Being alone can be one the most difficult things we face as single parents. For those who were previously married, the shock of being alone is often made worse by the unforeseen aftershocks of loneliness that sneak upon us and pounce when we least expect it. And while those of us with children in our daily mix may never actually be alone in the true sense of the word, the longing for the next relationship in our lives can be so strong, it can consume us at times.
I’ve battled this a lot over my time as a single parent. It rises up at my most vulnerable moments—especially when I’m struggling to maintain a positive relationship with my ex. Facing that failed relationship is often all it takes to make me want to go out and prove that a positive one is just as probable.
Most times, it feels like a weakness. A major flaw. This desperate need to be connected with someone else. It makes me feel like there’s an emptiness in my life now. Something that I need to work to fill.
But, putting ourselves into the next relationship can be the worst decision we make if we’re doing so to “fill” an area of our life that seems lacking.
We have to stay acutely aware during this season of single parenting that when we feel empty, and long to be filled, the enemy will step in to offer all sorts of things. Things that may not be good for us—or for our children.
And so as I often take this need to God, I’m reminded each time that if a new relationship is to be a part of my life, I want Him to lead through that. I don’t want to flitter into something that looks good on the outside if it’s not God’s will for my life.
The truth is that the most filling relationship we can have is with Him. The one who has loved us through this difficult season—and all the seasons before. And instead of viewing our emptiness with shame and allowing a deep longing to grow there, we need to turn to Him. To view it as an opportunity to be filled.
Because He longs to do that for us. To fill us so completely with the Holy Spirit, that we are in sync with His plan for our lives. That we can see what comes into our path and understand that though it may be tempting, it is not for us. So we can be healed from the inside-out so that when our time for relationship comes, we approach it from a position of strength because our time with Him has made us stronger.
When we allow that emptiness to focus on the next relationship on the horizon instead, we begin to overlook.
Overlook the red flags.
Overlook the comments of close friends and family.
Overlook the buzzer going off inside when questionable things arise.
And focus instead on the person we’ve just met. The one we have no history with. The one that we’re willing to believe anything about because it’s new and exciting, and there’s possibility . . .
Until we have a healthy—and steady—relationship with God in which we are leaning on Him, and asking Him to guide our steps, we need to push back that loving feeling for the simple fact that we’re not ready. Don’t let this be the one area of your life in which you ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit. Because unless you put your next relationship in the proper perspective, you give it the power to destroy you. And as a single parent, you’re bringing your children along as well.
Instead, let those nudges be a driving force as you allow your Father to guide you gently through this new season. Ask Him to fill that longing.
Then open your heart to His possibilities.