Getting Re-Plugged In


When was the last time you felt alone? Was it last month, last week, maybe a few hours ago?
I have been an adult single for over a decade, and I have heard some interesting comments about the idea of being alone. Some people assume I feel alone much of the time. Others project a college version of their life onto me as if I’m living the social life of their dreams!
The truth is when March 2020 changed our world, I went home to a quiet, controlled apartment with plenty of toilet paper and no real concern about running out. I had food, shelter, internet, entertainment, and access to people through work and social settings (even if temporarily online). There were some who assumed I felt very alone, and I remember saying, “Don’t worry about me. This isn’t that much different for me.”
That’s partly true. As an adult single person, I have had to learn how to be alone… a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. I keep leftovers in my fridge a little too long, wake up whenever I want on my days off, and enjoy having my whole place to myself after a long, hard day sometimes. I’m the only person that needs to be sustained on my personal budget and I get to allocate my time in the ways that I prayerfully decide.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do” and he continues, “I would like you to be free from concern… an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit” (1 Cor. 7:8, 32, 34b). These words can be an encouragement to me as I get to serve in multiple ministries and enjoy some of the benefits of being concerned with my own things.
As the pandemic carried on, I began to feel the strain of not having built-in roommates (husband or kids) while also questioning what kind of in-person social interactions were acceptable in the modern world. I felt the lack of someone to cook a meal with, someone to help with chores like shopping or taking out the trash, and someone to process with at the end of a stressful day. Genesis 2 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). While I am often okay being alone, maybe it’s not good for me to be as alone as I am.
So what do I do with the idea that there are benefits to being unmarried, but also that I wasn’t meant to be alone?
While praying about this recently, God seemed to give me the picture of a plug.
Last summer, I was serving at our Hortonville church location in an older building with no air conditioning. I got some box fans to try to help with the intense summer heat, but the plug for the fans would not stay plugged in to the outdated, industrial outlets! It kept falling out of the outlet and then the fan would stop. Without being properly plugged in, those fans were not going to do the job they were designed to do.

After the last few years, I feel like I need to set some new rhythms for how I am “plugged in.” I thought of a three-prong plug with a more industrial cord. I imagined the kind of plug that is so snug, you have to pull with some force to get it unplugged. If I’m a two-prong plug in an outdated outlet, it might not be a good fit and I might not find the connection that I need. So maybe this three-prong approach was just what I needed!

I wondered if I could find three kinds of relationships to help me feel connected in this new season.

1.  Someone younger - Who am I investing in spiritually and relationally?
2.  Someone older - Who is investing in me spiritually and relationally?
3.  Someone close to my age - Who are my chosen peers, and how are they impacting me?

I have enjoyed meaningful relationships in each of these categories, so I do not need to start from scratch (Woohoo!). But I do want to consider how I prioritize these three relationships in this next season.

As Hebrews 10 says, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25). Whether I am married one day or not, I will always need these three kinds of people in my life.

How are you plugged in currently? Are you loosely plugged in at risk of coming unplugged at any time? Or are you securely plugged in and gaining energy from many kinds of relationships?

*All verses in NIV.

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