“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.“
Psalm 73: 25-26
This Sunday I have the privilege of leading the above song during worship for my church. I love using my gifts to build up the body and encourage them to worship the Lord with me. So I’ve been preparing and “practicing” the song… which means I’ve been listening to it over and over again. So as you can imagine it’s been stuck in my head and thankfully, I’m not tired of it yet. Actually, I’ve found that it has come to my rescue on several occasions this week.
As I’m sure most of you are aware, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I’ve had fun doing reconnaissance work to sneakily find out what a friend’s significant other would enjoy for the holiday. And this past week, I even found myself encouraging a random student in his plans to surprise and propose to his girl next weekend (we were chatting as he was waiting for an appointment with one of my profs). So the holiday can be fun, or at least interesting, if I can keep my thoughts on others and helping them out; but unfortunately, that’s not very easy. I seem to always get in my way.
So the words to the above song have been helpful in keeping my perspective under control: “There is no one else for me, none but Jesus. Crucified to set me free; now I live to bring Him praise…” This is either true for me or it’s not. I believe it, I want to live it, but sometimes I don’t feel it. So it helps to be reminded of what He has done for me and that He is all I need. No one else can love me like He does.
Most singles I know don’t particularly enjoy Valentine’s Day so for my unmarried friends I thought I would do an Ode to Singleness (except that I’m not very good at poetry… so instead I’m just going to list the top five things I’m grateful for in this season of life…which really isn’t an Ode at all…but there you have it). So I am grateful that:
- I have the freedom that comes with singleness. I can plan for things and not have to consult someone else’s schedule. I don’t have to worry about someone waiting for me to hurry up and making them late because I have a terrible habit (that I’m trying to break) of being late.
- Extended singleness has given me the ability to empathize, encourage, advise and comfort other singles and to show that being an older single is not as bad as it seems when you are in your lower twenties. I hope that what others see in me is a life full of joy and love that, though there is still longing, is lacking nothing.
- I can sympathize with anyone who is longing for and/or waiting on something. Whether it’s a baby, a new job, a change of scenery, or a bigger house for their growing family, I can sympathize with unmet desires. I know what it’s like to long for something for a long time without any idea of how, when or if it will come about. But I also know from experience and the Bible that God is faithful, generous, and intentional. There is purpose in all He does.
- This season of extended singleness has also given me a sense of gratitude that I don’t think I would have had if I had married when I was younger. If I had been married and had children earlier in life, I think I would have taken for granted what a precious gift family is—whether that family comes in the form of husband and children or in the form of my biological family or in the form of my brothers and sisters in Christ and their children in my church family—I am grateful that I am not truly alone and am loved by many.
- I also have more time to be with Jesus. I often spend an entire Saturday morning and sometimes into the afternoon with my Bible, commentaries, prayer cards, etc. It is a very blessed time that I look forward to all week long. My Saturday mornings have become a very sacred time that only the most important things can interrupt. I doubt I could have this kind of uninterrupted time if I had the responsibilities of a family.
So whatever your marital status may be, I hope that you can see the blessings that the Lover of your soul is pouring out upon you. May this Valentines Day remind you that you are completely and utterly loved by the One who was crucified to set you free.
“O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.” Psalm 59:17