at our own pity-party.   Then we wonder why we aren’t happy.

 

           A better choice is to choose to stop fighting God’s plan for your life and embrace it.   Truly surrender your will to God’s will and say, “Heavenly Father, I realize that You created my life for a plan and a purpose.   From this point forward, I submit my life to fulfilling Your plan and purpose, even if it means that I never get the things that I want.   Starting today, my life is no longer about fulfilling my agenda, but I dedicate my life to fulfilling YOUR agenda which will further YOUR kingdom. Please help me to stop demanding my own way, and start walking in Your way for my life.   Today, I really surrender all knowing that whatever plans You have for me are greater than anything I could have ever imagined.   In Jesus’ name. Amen.”  

 

            Then live your life like you mean the prayer you prayed, putting aside your preconceived ideas about how life “should be” and choosing to follow God’s plan for your life.     

 

#2  Choose to Read the Bible, Learn God’s Principles, and Apply Them to Your Life

 

           The best choice any woman can make in life is the choice to learn God’s principles as they are laid out in the Bible and apply them to her life.  

Why?  Well, as the Creator of the universe, God understands how the universe works.   Graciously, He has shared these keys to successful living with us in His Word.   When we read His Word and apply these keys to our lives, we will prosper and succeed spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and even in our practical lives.   The Bible teaches us how to have successful relationships, and finances, how to overcome the issues in our lives, and how to avoid the bad consequences that come from disobeying God’s principles.  

 

            Do you want to make good choices in life?  Allow the Bible to be your guidepost in decision making.   It’s a choice you’ll never regret. 

 

#3  Choose to Look at Life as an Adventure

 

            When I was in my early twenties, whenever I was faced with the challenge of a traditionally “manly” job that I didn’t want to do, I would always say, “I wish I were married, so I wouldn’t have to learn how to do this.   I could just get my husband to do it.”

 

            Then my Mom always remind me that “Life is an adventure…you’ve got to learn to love the journey.”  

 

              (By the way, my logic isn’t really true.   If you talk to most married women, they still have to learn to handle a lot of things themselves or work with their husbands when they do traditionally “manly” projects.)   Even if it was true, what a wimpy attitude!    

 

               It wasn’t until I finally overcame my wimpy notion and chose to start learning to take my Mom’s advice and love the adventure of learning and trying new things, that I found my life more exciting.   With each new adventure, I gained more self-confidence and felt more empowered.   I realized with God’s help, I really could do anything.   Rather than challenges making me feel like I was missing something, they began to be quite a source of fulfillment.   Eventually, I began looking forward to the next adventure and the challenges that were just around the bend.  

  

               So take a word of advice from my Mom and choose to look at life as an adventure.   Then watch the true adventure begin! 

 

#4 Choose to Make Your House a Home

 

              So often as single women, we feel like we need to wait until we are married with children in a house of our own to start allowing our nesting instincts to bloom.    Again, because we delay gratifying our basic need to create our own space, we begin to feel angry and bitter and focus on what has not yet arrived in our lives.    This is a bad choice.

 

              A much better choice is to begin creating a home for yourself wherever you live now.   This doesn’t necessary mean you have to buy a house. (Although for some women it might.)    What this choice involves is adding your own personal touches to wherever you’re living right now.  Whether it is an apartment, a dorm room, a condo, or even a room in your parent’s home, make it your own.   Paint the walls.  Decorate it to suit your own tastes.   Invest in it by cleaning it and taking care of it.   Plant a garden outside or on the patio.   Be thankful that you have a place to live and do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfortable and at home.     Don’t waste your days pining for what you wish you had; instead make your current dwelling into a home and enjoy it. 

 

#5  Choose to Be Good to Yourself

 

            Make the choice to see yourself as a woman of value and treat yourself accordingly.   Decide to invest in yourself and live a healthy lifestyle.  Don’t exercise to keep your figure and look good for a man, but instead exercise to increase your endorphins, to help you relax and to make you feel stronger and better about yourself. 

 

             Don’t eat out of a box all the time.   Cook delicious, nutritious meals for yourself.   Worried about leftovers?  Eat them for lunch the next day or freeze them to reheat later. 

