One of the quirks that have come with my blogging experience is being approached and invited to participate in other authors’ blog tours. Today, I’m participating in Shelly Black’s tour for her book Savoring Single. Discontentment in singleness is not something that I wrestle with, but I get that for those who are there, the battle is real.
This book is Shelly’s case for finding satisfaction in Christ in the midst of the single season. It was written by a single, for singles. May the Lord be pleased to use it to make hearts fall in love with Him all over again.
Today, I’ll share my review of Savoring Single as well as an interview with Shelly. It’s time to break out the larger headings!
Why savoring single? Because you were meant to enjoy it!
Finding purpose, knowing love, and experiencing adventure aren’t reserved solely for the married girls! You can enjoy a full and vibrant life even while being single. It’s also a perfect time to partner with what God wants to develop in you through this once-in-a-lifetime part of your journey! Girl, being single is okay. There is a purpose for it, and it won’t last forever. So savor it!
I had the privilege of reading Savoring Single by Shelley Black and participating in its blog tour. I rate my reading experience 4/5 stars meaning “I really liked it.” If I was going into half-stars I might rate it 3.5.
I loved author’s writing style. It’s personal, conversational, and makes the pages turn fast and smooth. The book cover shows a pair of hands nursing a cozy mug of coffee while the young lady engages in deep, meaningful conversation with another young lady. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I imagined the “engaging in deep, meaningful conversation with another lady” part. But it’s an accurate representation of the tone of voice I imagine the author to use, and of the atmosphere she exudes through her written words.
On a more negative note, Shelley used Bible translations that I’m not particularly fond of. Some of them are very liberal in their interpretation of the original Word. They aren’t necessarily bad… Let me put it this way; if I hadn’t been on a schedule with a deadline, I would have read a more trusted translation alongside it and would have been more faithful to look up some of the many Bible references. At times I felt like the author was flattering the reader when it would have been more appropriate to exalt God.
Your world needs you and the gifts God is cultivating in you.
-Shelly Black, Savoring Single
At other times, I felt like she exalted the Lord very appropriately. And to its credit, the book boasts a good many articulate quotes that express truths that resonated strongly with me.
You can spend time without quality but you cannot spend quality without time.
-Shelly Black, Savoring Single
I really liked the chapters about maturing your finances, pursuing adventure, developing a skill, and developing discipleship – all points about engaging in an enriched life in the season of singleness. Again, Shelley put it so well:
If we think our best is ahead of us in marriage, career or success or even behind us in memories of days gone by or that time when everything seemed perfect, we will miss the treasure of our todays. You have such a treasure in this moment, that you won’t have in the next.
-Shelly Black, Savoring Single
There you have my thoughts on Savoring Single. To summarize, I liked it and would recommend it to Christians who are exploring singleness from a biblical perspective. As with any book, please be faithful to test its ideas against the Word of God. I trust that’s something Shelley herself would say “amen” to.
A NOTE ON CONTENT
- The book mentions masturbation briefly and only by name. The book itself is not immoral, nor are the author’s views. In my opinion, she deals with it very gracefully.
- The book talks about lust with the purpose of addressing it in biblical and practical ways.
- The book mentions rape when retelling the biblical story of Joseph in Egypt.
- The book talks about sex and sexual desires of the unmarried. The author addresses the awkward topic with honesty and in a clean, respectable way.
[end of review]
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that one of the quirks of blogging is blog tours. One of the quirks of that is getting to see the world from other people’s viewpoints through my interaction with them. It was my pleasure to get to interact a little with Shelly over the course of this tour. It was especially great to read her answers to my interview. Let me share our exchange with you.
[Jordy] What is the most important thing you would like my readers (or anyone) to know about you as a person?
[Shelly] “I am in this with you, girl.” I sign off on my book and many of my blogs this way, only because sometimes it helps to know that we’re not alone. So many “single” books are from those already on the “other side” – and those are good, too – but for you to know that I am in the same season of singleness and already experiencing my success story means that you can, too!
Right! So your message isn’t ‘hang in there until God answers your prayers through marriage,’ it’s ‘you can experience victory in Jesus. Now.’
Which came first: your personal journey to savoring single, or the idea/desire to write any book?
Definitely the personal journey. I never had a dream or real desire to write a book. God inspired the story to be told from the journey he had brought me through and the path I am now on. He holds the pen of my life.
It seems the Lord delights to surprise. You’re an author; congratulations!
If you had to summarize your book, Savoring Single, in a sentence, how would you? If you could then use a paragraph to elaborate…?
Being single is a once-in-a-lifetime part of your journey, that though it won’t last forever, holds great purpose for the rest of your life!
