One of my favorite things to do as a child was watch boxing matches with my father. Since this was the early 1970’s, I watched some of the best matches in the world featuring the greatest of all time: Muhammad Ali. One of things that fascinated me about these boxing matches was when the boxer would go back to his corner in between rounds. I always wondered what the people were saying to him.

It seemed like after these breaks that Ali would come out more energized. Cus A’mato, Eddie Futch, Emmanuel Steward, Freddie Roach, Angelo Dundee. You may not know their names, but you know their work: These are the men who trained the most powerful boxers of the 20th and 21st century like Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.

Recently, I was preparing for a presentation to single women at a conference and it struck me that life as a single person can sometimes be like a boxing match. Even though we may have support from others like the boxer has support from his corner person and trainer during the fight, the results of the boxing match are determined by how well the boxer fights when in the ring all by themselves. However, how well the boxer does is impacted by who is in their corner.

So, the question is: Who is in your corner? Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Like the best boxing corner men challenged boxers to achieve more, we should look for people who will challenge us to be better Godly versions of ourselves.

First, we should be intentional about who we add to our lives. They should know their purpose and know how it aligns with your purpose. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” If they do not know their purpose, it will be difficult for them to support you when you try to pursue yours. Most importantly, be willing to pivot when you realize that your purposes are no longer in alignment with people around you. Psalm 1:1 says “Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. “1 Chronicles 16:11 reminds us to “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.”

Our journey as singles is most successful when we seek after God and create intimacy with Him. By being intentional on seeking time out with God, it can make some of the more stressful times as singles more tolerable. We should also commit to self-control and ignore distractions. This means that things out of boredom or lack of discipline, we can easily allow things like alcohol, sex, drugs, shopping, television, and food to control our lives. We may think that these are harmless activities, but they can easily turn into destructive idols. In addition, we have to create and lean on a community of mature support. We should remember that God’s grace is on one side of us and God’s mercy is on the other side when we come back to our corners after fighting in life’s boxing ring: Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….”