Lina Abujamra is the author of “Thrive: The Single Life As God Intended,” which is a book that encourages singles to not be held back by their singleness, but to thrive where God has them. In her chapter “Holy Rollers and the Church Ladies: Embracing Holiness as a Lifestyle,” Lina asks a question that everyone (single or not) should ask themselves: “What are you willing to do in order to see the Lord in your life?” As singles, will we allow God to use our singleness for our sanctification and His glory?
Holly Hrywnak: Why is it important to you that singles know they are meant to thrive in their singleness instead of just surviving it?
Lina Abujamra: I believe the greatest lie that singles believe is the lie that they are “less than” and that God has forgotten them and that He must not love them as much as He loves married people. The minute this lie is believed, discouragement, desperation and despair take over. But the truth that brings life and freedom is that God loves us deeply and personally and completely. That His plans for us are for good and these plans have absolutely nothing to do with our dating status.
When we embrace the truth about God, it’s almost like removing the weeds that choke out the life in us. And here’s what’s magnificent: There is no limit to what God can accomplish through the man or woman (single or married) who fully embraces this truth and surrenders to His love. That’s when we start to thrive and life takes on a whole new dimension.
HH: Do you, at times, struggle with your singleness or has there been a definitive and concrete change that happened in you?
LA: I’ve definitely struggled less the older I’ve gotten. I think somehow once you cross the 40s and you walk through the reality that you’re probably not gonna have kids of your own anymore, a new season begins. There’s certainly lots of sadness with that, but I’m a very pragmatic person, so in a way, once I crossed that reality, a new freedom took over. I wasn’t so rushed anymore. But I think the even bigger factor that has given me freedom from this focus of “wanting to be married” is the greater sense of calling that God has given me to do His work. I would tell every single woman reading this to pray that God would show her clearly what He’s called her to do with her life, especially as a single woman.
We are created for good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Once I understood my deep passion to teach God’s Word and communicate His truth, it’s like a new force took over and my love for God and His Word became far more central than any desire for dating or marriage. Now if I do ever think of marriage, it has to be within a context where the person I marry will add to my work for the kingdom of God. But let me also add this: I certainly still have my share of struggles. They just tend not to focus so much on dating, and usually are related to how God is playing out my calling. I still struggle with waiting and expectation and disappointment and unanswered prayers and the flesh and on and on. We will be in struggle until we see Jesus!
HH: Part 3 of your book discusses obstacles that we as singles need to overcome. Is there one obstacle in particular that stands out to you as one that most or all singles deal with particularly?
LA: There are many obstacles to joy in singleness, but idolatry is by far the most serious and difficult one to admit. An idol is anything that becomes more important than God, and unfortunately we all have these idols in our hearts. For single people, it seems like the desire for marriage and a life partner is a typical and understandable idol that clutches its way into our hearts. An idol is anything that we think we can’t live without, or more importantly, that we think we can’t live “happy” without. We base God’s love for us on whether He will give us that thing or person we want. And idols are notorious joy stealers. They lead us down paths of brokenness and sin.
Many singles think they struggle with a sex problem or an anger problem or an impatience problem; and while that might be the case in some situations, dig deeper and you’ll see that what you really have is an idolatry problem. You are mad or impatient or turn to sex and lust because God hasn’t given you that thing you long for. It’s like a little standoff between you and God, or at least that’s how it’s played out for me. And there has to come a point, if you’re looking for joy and the life that thrives, where you finally surrender that idol to God. Sometimes you have to surrender it over and over again. The good news is that God’s grace is new every single morning and He’s typically waiting with arms wide open for us.
HH: In your book Thrive, you said, “The road to greater intimacy with the Lord is called your sanctification process, and it is evidenced by an increasing holiness in your life.” Many people may not have seen singleness as a means to sanctification. Why is this such an important truth to lay hold of in our singleness journey?
LA: Most of the tools God uses to grow us and strengthen us are not pleasant at first. Think about a tree being pruned, or a potter working with the clay. Yet God promises something beautiful later on. There are 3 magical words that followers of Jesus tend to ignore: In due season.
It takes time to develop the things that matter in life. It takes time to deepen relationships including your relationship with God. Are you committed to doing whatever it takes to have the kind of relationship with God that you know could be? Are you willing to wait until in due season you see that God’s Word is indeed true and His love unshakeable? If you’re His follower, don’t worry, He’s already got us on that path. Now we just need to open our eyes and catch up! That’s what’s amazing about God: He is faithful even when we are not, and somehow He’s there for us all the time!
HH: In what practical ways can we thrive in our singleness instead of just making excuses on why we can’t?
LA: There are some practical things we can do to thrive. In fact I would say it’s impossible to thrive without these practical things: reading your Bible, developing a prayer life, growing in community with other followers of Jesus, and giving yourself to serve others.
The Christian life isn’t this mumbo-jumbo esoteric up there in the sky sort of thing. It’s a day-by-day, real-life walk that gets stronger and better and deeper as we develop habits that make us strong and unbreakable no matter our marital status! We need to remind ourselves of these truths. I am resolved to do whatever it takes to become the kind of single Christian that is so rooted in God’s love that nothing can shake me. How about you?
Be sure to check out Lina’s book today!