#098 – Living Successfully as a Single

#098 – Living Successfully as a Single

Whether you are 25, 40, or 65, living as a single can be a challenge. Today I am talking with Debra Sheppard. Debra is a 56 year old single woman who has never been married. Having one son, Debra admits that she did not always do things God’s way but she has accepted that where she is, is right where God intends for her to be. 

Her acceptance has come over time and has not dismissed sexual urges, desires to be married or the presence of loneliness. But now knowing herself and knowing her God, Debra has learned how to combat those things. She has learned to be content by trusting that what God has for her is better and even sometimes different than what she wants.


Married or single, Debra has learned to value herself. Like Debra we have to choose to be believe what God says about us. The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God formed our inward parts and that we are made in His image. Maybe this is why His love towards us is unending, maybe this is why He is always pursuing us.

Debra is convinced that even as she was living in disobedience, God was still pursuing her. But there came a point where she wanted to live the best life that she could and living the best life meant living in obedience.

It’s not easy. It takes time and there may be times where you fall but you have to be determined to get back up again, you have to believe it’s worth it. I hope that as you listen to my honest conversation with Debra, the transparency and truth shared will be encouraging to you. And if you know someone who needs to hear this chat, please share it!

Let’s Talk!

  • Do you or have you struggled with being single? If so, what has been the greatest challenge?
  • Married or single, what encouragement can you give to a single woman desiring to walk in obedience in her singleness?
  • What does living successfully as a single look like for you?
  • Have a question you’d like for me to answer on a future podcast? Share your question with me HERE.

Highlights for Today’s Episode:

  • Living a single life that is pleasing to God.
  • Filling your life up with things you enjoy
  • Choosing to believe what God say about you.

 ==> Quotes from today’s show {Click to tweet}

 ==> Resources from today’s show

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How to Listen to The Podcast

If you’re new to podcasts, think of them like little radio shows that you can listen to at your convenience. They are perfect to listen to and learn from as you workout, fold laundry, wash dishes or conquer the world. 1. Listen right here on the blog. Click the little play button at the beginning of this post. 2. Listen on iTunes or Stitcher! – Be sure and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode! 3. Share today’s show – I could use your help with getting the word out there about my new podcast.  Would you take a minute to share today’s post?  Email the link to a friend or share on social media. Just click on the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post. Thanks! Can I ask you a favor?  However you found me, will you be so kind as to leave a rating on iTunes and/or write a 2-3 sentence review there or on Stitcher?  Your commentary or rating helps make the podcast more “findable” by others who might not know it exists!  Thanks in advance for your help!

By | 2017-02-20T07:29:36+00:00 February 20th, 2017|Faith, Podcast|39 Comments
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39 Comments

  1. Ms.D February 20, 2017 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Crystal,

    I am listening to your podcast this morning. It is up – lifting to hear a story of a woman who is celibate. As a twenty nine year old woman, this is how I have committed my life. In doing so, I realize that I am not amongst the popular crowd but I refuse to lower my standards or values to live in misery. I struggled for some time , and still do, but each day, I find peace, joy, and happiness ( not easy but a process). I would love for you to do a podcast with the 20-30 age group, if this is possible. Listening and engaging on line is a plus for this generation( Millennial) lol Please keep them coming and having hard discussions that many are afraid to engage. I look forward to many more.
    God bless you!

    • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Would totally love to this. Adding it to the list 😉

      • Felicia Johnson February 20, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

        Can you do one with 40 year olds. I would love to be a part

    • Denice February 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks for a great podcast 🙂 I loved the authenticity and laughter. I too agree with a previous post; I am a 28 year old single female choosing to wait on God and do it the right way (though without some failure along the way). It was encouraging to hear this podcast but would love to hear one for a young adult age group up to maybe mid-thirties. Have a great week and God Bless.

      • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

        Yup! I’ve gotten that suggestion from another person too. Will work on it.

  2. Aay February 20, 2017 at 9:34 am - Reply

    I enjoyed today’s podcast so much. Thank you Debra Sheppard for the encourage word that it is okay to have desires & doubts about being single until God send the right mate my way.

  3. Letezia Anderson Bowser February 20, 2017 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Today is my 39th birthday and before I listened to the podcast I wanted to pout about what I ” don’t have or where I am not” .. But after listening I am refreshed and ready to run a little further in living the best Single life ever until something changes.. Thanks for a topic and I love the quote don’t let anyone devalue you including you..

    • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 10:01 am - Reply

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  4. Sharon February 20, 2017 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Love, love, love this candid discussion. I am a married woman of 32 years, but I will say there are so many golden nuggets in this conversation. Wish that I would have had this conversation 35 years ago 😉 #lifelessons. I am sharing this podcast with my single 30-year-old daughter, and other women whom I believe will hear something in this discussion that will resonate in one way or another. It is so common that women of all ages give themselves away only to be disappointed over and over again. So often we fill up on the empty things in life rather than the nurturing and satisfying bread of life that we need for this journey.

    Thanks for this one!

    p.s.
    I hope that your toe is better soon 🙂

    • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Thank ms for sharing!

  5. Aay February 20, 2017 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I enjoyed today’s podcast so much. Thank you Debra Sheppard for the encourage word that it is okay to have desires & doubts about being single until God send the right mate my way. And thank you Chrystal for your Monday’s podcast. They are very influential and spiritual. What a great way to start the week by listening to them!

  6. Daphne February 20, 2017 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Hello Chrystal, thank you so much much for this podcast with Debra. I listened to the entire podcast while I was at the gym. I am 38 and single and would like to be married one day but I’m enjoying my singleness and I refuse to just settle for anyone…the funny thing is that I just had a similar conversation with my mom this weekend. I always look forward to your podcast. Have a great day.

  7. Neka February 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    It’s right on time.One of my “relationships” just ended&before I rejoin another online dating site I have to face the truth.Is this working?? No it isn’t.I was in tears by the end.Many of the scriptures were confirmed that the Holy Spirit has given me.I need to get off the social dating community&rejoin the church community… being God centered versus self centered…you both did a great job.Thank you for your ministry.

  8. Vanessa February 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Loved listening to your podcast today! It was confirmation for me & the way I’ve chosen to live during this time of singleness. I have been single for 10 years now after a divorce & have chosen to remain abstinent & have not even dated. I have found that this time alone has been such a blessing, allowing God to heal my heart in many ways while molding me into the woman He intended for me to be. This time has helped me become more aware of others needs & has made me a better friend & mother. During this healing process, I have also found that the kind of man I desire has changed. I’ve learned to value the right things, noticing how a man treats others & how they conduct themselves in general as opposed to only seeing the physical aspect.

    Yes there are times of loneliness & where sexual desires want to awaken. I agree with what was being said, that sometimes God allows us to feel that loneliness so that we’ll go to Him rather than filling it with things or people. So when I’m lonely, if I need to cry I cry, if I need to talk it out with someone I do but then I CHOOSE to keep moving forward rather than wallowing in it. I choose to focus on all the reasons I have to be thankful, I choose to praise God for all that He’s brought me out of & choose to trust that what He has for me is the absolute best. I know that what He has for me will be far more satisfying than anything I can make happen for myself & that helps to strengthen me while I wait on Him.

  9. Felicia Johnson February 20, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    This was great. The one thing that I took away was the question why do I want to be married??? I thought and thought and yes I said the thing about it would honor God … but really it’s because that what you do. You grow up, get a job, meet your husband and live Well that has not happened for me yet. But I really enjoyed this one. Will listen again. Thanks Debra

  10. Leslie Limardo February 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    LOVED this podcast! I have a similar story to Deborah and had a child outside of marriage and have been living a great single life since. This was a great conversation! All of my friends are married with children and have left the city where I live. While I get together with them occasionally I have had to recreate my life without them. I would like to be married (maybe) but really enjoy being single! Thanks for posting this and for the honesty of the conversation. I live a celibate life and I haven’t dated since I left my daughter’s father. This time around I need something different and won’t venture until I’m sure of what that is. The challenges are real!

    • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Yes they are but it sounds like you are facing them well…

  11. Joy Omega Williams February 20, 2017 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Great dialogue. Sounds like Debra may want to think about doing a mini series, and or, writing a book on being “Celibate in the City!”

    • Chrystal Hurst February 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Yup! LOL

  12. Gilda Opher February 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    This is a great conversation. Once you make the decision to take control of yourself and realize your self worth. The shift will come.
    For me I’ve taken the stance not to date in the hone alone..

