From a precious Christian sister who is currently single and in her 30s:
It’s Thursday night. You’ve had a productive day at work; you’ve met deadlines with time to spare, put out fires left and right, found a mistake that everyone has been searching for, for months. You’ve hit the gym and killed your 4th workout in week, even breaking a personal record on your run time. You’ve eaten clean and had more than your recommended intake of water of each day. You’ve served at church and have truly felt like God is using you.
You walk in the door at 7:30pm. You grab something quick for dinner that you prepped on Sunday. Your chin quivers as you fight back tears. You quickly grab your mail and sort thru it. You write out your mortgage check and place it in the mailbox to be picked up the next day. You take a shower because you cannot stand the thought of going to bed dirty. You run thru tomorrow’s schedule. You dry your hair and ready yourself for bed. You crawl into bed and you can no longer hold back the tears. You cry hot tears, the kind of tears that sting your eyes. You feel like a failure. Sure you have been “successful” all day/week/month/year long. But, you are alone.
All you ever wanted was to be a wife and a mother. You are neither, so you must be a failure. There must be something wrong with you. As tears soak your pillow, you reluctantly lift your head. You whisper a prayer.
Does the scene above sound familiar? Can you relate the loneliness of going home alone night after night? My friend, I can relate. The scene has been one that has played so many times in the movie of my life that it has felt like I am trapped in my own version of Groundhog Day.
- I followed all the rules.
- I worked hard.
- I took care of my body.
- I was active and involved in social activities, not allowing myself to become a recluse.
- I was good person.
- It was my time to be blessed.
- I had a right to become a wife and a mother.
- It was my destiny.
I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.
He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.
I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.
At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.
I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.
He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.
- First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
- Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.
Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.
I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.
My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.
What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?
This calling to give up the dream of marriage and children (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls married women to do, as well.
- It is painful for any believer to release his/her deepest dreams and hopes to Christ.
Yes, those who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.
God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!
God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE is the Greatest Treasure!
Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Many married women feel very alone and unloved. Single and married women (and men) hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life. We must all ask ourselves these questions:
Is Jesus enough for me? Will I be content in Him alone even if my worst fears materialized?
I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.
When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly taking up our crosses and following Christ, willing to lose our lives and all that matters most to us – for His sake. Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion.
We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized.
We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.
Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet fiends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!
The Blessing of Celibacy – by a single brother in Christ