Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Singleness: Burden or Blessing?, Part 1

Leslie Basham: When you are climbing the hill, you have a much better perspective once you reach the top. Perspective changes the way everything looks. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, August 1. As we are walking through life, we can lose sight of what's most important. We all need God's perspective, don't we? Today, Nancy will begin a series giving us godly perspective on marriage and on singleness. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Last night as I was going through some old files, I came across some notes from what I think must have been the first time that I ever spoke on the subject of singleness. I was speaking to a group of college students at a Christian college. It was 1983. I was 25 years old at the time; and at that time, I had no idea how long I would be single. And I had no idea what God's plan and purposes would be for my life. That was 18 years ago.

And if you do a little math, you'll know that now I'm 43. And as most of you know, I am still single, have been single all of those years. As I reviewed those notes, I realized a couple things.

First of all, I still believe the things that I said 18 years ago--the things I shared with those single women that day have become a really important part of my life. They were then, and they are now. And I realized what I'm going to say over the next sessions hasn't changed a lot. I have a few more illustrations, and I've had a little bit more practice at this thing of being single. But actually the main points are the same things that God showed me as a young woman. And I'm so glad that those same principles are ones that He gave to me from His Word at a young age because they have really been incredibly helpful in walking through these years as a single woman.

And then as I looked through these notes and I started thinking back over these years of being a single adult woman, there was a great sense of gratitude that I felt in my heart. And I just did a little reflecting back over these years. And I realized how blessed my life has been. I mean it has been a full life, a joyful life. If I died tonight, I could tell you that I have had a meaningful and full and rich and blessed life. I really could not ask for anything more. And all of those years have been as a single woman.

This week, I got on my knees at one point and asked the Lord what I could share with this group of mostly single women that would be meaningful, that would be helpful, that would be encouraging to you. And as I thought back over my own pilgrimage and just got into the presence of the Lord and sought Him on this, I felt like what the Lord wanted me to do was talk to you about how to experience joy--how to walk through whatever period of time God gives you as a single woman with joy and how to find joy in the middle of your circumstances.

Now, a few of you are married so this is for you, too, because really the same principles apply whether you are married or single. I want to talk about how to experience joy, even if your circumstances never change.

Now I've know some single women, over the years, who really have lived that abundant joyful life that I'm talking about. But I have also talked with many single women, over the years, who do not really experience that kind of life. Women who are surviving--ah, but they are more kind of biding time. There is a sense of being in limbo, waiting for something.

Well we know what they are waiting for--[they are] waiting for, you know, the knight in shining armor to come and sweep them off their feet, waiting for fulfillment. And I found that many single women are frustrated, they are consumed deep down with loneliness, with longings that are not fulfilled. And I don't mean that they are all moping around or they are all basket cases. I just mean that when you get past the, the immediate appearance and you get into conversation and you get down below the surface, I find that most single women have this deep down unfulfilled longing that in some way they are trying to cope with it.

Now I just met someone before we started tonight who said that that was not a longing she had ever really had, and God has been dealing with her life in a different way. But as I've talked to many, many single women, over the years, I've found that, ah, they're kind of like in a waiting room, waiting for the program to start but not necessarily really experiencing the fullness, the abundance and the things that we hear about the Christian life.

Now, let me just say that whether you have a job or don't, what ever country you live in, what ever nationality you are, whatever your career, whatever your circumstances in life, pain and suffering are a part of life. Life is hard and those things are unavoidable. I look at my own life. I told you it's been a great life. And there has been a lot of joy in it. But I will also tell you that there are lots of parts of my life that have not been easy. There are some parts that have been really hard.

Now, I haven't walked where you have walked, and you haven't walked where I've walked. We all have our own challenges and experiences, but I can tell you this. My life has not been without disappointments, it has not been without pain, it has not been without hurt and it has not been without tears.

I know what it is to sit home alone wishing that someone would call and wonder how you are doing. In fact, now you may laugh at this because you have probably never done this, but I know what it is to be so desperate to hear another voice that I would pick up the phone and call my own voice mail just to hear another voice at the other end. You say that's really desperate.

