Have you ever walked into a Christian event and scanned the room for your future spouse? With marriage on the brain, countless times I went to an event hoping to meet my husband. How distracting. I came to these events to meet God and spend time worshiping him. But what did I care most about? Looking for my future spouse.
Friends, marriage is not the answer. Marriage will not fix our problems or fill the hole in our hearts. Only Jesus has the power to heal us and fill our hearts.
Today on the blog, Sam Eaton will answer a topic that frequently floods our minds. Have you longed to meet your spouse? I know I have, and I hope this post brings you as much hope as it brought my heart.
“This is the year you will finally get matched Sam. I can feel it!” She says as I repress my instinct to stab her in the eye with my pencil.
And another one:
“Sam could be married if he wanted to be, he just doesn’t want to.” Thank you… Wait what?
“Do you even try to date? When’s the last time you asked someone out?” I’m sorry, who are you again?
“You just have to stop looking. That’s how it always happens. Just stop looking.” Perfect. I’ll just wait here…
Okay, before we go any further: Yes, I know these people are trying to help. Yes, I know these people “just want me to be happy.” Yet, these comments always tap into a deeper pain in my heart – the pain of feeling unworthy. Those of us on the outside of the marital class get tired of constantly being bombarded with this lie that we have a problem that must be solved. This constant flow of advice feeds these unspoken fallacies that to be perpetually single is the equivalent of a disease that must be cured.
While this is true in our culture at large, it is even more prevalent in our churches and ministry models.
But don’t worry my single friends, turns out this feeling is not a new phenomena. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes:
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. -1 Corinthians 7:17 (MSG).
Holy sweet Moses. How can anyone say the bible doesn’t actually apply to our everyday lives?
Can we all just take a moment to read that again in bigger font:
God, not your marital status, defines your life.
It is crazy to me that we today are struggling with the same things people did 2,000(ish) years ago. Could Paul be right?
I too planned to get married right after college and immediately settle down with a Pottery Barn catalogue-worthy home, a rambunctious chocolate lab, a pristine white picket fence and 2.5 beautiful babies. I too wrestle with what it means when a loving and present God doesn’t fulfill the desires of my heart at the exact moment that I demand them.
If I want to be married and I am not, does that mean…
God doesn’t love me as much as my married friends?
God made a big mistake when He created me?
There is something profoundly wrong, unattractive and/or unmarriable about me?
God is punishing me?
God ignores my heartache?
Maybe God isn’t even real?
Can we please shout this together:
While God is in this pain with you, he doesn’t see your singleness like the world does. A season of singleness is not a sentence to that of a sad, lonely zombie desperately searching the frenzied city streets looking for any piece of living flesh that can fulfill his required marital destiny. A life lived that way is a life that doubts in God’s plan.
You see, over time I have come to view my singleness not as a source of isolation or self-loathing, but a demonstration of my faithfulness in listening to God’s will for my life.
His will today is quite clear: I’m not married therefore His will is that I am single. And what person in their right might would argue with the will of God?
So, in an effort to trust God’s plan for my life, what if I actually took some of that much loathed marital advice? What if I stopped looking for my future spouse?
*GASP* The horror! How could you even suggest such a thing.
I am not suggesting we all give up and reject anyone that comes across our path. Yet, what would change in our posture towards God if we intentionally chose to unclench our white knuckles on the reins and opened up to the possibility that He has something much greater in mind?
What would change in our attitude and spirit if we walked through each day trusting that this is exactly where God meant for us to be?
So, for the next 30 days, I challenge you to the following:
Don’t go crazy looking for your spouse.
Don’t check every strangers’ hand for a wedding ring.
Don’t comb the online dating sites for your 97% match.
Don’t obsess about your wedding day (I’m talking to you Pinterest people).
Do take a deep breath.
Do spend more time talking to God about the worth he sees in you.
Do open yourself up to new possibilities and new people.
Do see your singleness not as a state to be pitied, but as a sign of your faithfulness to an incredible God.
Do live a life you are fiercely proud of – a life of adventure, risk and possibility.
Well what are you waiting for? Let’s do this!
So as for me, the next time the marital advice comes flying across the table, I am going to choose to smile and appreciate the gesture. I am going to decide to fight off the voices that scream I am not enough and relax into the loving arms of my Father. I am going to remember who defines my life and who holds me.
You are not defined by your relationship status my friend.
You are incredible.
You are loved.
You are His.
Meet Sam: Sam Eaton writes at RecklesslyAlive.com and is a monthly contributor of JP Ministries. Sam’s heart for Jesus is contagious. He’s a music teacher by day, and a youth ministry and worship musician by night. You can friend him on twitter @aliverecklessly.