Finding Peace in Singleness

June 23, 2024

This month we’re talking about peace, and today we’re talking about making peace with singleness. As a single parent, the topic of being single brings up all sorts of hopes, fears, and emotions. Can we make peace with being single while still wanting or being open to romantic love?

We’re going to approach this from three different main points. Number one, we’re going to talk about the importance of self-reflection and being single. Number two, we’re going to talk about making peace with not getting what we want. And number three, we’re going to talk about not settling for less than.

Have you been able to make peace with being single or do you feel incomplete without a spouse? 

Sometimes. Because there are times when the longing is really deep within me and I really want to be with someone and it’s hard to feel at peace in those moments. And we’re going to talk about how those two can coexist peace and longing, but I’m not always at peace with it. Do I feel incomplete without a spouse? No. I feel complete and whole in who I am, but I really do have a longing for a partner. And so we all may find ourselves at different places in this journey, whatever this is. It’s a spectrum. It’s not a pass or fail.

What’s the importance of self-reflection and being single? 

This may go without saying: Just because you’re single doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough or there’s something wrong with you. A relationship status does not define you and it is not a reflection of your worth. I know that there’s all kinds of Instagram posts out there that say that, but it’s true. It’s absolutely 100% true that it has nothing to do with whether or not something’s wrong with you or someone is supposed to complete you or make you a better person. It’s just not. The two are not tied together.

And I think we put a premium on intact families and people that seem to have it all worked out. We put being in a relationship on a pedestal, and there’s reasons to want to be in a relationship. There’s a longing—we’re made for community, we’re made for each other, we’re made for people. And that’s not bad. But also being in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship is not a healthy way to look at it. We can’t put relationships on a pedestal.

I specifically remember thinking, I’m going to wait to buy a house. There’s no reason for me to buy a house because I’m not married yet. So I’m not going to do it. I would rather just save my money and wait and save up that down payment so I’ll have it ready when I do finally get married. What was I thinking? I didn’t need to do that. I could even say I don’t want to travel. You can insert, fill in the blank. I don’t want to travel without a spouse or without someone special to share that with. So I’m just going to hold off. I’m going to put everything on hold until I have somebody that I can do these things with. Man, that stinks. How much life are we missing out on if that’s the attitude that we are approaching things with? And that’s why this point of self-reflection is important. You’ve got to be asking these questions. 

Being in a relationship isn’t what’s going to bring you fulfillment or satisfaction. It will offer connection, community, companionship, and many benefits for sure. But if you’re looking for a relationship to complete you, you’re setting yourself up to fail. We are never going to be happier in a relationship than we are being single. Happiness depends on our connection to self. And then we have the benefit of experiencing who we are in a relationship. I can be happy alone and in fact, I need to be happy alone first before thinking a relationship will complete me.

Going back to buying the house, I honestly needed that. I needed to have that independence and autonomy because I was waiting for some big life change to happen before I stepped into that. And then what I realized was that I actually needed to prove that I could do it on my own. I needed to stand on my own two feet in that way. And there’s change that has happened in me since I did that, and I even feel like if I look back over the years, I was definitely being prepared for being able to step into being a homeowner—it’s not for everyone. It’s not easy because I had to trim a tree this morning. It’s a lot of work. All that to say, there’s so much good that can come out of it too, if you’re fully stepping into life regardless of being single or not.

I feel so much happiness hearing you talk about being a homeowner. I think it’s like #goals for all single women. And even for me, I feel so grateful that I’ve been able to pursue my grad degree, my internship, building a private practice. These are all things that have been beautifully fit into my single life that give me so much fulfillment, so much satisfaction. And I have the bandwidth to pour into that and solo parent too. It can be a beautiful season. 

I said earlier that finding peace and contentment still can involve deep longing. And I really believe that. When I think about this, I’m coming from my faith perspective very specifically. And Paul talks about it in the Bible; he knew what it was to be in need. He knew what it was to have plenty. Yet he had learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I’m well fed or I’m hungry, so you haven’t gotten what you might need or want. But he says he’s still able to be content. And I think about that for myself. I am at peace most of the time, but the longing for connection is very real for me. That longing does not disappear. Right now, I would say that I’m hungry—never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. So I don’t swipe on the dating apps when I’m like, Oh, I really don’t want to be single anymore. That’s the worst time. But in awareness, we get to have our desires and God doesn’t ask us to abandon those. Instead he invites us to bring them to him and trust him for his provision.

I totally agree with that. We live in a society right now that feels so self-sufficient. Yesterday I went to go and feed my dog Franklin. And he has dry kibble. I opened up the container that his kibble is in and I saw a mouse in his food. I took the dog food outside and put it down, and the mouse jumped away. As I replaced the food, I’m going, Okay, Franklin is really hungry. I could just give him tainted food. Who knows what that mouse was doing in there. He needs to wait a little bit longer and I’ll give him some food. All he knows as a dog is I’m hungry and I want food. And that’s where we are when God is going, “I could give it to you, but it’s toxic.” 

