Tuesday, July 29, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: 'What I Learned Waiting for Mr. Right'
A few people have been writing me and sharing how weary they are with the whole waiting process. The Amplified Version of I Timothy 4:14-16 tells us that our testimonies (and personalities) save us and those who hear us.
That said, here's a (S-C-A-P) testimony that will hopefully provide some peace of mind in the midst of your "waiting storm":
Many of us have experienced, or are currently on, the emotional roller-coaster that is waiting for Mr. Right. Whether you find him at age 20, 25, or 30 [Shellie here: Wow. She stopped the age reference *very young*---or 40, 50 or 60, etc.] you will likely experience a time of singleness and that time will likely feel like forever. If you’re like me, that time is filled with longing, emotional lows and highs, insecurity, misguided bids for attention (from males), lots of awkward and, of course, mistakes.
It took me 5 years from the time I was of age to figure out how to handle this whole single gal thing and I want to share what I learned with all you single ladies out there while all the emotions and experiences are still fresh in my mind.
Is it wrong to wait for or “expect” a husband? God created us from a man with the purpose of helping a man. We, as women, are a natural complement to a man and the desire to help and complete a man is naturally built into us. It is not wrong to desire a husband but there is a right way to deal with that desire. This brings us to the first lesson I had to learn as a single: Faith.
God has promised us so many wonderful things. We are promised a place in his heavenly kingdom and Romans says that all things will work together for the good of those called to His purpose, just to name a few. One thing that God does not promise is that you’ll find a husband by 23, or even a husband at all.
To expect that or to make your faith depend on it is idolatry and is an attempt to play the god of your own life. I fell into this form of sin while in college. I grew tired of waiting for a man to come along on God’s timing, so I briefly turned my back on Him and went with a guy who fell short of the standard I had previously set for myself based on scripture.
As it turned out playing god over my own love life turned out pretty poorly and I lost 2 years of spiritual growth that was fraught with pain, disappointment and unnecessary emotional baggage. I learned my lesson the hard way. God’s way is always the best way.
I know being single can be hard and can feel lonely but trusting in God’s plan for your life will have huge benefits in the long run and will save you from needless heartbreak along the way. If you find yourself temped to go with a guy you know God wouldn’t approve of, stop and remember is isn’t worth it. Many times that temptation pulls us most when we are lonely and vulnerable.
The second lesson I had to learn is that God is enough and I must rely on him. We were created to have a relationship with God. We need and desire the unconditional love of our Savior and Creator. God and God only can fulfill that need for love that every human is born with. Even as Christians we can stray from Him and we can feel unfulfilled. If we are not turning to God to fill that hole in our hearts, we will desperately look elsewhere for that love.
Too often we think a man will do the trick. This leads to despair in singleness and desperation to find a man. Even if there is a man, to place the entire burden of your need for God’s love on him isn’t fair to you or him. He isn’t God and even a good guy will surely disappoint you. Figuring out how to be satisfied solely in God is a wonderful incredibly freeing thing.
Read His word and meditate on His love and promises and PRAY! When you’re feeling lonely, talk to Him and ask Him to help you get through all the crazy complicated emotions that come with being a single gal. He wants to be there for you, He wants you to turn to him and He will come through for you every time. This is especially important to learn before marriage.
Someday even a wonderful husband will let you down and that shouldn’t shatter your entire world. If your identity and self-worth is primarily in God, you will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of life and marriage. I regret that I didn’t learn this third lesson until 4 years into my singleness; don’t just wait. I always sensed that I wasn’t destined to be a bachelorette forever. The passions and desires that God gave me seemed to line up nicely with being a wife and mother.
It is an honorable and biblical calling for a woman and statistically it’s in the cards for the vast majority of us. I don’t think it’s wrong to make plans for your life that will line up well with being a wife and a mother even if you are currently single. Unfortunately, I took what God had planned for me and made it an excuse to be unproductive as a single. “Why try hard at work and school when I’m just going to give it all up to be a stay-at-home mom?” “When I’m married and have kids that will be my ministry.” It can feel like your whole life is on hold when you’re single.
The change that marriage and family brings to a woman’s life is logistically more drastic than it is for a man. Our entire career and way of life can change in a few short years after meeting Mr. Right. It might seem a little futile to invest in work, ministry or the people around you when you might have to drop it all at a moment’s notice. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When I finally accepted that God was in control of my love life and I just wasn’t going to know when Mr. Right was going to come along, I stopped looking so intently at the future and I started looking around in the present. There is so much good work to do as a single. From self-improvement and character building to evangelism and ministry there are endless opportunities for single women to do God’s work.
When I finally threw myself into ministry it was a huge perspective change for me. There is so much need in the Church and in society and there I was wasting all my talents in worrying about the future. During just a year of ministry I saw several women come to know the Lord and I was lucky enough to play a role in their discovery of Christ. If I had been sitting around waiting for some guy they might not have found the truth! It wasn’t just ministry either, I was able to pour myself more into my family and work as well.
Don’t let your single years go to waste. My hope is that you’ll be able to look back on them and be thankful for the things you were able to accomplish during that time. All you need to do is try your best to do what is right by God and he’ll take care of the rest, including your future husband. Ironically enough I met my Mr. Right through one of the girls that I saw come to know Christ during my time in college ministry.
There I was, finally focused on the right things and God decided it was time for me. This is the last lesson I learned; it will happen when it happens, in God’s perfect timing. I’ve heard it said “it will happen when you least expect it,” or “you should get involved in ministry so you can find a husband.” The first one is just wrong and while the ministry is a great place to find husbands, we must be careful about our motivations.
I don’t believe it’s wrong to be on the lookout for worthy God fearing guys or to be interested in good ones that come along. We certainly don’t want to ignore Mr. Right when God brings him into our life. However, if you’ve been waiting and you’re impatient and you feel like you’re ready remember this; God knows you better than you know yourself, He knows your future husband and He knows exactly when, where, and how He will bring you two together.
Looking back on how I met my Mr. Right we can both see how God brought us together at just the right time when we were both ready. Just about every other Christian couple I admire has told me they saw God’s hand in how they were brought together as well. Remember that you can trust God completely with your future and He’s got your back in every way. Even in your loneliness you are not alone and if you simply follow God he will have amazing things in store for you.
The path may be difficult but it is always rewarding, even if we don’t see those rewards on earth. I’m praying for all you single gals. Stay strong in the Father.
Amen. So be it.