How to Be Single and Content: Sherri Lynn
Sherri Lynn, cohost of the Brant Hansen show, believes marriage isn't the only solution to loneliness. She gets real about the road to happy singleness—and offers wise ways to be single and content.
About the Guest
- Connect with Sherri Lynn on her podcast, Brant and Sherri Oddcast
- Check out this article Sherri wrote on The Foundations We Build Our Lives on With Sherri Lynn ()
- Check out more of Sherri's podcast on the FamilyLife Podcast Network
- Find resources from this podcast at shop.familylife.com.
- See resources from our past podcasts.
- Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife's app!
- Help others find FamilyLife. Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.
- Check out all the FamilyLife podcasts on the FamilyLife Podcast Network
Sherri Lynn, cohost of the Brant Hansen show, believes marriage isn’t the only solution to loneliness. She offers wise ways to be single and content.
How to Be Single and Content: Sherri Lynn
Sherri Lynn, cohost of the Brant Hansen show, believes marriage isn’t the only solution to loneliness. She gets real about the road to happy singleness—and offers wise ways to be single and content.
Show Notes and Resources
Connect with Sherri Lynn on her podcast, Brant and Sherri Oddcast
Check out this article Sherri wrote on The Foundations We Build Our Lives on With Sherri Lynn ()
Check out more of Sherri’s podcast on the FamilyLife Podcast Network
Find resources from this podcast at shop.familylife.com.
See resources from our past podcasts.
Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife’s app!
Help others find FamilyLife. Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.
Check out all the FamilyLife podcasts on the FamilyLife Podcast Network
How to Be Single and Content: Sherri Lynn
Sherri: I learned that “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,” and that that scripture—we use it a lot of times [saying], “I can get that job. I can get that car. I can get that degree. I can—” Then, “Sure! We can.” However, I can be content in all things. So, if God doesn't have that for me, that doesn't make me “less than.”
Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott. Your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Dave: This is FamilyLife Today!
“I'm single and I got no man!” [Laughter] That's what we're talking about today. No, we are going to talk about an exciting topic today.
Ann: I think so.
Dave: Well, what is it?
Ann: It's being single—
Ann: —as a single woman.
Sherri: —as a single woman.
Dave: It will apply to single men as well.
Sherri: I think so.
Dave: Here's where it really applies for our listening audience: a lot are moms and dads with adult children who are single.
Dave: And [they ask], “How do I navigate this with my single adult child?”
Ann: And they're trying to get their son or daughter married, maybe.
Ann: So, what does that do to their son or daughter? How does it make them feel?
Dave: We’ve got a single woman—
Sherri: I am!
Dave: —Sherri Lynn.
Sherri: I've been single for a long time, Dave; a long time! [Laughter]
Dave: How do you feel about that, Sherri? [Laughter]Do you feel lonely?
Sherri: That is so funny, because I do not, and I never have.
Sherri: Obviously, you want a relationship. Obviously, you want to share certain things with someone; you want to have that “person.” But I think that, in my twenties, I felt that. This is a true story. [I’ll] preface it by saying many of you may not like it. It's true, nonetheless.
I was speaking at a church—I think I was 26 or 27—hotshot. No one should have had me speaking anywhere. [Laughter]
Dave: By the way, you speak every day.
Sherri: I do! It’s The Brant Hansen Show on the radio, and then it is the Brant and Sherri Oddcast.
Ann: We love both of you—
Sherri: —thank you.
Ann: —and have had both of you on.
Sherri: Yes; that's my brother.
Ann: And you're the producer—
Sherri: I am.
Ann: —the executive producer for both shows.
Sherri: I do, I produce both shows and help co-host.
Dave: So, standing up on a stage and speaking at a church is not something you don't do. You do a lot of this kind of stuff.
Sherri: I do.
Ann: Give us a little bit of your history.
Sherri: Sure! I grew up in the church. I always say, “I was born on a pew.” [Laughter] Whenever they noticed that I had the “gift of gab,” [Laughter] and that I had a really good memory, I was like a little child prodigy. They could give me little scriptures, and I could almost preach a little sermon by the time I was 10 or 11. And then, I could write. I could write productions and stuff like that. I come from a very creative family. I just did a lot of stuff.
