after i realized my deep rooted fears, i confessed them to the lord and to a couple close friends. i had never openly and with such rawness confessed my fears. i actually never wanted to admit that i believed some of that. i was too busy trying to look like i have it together. but the lord forced me to do it and once i did and i began processing, i actually could truthfully admit that i would be okay being single for the rest of my life if that was the story the lord had written for me. and for the first time ever, i meant it and was actually at peace about it. i believe that i can be single and not just get by in life, but that i can have life and have it abundantly. abundant life is not dependent on marriage, contrary to what i have always thought. if i end up being single for the rest of my life, i do not have to live a weird cat lady life and be miserable. i still have the promise of abundant life in christ!
and since i have begun to let go of my marriage idol, i have really begun to experience this abundant life. it is like a weight has been lifted. i am not constantly analyzing things or having to worry about putting myself out there. i don't have to worry about saying the exact right thing to get his attention. i trust that if the lord has someone for me, he has written how it will come about and it does not depend on me doing everything right. this has been a huge burden lifted!
so if i am content with being single, am i called to be single for the rest of my life? maybe. but as i said in my first post on this matter, i have not discerned a direct call to be single from god for the rest of my life. he has not revealed that to me. i still think guys are cute and would like to be married to one. but through this journey, i have felt him calling me to be content with where he has me and quit lusting for something else. more than being content with being single, i have felt him calling me to be content with him. anything that i have to say "i love you lord, but i really need _______ to be happy and fulfilled," is an idol. be it marriage, money, kids, sex, a job, or whatever. i have heard many women say that even once you are married, the lack of contentment does not go away, it just changes shape. it takes on the form of little humans or big houses. so more than worrying about the semantics of being called to be single, i long to be content with my savior and my god. marriage, kids, a house, a job, etc none of them are the end all in life - MY LORD IS!
now, just because i have learned this, does not mean that being content in christ is not a fight. for me it is a daily fight. there are good days and bad days. i need people around me to point me to christ and to the truth. i cannot fight this battle alone. i need people to remind me that christ and his glory are my end all in life and nothing else. in fact, i am going to need you to remind me when i am 38 and single or 48 and single that i have abundant life in christ and that i lack no good thing! it is a fight to not try and find my contentment in anything here on earth. but the effort is worth the end, because everything else has left me wanting!
"oh, taste and see that the lord is good! blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! oh fear the lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! the young lions suffer want and hunger; but those tho seek the lord lack no good thing." psalm 34:8-10
here are some of the practical things i do and boundaries i put in place to fight this discontentment:
- i make an effort to focus on the lord, his character, his goodness, his power, his control, etc. i need to constantly be reminded of who he is. then enemy likes to pull the eve trick on me and get me doubt or question. i have discovered that the key to abstaining from sin is not discipline or will power (though i am good at those). the key is to keep learning about my glorious god. the more i know about him, the more i learn that he truly is more satisfying than anything else.
- i spend a lot of time in the word, reading it and trying to memorize it. (well now that i admitted that, you can hold me accountable). everything here is fleeting and will pass away, but god's word will stand forever (1 peter). the word is how god reveals himself to me so if i am trying to get to know him more, then i need to be in it. and it is very helpful to know it when the enemy comes lurking around.
- in addition to focusing on the lord, it has been helpful for me to abstain from some things. i am so careful as to what TV and movies i watch. most dramas and chick flicks make me long for husband. most of them also paint a VERY unrealistic of what a relationship should be like. so i stick to comedies and action movies.
- i also have to be careful to not let my thoughts wander. i am not sure if i am the only one, but i can look at a guy and in 5 seconds i have pictured our life together, wedding, house, kids and all. then i can dwell in that dream world forever and no one knows about. i like to stay in that dream world, because it is what i want and it is seemingly better than the reality i live in. but that is sin. that dream world is basically telling god, "what you have for me here is not good enough. i would rather be here." so i work hard to not let my mind wander. if i catch it, i try to start praying or dwelling on scripture. this is the hardest one to change because no one else knows when i am doing it.
- i also try to limit my time wandering around on facebook, checking up on any potential guys and their pictures and their life. this is again a complete waste of time and only add fuel to my desire to be married.
- i also try and limit my conversations about guys. not because i want to be secretive, but because i do not need anyone's help to think about a guy. and when everyone starts talking about it or how cute he is, how much he loves jesus, etc. i am done. i now justify my dream world by saying my friends think he is great too.
- i do my best to get out of the waiting mindset. it is SO easy for me to just get caught up in waiting until i get married. my life does not begin with marriage. the lord has things for me to do now. i need to look around and be vested in where he has me and quit waiting for this possible future
so ya, there is my heart on singleness. please feel free to add comments about how you fight discontentment in whatever you struggle with. also, feel free to ask me how i am doing or if you catch me distracted, please point me to christ! i am going to need it. i would be a fool to think that this battle is over.