sunday december 7, 2008
Twenty-Two. And Single
I'm 22 and I have never once been on date, which I am quite fine with. I also know that there are a number of other girls my age in the same position. However, I desperately want to get married and have a family of my own at some point, and now I'd like it to be, sooner rather than later. Now, I've grown up in the church my entire life and became a Christian at 12, and whenever I've voiced my question before, I've received answers like "well, patience is a virtue" and "that's OK. God's just preparing a really godly man for you." At the time, those answers were fine, but now that I'm watching friends left and right get engaged, those answers just aren't cutting it anymore.
Thanks for writing to me! I want to recommend a great book to you. Jackie Kendall wrote Lady in Waiting, and I highly recommend it! She addresses your concerns about singleness in light of God’s Word – beautifully. Check it out, okay? The bookstore at The Chapel at CrossPoint has it!
So you’re 22 and single, huh? What a great time in your life! I’m just wondering if you realize that. I know I didn’t. At twenty-two, I was doin’ the same thing you are doin’…wondering if I would ever get married. WHAT A WASTE OF PRECIOUS TIME! Of course, I only realize that now. So, I hope I can encourage you with some 38 year-old, God lovin’ insight.
You have been blessed – with an understanding of God, His gift of salvation – a pulse, my friend! You are blessed with life and you are free to go where God leads. You are gifted with amazing abilities by your Creator, God! You have amazing power packing purpose right here, right now in 2008. Do you TRUST that your loving God might have those purposes well-in-hand? Do you TRUST He might – as your Creator and Savior – have an idea about what He is going to do with you as His child? Or is God in some kind of pinch, saying, “Ohhhhh no! She’s still not married?!?!?! Now what am I going to do? This ruins everything!” Not quite! He’s God! Genesis 1, Colossians 1. He loves you! Psalm 103! Nothing is too difficult for Him. Isaiah 40:28-31. Nothing. Jeremiah 32:27. Your life is precious to Him. Psalm 139. Your life is purposed by Him and for Him. Isaiah 41:9-10. You are significant. Psalm 107!
You have learned about your faith in God most of your life. Now – at 22, ARE YOU – listen to what I’m asking you…okay? ARE YOU -going to EMPLOY the truth of your faith in God? Will you now – on your own – when it’s hard – when it’s hurting – when it takes every bit of blind faith - employ TRUTH – GOD’S TRUTH - and make it your own to live out? You know what I mean by EMPLOY? I mean put that head knowledge to work in your life.
You know that verse you quoted, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)? That verse does not mean if you live for God He will then give you what you desire. That thought doesn’t jive with the Bible in its entirety. The Word of God does not contradict itself. Not everything people prayed for was given to them.Take Jesus for one example; I mean no one delighted more in God than Jesus. Jesus asked God to take the “cup” from him, that cup of going to the cross in Mark 14:36. God obviously said no to that. God had the perfect plan well in hand. And you know what? Jesus is pleased with the outcome. It glorifies God.
However, some people in the Bible prayed and did receive what they asked for. I’m sure you’ve heard those stories, too. Battles were won, enemies vanquished, illnesses healed. I love the story of Hannah in I Samuel 1 and 2. She was unable to have children, and she asked – begged - God for a child. God blessed her with a son, Samuel, after much prayer – much waiting. She delighted in God. You can read her praise to Him in I Samuel 2:1-10.
The outcome is always the same story after story throughout Scripture. Whether God says yes, or no – now or later, whatever His answer - the outcome glorifies God.
Have you read Psalm 37:3? How about the verse that comes just before? Check it out: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Trust comes before delight. TRUST God. Consider each word carefully. Do you know what it means to trust? Do you know what it means to trust your God?
How about the verses after? Psalm 37:5-6 Commit your way to the Lord; trust him and he will do this; He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” COMMIT your way to Him. And TRUST Him. WOW! Huge action based on one thing: faith. You believe God – TRUST GOD. COMMIT your way to God. It’s not that He will give us everything we ask for. It’s that we trust Him, commit to Him, and our heart is satisfied with His provision.
Did you notice there is no time frame in any of those verses? The “when” of those actions are on-going – no disconnect - in the perspective of the author, God; eternal.
There is nothing wrong with asking God to bless you with a husband and children. God knows your needs better than you do, and knows them before you even utter them (Matt 6:8). The Bible tells us He will supply all of our NEEDS (Isa. 58:11). If God thought you needed a husband right now, what do you think He would do? Is anything too hard for God? TRUST God’s purposes for you today, and let Him take care of tomorrow(Matt. 6:34). Trust God with your heart, your life, His perfect outcome. Do you really hear what I am saying to you? Trust God. I am saying you need to employ an act – a HUGE act of faith. Trust is an action. You’ve got to act on your faith.
My daughter was walking around our bedroom last night in a pair of black high-heel shoes and her pink pajamas. She said, “Mommy when I have the same size feet as you, I’m going to wear these shoes every day. And actually Mommy, I can walk in them right now. See?” And she proceeded to clomp, clomp, clomp across the carpet. She’s eight, and those shoes in no way fit my baby girl. I thought how funny, that she thinks that high heeled shoes are going to be such a great experience. She has no idea the sweetness that she has right now in her little Sketchers. Do you think I would send her to school in those shoes if she asked me if she could wear them? I know her needs. I know my child. I know those shoes! I know her size, and I know what places she has to go and things she has to do, and I know those shoes do not fit the bill. I provide the shoes she needs right here, right now at the precious age of 8. One day, I’ll buy her a pair of high heeled shoes, I’m sure. Not today. Not even tomorrow. Not when she’s in middle school – (because you know she’ll ask). How desperately I want her to trust me, trust my love, my provision; I want her to trust me with what I know is best, and what she does not.