By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had gone through college. That's when I found out, “Oh, you're not a believer at all. You're actually a wretched sinner!” [Laughter]
Ann: “I grew up in a church, but…”
Sherri: Yes! Oh, my goodness! I'd say I have never seen someone backslide so quickly in all of my life! It was the first two days on campus. That's when I realized, “Oh, you don't know Jesus. You were just in the church, and your family knew Him, and you knew them. So, you knew Him by association.”
I had a really rough college time, and early 20s, or into that. Just really—it was trauma. I came from a background of trauma. My father was a drug addict and drug dealer. I grew up in that, and all that that entails.
Ann: But you had a great mom.
Sherri: I have a fantastic, stellar, Gold Star Mom, who I always say stood between me and hell—between me and Satan—and said, “No! No!” She interceded for me. She gets whatever she wants now. [Laughter] People always say, “Why do you always have your mom with you?” She gets any single thing she wants because—
Dave: —[She] saved your life.
Sherri: She did! She believed God when I couldn't. By my mid-20s—and again, I wasn't totally out of that; I was out of that lifestyle, but I still had the vestiges of that. I should have been sitting down, being taught. But I can run my mouth. [Laughter] I can draw a crowd. Everyone says, “Yes! Have her at your church.”
Okay, so, there I go. I'm on stage and I'm speaking. It was a bigger church. It was probably one of the biggest churches I had spoken to at that point in my career. I get done, I sit down, and people are coming up afterwards [saying], “Hey! Hi! I enjoyed what you're speaking—” All of that; shaking hands, all of that.
A lady that goes to that church is standing next to me as I greet people. One lady comes up to me, and she is holding an infant, and she has two little kids on either side of her. She says to me, and we're talking: “May I ask how old you are?” [I’m thinking,] “It's weird, but sure.” Then I said, “25 or 26” (whatever I was). She said, “That's what I thought.” She said, “You're my age, and the whole time you were speaking, I was thinking, ‘That could be me. That could be me.’”
I didn't know what to say. “Okay, great.” [We] hug. “Bye, kids!” She walks off, and the lady standing next to me that went to that show said, “Whoa.” I said, “What?” She said, “That was the pastor’s wife.”
Sherri: I said, “Whoa.”
That was one of the seminal moments for me as a single woman, thinking, “You could be sitting somewhere wishing you had someone's life, and they're sitting somewhere wishing they had yours.” Any loneliness that I was feeling at that time: "I wish I had a husband. I wish I had kids. I wish I had that—”; it must not be the fix of everything because she's sitting there with her kids, married, looking at single me up on stage, wishing she were me.
Sherri: So, the grass can't be greener over there. It can't be. That started my journey of understanding contentment. “How do I be content, where I am?” Because it's not going to make any—I have to be honest; It's not going to make any—sense for me to strive to be somewhere or be someone who's striving to be me.
Ann: It made you feel like, “I don't have to be complete when I have a husband.”
Ann: “I can be complete right now as I am: a single woman.”
Sherri: Yes. To me, if I'm trying to get to her status—
Sherri: —and she's standing in front of me with the baby, saying, “I was looking at you saying, ‘That could be me’,” how ridiculous is it for me to continue to think that that's the answer for me?
I learned that “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,” and that that scripture—we use it a lot of times [saying], “I can get that job. I can get that car. I can get that degree. I can—” Then, “Sure! We can.” However, I can be content in all things. So, if God doesn't have that for me, that doesn't make me “less than.” I have to be honest with myself and say, “Hey, He doesn't require that of you. You may want that. The culture may have put that in your head.”
I was talking to these young girls, and I said, “When the woman at the well, who had been through quite a few guys, is standing there, she's obviously empty. Jesus could have said, ‘Hey, I know you don't have a husband right now. I’ve got 12 guys. They're amazing! Peter is already married; 11 guys. One of them is a traitor. I don't want to talk about it right now. So, that gives us 10. How about John? How about Thomas? How about Nathaniel?’ [Laughter] Parade them in front . . .
If that were the answer, that's not what He offered her. He offered her Him[self]. He said, “There is Living Water that you can have, and when you have that Living Water, it will come back up out of you as a well of life.” When He gave her Him[self], she said, “Come see a man!” She ran and said it: “Come see a man! That's what I wanted.”
