Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time becoming comfortable with who I really am. I’ve spent years building walls, and now that most of them have been torn down, I’ve had to become okay with being so exposed and finally look myself square in the eye. It’s a slow process, and it’s currently making my life a slow and undramatic – which actually, in the end, is a great thing. My tendencies were more drawn to the big, fast, and dramatic things, but I’ve come to terms with letting life be (for lack of a better word) … boring. Uneventful. Letting things build up day by day instead of all at once. Learning to accept the gradual instead of the instantaneous is a great lesson, as difficult as it is sometimes.
I have a low key job that allows me time to think a lot, and lately, I’ve been thinking about how weird being a girl is. Specifically, being a girl battling the idea of love. We are basically programmed to be in love with love. And, don’t get me wrong, love is pretty great. But do we even understand what it is? Is it mushy facebook posts? Is it having someone to tell you that you are beautiful all the time? Is it dating? Is it marriage? Is it anything close to the Disney tales we grew up hearing?
Some women hashtag #DearFutureHusband like it’s our job. Some women make boards on Pinterest with all their latest ideas for wedding plans (guilty as charged). Some women jump at the chance to date someone, and after the first date, some women already are designing a ring on tiffany.com. It can be so easy for guys to play women and use the idea of marriage to their advantage because a majority of us are like hungry leeches waiting to suck the life out of any man we can get our hands on. Some women don’t even consider the prospect most of the time. Doesn’t matter who they are.. hey, if you are willing, we are ready. Now, hand me that veil.
… What are we thinking?!
We have set marriage up on a pedestal that, frankly, is above God. Sure, we want a “godly marriage” and a “godly home,” but do we want it more than we want God? If you are single right now, you have God. And guess what… He is enough. But for some reason, we don’t believe it. We get depressed and angry at Him for not providing us someone to send mushy texts to all day long.
Someone very wise once told me this a long time ago, and it never really sunk in until lately. I’d gotten so swept away in the idea of love that I’d lost my footing. Here it is: Your life does not begin on your wedding day. Your life begins the day you realize the reason why you’re living it.
I’m not single, nor am I married, but I think the idea of marriage had become an idol to me. Now, bear with me here – I’m going to mention the J word a few times. I know my readers don’t all share the same perspective or religion as me, but I think everyone can gain something from the rest of this post, regardless of your belief in God. So, here goes nothing :)
As Christian, I think perhaps I’d justified it by thinking that “God wants to give us the desires of of our heart”, right? So, if I am putting all my eggs in my basket o’ marriage, that’s gotta be okay… right?
Well, as it turns out, God doesn’t actually promise you a husband or a wife. I went to a Christian private school K-12 and for two years of college, but I totally did not know this. Apparently, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7, that the unmarried have more time to care about the things of God, which makes sense because married men or women have a spouse to care for and maybe children too. He says, (and I’m paraphrasing here] “If you’re married, great! Don’t be wishing you were single. If you’re single, awesome! Don’t be wishing you are married!”
Paul also explains that singleness is not a curse to be “forever alone.” It is an incredible and exceptional privilege to be able to focus on ministering to others and seeking the kingdom. The gospel says you do not NEED anyone but God to complete you, and while marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and His bride, singleness also portrays the gospel powerfully in that the Christian’s ultimate identity is in Christ alone. Okay. Interesting. What else?
Marriage isn’t all fun and games and love and rainbows and butterflies and happily ever after. I’m sure it’s a great blessing from God when it’s done right, but marriage is hard work. Marriage is something you sacrifice for, grow into, and build together. If you get married for the sake of getting married or for trivial reasons, you are more likely to get divorced for those trivial reasons.
I don’t want to find someone to marry. I don’t want to find someone who is just willing to put up with me forever. I am holding out for someone with a purpose because I have a purpose too, and I know that when we are together, our purpose will be even greater. That is the plan of God – Not just to get married and have babies, but to further His kingdom with our individual purposes coming together to create an even greater mission. I think that’s beautiful and exactly what marriage is intended to be.
Marriages that exist for no other purpose other than people’s happiness fall apart and happily ever after can turn into a nightmare. People who say their marriage vows for themselves, because they think the other person will make them happy, is wrong. Two takers seeking their own gain will end up making each other miserable. It’s clearly intended to be so much more than that. In my experience, when you seek your own happiness or your own pleasure, instead of seeking the kingdom of God, these things are taken away from you instead of being added. God has promised to meet all your needs according to his plan, but only when you put Him first, not your desire to be married.
Maybe instead of sitting around asking God and ourselves “WHO” we will marry, we should be asking “WHY” we want to be married in the first place. Is it because we are not content with and in God alone? Is it because everyone else is doing it and we don’t want to feel left out? Is is because we want another person to boost our self esteem every day?
Or is it because we have found and come to know someone who has a purpose in life, and their purpose is something you would like to be a part of? Do you have purpose together as a couple? Do you have a mission for the kingdom with this person? Could you be stronger together for Jesus Christ’s sake than you are apart?
These are important questions, and ones we should all be asking. Personally, I need to be content where God has me and my boyfriend, and work on cultivating and creating my own individual purpose instead of waiting around for someone other human to fill that part of my life. If I had done everything ‘right’ and never made any of the mistakes I’ve made, I wouldn’t be where I am. And though I don’t work at a flashy job, and I’m not doing exactly what I want to be doing, and I’m across the country from most of my loved ones and everything I grew up with, I could not be more thankful for being exactly where I am, with what I know, and the man I love. I am so thankful for it. What are you doing now while you can?
Get busy seeking the kingdom. Put God first, and He will not put you last.
And hey – I’m not saying don’t look for a husband or wife. I’m not saying stop dating. I’m saying let this obsession with marriage go … and we just may see revival. I love my boyfriend more than anyone else in the world, but even someone as wonderful as he is can’t give me that peace beyond all understanding that God offers. I’ll be praying for the peace for both of us, and actively trying to keep my focus on Him so my life falls in line better than I could ever imagine. Let us live good lives for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the world. Let’s be different so that we actually have something to offer. People, God will take care of the rest. I promise, but more than that, HE promises … and that’s a promise that will never be broken.