“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:2-4
If I had to say “Congratulations! That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you!” one more time, I think I would have broken down in tears in spite of my best intentions. After a continual string of new relationships, new engagements, new marriages, new pregnancies and new babies within a 15 minute time frame, I was done. Uncle. I surrender. No more, please. By the last gushing ceremony, my inward reaction was “Really, Lord? Another one?” Hopefully, my friends (who I am truly excited for despite my reaction) didn’t notice. That was Sunday and the rest of this week hasn’t been much better.
Whenever I go through some sort of trial with many variables and unknowns, my aloneness becomes much more poignant. Even with wonderful friends who are willing to rearrange their busy schedules to help me, there is only so much they can do. They have their own lives and families to tend to and are not able to provide the mutual love and comfort that only a spouse can give. So with the medical tests and still not knowing what is wrong, this week has provided a rather large inlet for some major spiritual warfare. One of Satan’s more effective weapons with me is discouragement. And it doesn’t take much for him to gain a foothold. But I am aware of his tactics and combat those discouraging thoughts with Scripture, prayer and music.
I don’t know that I have the spiritual gift of singleness. I’ve known men and women who are quite content to spend their lives for the sake of the kingdom as a single person. That doesn’t mean that they never wanted marriage but that their desire for other things outweighed their desire for a family. They can see and keep in perspective how the benefits of singleness outweigh the benefits of marriage and family—the freedom and undistracted nature of being without the complications of a spouse and kids. I have a hard time keeping that perspective…
I’d like to say that being single gets easier as you get older and in some ways it does. The management of life and learning how to live on your own gets easier and more familiar. But there are other areas where living the single life does not get easier. I don’t mean that it gets worse; it just kind of changes. The pain gets more recognizable. I’ve learned how much I can take before I need to remove myself from a situation. I’ve learned to quickly turn to the Lord for grace, comfort and help. On Sunday, I was grateful for an additional opportunity to worship the Lord through music during the second service to help me set my mind back on eternal things. I wish that I could say that setting my mind on spiritual things is no problem at all. But the reality of it is that it is tough. But an offering should cost something.
My small offering of trust and waiting for the Lord’s timing and/or direction, with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, is all I can give at times. I know that my singleness is an opportunity to find my fulfillment in Christ and display His sufficiency. It is a beautiful picture of the completeness and abundance of life that can only be found in Him. I am happy. I have all I need. He provides well for me. I just get distracted from time to time. My wants become bigger than they should be and my desire for a family of my own tries to creep up the totem pole of importance in my heart. It tries to take over the control center of my life. But Christ is my Master, my Good Shepherd, my King, and my Husband. He bought me at great cost to Himself. I am His to do with as He pleases. His plans are perfect and good so I will continue to trust Him no matter the cost.
“I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35