That's what I told the girls: “I can't tell you how to go online and find a man. I can't tell you how to get ready for a husband. There are conferences for that. Please go to them if that's what you want! I want that for you. What I'm saying to you is, I can only give you what's been given to me. What's been given to me is Living Water.”
I just had to be able to divorce myself from the ideas of the world and the culture, and then ask myself something I asked them: “What is this pressure you're feeling? Is this a pressure for a relationship that is internal or external? I'm not telling”—and I would say this on the podcast series—"I'm not telling one not to get married. Please do it if that's the desire of your heart and God presents that to you. Please do it. I'm saying, ‘Contentment is something we all need as disciples.’”
Ann: I was going to say, “I think every married woman needs to learn that contentment comes from Jesus.”
Ann: Because what I do is, I can think [of] what we did in our marriage: “When Dave would get his act together, then I can be content.”
Dave: Yes, I was thinking the same thing about her!
Ann: Exactly! I think that we all have to come to a point to say, “Jesus is enough.”
Ann: “I can find my joy and contentment in Him.” There are other things, too, but the source of my contentment is Him.
Sherri: Yes. As I told them, “You're going to have to come to that realization.” Then, that pressure in the church is really—
Dave: “You ain’t got no man.” [unintelligible]
Ann: Did you feel that?
Sherri: Oh, my goodness!
Ann: They said it?!
Sherri: “How old are you?”
Dave: Yes. So, where does that come from? the pressure of being single? Why do we, in the church, married, put that [pressure] on?
Sherri: I think that there is a desire to be able to relate to someone, and you may not be able to relate to someone who's not picking up toys like you are. You may not be able to relate to someone who didn’t just have an argument with their husband in the parking lot. It's [thinking], “Our lives are so not similar that I don't know, necessarily, what to say to you.”
There is a cultural thing that has come into the church that [says], “I'm validated by having a husband. I'm validated; my life starts, my ministry starts, everything starts when I get married.” I think that we've kind of been conditioned that way. I don't know how or where that started. It just seems—
Dave: Maybe we think—and I'd love to hear what you feel—that you're lonely.
Sherri: I think so but, again, I'm not going to say that that doesn't happen; that loneliness doesn't occur. It was never steady in my life because I have way too many cousins. [Laughter] They show up; they stay all the time. So, that was never in my life; but there are times you wish you had somebody. What I learned when my friends started getting married, and they were lonely—
Ann: That's what I was going to say, yes.
Sherri: —then that is when I started realizing again, just like that woman saying, “I thought it was you,” I think, “Oh! Wait a minute, then that can't be the answer.”
Sherri: I think that Romans 12:1-2 really comes into play, where having my mind transformed, being transformed by the renewing of my mind; then I don't conform.
Sherri: Those are really the only two choices. Either I'm going to conform to the world or I'm going to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
Then it says, “Then you can prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” You can do that once you've been transformed. But if I'm conforming, I'm conforming to the world and still wanting the perfect and acceptable good of it. That's not going to work. So, I had to be transformed. My mind had to be transformed, which means I had to tell myself true things.
Dave: Now, are there times when you're alone, maybe mom has gone to bed and whatever, and you’re content—
Dave: —does that fly away at times? Are there times where you just lay there and say, “Man, I’d just love to have a man here right now?”
Sherri: Not now.
Dave: Again, I'm not saying you do or don't—
Sherri: I think when I was younger—
Sherri: —but I think women who are a little older and single understand. I like my stuff where I like it. [Laughter] I don't—I like my shoes where they were. I don't want to pick up your shoes. I don't want to pick up your socks.
I think—I've talked to women who are in their 40s and 50s and single, [who] talk about where you could feel a little dip in your contentment is, “What do you want to—” “I want to go to this concert. I want to go to the to the movies. I want to go here.” And you kind of have a built-in person that could do that with you or would do that with you. It's there. Then I had to ask myself, “What are you asking for? Are you asking for a husband or are you asking for somebody to go to the movies with?”
Sherri: Because if you're asking—those are two different things! [Laughter]
Dave: Different, yes.
Ann: When you talk about dip, when your number—
Sherri: —I ask women, “What is your contentment number?” I think this is a good checkup for you if you're listening. I do it for myself all the time: “Where are we on the contentment here? Where I'm content in who I am in Christ and where I am in Christ?” Because I'm not promised tomorrow, so why do I think I'm promised the husband when I don't know if tomorrow is coming? Am I content right now?