  13. liosha miles February 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Yes!!! A resounding yes!!! This conversation was right on time. This morning I woke up being so thankful for this season of singleness. It has taken me so long to be content in my singleness. But today in prayer, that was my praise. God, Thank You that I’m content in being single. I love the comment that “You get fulfillment in doing something for someone else and “Do what you love to do”.

    I was married for 8 years, but that married was birth out of my hatred of being single. I hated being single. I wanted to have sex. The church treated singles like we had the plague. But after that ended, I have now been single again for 6 years raising my kids and for the first time, I am loving singleness.

  14. Crystal Veloz February 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    I dont even know know what to say but god was speaking though you both and this podcast touch me in so many ways so thank you both so much!!!

  15. Kelli February 21, 2017 at 3:34 am - Reply

    As I read these comments, I can only encourage you single women to stay single and be content with it. Let God choose your path and don’t allow anyone else to. If you are dating and contemplating on this one man, just because you don’t want to be alone, it that things will be easier, most importantly, let PEACE be your guide! If you aren’t at peace about it, I urge you, DON’T marry him. Make sure his fruits are what you want in a man. Make sure he puts GOD FIRST and FOREMOST and make sure you SEE this. I sincerely have regrets and feel I have to stay where I’m at now, for my son. I let this man tell me that “I was the one”, I struggled over 2 yrs in deciding to marry him. I now know why. I didn’t allow PEACE to guide my decision. Ladies, don’t make the same mistake I did. Enjoy your time with God and seek him FIRST and then you will know when the time is right for you.

  16. Laura February 21, 2017 at 7:17 am - Reply

    This was such a helpful podcast for me. it provided me with so many things to think and pray about that I hadn’t even considered. The timing of it was a blessing! Thank you so very much. This singleness season of my life is such a struggle for me, but I believe listening to this episode of your podcast whenever the thought gremlins start whispering to me will pull me out of that negativity. It truly helps to know you’re not alone in your situation or feeling the emotions that you do.

  17. Tammy February 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you Chrystal for this podcast. I too am a 56 year old never married with no children. Sometimes it’s just good to know you aren’t the only one because it sure can feel like it sometimes. I love my Jesus, my Kinsman Redeemer, but I have often asked God “what’s wrong with me?”. No matter how many success or achievements I have or how many really good friends I am blessed with, I still ask that question after every loss or failure of any kind. I have learned over time what my “triggers” are but I am especially vulnerable to simply wanting to be wanted. So I constantly pray for contentment and work to “fix my focus ” on Him. Anyway, thanks for the podcast and I am glad your toe is feeling better. 😊

  18. Melinda B. February 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    So, this podcast is everything! So honest and transparent!

    • Chrystal Hurst February 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks for listening!

  19. Tracy Cass February 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I have listened to this episode at least twice. It is awesome! I have two questions: 1.) May I permission to use this podcast to teach a lesson in my Singles Sunday School? 2.) Is there a written transcript available?

  20. Ferlene February 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I just listened to the podcast and I just loved the conversation! I am going to share this with a friend of mine who has never been married no kids because I know it will bless her. I am a single mother of 2. I was married before. Divorced, was single for a while then in a 8 year relationship (not married) with my 2nd son’s father. Never planned on being single and raising kids alone. But it happened and through all the stuff, God never left me, He helped me to raise my kids. Even when I was living in sin and darkness I know he was always with me. I was living a promiscuous life, church hopping, trying to find peace in life and then finally I remember crying out to God, asking him to help me, telling him I need to change my life, Soon after I was invited to the church I go to now (this was 4 years ago) and I felt the Holy Spirit, as if he was saying “Finally, you’re here, I have been waiting for you” I had this amazing encounter and I desired from then to be obedient to my God. I asked him to take away all things that hindered me from honoring him and being obedient to his word. He delivered me from my addictions, strongholds, distractions, I started living for HIM, I fell in love with HIM, and the more I lived my life to show him I love him, the more he showed me he loved me even more! Realizing HE died for me, changed my life! I decided to be celibate and have done so for 4 years now. I am so content with being single! The Lord blesses me so much, I have joy, I have peace! I love HIM and he completes me! Here’s the scripture that made me realize, I really cannot and should not do things if I really love my God…. 1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; WOW, the Holy Spirit lives in me! I repented for all the casual sex all the stupid foolish things I did with my body! I hope the scripture helps anyone that is struggling with trying to live a celibate life.
    I agree that we need to serve others.. I serve on many ministries at church. I love helping others. It gives me so much joy to bless others because God has blessed me so much. For the women who think something’s wrong with them because they are single… there is NOTHING wrong with YOU! GOD knows YOU and LOVES YOU! Delight in Him and he will give you the desires of your heart! But, I believe right now, you are single, because HE WANTS YOU FOR HIMSELF. HE wants to love on you, he wants to help you grow, he has plans for your life, he is trying to show you that joy doesn’t come from a man/relationship… so spend time with HIM, love HIM, honor HIM and watch HIM bless you so much! When you feel lonely, alone, tempted, commune with HIM, he will show you how much he loves you. He is the only one that can love you the way you need and deserve to be loved. God Bless
    Chrystal: love and appreciate you and praying for your toe! See you in Modesto, CA next weekend!

