Surving the Holidays Single


comparison quote

Tis the season to be jolly…falalala lalalala. Right?! Yet this is also the season where your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter feed, Social Media feed is loaded with family photos, engagement announcements, and babies/kids galore.

It is the season for many men to pop the question and ladies display their bling all over social media. The family is a great thing, so is the start of new families. It is not the only thing worth celebrating during the holidays.

What is the true reason for the season?

Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus. He was not born on December 25th, scripture affirms that a birth during winter is the least likely season of His birth. The story of Jesus does not support a winter birth, yet the Catholic church chose it for many reasons. One reason was to take the focus away from pagan holidays.

If Jesus truly is the reason for the season, then unmarried people can celebrate Him without pressure, sadness, or comparison.

Make the focus Jesus, keep the focus-Jesus. If it truly is His birthday celebration, then I believe He should be the focal point-not what we have or do not have. Jesus never encourages comparison or wanting what others have. We are encouraged by Him to give thanks in every circumstance.

Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,~1 Thessalonians 5:18.

The New Year is a time to reflect on all that went well the previous year and look forward to a brand new year. I celebrate the Jewish New Year, so I am already celebrating 5778. Yet I also plan to celebrate all God has done on December 31rst and January 1rst.

You may learn more about the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah here Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah.

Make God your source…

God is the source of joy, not people, not circumstances, and not family. I believe these things can add another level of joy. If they are the source of joy, it can bring gross disappointment. If having a mate or family is our primary source of joy, then if they are lost or do not meet our expectations it can bring heart pain.

I place all my expectations on God. God never fails. I have met numerous people in my life who are waiting on God to bring them a mate to be happy or do anything with their lives. They are stuck in what could be instead of living in the now. God is in the now.

I choose JOY

Comparison is the thief of joy. Jesus is pure joy. It is His presence that gives life meaning. In Him all things were made and have their meaning (Colossians 1:16).  Your life has meaning as an unmarried person. You have a purpose sans a spouse or children and that purpose is rooted in Jesus.

Contentment is something we can learn as unmarried people and add value to others. People who are constantly looking for the next big fix or need others to feel good drain relationships. They suck the life out of people. Those who are content add value.

Paul tells us this in Philippians 4:11-13.

Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.  I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.  I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Paul’s source was God. He too was an unmarried person who was devoted to following Jesus. The more I learn about Paul, the more I like him. He had a radical encounter with Jesus and he became revolutionary. He was not sitting around waiting for another encounter. He lived out of the overflow of Holy Spirit. We too can live out of the overflow of God’s presence. Scripture tells us in God’s presence is the fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11).

But everyone else is so happy, am I missing out as an unmarried person…

What you will not see on your social media feed are the fights that happened pre-holiday feasts, the families struggling to hold it together, the parents disappointed by their kids choices, the pretend togetherness to make the world believe all is well, the people sitting in hospital rooms because their family member is sick this season, the grieving widows or families who lost everything in the recent hurricanes. You will see photo after photo of happy families and may think, “Where is my happily ever after?”  Please note every season of life has both blessing and challenge.

Steve Furtick said something that rings quite true. He said, “The reason we struggle with comparison is that we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” Social media is the highlight reel. For the most part, you will not get the bad and ugly in the feed.

It is human nature to want to be seen in the best light. We have apps to help us look better, more airbrushed, and more together. Reality is every person has struggled, every family faces challenges, every married couple and parent has had some disappointments.

I know of no better happily ever after than Jesus.

  • Jesus is eternal
  • The love of Jesus does not fail or falter-it is constant in every season
  • The joy of Jesus is constant
  • Jesus can be everywhere at once
  • Jesus completes the human soul and makes it whole
  • Jesus is perfect peace
  • Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother
  • The covenant with Jesus is not broken in death like the marriage covenant
  • Jesus fills to overflowing
  • Jesus is perfection
  • Jesus lives beyond time
  • God+Nothing=Everything

My encouragement to you this holiday season is to start logging what you are thankful for and give thanks. I encourage spending some time focused on Jesus. Who is Jesus to you? How can you deepen the relationship with Him this season?

I promise God is better than we can imagine.

Papa God I thank you for everyone who is a part of this series. I pray for those feeling displaced this season because they are unmarried or without a natural family. I pray they are connected to a friend family and spiritual family that loves them deeply. I pray for hearts that are content with you. I ask for hopes that are wrapped up in your Son Jesus and filled to overflowing with exceeding JOY! Bless them big time this season. Put them in the hearts of others to be invited in and included. Wash over them with love that exceeds anything they could ever experience in a human relationship. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.

