Every time I log onto Facebook I find yet another article about “waiting for Mr. Right.” I could lie and say I don’t sometimes find comfort in these types of articles, that I haven’t hit the like button and reposted a few of them. I could lie and say I haven’t dreamt about “Mr. Right,” wondered when he would show up, and prayed for him consistently. I have. But that’s not what this article is about, not today.
Our culture treats singleness like a disease, like singleness is a sickness that must be cured in order for you to be healthy, whole, and complete. There is pressure to give yourself away to any boy or girl that comes around, just so you can have a hand to hold and someone to text you in the morning. Our culture believes that life begins once you meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. All that leads up to that moment is only preparation. Until then, you must search and date and love and hurt until someone comes along and everything finally falls into place. Our baggage gets bigger and the love in our hearts gets smaller. It is easy to feel incomplete because of a relationship status.
I write from a place of understanding. For a long time, I accepted the label society placed on me: single, lonely, rejected, forgotten, not good enough. I wore those badges of shame, but I did everything I could to get rid of them. I gave my heart away to the wrong people. I made mistakes. I got my heart broken and as I began to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart, I realized that my need for validation from the opposite sex represented a much bigger issue inside of myself. These badges would not transform after receiving the love of another person. My heart and my identity desperately needed a miracle.
I know what you’re thinking- “Here we go, another post about Jesus being enough. Another post about how I’m supposed to smile through my singleness because God loves me. Another page of empty promises written by overly spiritual people. None of this stuff works.”
My prayer for you today is that you hear truth and begin to believe it. I pray God stirs within your heart and you begin to realize that He could be enough for you too. He is greater than your feelings, greater than your emotions, and greater than your relationship status. I pray you stop believing lies about yourself and stop finding validation in other people. Start seeking truth, hold onto it, don’t let it escape your grasp.
I spent a lot of time following Jesus half-heartedly. I believed so many ugly things about myself. I believed so many ugly things about God. I didn’t think He could really fix me. I didn’t think I could really trust Him. I wrestled with these doubts while wearing a religious mask, but God never gave up on me. There is more to Him than a checklist and recognition. In Him is a relationship that fulfills my deepest yearnings. It is for that reason I will forever proclaim an all-powerful, life-transforming, heart-altering cliché. Jesus is enough. But we must seek Him with our whole hearts, our whole lives, our utmost being.
Here are three lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) during my season(s) of singleness. I hope they speak to you today.
1. We must strip away idols and put God in His rightful place.
Genesis 2:18, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…”
Our hearts were created to give and receive love. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and He created us to desire relationship, a reflection of His desire for relationship with us. The issue is not the craving for love and relationship, but rather where we are going to fulfill the craving. Let me say it again, the craving itself is not bad.
Tim Keller says”if you love anything in this world more than God, you will crush the object under the weight of expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.”
No person can bear the weight of being “god” in our lives. We cannot look to others to fulfill the desires inside of us that are created to be filled by perfect love. The end result will always be messy. We must seek God first (Matthew 6:33). He will supply our every need in Christ (Philippians 4:19, 2 Peter 1:3, Romans 8:32).
2. We must guard our hearts with all vigilance.
“Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Guarding your heart flows naturally from putting God in His rightful place in your life. The key is running to God first through prayer. How often do we ask our best friend for advice before we ask God? Do you call your mom before you call on the Lord? God absolutely uses people in our lives to guide us, but true peace comes from entrusting God with our questions first. I have found myself on paths I never intended to be on because I listened to myself, my friends, parents, or mentors before listening to the voice of God. If we do not take the time to pray and be still with the Lord, then we will drown the voice of God with the noise and the busyness of life. He has good intentions for you. In fact, He has the best intentions. Trust His plan, seek His will. Guard your heart by patiently following His plan.
3. The problem is not a boy problem, but a joy problem.
It’s easy to question God’s will because things aren’t unfolding exactly like we expect them to. Instead of focusing on all that you don’t have, focus on the things God has entrusted you with in this season. Your singleness is not a mistake on God’s part. Life hasn’t passed you by. As my favorite writer, Hannah Brencher, said, “The right person will come for you. I like to say, ‘they are getting here as fast as they can’ to any of my single friends who are still waiting.”
Waiting is not a bad thing. Waiting is a character-building thing. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your joy and make you impatient. In Philippians 4, Paul states that he found the key to contentment by rejoicing in the Lord in all circumstances. God is using this season to mold you into the person you are created to be. You aren’t lacking joy because of seemingly difficult circumstances. If you lack joy, then it is because you are lacking God’s presence in your daily life. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
In Christ we have everything we need to live a life of joy. He died so that we could be free from the bondage of comparison and loneliness. Through Christ’s death we have full access to our Heavenly Father and His promises for us. As Christians, our validation does not come from what someone else says about us. Our validation comes from what God says about us.
In Christ, we are:
Accepted (Romans 15:7)
Known (Jeremiah 1:5)
Chosen (1 Peter 2:9)
Valuable (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Children of God (John 1:12)
Forgiven and redeemed (Colossians 1:13-14)
We must trust that God has good intentions for our lives. Ultimately, our lives should be dedicated to honoring and serving Him. If that comes through marriage, great. If that comes from singleness, great. Let us not lose focus of what this life is all about- glorifying the Lord.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I had a beautiful moment during worship today at Church of the Highlands. We were singing “What a Beautiful Name” from Hillsong’s latest album. I’ve been obsessed with the message of that song lately, my favorite part goes like this:
“Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again
You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names”
Singing these lyrics reminded me of the power that Jesus exhibits over all of the earth. I remembered that one day I will fall at the feet of Jesus and every tear I’ve ever cried and trial I’ve ever faced will fade compared to the glory that awaits me in heaven. Let us live with the end in mind. What matters is not boyfriends and girlfriends, but relationship with our Heavenly Father. We do not walk this journey alone. Good things are coming.