  21. Cassandra Bradley February 25, 2017 at 9:44 am - Reply

    My advice to singles is to really, honestly and thoroughly seek God in the details of how to go about your life. Prayer journal your thoughts and questions with Him and write His responses that He places on your heart. Ask the what, when, why, how and expect to see His answers unfold as you seek Him. Trust His ways and obey them even if it goes against what your heart currently wants, your feelings, or the typical way of doing things.  He knows what He’s doing!

    I was a single mom for 6 years, beginning when my daughter was just over a year old and I went through a divorce. Fortunately, during the extremely difficult marriage and divorce, among many other things I learned, I learned to be humble. I learned to seek God in the details – the why, what, how, when, etc.

    God led me not to date (or be at all romantically involved with anyone) for one year after my divorce ended – and the divorce itself already took 2.5 years before it was finally completed.

    At one point I was convinced that I never should have married. That I had completely missed my chance to walk out my God-given destiny. After I had totally given it to the Lord and come to a place where I was at peace with the thought of never marrying again, God made it crystal clear to me that being a mom AND wife was something He had always had in store for me. It’s neat how He shows us things when it’s least expected.

    After seeking God as to how I was supposed to go about it, I felt like God wanted me to apply the concept of “whatever is not done in faith is sin” to dating – that I wasn’t to date to find out if someone might be the right person, but only date once God had shown me that the man was the one for me.

    I am so incredibly thankful that I took time to seek not only God’s will but His ways to get me there. I believe that in doing so and in choosing to be obedient, even when sometimes it didn’t make a lot of sense, even to other church friends, family, etc, that I avoided much unnecessary heartache for myself and my daughter, much temptation, etc.

    I’ve been very, very happily married now since July. My daughter calls him “Dad.” She has a strong example of what a godly husband, father and man of God in general looks like and I am, for the first time, experiencing what God always intended marriage to be.

    So, so thankful to see the things God spoke to me being fulfilled in this season,  and also for all the incredibly hard and heartbreaking times that prepared me to really, really appreciate it.

  22. Danita February 27, 2017 at 10:46 am - Reply

    I’m 36 and have been single/celibate for 10 years. I didn’t start seriously desiring marriage until after the age of 28. I’ve had a lot of fun, and contented times as a single but after the age of 35 seemed like bouts of discontentment and confusion intensified. But I can truly say that God has used these times to strengthen me.

    Honestly, my greatest challenges in being single have been related to church culture. Many church environments have a hard time defining a woman’s identity outside of the role of wife and mother. There’s also a lot of well-meaning Christians trying to make singles feel better. Either encouraging women to adopt a works based view of God’s blessings singles and focus on the XYZ things they need to perfect in order to earn the ultimate blessing of marriage. Or, pushing singles into idolizing the fantasy of a perfect man who God will send at the right time to make everything better if you just keep holding on. It’s very hard for singles to navigate church landscapes without experiencing emotional damage and false hopes. We have to be very discerning in the voices that we listen to. Thankfully I’m now a member of a church (OCBF 🙂 ) that adopts a very balanced view of the believer’s worth in the Body, regardless of gender or marital status.

    The other frustration I’ve had is there being few arenas where it’s ok to be transparent about frustrations specific to singles. For example, dating questions, dealing with seasons of sadness/mourning, ex. contending with the idea of never having children or never having sex again, lack of affirmation, etc. Singles are holistic beings with bodies, hormones, and emotional and physical needs. Yes the spiritual part of us is the most important but we have to learn how to engage our physical and emotional needs in a healthy way, we can’t just ignore them because that’s an eventual recipe for disaster. When the sole focus of conversation to singles is to tell them how much they can work for the Lord (*insert applause here*), it’s like someone is telling you how great spinach is for you (it is!) when you can’t stop craving apple pie – because there’s still nothing wrong with apple pie.