We are only single-not-yet-married once in our entire lives. For many of us this is just a season and though it feels like forever – it’s really not. Even more so, there is such a great purpose for our single season and one that many often miss out on because of misconstrued perspectives, priorities and pursuits. However, there is a better way to do single. It’s a way that’s not filled with depression and disappointment, but purpose, contentment and fulfillment. I truly believe this is the way God intended and having seen the turn-around in my own life, want to share it with every single-girl heart I can.
Whether they read a summary of Savoring Single through its blurb, my blog, or elsewhere, I trust that God knows whom He wants to read your whole message and will bring them from summary to full text.
Throughout Savoring Single, you used multiple Bible Translations (New American Standard Bible, THE MESSAGE, The Passion Translation, New Living Translation). Do you have a favorite Bible translation? What is it and why?
My favorite is the New Living Translation, but mostly because this is the translation I had when I fell in love with reading the Bible again. I grew up with a preacher-sized, burgundy, leather-bound NKJV that I have still, but it got water damaged in a car that apparently leaked when it rained. I use my NLT for daily reading, but do appreciate having other translations to read that further expound on and offer greater understanding.
This helps me to better appreciate your use of Scripture quotes throughout the book. None of those translations are my favorite… but I do own a copy of the NLT and sometimes I read it alongside other translations.
What would you say to the teen unsatisfied single, to the young adult unsatisfied single, to the teen single already satisfied in Christ and to the young adult single already satisfied in Christ?
Dear unsatisfied teen,
The struggle is real, the pressure is on and I know you face it every day: to be acknowledged, known, accepted and loved. The world can and will only offer an unsatisfying taste of what leaves you begging for more. But know this, there is One who sees and knows, accepts and loves and His name is Jesus. You may not look cool walking down the hallway at school holding his hand, but when all of that noise is gone and you are left alone in your room, He’ll still be there. No other friend, boyfriend, status or conquest can offer you that.
Dear unsatisfied young adult,
I’ve been in your shoes and they are hard to walk in. Trying everyday to be better qualified than the day before, with greater hopes he’s right around the corner only to turn it and still be standing alone. Your life is what you make of it and if you build it on the pursuit of your dreams, disappointment will wash in with a rolling tide that will only go out to come in and wash it again. This is why we are to build our hope on a foundation that cannot be moved, where our dreams flood our already established lives with the warmth and joy of having pursued them from a place of strength. This strength is not self-sufficiency but surrender. When we trust God enough to surrender our every dream and our very lives to Him, we are more firmly established. When I surrendered my dream to be married, I didn’t lose it, I left it in far more capable hands.
Dear satisfied teen,
Continue to guard your heart and “run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” (2 Timothy 2:22) Run. Pursue. Enjoy. These will fill your life with the joy and contentment God intends us to live from while we are single.
Dear satisfied young adult,
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young (single + content). Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 parenthesis mine) Continue to grow your life through Christ. Pursue those adventures and let every dream of His unfold as you embrace the calling of God on your life. Always remembering that your life is also a light to all you influence by how you live. So live well in what you say, how you live and love, by your faith and purity.
Your words to the satisfied teens and young adults remind me of Paul’s words to the Thessalian church. Multiple times, he acknowledged them for the ways they already thrived in certain areas but encouraged them to do so more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:1, 10; 5:11). I don’t wrestle with discontentment in singleness, but it’s important for me to not become idle or to think I’m above any weakness, but to increase in godliness more and more.
Is there anything the Lord taught you about Himself, singleness or other after you had already begun writing Savoring Single, and specifically through the process of writing it?
He taught me the importance of remembering. In the Old Testament God often instructed the Israelites to build an altar of remembrance in places where He revealed himself to them. Whether it was because of a great victory, miracle of provision or even judgement for disobedience, He called them to remember.
My life looks nothing like it used to but I hadn’t realized how dramatically different I was until the Holy Spirit caused me to remember. My heart overflows with thanksgiving for all He has done, how faithful He has been, and for loving me even in my stubbornness and rebellion. It’s only by His grace that I savor life, single or not. It’s only because of those altars that I can remember the battles won, the rivers crossed and the mountains moved. He truly is a good and perfect Father!
Amen! ‘The importance of remembering’ strikes a strong chord with me as it’s a lesson I’ve felt Him impress on my own heart.
Thank you, Shelly, for the time you took to delve into some longer answers to my questions. And on behalf of every girl whom your book blesses, if I may say so, thank you for the time that you took to write it.
[end of interview]
Well, dear readers, that wraps up my part in the blog tour for Savoring Single. I’m looking at the word count in the bottom corner of my editor and mentally whistling at the number. Over 2200 words. Phew! I don’t know how many of you will read through the whole thing. What do you think; should I break a post like this into two next time?
A final note to any Christian authors who may be reading this: this Savoring Single blog tour has been coordinated by Livy Lynn. She invites you to let her plan your next blog tour. Learn more here.