When we started Solo, we needed funding. We needed to get going. And I’m like, I need this. I, I’m so glad we didn’t get what we thought we needed at that time. Because it wasn’t right. And it helps me kind of look at: We may not have what we want, but if we trust God, we’re getting what we need. When I feel very hungry. I don’t want tainted toxic food. I want God’s provision. I want to wait for that. 

There’ll always be something more that we want. Our nature as humans is to always want more. And once we get the thing we think that we’re longing for and hoping for, then it’s like, Oh wait, my eyes open up to more that’s happening over here. Well, I don’t have that. Did I not hold out long enough? Did I just get the toxic kibble? And Robert, is this true that even once you’re married, that’s a thing? I’m asking you if you’re hoping for something else or someone else. Being married isn’t the end all. It’s not the end all be all. It’s not saying that you’re going to be at peace fully when you’re married. And I’ll also tell you too, I don’t think a lot of single parents think about this, but if you get married and they have kids, you’re walking into a relationship where they have their own way of doing things, their own culture at home. If you’re getting married again, you’re headed towards another disruption in your life. It’s beautiful and it’s awesome, but be prepared that there’s a serious disruption that is going to happen even if that spouse doesn’t have kids, or has never had kids. If someone who has never had kids was to marry you, Elizabeth, you’re like, “Well, they don’t have any baggage.” But here’s the thing—you have established something with Jax, a protocol of how you live life. They don’t understand what it’s like to raise kids. And so enter disruption. I don’t have everything that I want. Recognize that it’s not all just rosy. It’s natural to want more. It’s natural to want because you see it and the way it’s presented. But everything in life has a cost. Everything.

The last point that we want to cover is not settling for “less than.” What does this mean to you?
Yeah, I mean, I think for me, because this is very much part of my present reality is that when I think about being single and still longing for a relationship, I have made a decision. I’ve thought this through. I’ve prayed it through. I know what my parameters and boundaries are when I look for a dating relationship. I’ve taken this to God and I’ve thought, Lord, what’s good for me? What do I want and need? What lines up with what you might want for me? And so I think an important starting point is remaining at peace in your singlehood by not being unclear about what’s best for you or God’s best for you. Not exchanging the toxic kibble for what’s truly life-giving and healthy and nourishing. So I think knowing ahead of time is super important.

I think you’re a perfect example of this, Amber, because we’ve had many conversations about your dating relationships. What I love about you is that you are so firm in your values, so resolute in what you’re looking for. This has been several years now that you’ve been trying on different dudes to see what happens and giving chances. And one of the things that you said recently was now you’re not at the point where you’re just dating for fun anymore just to see if you’re like, “Oh, that doesn’t quite hit with me.” It used to be that you would go on a date just to see what would happen. Who cares? Just seeing what happened. But now it’s like you have such a clear view of what you want. I love how patient you’re being and you’re not willing to waste your time, even on the people that you’re like, “I know this isn’t going to work, so I’m not even going to go. I’m going to go have fun with my friends, the people I enjoy, instead of wasting my time with small talk here over dinner.”

It’s not perfect, right? There are times when I think, Oh gosh, you know what? Maybe I will go out with that guy even if he’s not quite what I’m looking for. And there have been times I’ve done that more often as a way to get to know what I want, to explore the possibilities and test where I’m at with the idea of dating. Many of our audience might be in that experimenting or testing stage. But I have discovered that if I start to be “too in,” then I will begin to compromise what I want or need simply because I’m lonely or discontent. And that’s a big warning sign for me. If I start to think, Oh, maybe, then it’s like, Wait a second, are you chasing connection or going after toxic kibble? Then I need to get re-grounded again in what I know is best for me, which is difficult, but I think that’s part of having an abundance mindset. A scarcity mindset can get me really anxious. Am I going to find the one? Is he out there? And I might start kind of grasping a little, and that’s a key indicator: I am not in a place of peace. I need to reground and talk with you all. I often come back to a place of knowing God cares about me. He has plans for my future, single or married. I don’t need to feel desperate or anxious as if he’s not aware. He already knows before I even ask what I need. And so just settling myself back into a position of trust, which is not a fixed point. I’m continually having to bring my focus back to God. Okay, Lord, I trust you while having that longing. I think a lot of our audience may be there. 

Somebody on a show was breaking up with someone and she said, “I love you, but I love myself more.” Once you can get to that point, that’s a really great place to be.

Amber, I know you well. And everything that you’re talking about is dead on as far as what you’re looking for and your values. I think it’s only because you’ve done the first two steps. You’ve taken an inventory of self-reflection, then you’ve established that I’m okay not getting everything that I want, which takes you into the third one. And so the reason I’m saying that is I believe that you have peace with being single.

That does not mean you don’t have a longing. It doesn’t mean that you don’t get frustrated. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t lonely and it doesn’t mean that you’re not angry, any of those things. Peace does not mean the absence of all those things. Peace is just really a contentment and going, Okay, I don’t like everything, but I’m at peace. And I wanted to say that because I think you have so many things worked out. I think you’re one of the healthiest single people i know. You’re trying to make it all work. But even in that, it can still feel disrupted.