One to ten, we had a lot of women say, “Hey, I'm about a seven or eight, five or six, whatever.” Then we talked about your number dipping. “What makes me go to a two? What makes me go to a 3?” Some things were like holidays; “Everyone kind of has somebody and I don't.” [Or] New Year's, you know what I mean, when there's nobody to be there with [you]. Those make sense.
For me, I said it was a specific music channel that is all love songs. My counselor said, “Turn.that.off! Why are you listening to it if your contentment is going from eight to two, and you're bottoming out because you're listening to some love song? Turn it off!”
So, my number will dip in those [situations], because I'm a very relational person. I'm very, “Let's go out. Let's eat. Let's do that. Okay! Get some friends.” It made me pour into my friendships that I have now that are so precious to me; so precious to me! I've learned that I was able to do that where my married friends weren't necessarily able to do that.
Singles: accept this! Celebrate this! “There is no other word than mine.” If I say, “I'm going on vacation,” I'm going on vacation. [Laughter] There is nobody to ask. There is nobody saying, “Well, let's look at our finances.” I do it. That is a nice thing. “My word is the head word.” Of course, you pray to the Lord. [Laughter]
Ann: What about single moms?
Sherri: Do you know what? That is such a good—my mother, for all intent and purposes, was a single mom. My father was there, but not really. I think that, for as much as the church can surround that woman and those kids—
Sherri: —and make a family that we're supposed to be as the Body of Christ, that is so important so that those kids don't feel like they're on an island.
Dave: Yes. How has your mom walked with you as a single? I'm thinking of parents that say, “I've got an adult son or daughter.”
Sherri: “How do I walk beside them? What do I do and not do?”
I mean, I watched your mom and you at lunch and I [saw] this beautiful relationship.
Dave: I thought, “What has she done?"
Ann: Especially, Sherri, because a lot of parents, if we have a daughter, we think her security is in a man who will take care of her.
Ann: But your mom—
Sherri: No, she never encouraged me in that direction because of the way I grew up. How do you say that to me? “A man is going to be the one that really takes care of you,” when I lived in the house for 18 years the way we lived. She knew that Jesus is your answer. She would say, “You had better find some contentment in Jesus.”
Those college years and a little bit after—just kind of flitting around, doing everything all over the place: “You had better find your contentment in Jesus. Whatever you are out there looking for, it's not there.”
I think that her stature as a single woman—she did end up divorcing my father—[her stature as a single woman] was something I could look at. Her contentment, saying, “God is my husband,” and me, not being able to reconcile that in my head, [thinking,] “What does that mean?” But then, watching her walk it out. “Oh!”
So that, when I felt the pressure—guys, this is important to me— [when I felt the pressure] of, “Are you not married? Wouldn't you like to…? Wouldn’t you like to…? Wouldn’t you like to…?” I say to myself, “You have a good life, so what are you asking God for right now? Are you asking Him for a king? Because that's what Israel did. God is taking care of everything.”
Ann: Oh, this is good.
Sherri: “Every battle is fought. You live in victory. You live in abundance. All of those things. They wanted a king. ‘I want someone next to me that validates me to everybody else.’ Are you asking God for that, Sherri? Because if you are, you can have it.” But as He told Israel, it's going to come with some stuff. [Laughter]
Dave: Didn't go really well.
Ann: Every married person knows that—
Ann: — it comes with some stuff.
Sherri: And this story, lastly, is the story that I tell young women about—I just get emails. It's so heartbreaking, and that's why I'm so passionate about talking about contentment in Christ—not being picked; that feeling.
I tell this story about my family. Now, we are a big family, both in numbers and many of us in girth. [Laughter] We are a big family, and at one family reunion, we decide to play kickball. So, it's all of us, and the kids and the family, and all that. We get up there, and we let the kids be captain. The kids are starting to pick.
Dave: Here we go.
Sherri: All of the sudden, I'm in 7th grade again, because the kids—even my nieces! My niece is about to graduate, and I'm going to bring it back up to her when she is looking for a graduation gift: “Remember, you didn't pick Auntie?” Everyone is picked! They’re picking, and the numbers are going down, and I'm thinking, “Am I about to be…?” Finally, I get picked, and I [think], “Alright, we're going to play kickball.” I get up to kick, [I] kick the ball; great kick!