    Major things that I have learned and keep me encouraged me as a single:

    Accepting that it’s ok if my lifestyle doesn’t feel normal or doable for the long term. It simply isn’t, without the help of the Holy Spirit, that is. Grace is real, not just a Christian phrase – it’s supernatural ability. The Word is real and powerful and provides supernatural transformation, but we have to believe that God’s way is the only way in order to tap into this power. Singles can sometimes fall into the trap of feeling entitled to anger and resentment and letting that fester into a cynical view of God’s commands, leading to distance from the Lord, His people, and regretful decisions. He can only help us when we learn to let go.

    Also: remembering that we are eternal beings with an eternal story that God is writing. No matter how we feel at a given moment, everything we want for our earthly lives is temporary and all suffering and great blessing experienced in our bodies is temporary. And since I have eternity to look forward to focusing my energy on things that have eternal significance is beyond just worth it. Meditating on these truths helps me shift my perspective during frustrating seasons.

    • Chrystal Hurst February 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’m sure it will be a blessing to others who read. Love your spinach/apple analogy. So glad that you have found OCBF to be a church home that affirms you as a single woman in a balanced way.

    • Tafadzwa June 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Agreed Danita! Your entire post was spot on. You really spoke to this weary single! THANK YOU!

  23. Laura March 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Wow….so incredibly helpful… Speechless.

  24. Roxanne March 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    So far I’ve listened to the Podcast twice and plan on a third time. So many of Debra’s comments/lessons are ones I’ve learned along a 15 year road of being divorced. Many times it’s the family members asking me, “what’s wrong with you, why haven’t you re-married yet?” At the age of 57 now, there never seemed to be a correct answer that would stop them so I stopped trying. Unfortunately I let those questions rob me of my self-confidence by thinking they must be right, what is wrong with me, even worse that I was unlovable. It’s taken too many years to get to the point of trusting and believing that I am lovable and loved. The road has been interesting and I’ve learned a lot about the love of God.
    I live 7 hours away from family so I depend on my friends and yes most of them are married which makes dinner plans or events a little awkward. My one “thing” that gets me is the loneliness of not having someone to share the ideas/events/questions/etc with at the end of the day. Such as your boss gives you an unexpected bonus out of the blue and really don’t have someone to share the news with. Those are my weak spots.

    • Chrystal Hurst March 6, 2017 at 7:55 am - Reply

      Thanks for your honesty Roxanne. I hear you about loneliness. It can be real outside of marriage and within. I’m so glad that the podcast has been helpful for you.

  25. Shante March 6, 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I needed to hear this! Thanks ladies powerful message!

  26. Kita March 17, 2017 at 4:53 am - Reply

    My job called me quarter to 4 this morning to let me know I didn’t have to come in to work today (nurse life) and I felt like I should pull up a podcast… so glad I did! I just turned 26 and have been “single” all of my life with only one relationship that I spent more time trying to get out of than stay in (lol). This podcast was so good! The transparency was so appreciated and really hit me where I’m at. I guess by stereotypes, I’m a church girl. My parents are pastors, I oversee the worship and youth ministry, I’ve strived to maintain “purity” (the struggle is real), and I’m finally reaching a place where I desire to be married/have children. Any advice on dating as a PK? Maybe I’m wrong, but sometimes I just want an experience for myself… I love my church family but I want less involvement (lol)….I don’t want to be sneaking around trying to date someone. Seems like a bad idea :-).

    Thank you for making time for this podcast and for having Ms. Debra Sheppard on the show. Please have her again!

  27. Dwan March 18, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Hey Chrystal! I just listened to this podcast and I must say THIS. GAVE. ME. LIFE!!! I am single, never been married and no kids. Now for the most part I’m ok with my relationship status, but there are times where I’m like ‘Really, God?’. But I love how transparent and authentic Debra was about her journey. It is so encouraging and refreshing.
    In a few short weeks I will be entering a new age decade, 40! YIKES! I want to go into my forties with a different mind-set of whatever God has for me, it truly is for me and best for me. this podcast episode was right on time. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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