Thank you so much for saying that. I feel this humble acceptance of what I think is true. I’ve done a lot of work to be in a pretty decent place with being single. It hasn’t come by accident. I’ve been in the trenches and you all have been there with me. Some of our Solo Parent audience has been right there with me hearing some of the struggles. And I couldn’t have done it alone. We aren’t growing on our own, which is why I love this community. A shameless plug for our groups—please everybody get connected. This is how we grow and are challenged in these areas. But with that being said, I think these steps really are important. I think they do make a difference. And I encourage our audience just to recognize exactly what you said. Peace is not the absence of big emotions, it’s the sense of trusting God in his provision in the middle of those big emotions.

A few days ago, I texted Robert. “Robert, I’m feeling really discouraged and I’m staying in the game,” but there is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in all of life, whether it’s singleness that we’re facing, something we want in our job as a promotion, whether it’s a particular step of growth we know we want and need and can’t seem to get there. We are all continually having to persevere through a lack of something we desire. And trusting that God will be enough in the middle of it, even in the midst of our pain, in the midst of our loneliness, in the midst of that longing, we do not have to face it alone. And I haven’t had to because of y’all and my beautiful community and because he’s been there.

Robert mentioned I’m in a relationship. And we’ve been dating for four years. And I can say I’ve been through the ups and downs of this as well. Even in our relationship, there have been times where I was putting my life on hold thinking, Oh, this relationship may turn into marriage in a year or two. Well, it hasn’t. And we’ve had conversations about it. It’s not that it’s not out there, but we know it’s probably at least another couple of years off because of life circumstances. That’s allowed me to pause and take my time and appreciate the gifts that I’ve been given as a result of those things. So the gift of the relationship itself, yes, has been great. Do I still experience loneliness as a single parent? Absolutely. Because I’m still doing it every day by myself, but it’s also given me the ability to buy a house. I’m able to step into that. I just want to say that even if you’re in a relationship where maybe you’re moving towards marriage, I think that’s a really good thing to think about, because I can sit here today and say, “If we never get married, I’m actually going to be okay. I’m okay with either scenario.” Would I like to eventually at some point? Of course. I’m going to share my life with this person, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I’m really good right now where I’m at; he adds things to my life but he doesn’t complete my life. I don’t feel a lack because it’s not happening. 

Kim Mitchell used to say something along the lines of, “If a guy shows up to your doorstep without having figured his stuff out, shut the door.” You don’t need to settle for “less than” is what I’m saying here. I think that if you’ve done the self-reflection in being content with anything, that will be self-evident. 


  1. It’s crucial to self-reflect and see how we view singleness. 
  2. Peace and contentment don’t mean we get everything we want. We still may have very deep longings that are unmet and that’s totally normal. 
  3. Settling for “less than” unquote is always an indication of discontent or fear. 

Listener question

What advice can you give someone who has lost the relationship with all their children through divorce? 

It is heartbreaking. And I really think about the idea that deep longing is part of the human condition. We as humans long for things. And of course we’re going to long for a relationship with our children. And so in that longing, in that deep desire to be reconnected to your children, I’m going back to what I said earlier: We absolutely can’t do it alone. We need God’s hands. We need his presence. We need community. We need friends that we can text to say, “This freaking sucks. It’s my son’s birthday and I can’t even get in touch with him.” Whatever the reason is that you may have a fractured relationship with your kids. That hurts. And I just applaud parents who are staying in the tension of that pain and still asking God prayerfully or their community thoughtfully, What can I do to regain connection? What part can I do? Where’s my ownership here? How do I stay connected in whatever ways I can? It’s so easy to get discouraged and give up. And I have such a passion for both parents to be involved in their children’s lives in a healthy way. Moms and dads both matter. When we can support our kids in healthy ways, it’s so worth doing whatever you can to keep those bridges connected. And when you can’t, we need other people to bring to our pain and to talk about how hard it is,

I don’t want to sound trite or dismissive at all, but you may not be talking to your kids. And I want to specifically talk to men here because I’ve seen too many situations of men abdicating their position because they get so frustrated that they can’t have an ongoing close relationship. And I totally understand that. I have a good friend that hasn’t talked to his daughters in a couple of years, but one thing I’ve learned from watching him and other single parents is that you’ll always, always, always be the father or the mother of those kids. And to say you’ve lost a relationship is overstated. You will always have a relationship with your kids and what you do in that relationship matters. So keep pouring into it. Even if it’s not reciprocal at this point, it will provide and bear fruit. I believe that. I believe the scripture is full of those kinds of messages. And even though it’s frustrating, please don’t abdicate your position or your role in your kids’ lives. And I know it’s so hard, but they need you. Your kids need you. And even though it’s painful and lonely and all those things, don’t for a second think that you’ve lost your relationship because you’re not actively talking to them or with them. What you do really matters. 

We love hearing from you. If you want to send in a question, go to our website and you will find instructions on how to email, call, or leave a voice message. You can also head over to Instagram or Facebook and send us a question there as well.