When it comes to leadership, you’ve likely heard the phrase “It’s lonely at the top.”
It can be even lonelier when you’re single.
There have been many words written about the struggles of being single and Christian. However, there are some who are single, Christian, and hold a leadership position in our church or ministry—and they often experience a different spin on what it’s like to be single in ministry.
While we should all strive to place all of our fulfillment and identity in Jesus, the reality is there are many single people in church leadership who feel empty, incomplete, and even unloved because they don’t have a spouse.
Being an unmarried church leader, I have known both blessings and frustrations in living life and doing ministry as a single guy. I fully hope to be married some day, but that day hasn’t come yet. As I have been practicing the discipline of waiting on God and trusting His timing, I have also been able to live through the frustrations that being single can bring.
While there are many, here are the ones I’ve encountered most often along with the silver lining or redemptive angle you can lean into in order to take full advantage of this life stage God currently has you in.
1. An Odd Sort of Disconnectedness
While you have tons of great conversations on Sunday mornings, you haven’t actually been invited into anyone’s lives during the week. You listen to stories and see pictures of people in your church do life together while none of them make any real attempt to connect with you outside of your job. You feel connected, but not in “real life.”
What to Do About It: While you’ve been expecting people to reach out to you, have you tried to initiate any new friendships? Like really tried? Make a hit list of people to get coffee or a lunch with and be the one to initiate.
2. Morbid Introspection
You wonder what is wrong with you to the point of concluding that no one will ever love you.
You come up with reasons why married people don’t deserve their happiness—and that you do. You throw yourself pity parties and convince yourself that God has forgotten about you.
You imagine there’s an obvious reason you’re alone, but nobody has loved you enough to tell you.
What to Do About It: Stop it right now. Introspection is good up to a certain point. The idea of self reflection is to understand the truth about ourselves and to grow from that. If you get into territory of feeling unloved, unloveable, and not deserving of God’s blessings, then you’re falling prey to Satan. Get out of there.
3. Living with Unappreciation
You see that your peers have husbands or wives at home for support and encouragement if they’re feeling unappreciated. You feel like you have no encouragement and support to go home to. You feel you have no one to share with or confide in at the depth that spouses do with each other.
What to Do About It: God wants to be the first one to hear about your negative emotions like discouragement.
An upside to being single is building the habit of taking things to God in prayer before you take them to other people.
Sometimes couples fall into a pattern of emoting to each other and leaving God out altogether. You can begin building this important practice in your prayer life.
For every frustration you feel in this season of life, there is a redemptive side. Be committed to letting God guide you and reveal what He has for you now.