Well it doesn't happen every day, but it has happened. And I know what it's like to eat lots of meals by myself, on the road, in restaurants, at home. I know what it is to cry so hard that your head hurts and you can't cry anymore, sometimes for reasons you can't even figure out. But a lot of times it does have to do with this kind of aching, gnawing, loneliness inside. I know what it is to see all or most of your friends get married and come to the point where you realize that you are not likely to ever be that bride walking down that aisle.

I know what it is to love other people's children and to get to the age where you realize you are not likely to ever bear children of your own.

These are parts of life; they are parts of disappointment and hardship in life. I know what it is like, as you do, to watch a man put his arm around his wife and to have that kind of longing inside for meaningful and appropriate touch. And, if you've been single any length of time, some of you have been widowed perhaps or previously been married. You know what it's like to experience that kind of loneliness.

Now let me say, singles aren't the only ones who experience loneliness. I have hardly ever talked to a married women for any length of time, and I see a few heads nodding, that I haven't discovered deep inside of every married women's heart--there are seasons and points of real loneliness. So, the point is that pain and suffering, are unavoidable.

But here's the other point, and it's something I've learned over the years. And that is--misery is optional. Pain and suffering are not optional, but misery is optional. And here's another secret, joy is optional too. Joy is a choice. I can't choose whether I have pain, whether I have loneliness, whether I have hardship; but I can choose whether I am miserable. I can choose whether I walk in joy.

For example, almost every person, as we have just said, experiences loneliness. That's part of life. It's part of life here on this planet because we were made for something more, something else, something different, something beyond this life. But what we can choose is that loneliness does not have to consume our lives.

Now something I've discovered is very important in this journey through life (and that's what we want to talk about over these next several sessions) is to get perspective--to learn and to accept God's perspective on life. Whether you are single or married, joy comes from learning what God's perspective is. And then accepting that perspective as my own.

Beginning in tomorrow's session, we want to look at a key New Testament passage of scripture that has been foundational to me. There are many others we could quote, but five that were on my heart today. They've been a foundation for my walk. They've undergirded my life. And they will be familiar to you as I read them.

First of all, Psalms 23 Verse 1. This is perspective; "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." What's it saying? I have someone who is everything I need.

Psalms 34 Verse 10; "Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing." What a promise, "Those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing."

And then Psalms 84 Verse 11: "The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Again, what a promise for life, whether you are single, whether you're married, whatever your status in life, "the Lord gives grace and glory." He is a giving God. And no good thing, not one good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

And then Psalms 68 Verse 6; "God sets the solitary," the lonely, "in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land." The rebellious dwell in a parched land. That says that I have a God who wants to meet my needs, He puts lonely people into families, He has a way of meeting our needs, He knows our needs, He's committed to meet them. And only those who refuse to let God meet their needs will dwell in a desert place.

And then, Psalms 34 Verse 22: "None of those who trust in Him will be desolate." What is the focus in all of those verses? It's not about me; it's a focus that is turned God-ward--not inward, not outward but upward.

So I would say to you, learn those verses. Memorize them and others that God gives to you, that give you perspective. Dwell on them, mediate on them, regardless...of what your emotions tell you. And regardless of what the world tells you. And then realize that, through embracing God's perspective, you can have real joy.

Leslie Basham: Nancy will be right back to pray that we have God's perspective on marriage and singleness. Now there's no better place to get God's perspective than in the Bible. That's why we are making a book available called God's Promises for Singles. It's a book full of scriptures arranged by topics such as "Promises When You Need Courage," and "Promises About Your Personal Relationships."

It's available on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com. Or call 1-800-569-5959.  And please remember we are a listener-supported ministry, and we can only offer the type of biblical perspective that you have heard today as long as our listeners partner with us.

When you make a donation of any size, we will send you Nancy's booklet Singled Out For Him as our way of saying thank you. You can mail a donation to Revive Our Hearts.

Tomorrow, we will look at what might seem, to the world's eye, a radical view of singleness. We will look at the perspective of the apostle Paul. Now to close in prayer, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank You, Father, that Your Word gives us the perspective that we need to walk in joy and in peace. Thank You for these promises that You have given to us in Your Word. And I pray that You will help us make them ours, to believe them, to walk by faith and to walk in joy. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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