God has far greater perspective on your life than you or I can imagine. He sees its eternal value, and He has not denied you one thing that you need to be equipped to step into tomorrow with Him as your LORD. Please read 2 Peter 1:3-11, okay? You are fully blessed, fully loaded with every blessing in Christ. Invest in what you have been so richly given. Spend time on those gifts and with the One who gave them.
ENJOY living for God at twenty-two and single. Figure out what that REALLY looks and feels like in YOUR skin, in YOUR faith walkin’ shoes at this sweet age. You believe, right? With faith- TRUST!
posted by laura lewis
thursday december 4, 2008
to break or not to break.
Question: My boyfriend and I are thinking about taking a break to focus more on God. How should we do this? Can we still encourage each other with a text once in awhile? Can we still chat when we see each other at a party or Vintage? We did not put a time frame on this break but we are both hoping that God will bring us back; both of us understand He might not if that’s not our best plan. Should we put a time frame on this? We are both confused and just want to do what God wants.
Reply: Hey, thanks for your question. I realize this is very serious to you. This is someone you care deeply about. I do not take your question lightly. However, I do want to be honest with you. You’ve given me an amazing opportunity – to speak into your life! Wow! For giving me this opportunity – I am most grateful. That being said, may I answer your question with a question? Why do you need a break from this relationship to focus on God? Can you think that through before you read on? Got your answer? I think the answer to that question should be in the forefront of your mind as you consider the rest of this note.
I have to tell you, I never really understood the whole “taking a break” status within the dating context. Your confusion about how to take a break is understandable. No matter what the reason, I think it causes confusion for everyone – and heartache. Either the relationship is right, and you’re in it –pursuing the possibility of marriage, or it’s wrong, and you’re not in it, because marriage is not on the horizon for you as a couple. Right honors God; wrong does not honor God. Anything else is head games, guessing games, heart games, and a waste of time. The heart is not something to mess with. You know? We need wisdom with any relationship we enter – boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not just a text – a cup of coffee – a smile – a glance - a delete – or a friend request - there’s a heart attached to your words and actions, a heart that is most precious to our God.
If you are in a dating relationship – a potential marriage relationship - that does not encourage you in your faith in God, in your relationship with others, that does not help you as you follow after Christ to turn from idols, to serve and embrace the living God (I Thessalonians 1:9), I think you need to end the relationship, kindly and respectfully.
If you are in a relationship that is honoring to God in every way, - heart, soul, mind, strength, totally God honoring, and that relationship is an encouragement to those around you as you seek to love and serve others as a couple– and as you seek to love and serve others when you are apart from one another as well – Wow! You have found a beautiful friendship. Why would you want to take a break from that? Absolutely we need to take a break from the busyness of life – to spend time ALONE with God to worship Him, to be refreshed by Him, encouraged, taught, trained by His Word. He then prepares us, equips us, betters us for relationships with others – all for His purposes. How much we need God for wisdom in every area of our life. We find God’s wisdom in His Word. Seek Him first – and He will teach you a correct perspective for everything – everyone else.
Here’s some cool Scripture for you to study. Always – always – always – when someone speaks into your life – press his/her words up against God’s. And if the messages match – you know you have truth - powerful truth to consider. If the messages don’t match up – take God’s Word, and hold to what He has said. Please -take time with God. Pray. Thank Him for this opportunity to know Him and love Him more. Ask Him to bless you with understanding. Then go to His Word. Ask these two questions as you study – carefully –word for word -each verse.
Another wise thing to do is to ask a couple of your best girlfriends who love God – who love you – to tell you what they see in your relationship with this young man, and what they see in your walk with Christ with respect to your dating relationship. Be ready and willing to listen.
Bottom line - my advice: Pray. Spend time with God. Let Him, guide you in your thinking to figure out if you need to end this relationship or pursue it for marriage. End or pursue; it’s one or the other. Because to me, - and this is my personal take on “taking a break” – the whole “take a break” idea is one of those ideas/terms that someone came up with that others bought into that has caused a lot of havoc in the dating and marriage scene. I mean seriously, who came up with that idea anyway? When you buy into a way of thinking - that has a weak foundation – you build your life’s decisions and outcomes on sand. I mean, seriously think about it. What is stable about the “take a break” concept? Where in life can you take a break from people and not have a negative impact? Can you take a break from your friends? From your employer? Can you take a break from your future husband? How about one day when you have kids – can you take a break from them? I mean… relationships are precious. We can be so selfish in how we control them for our purposes. Relationships are not a game. I am sure you realize that with me. We get no time outs – do overs – no replays – no deletes. We affect others by what we do, by what we say. That’s HUGE! Relationships – PEOPLE - are a gift from God to be treated with care. LOVE one another. That’s what God tells us. Love this person enough to respect the impact you have on his heart. And ending a relationship with your boyfriend can have a very positive impact, sweet one. Breaking up is hard, but staying together when it isn’t right for either of you – is so much harder. If this relationship is right, every blessing to you. Pursue it then with wisdom – God’s wisdom.
Dig deep into His Word - every day. I can't say that enough. He will guide you. He is so faithful. “Put your hand in the hand of God. It’s better than a light – and safer than a known way.” My grandfather used to tell me that. Now I know why.
posted by laura lewis