Love in Him,

Erin Lamb


Devotion (Single & Following Jesus)

Devotion: The model of love given by Jesus. Women were created by love, to be loved, not purchased servants. Men and women were created to be loved, not worshipped (Notes on marriage and dating).

This is my note to unmarried males and females. Women are not servants you purchase, nor created to be slaves. God loves women and asks that they be loved. God goes farther to say, “Pursue loving your wife the way Jesus loves the church.”

Provision is more than money. Jesus does more than provide for the church financially, He infuses the church with life, empowers, cares for, lays His life down, forsakes selfishness, and Jesus is loyal. Jesus is a best friend, a confidant, trustworthy, faithful, sacrificial, a servant, pure, and has the best interests of the Father and the church at heart. Jesus is not seeking to be served primarily, He comes to serve. He does not come to control, dominate, elevate Himself above anyone. He took the lowest place so we could be elevated to sit in heavenly places next to Him.

Jesus leads by serving and love. What is love? Let’s look at Jesus. Love looks like Jesus.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,~Mark 10:45.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,~John 15:13.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her,~Ephesians 5:25.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them,~John 13:12-17.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law,~Romans 13:8-10.

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant,~Matthew 23:11.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening],~1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

God did not instruct men to be Jesus-become the God of his wife or it would be idolatry. He states plainly be imitators of Christ. Look at your role model and do what you see Him doing.

God did not instruct wives to worship their husbands, nor be the actual Body of Christ. Women are part of the Body which encompasses billions of believers. God gave a picture so we could understand. Christ and the church is not equal to husband and wife. They are to look to the picture to gain a greater understanding of agape love.

Followers of Jesus are to pursue agape (God love-sacrificial/unselfish) love, not just Eros (romantic/sexual love), storage (family love), of philia (friendship love). Jesus stated His disciples would be recognizable by their agape love. Love does not treat others objects to be purchased for selfish means. We becomes friends of God and serve Him out of love. We love because He first loves us.

Over the years I have had several men try to purchase me for selfish means. They came with their wife list and as long as I met the criteria (attractive/loves Jesus were top of the list) they wanted to demonstrate how much money they had thinking I would just jump on ship. They focused on what they wanted and needed. They had little to no interest in what I wanted or needed. I was like a car they walked up on that they wanted to purchase. I am not for sale. My Papa God does a great job of providing everything needed. I know if I ever married He would send someone actually interested in loving like Jesus who fit the call He has on my life. Some men do not want you doing anything ministry related that is not their ministry. Well, I founded and oversee two ministries. I am not interested in being controlled. I have a mission to complete for Jesus that can be done successfully as an unmarried person.

I am more interested in the heart of a person than their wallet. I am more interested in the way a person loves than their resume. I am not pursuing anyone other than Jesus and understand I am not an object to be purchased; I am a person to be loved. Ladies, look at who you let choose you. Do they love like Jesus (not perfect, yet growing in this area)? Looks can fade, money can be lost, do they know how to love? Are they a good friend to you? Check these things out before saying I do. Are they headed the same direction-you have something in common besides Jesus?

Men, is she after your wallet or just to check the box of “single no more,” of does she love you? How does she treat your family and friends? Can you grow with her? Is she grossly selfish? Looks fade. She can be smoking hot today and a hot mess tomorrow. Do you love who she is on the inside? Is she a good friend to you? Is she trustworthy? Think about what’s beneath the surface, beyond external. Would you be willing to lay your life down for her?

For those dating, is the objective to be a blessing to the other person or be blessed? Is it to add value to someone’s life or have them add to yours? Is the objective to overflow of come with a bucket of needs? Is the heart to give or consume? Is the pursuit out of loneliness and desperation or a heart to love fiercely?

The biggest component is love, yet compatibility, common ground, etc….matter too. May we see every relationship as an opportunity to grow in loving like Jesus. Without love we are just making noise. #dating #marriage

Seek to Add Value (Single & Following Jesus Part XII)

What does it mean to add value?

We live in a world of gimmie and bless me and serve me. In an ideal world, one with Jesus at the center, there would be lots of, “How can I serve you? How can I bless you? What about you?

If we all looked out for each other, every person would come into relationships looking for ways to help and bless the other person. There would be no one sided relationships, abuse, infidelity, dishonesty, selfishness, consumers in relationships, gross hurt or unnecessary pain. Utopia right?

