Embracing Your Journey
I never planned to be here, really. My inner strategist awoke around 18 and I had it all planned out. College. Marriage. Career. Kids. Grandchildren. White picket fence and all.
Which is why it surprises me to be here. Single and 46. The only other living thing in my house is a dog who chews through electrical wire (we are working on a dog whisperer). In my younger years, I would see older singles and tell God I didn't want to be them. God clearly has a sense of humor.
Yesterday, my pastor completed a sermon series on marriage and relationships with a sermon on singleness. Scripture is clear - Paul tells us that is better to be single. To focus on God. To live for Him. To remain single because the distractions of marriage can take our hearts and minds away from the Lord.
And yes, there are blessings in being able to be single-minded in my focus on my faith. To know I can pick up and go anywhere God calls because I don't have a husband and children. To know I can pick up and do crazy things like quit my job and only consult God about it.
And yet there are drawbacks. I threw out my back in the last couple of weeks. I can only sit for about an hour at a time. My lawn is growing and I'm wondering if I should mow the lawn at risk of further back damage or let it grow or pay someone to do it.
And while I get to focus on the Lord, I also get to worry about finances and the future and for an introvert going EVERYWHERE alone.
As I ponder the single life, I believe what Scripture says. It is better. I can serve God with more ease. And most days, while I hope that special someone is right around the corner, I find that I'm enjoying the unexpected journey of the single life.
On the other hand, I need to confess to you that there's a heart component to being single. When I'm real with my heart - I have work to do in reconciling Scripture's truth with the state of my heart. Because some mornings, I wake up and wonder why. Some mornings I don't like it one bit and I grieve the dreams and expectations that strategic girl had of life and a future.
Don't get me wrong. I've been blessed. Amazing family. Great friends. The best neighbor ever who plows my driveway (Especially when I look at him with my big sad eyes under a mountain of snow). But I think there's a realness to the single life. A realness that sometimes it's lonely. A realness that sometimes it's not fun to go everywhere alone. A realness that I'm in over my head in owning a home by myself.
My pastor did a good job of unpacking the Scripture yesterday. I know my faith is about more than the feelings my experiences evoke, it's about the truth of God's Word.. And yet, just like any person who is married, there are days I wake up when I love my life and there are days when I long for something different.
Yesterday in church we talked about sanctification - really the process of how we grow. For the married person, there's a sacredness to the marriage relationship. In learning to live side by side with someone else we are changed and challenged to become more like Christ.
The exciting part: there's a sacredness in the single life too. Some of the sacredness comes in relationships. It's that iron sharpens iron. My friends and family have helped me grow and become who I am today. But so much of the sacredness, for me at least, comes from navigating the single life in what seems like a married world.
I grow because I need to turn to God when I'm lonely. I grow because I need to turn to God when I'm grieving my dream of being married. I grow when I'm faced with fixing or doing something at my house that is way beyond my knowledge and skill. I grow when I get to humbly depend on others to help me when I can't do it alone.
But most importantly, I've learned that I need to embrace my journey. As I sat in church yesterday, I found myself wanting more. I wanted to understand why some come by marriage early and some are still waiting. I wanted to understand why some journeys into singleness are unexpected because of being widowed or divorce and others are a gradual getting used to like my story of never getting married. I wanted to understand a purpose in my singleness. I wanted to know how I could stop struggling with the idea of being single once and for all.
The reality for me is that there are days of contentment and days of longing. And to be honest, that's how it's supposed to be. I don't think God asked me to wait with the idea that I would get over it. I think the waiting is refining me to knit my heart to his and trust Him when I don't get it. I believe that what God asks of me is to be real with my heart before Him even when it's messy. I believe my single journey will be one of ups and downs and a steadiness of walking with God through it all.
I don't know if I'll ever know what's so special about my story that God has either said no or just wait to marriage. But here's what I do know....God is more concerned with our hearts than with our marital status or our career status or anything else you and I may be waiting on.
Which is why it's important for you and I to embrace our journeys regardless of where we are on the journey. You see, what I believe is our journeys are uniquely designed and different. God designed our journeys to draw us to His heart and make us become more like Christ. I think that marriage is hard and being single in its various stages is hard. And God chooses our journey not because its easy but because our unique journeys connect our hearts to His.
I believe our journeys are about surrender. They are about trusting His plan even when it doesn't make sense. Our journeys are about learning to enjoy our path one step at a time knowing that the only place we arrive at is heaven. Our journeys are about learning to love Him more each day.
One foot faith, no matter your marital status, is about a sacred journey of trusting Him. One foot faith surrenders to God's plan and path. One foot faith knows it's okay to struggle and to grieve as we bring our hearts to God. It finds joy in the unique journey God has for us as we walk by faith and not by sight.
Journeying with you!