 

           Every once in awhile, treat yourself to something special.   Don’t sit around wishing someone would bring you flowers, go out and buy them for yourself.    Choose now to treat yourself the way you want someone else to treat you later.   This leads us right into #6:

 

#6  Choose to Enjoy Your Life and Avoid Playing the Victim

 

           Very early in my life I decided that I was not going to be the woman who sat in a corner at parties pouting that she wasn’t in a relationship.    I guess I just grew up around too many single women who played the role of the victim well enough to get an Emmy that the notion of mimicking their behavior was repulsive to me.   Rather than spending my life sulking in a corner, I decided to get right into the middle of the action, participate, have fun, and enjoy life.  

 

           There’s a quote that says, “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance.” 

 

        Dance to the music that is playing.   Who knows?  Next year could be totally different and you’ll never have the chance to enjoy this moment in your life again.  

Does this mean you should never be sad or lonely?   Of course not, that would be unrealistic.   All single women have moments when they wish they were married.   However, we need to choose to move past these moments and choose to enjoy our lives just as they are right now.  

 

#7  Choose to Properly Manage Your Finance

 

         Ironically,  one of the biggest challenges that I face whenever I speak to women on the topic of finances, is married women who come up to me afterward and say, “I would love to be able to do the things that you spoke about and live by God’s financial principles, but my husband would never go for it.”  

 

         That’s one of the great opportunities we have as single women.   When it comes to the topic of finances, we have the chance to choose to learn the financial principles found in the Bible, study financial resources, apply this knowledge to our lives, and reap the rewards of living by God’s financial principles.   We can choose to avoid debt, live on a budget, save money, and even give as the Holy Spirit leads us.   It’s an amazing opportunity.   We just need to grab hold of it and take advantage of all it’s worth!  

 

#8  Find a Way to Make Your Passion into Your Career

 

            One of the best choices a woman can make is to find a way to make a career out of something she loves to do.   So what is your passion?  

 

            If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

 

            Next question:  Why aren’t you doing it?

 

            Do you need to go back to school? Make the choice to do it.

 

            Would you like to apply for another job?  Why not send our resumes? 

 

            Do you feel like God is calling you to try something new in your life?  Take a step of faith and begin working toward it.

 

            Reality is that you’re not stuck where you are.   You can begin taking steps to change your life---even if they are just baby steps.  You just have to choose to do it. 

 

#9   Choose to Find a Home Church and Get Involved

 

            Two of the biggest struggles for Christian single women are boredom and loneliness.   One of the best cures for that problem is to find a home church where you feel comfortable and get involved.    Join a committee, teach a Sunday School Class, join a small group.   All of these are ways to make meaningful connections with other people and contribute something to the kingdom of God at the same time.  When you connect with the right church for you, you’ll find friends, fulfillment, and a place to serve. 

 

#10  Choose to Love Others

 

            This is a choice that every single woman can make.  Too often as single women, we become so obsessed with finding “romantic love” that we miss the opportunity to love the people who are already in our lives. 

 

             Even though you are not married, you are probably not alone in life.   Most people have parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews.   Why not invest time and embrace these relationships while you wait for God to give you a family of your own?   

 

             Just because you don’t have children doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with the little ones in your family.   Take them to the park, read them a story, take them out for the day and give their parents a break.    Offer to take Grandma out to get her hair and nails done for the day.    Spend time on the phone with your Mom.  Be a blessing to all the people God has placed in your life.

 

            Churches are filled with older widows who could use a helping hand or just a friend to who’ll listen.     Make friends with the ladies in your church.   From time to time, offer to bless them by babysitting their kids.    Allow yourself to grow wherever God has planted you.   Enjoy your life by being a blessing to others.

 

            The truth is that love is everywhere waiting to be shared.  The only barrier is our willingness to accept love and give sacrificial love.  The choice is up to us, “Do we want to have love in our lives or do we want romance?”   Are you open to the possibilities? 

 

             In the end, I think that’s the ultimate question we need to ask ourselves:  “Am I open to the possibilities and the myriad of choices that are open to me, or am I fixated on the one choice that is not available in my life at this moment?” 

 

            You see, the possibilities really are endless.  The whole world really is open to the woman who surrenders her will to God and allows Him to guide her into the right choices for her life.   However, the first step is recognizing that happiness is a possibility as a Christian single woman.   When it comes to that decision, the choice is really up to you.

 

              Do you want to see the choices that are available to you?

 

              Do you want to explore the possibilities of what God has planned for your life?

 

              Are you willing to take the risk, make the first step, and embark on the adventure of being a dynamic single woman in God’s kingdom? 

 

The choice is yours; the question is, “Do You Want to Choose?” 

 

 

 

 

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