Y’all, the time it took me to run from home plate [Laughter] to 1st base—I ran, and I was Forrest Gump. It took me so long [Laughter] to get to that first base, and then I’m drenched in sweat, and I'm thinking, “Please let somebody hit me out, because I cannot make it around to home.” [Laughter]
I hear music, and I look down in the pavilion where our family is, and the DJ has shown up, because we're that kind of family where the family reunion has a DJ, and they're playing the Cha Cha Slide. [Laughter] The caterer has shown up, so people have ribs and sweet potato pie and greens and all that.
Now, I've been picked, and I'm happy to be here playing the game, but if I didn't get picked, there is shelter and provision in the pavilion. I can have ribs. I can have Cha—
Sherri: —Cha Cha Slide. Both are great! [Laughter]
So, if you don't get picked for the game—yes, you want to play. You want to be in it. I get it. But ribs and Cha Cha ain’t bad either. [Laughter] I tell women all the time: “Take whatever the benefits of being single are right now. Enjoy life! —"
Dave: —Enjoy it.
Sherri: —"Enjoy God! He has come to give us life abundantly.”
Shelby: Ann is going to be back in just a minute with Sherri Lynn. As a special treat, Sherri's mom will be joining them in the studio to sing a tender version of ’Tis So Sweet [to Trust in Jesus]. That is just a few minutes from now. But first, I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Sherri Lynn on FamilyLife Today.
Sherri has a podcast with a favorite of ours here at FamilyLife Today, Brant Hansen. It's called the Brant and Sherri Oddcast. Together, they have a daily radio show that's syndicated across the country with segments ranging from the latest animal news, to interactions with listeners, to discussions about how messy life can actually be. Of course, over all that, how God is good. You could search for Brant and Sherry Oddcast wherever you listen to your podcasts, or find the link on FamilyLifeToday.com in today's show notes.
Earlier this week, we had Steven Byers on, who talked about loving your community. He gave us some really proven practical steps on community-based outreach. He's written a book called Loving Your Community. This book is going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially here at FamilyLife Today.
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Ann: You're pretty fabulous!
Sherri: Oh, well, thank you.
Ann: You do a lot of things.
Sherri: I appreciate that.
Ann: You're pretty incredible—
Sherri: Thank you!
Ann: —and you've brought your mom here to the studio today.
Sherri: I have.
Ann: She’s just been listening. You two share a really beautiful relationship.
Bev: Oh, I thank God for it.
Ann: Sherri, is your Ma—is she your hero?
Sherri: In every way—
Bev: Oh, my!
Sherri: —in every way, for me and my brother, and the girls. My mom is not just [a hero] to us, but to my cousins, her siblings—
Ann: —She’s everyone’s hero!
Sherri: —She's the matriarch in our family.
Bev: Thank you, Jesus!
Ann: Why do you think—?
Sherri: Because she's just so steady. I always say, “God really likes her.” [Laughter] When I take care of her, I always say—
Ann: —and she lives with you?
Sherri: She does live with me, and it's the honor of my life to care for her every day in the relationship that God has given us. I know that she went through a lot with me.
Ann: As I'm thinking about so many women that are thinking, “If my marriage were only better, I could be happy. If my kids weren't rebelling, I could be happy. If my daughter or my son were married, and I wouldn't have to worry about them, I could be happy.”
Bev, what would you say to those women?
Bev: I'd say to them: “Develop a relationship with Jesus and let Him give you peace in that situation. Just believe that whatever He has for their life, you have to trust God and believe that whatever He has for their life, it'll come. You have to keep praying for them. And even though you don't see it, He said, ‘He that cometh unto Me must believe.’”
Bev: “Believe first that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. So, just diligently seek the Lord, and let Him work it out.”
Ann: That's sweet!
And you can sing!
Dave: Can we get you to sing something today?
Bev: [Singing ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus]
Oh! I haven’t sung in so long.
Ann: Oh, I'm crying!
Shelby: What if I told you there were five ways to stop sabotaging your marriage? Well, we're going to talk about that tomorrow as David and Ann Wilson are joined in the studio with Ted Lowe to learn about how to strengthen your marriage through the truth of the gospel. That's coming up tomorrow. We hope you'll join us.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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