The only perfection this side of eternity is found in Jesus. We are not perfect, He is. We can pursue abiding in His love so others around us are blessed.

When you and I set our minds on being a blessing it gives us the opportunity to love. Love is not selfish.

Love serves. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom.

The example of Jesus does not mean we offer up to everyone endless pouring out. Why? The one who gives the most is the one who ends up attached and loving.

It is important to use wisdom with our attachments. Though we are encouraged to just give and give, pour out and pour out…if you do not use wisdom you can end up having your heart shredded.

God intended for relationships to be reciprocal and involve commitment, not be one sided. God intended for both people to be loved and stewarded well. Love is supposed to be safe.

The level of access someone has to us should increase with the level of commitment.

Adding value is not giving everyone equal access to your heart.

Before you give your heart away, is the other person trustworthy to steward your heart. What is this person’s commitment to you? Casual, then their access should reflect that. Growing, they show you they are trustworthy, then a bit more knowing. Closeness/committed, then a bit more with the deepest intimacy (emotional, spiritual, or physical) happening inside of marriage. Some share way too much while dating to have their hearts broken. Engagement implies commitment, it is not marriage. Dating is not engagement. How much are you giving away?

Adding value is not sex outside marriage!

Some give their bodies away with zero commitment thinking giving without commitment will lead to love. Well, giving your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit away without an eternal covenant (commitment) is actually sin and not demonstrating self value. It’s like having a 1,000,000 car and giving people free rides. They have no plan on caring for the car, they just enjoy the ride. Our bodies are MORE valuable than a car. Would you give someone you just met a billion dollars? Probably not if you do not know someone. Yet movies show people climbing in and out of bed like it’s nothing.

Sex is more than a physical act, it joins two people in the soulish and spiritual realm. You are saying, “Whatever is in you, I invite into me.” Two people link in body, soul, flesh. God designed sex to unite people for life. His motivation was love (giving, knowing, intimacy), not lust (taking, self pleasure). The only closer connection is between God and born again believers where His Spirit lives in us.

Why use boundaries with giving or giving everyone equal access to us? The giver has the most invested. This means you do not treat boyfriends and girlfriends like husbands and wives. There are certain parts of our lives that are off limits. There are boundaries we need to have in place to prevent heart entanglements without commitment, emotional attachment too soon, over-giving, oversharing, etc. There is wisdom in what we give to friends as well.

The goal is to look at each relationship and see what you can bring to add value. This can consist of:

  • Encouragement
  • Listening
  • Kindness
  • Asking, “How are you?” and caring about the answer
  • Being honest
  • Being present
  • Devoting some time (texting and emails are not the same as quality time in person)
  • Inquiring about another person’s life
  • Caring about what interests the other person
  • Offering to help with something
  • Supporting something they care about
  • Loyalty
  • Initiating instead allowing all contact to be one sided
  • Being honest about what you like and don’t like
  • Not pretending (some pretend while getting to know someone that they like certain things or they are someone else-be the real you!)

If we ask God, He will show us ways to add value. Different people have different likes and dislikes. I may love something that someone else dislikes. The goal is to be on the lookout for what blesses someone else.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,~Phil 2:4.

This means we also do not go into relationships as consumers. Over the years I have met several men who came with their wife list. They were checking off boxes. They were not looking for how to be a blessing, they were looking to be blessed. They were not looking to serve, they were seeking to be served. It was not about love; it was about selfishness. As long as I appealed to their flesh and met a few criteria I could (in their minds) be wooed or bought into relationship. Like a car they saw something they wanted and desired to purchase. If they could flash enough money or try to charm me, then magically I would fall for them and sign up for a life of servanthood. Ummmmm no. They had little plans to serve or love like Jesus.

Marriage is supposed to be about two people loving and serving each other. People are not objects we buy to please us. Our world suffers greatly because things are being loved and people used. People are to be loved. Love seeks to serve, help, support, give, invest, and add value. Does your person of interest care about adding value or are you an object they seek to obtain to please them? Do they take any interest in your life? Or is it all about them?

Let me tell you an important truth, selfish people hurt others. If you have grossly selfish friends or a grossly selfish mate you will experience pain and deep hurt. Do NOT think if they are selfish in the beginning you are going to change that. God changes selfish hearts, we are not God.

My encouragement to every person is to seek to add value and look for those who add value. It is not selfish to wish for a mate who actually cares about you, for who you are-not because they are lonely, lusting, trying to fill a void. Adding value is not about money, it’s about genuine love. You and I were created to be loved!


Erin Lamb