Carolyn McCulley states that there are three hindrances that keep singles from maturing in their Christian walk: Identity, Self-Centeredness, and Secrecy. She helps to discern all three:
A wise friend of mine once observed that single adults become emotionally stunted when we have not pushed ourselves to love others sacrificially. Loving and serving others is how we grow in Christlikeness. While marriage and family does not guarantee maturity, it certainly creates the opportunity for it. Therefore, single adults who want to pursue maturity should look for opportunities to be self-giving in the face of boundless opportunities to be self-centered.
I am a task-oriented person, so I have put reminders on my calendar every month to think about ways to serve others. It’s a sad truth: I have turned my relationships into To Do reminders! But if I don’t, my calendar defaults to being all about me. By intentionally thinking about whom to serve, by planning for other people’s milestones, and by putting down prayer reminders for the needs of others, I’m taking small steps to battle self-centeredness.
Our prayers are a good barometer of self-centeredness. Do they start with glorifying and thanking God? Are they full of petitions for His people? Have we first woven in thanksgiving for any answered prayers before firing off our petitions?
Self-centeredness is a hard thing to measure by yourself — maybe impossible. The Holy Spirit will prompt us through His Word, but we need to assume we have huge blind spots. Having a prayer and accountability partner, one who has regular access to your life and thoughts, can be immensely helpful for this evaluation. More than one partner is great, too. I say prayer andaccountability because grace and truth need to be equally present.