I’ve learned a few things from being single for almost two decades.
For instance, I’ve learned that life holds more joy when you own your life. If your life isn’t what you want it to be, then quit blaming others and start working on yourself.
I’ve learned that we need to be the change we seek in the world. It’s so easy to point to others when discussing changes, but it’s far more productive to point to yourself. Changing yourself first provides the most effective invitation for others to change themselves.
I’ve also learned to value authenticity. After literally hundreds of singles activities, I’m tired of doing the same old routine over and over again. I want real.
Real is not a fireside with a message so generalized that it could apply to anyone, single or married. Real is not a conference where people sit around in workshops that mirror the unfruitful fireside. And real is not an activity in which everyone is only looking for a companion.
Yeah, I get why people do that. They think getting married will solve their single “problem.” Whether it’s our LDS culture or the challenges of single parenthood or some combination of factors that drives them, many LDS singles determine their participation in activities according to the dating prospects offered.
And that’s such the wrong attitude.
Drop the personal agenda
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I’m looking for my companion. But I attend activities to strengthen and support others, not to find a spouse.
Sure, I’m hoping my special someone attends the next activity I attend. What single wouldn’t want that? There’s nothing wrong with hoping for a righteous blessing.
However, making that desire our exclusive focus leads to everyone’s detriment. An inward focus ignores the needs of others as well as the simple call of Christ to surrender to love. We need to drop our personal agenda, however righteous that agenda may be, and contribute positively of ourselves to others.
That’s not what most singles do. They base their decisions — whether to attend, who they talk to, who they sit with, etc. — on dating considerations. Their focus is inward.
But the path of the Savior is focused outward. He said we must lose our life in order to find it.
Do we really believe that? Do we have the faith that the Lord will provide for us if we forget ourselves and surrender to love? What do our actions say?
Expand your assumptions
I’m fully aware my proposal here is anything but easy. The same could be said about the Savior’s path of discipleship. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
What makes it hard? Lacking faith is an easy answer. If we dig deeper, we’ll find some faulty assumptions. The most common one? Singles activities are the only place to find a quality companion.
That’s just so narrow-minded.
You don’t really know how you’ll meet your eternal companion. Yes, Church-sponsored activities provide a good environment for that special encounter. But you could cross paths with that special someone in a church meeting. I know several couples who met while serving in callings that required them to work together.
The Internet has rightfully developed a bad reputation for dating given all the losers trolling online. Yet lots of people still find their special someone online. This isn’t just dating sites. It’s also social media, Facebook being the most prominent example.
Some people find their companions outside of church. They meet while volunteering to serve the community or participating in groups with a shared interest like running or some hobby. I know one couple who met in a dance class. How’s that for romantic?
And let’s not forget the temple. I know what you’re thinking, but my grandfather met his second wife in the celestial room. No lie. And seriously, what better place to meet an eternal companion?
There are so many possibilities for meeting your eternal companion. Yet most of us assume singles activities in the church are our only recourse. That just isn’t true.
The saddest part of such a faulty assumption is what we lose. When focus on self becomes easier, focus on others becomes harder. And so does heeding the Master’s call to surrender to love. Our failure to heed that call leaves the needs of many of our single brothers and sisters unmet.
There’s more that results when we treat singles activities as dating forums. But that’s for next week. This week, I’d like us singles to examine ourselves and our motives. Why do we attend singles activities? Do we have the faith to forget ourselves and focus on supporting others when we attend a singles activity? The Master is calling you to surrender to love. What will you answer?
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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