Have you ever had these thoughts?
- Wow, THEY’re engaged. What do they have that I don’t?
- WOW, HE found someone to marry him! I am so much more normal (or down to earth, less creepy, less socially awkward, more financially secure, more attractive, etc.) than him (or her).
- Wow, SHE’s pregnant already! I am so much more deserving. I’ve been patient, I’ve been working on myself, I’ve been waiting on the Lord and now it feels like my time is almost up.
It’s like round-table for me these last few years. Six years ago I entered this “Christian Singles Scene” which was overflowing with normal looking/sounding single people. Coming from a very “coupled-up” world my mind was blown. Where did all of these single people come from?! Why are there so many of them? And how are they not married? I really was perplexed as my world had been one that didn’t have any single people in it! Party after party I attended. Everyone looks pretty nice after all. I danced the night away too many nights to count for a few years. At the very first party I attended I met someone, we dated for a year, and then I had to say goodbye to another man that I thought I would marry. I was 33 years old and found myself truly single (i.e. not dating anyone, no one interested in me, no one by my side) for the first time in my entire adult life. Since then, over the past 5 years I made bunches of single friends and have watched many of them couple-up, get engaged, get married, and have babies. It was like I was re-living my 20s again except that I was the person doing those things back then (minus the babies part). It’s easy to be part of the norm, therefore, easy to believe in God when things are going as planned. It’s really hard to be going against the grain and thus have faith in the stormy uncertainty.
When I see another couple engaged on Facebook, I am honestly filled with both joy and pain simultaneously. Joy that they found someone and are no longer alone. Pain that it still hasn’t happened for me and there hasn’t been a prospect in sight for years. It’s a very confusing, difficult emotion to process. One of the most frustrating Bible verses people love to throw at people in situations like mine is:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4
NEWSFLASH: This doesn’t help at all if you’ve been fully and completely delighting in the Lord for years with zero desires of your heart fulfilled. And on top of it for women, our biological clock is ticking. By throwing this verse at us it can actually turn people away from God. People can give you “proof” that He in fact does NOT give you the desires of your heart. I could definitely show you that “proof” in my life. I am 38 years old and I have desired marriage and kids since I was in my early 20s. I desired to do things the “regular” way like most people. I didn’t desire to walk this really hard foster care path. No one grows up wishing they could carry the heavy burden of a single mom to children with trauma.
So how do we deal with this? Here’s a few things I’ve learned to help me wade through the stormy uncertainty.
- His Time, Not My Time. The truth is Psalm 37:4 IS the truth (otherwise it would not be in the Bible!). The part that we like to infer when we read it is: He will give me the desires of my heart when I want them. But it doesn’t say that. God has this really cool, BIG plan that we don’t get to see. His timing is always perfect, and our timing is…..not so much. I have to TRUST that He loves me so much that He knows the very best timing for me. Just like a parent does for their child. Did your mom and dad give you every desire of your heart? Hopefully not! Why not? Because they knew what was best for you in the long run. Example: My 3-yr-old wants to jump off the top bunk bed. Am I going to let him do that? NO WAY! Does he scream like it’s the end of the world when I say no? You bet he does. His world falls apart once again. #threenager
- It Isn’t About Me. Someone might need to hear this – EVERYTHING that happens around you is NOT ABOUT YOU! Sometimes people forget, sometimes people are just busy, and usually people are just so wrapped up in their own lives that they are not thinking about how their words and actions affect you. So let’s not get so offended all of the time. The big moment came for me after reading The Four Agreements. This helped me realize I had made many agreements when I was a child that were unhealthy. The biggest one being taking everything personally. When I read about this #2 Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally, I honestly thought what I was reading was crap because how can you not take everything personally?! I had come out a lengthy season of wounding and couldn’t imagine not allowing those things to hurt me. But little by little I was able to unwrap this agreement and alter it. And now I would say that I rarely taking things personally and this is something I never thought I would achieve!
- Knowing My Identity. At the core of who you are is who God says you are. The big problem for most of us is we believe what WE say about us. For some, we say we are so great and have no issues! And for others, we say we are inadequate, not worthy, not lovable, etc. Delighting in the Lord means knowing and feeling to your inner most core how much He loves you, He adores you, and You are His beloved son or daughter. He’s like the BEST hug you’ve ever had! Someone who helped me immensely to overcome my false identify beliefs and begin to transform my heart and mind is Janice Seney. Check out her resources here. There is so much more on this topic that I plan to devote several posts to it! #staytuned
- A Jesus Calm in the Storm. I desire a “Jesus Calm.” This means when crazy unexpected things happen (like maybe a country-wide #stayhomeworksafe order, a failed marriage, an unexpected pregnancy, a dream job loss, a loved one loss, or a child arriving how you didn’t expect) I am still at peace in my soul. A peace like Jesus had in the little boat with his disciples when a fierce storm was raging, he was peacefully sleeping. But how do we get there? In my experience a lot of traumatic events in your history helps a little! 😉 They made me stronger, better, and firmed up my foundation with the Lord so that it’s pretty hard to break now. So while you wade through this current storm in your own life, just think how you’re in training now and how much stronger you’ll be for the next one! I trust He has that bigger plan going on, He’s working all of this for HIS GLORY, and I’m just along for the ride.
- Laying Down my Life for His. The greatest revelation I have had to date, is that my life isn’t mine. My kids are not mine. My things are not mine. If I believe what the Bible says then my Father in Heaven intricately designed me down to every hair on my head. All of the gifts and talents I have are because He gave them to me. And in a split second, He could erase it. I could continue to try and control every thing and every person in my life, but that’s exhausting! I know because I might be a #controlfreak! My dad is VERY controlling. And I’m very much like my dad. 😉 So letting go of things and just letting God handle them is freeing in a way, but also very scary. We are going to deep dive into this in another post as well because we can’t just sit back and do nothing. That is not what this means! But it does mean submitting to His authority, His will, acting in faith, and believing He really does have a great story to write about you. #staytuned
- Let the Desire Transform. A lot of us hold SO TIGHT to our own plan we don’t give the Holy Spirit any room to work. We are so stuck on forcing people and things to fit our expectations that we end up miserable when they don’t meet them. I lived like this all through my 20s and as a result ended up in a deeply depressed state for about four years after my whole world was thrown into a tailspin. It was throughout my healing journey with Jesus that he started showing me there are other ways to be a mom! The thought of letting the kids come before the man had never crossed my mind (because the world tells us there is a specific order and way of doing things!). But as I took the baby steps toward foster care, He kept validating it along the way. And so, all those mom skills He gave me and all the messy crooked pieces of my past ended up equipping me to take on a child (or children) who experienced a tremendous loss, who had their world thrown into a tailspin, and be able to provide unconditional love to them. And so you could also say that what Psalm 37:4 really means is: Delight in the Lord and he will change the desires of your heart!
Being single at my age has been so much tougher than I ever expected. I thought after my last breakup that I would just get scooped up by someone else since that was my track record! But then God jumped in and said “Nope, I have WAY BIGGER things in store for you! It’s not going to feel good all of the time but it’s going to blow your socks off!” But still, I look around and see guys much younger than me lacking stability or I see guys much older than me lacking in flexibility and attractiveness. And the few around my age I see a lot of awkwardness, lack of confidence, lack of stability still, and overall non-committal. Do you think I’m wrong? I’d love for you to prove it to me! 🙂
In the end, what are you going to choose? The ways of the world or Jesus? Would you prefer a worldly mindset or a Jesus mindset? I don’t know about you but I’d pick a Jesus mindset any day! More to come! Thanks for reading!