Maybe Singleness Isn’t about Waiting for Marriage

So many young adults today endure singleness as a "season of waiting" for the good stuff: marriage. But what if marriage isn't really better than being single? Read more here!

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “marriage vs. singleness” discussions among Christian young adults.

The debate looks something like this: many young adults are still single, and some are married. The married people are on the “WOO marriage is so great and if you’re not married you’re missing out big time” side, while all the singles are either trying to deny their emotions (“I’m single and I will enjoy it/pretend I do”) or just open about their desperate desire to get married.

Disclaimer:

Maybe I have no right to even have an opinion on the matter, since I’m a married, twenty-one year old Christian woman who hasn’t experienced a real “season of singleness.”

I might not understand how hard it is to wait for God to bring someone into your life, or wonder if He ever will.

Maybe I can’t understand how hard it is to trust God, when being a wife and mother is the greatest desire of your heart.

What I have to say actually has nothing to do about the singleness versus marriage discussion. It’s more to do with how God’s will affects the quality of either season of life—whether that’s singleness or marriage.

Maybe it’s not about whether or not you’re married.

Why do so many singles feel that they are missing out if they’re not married? I think it’s a matter of understanding why marriage can be a blessing…and how it can also be quite the opposite.

My marriage is a wonderful blessing to me. My husband is a pretty amazing man. I have more respect and admiration for him than anyone else. But here’s the thing: my marriage isn’t a blessing because my husband and I have forever committed our lives to each other, or even because he’s such a great guy. It’s a blessing because it’s where God wants me.

There are also many unhappy marriages in the world, folks. I know couples who would probably say their marriage is not a blessing to them. Marriage itself isn’t the blessing here.

Likewise, singleness is a blessing for some and not for others. If you are single and you believe that’s where God has placed you for now (which has nothing to do with how you feel about the situation and all about God’s will for your life), you will be—and are—blessed.

We don’t miss out on the blessing because we’re either married or not. We miss out on the blessing when we refuse to stay where God has placed us.

When we look at marriage and singleness and say one is better than the other, we stand dangerously close to the edge. We tempt ourselves because when we believe one is better than the other, we often pursue it relentlessly, regardless of where God is guiding us. It’s so easy to just charge ahead with what we want and ignore the Lord’s leading.

The blessing happens when we choose to be where God wants us. Every step of my relationship with my husband was guided by God. I didn’t push for it. But what if I had believed that no matter what, being single would make me more “blessed”? If I hadn’t married, I wouldn’t be in God’s will and would be worse off.

For those who are married, marriage is a blessing not because it’s a marriage, but because God put those two people there. And for others, singleness is not a blessing because they’re single, but because they are walking in God’s path for them.

Next time you’re wondering which is better—marriage or singleness?—remember that it’s not the circumstance, but the reason you’re there.

It’s not about where you are, but whether you are willing to surrender here & now.

Continue Reading

The “Perfect Guy” List: Why You Should Tear It Up

We've all created the "Perfect Guy" list at some point. But does it really do us any good? Click here to find out why I got rid of my list and how I allowed God to work in my life!

A couple weeks ago, I was talking with two of my friends about “the list”. You know, the list almost every teenage/young adult girl makes about things her future husband needs to be—tall, a solid Christian, loves kids, nice teeth, humorous, will take her out for ice cream.

My one unmarried friend asked me and my other somewhat-recently-married friend about our lists—what they were like, if we married someone with those qualities, and if we thought they were a good idea.

My answer was simple. “If I can be honest here, I think you should take your list and literally tear it up.”

Did I have a list? Yep. I made it when I was fifteen, and guess what? It was completely useless in my relationship and eventual marriage.

Are lists all bad? No, but they can have several not-so-great effects on future relationships, our future husbands, and on our own hearts.

Reason to ditch the list no. 1: You set unrealistic expectations for your future spouse.

Say you have the idea of the “perfect spouse” in your head, on your list, wherever. You have all these amazing qualities you would love to have in a guy, whether that’s “loves to cook”, “spiritually on fire”, or “has blue eyes”. You’ve now said to your future boyfriend or spouse, “This is what I expect of you, and if you can’t keep up, I see you as a failure.” Of course, you’d never actually say that, but you’re saying that he’s not good enough as he is; that you have a high standard he needs to reach in order to have your respect.

What if a guy had a list of criteria you had to meet in order for you to be marriage material? What if a guy turned you down based on the fact that you didn’t cook as good as his mom did? We’d probably call him a jerk and drop him like a hot potato. So why is it as girls we think it’s okay to do this to guys?

Even if he never finds out what you put on your list, or better yet, that you even had one, you’ve still set expectations in your own mind for what you think he should be, rather than respecting and loving him for the amazing, God-honouring guy he already is.

Reason no. 2: You limit yourself.

If you have a list, you run a very large risk of turning down a great guy because he doesn’t meet 3/17 items on your list. If you’re basing your decision on very physical attributes, you’re focusing on the wrong things. Just because a guy says that he’s not into kids now doesn’t mean that he’ll never want to start a family. And just because a guy doesn’t cook his family supper now doesn’t mean that he won’t learn and cook for you on occasion.

People grow and change. You shouldn’t drop a guy because of something he hasn’t accomplished yet or because of a skill he hasn’t become great at.

Reason no. 3: Your list actually represents your own insecurities.

If you’ve made a list, take a look at it. How many of those things are characteristics you wish you had, but don’t? I found that my list was actually a projection of what I saw lacking in my life. I had all these things I needed to fix in my own life and wanted them to be perfect in the guy I would marry.

While there isn’t anything wrong with wanting a guy to have strong character, we can come to a point where God is saying, “Hey, you need to deal with this,” and we instead turn it around and say “I need to find someone who has this figured out for the both of us.”

Go over your list and see if any of the things you’ve written down are things God is calling you to work out in your own life.

Reason no. 4: You limit God.

A little while after I wrote my first list, “What I Want in a Husband”, I wrote another list: “What God Wants for Me in a Husband.” They were a bit different. For one, God couldn’t care less if my husband had blonde hair, but He wanted to make sure he was forgiving. Another thing is that God didn’t care whether or not he was spiritually mature now, but He did want him to be growing. God’s and my opinions on my life differ from time to time…and I’ve learned that His are always right.

And to be truthful, there were so many things that God gave me in my husband that I didn’t even have a clue I needed. And, if you would have asked me, I probably would have said that I didn’t want some of those qualities—and yet, God knew I needed them, even if I didn’t want them. I am not a physically affectionate person by nature; in fact, no one in my family is. William’s love language is physical touch. Oh, boy. Turns out I’ve come to love that about him. Now, we’ll be walking to the car and it’s like, “Um, excuse me; why are you not holding my hand?” (Except I say it nicer.)

One last thing.

When I gave up my list, I was really giving my will over to God. He knows me better than I know myself; after all, He’s God. I got to a point where I didn’t want to pick my own husband—I’d probably really mess it up. When I stepped back and let God take the reins, He was able to work in my life and find a guy who’s not perfect, but who pushes me toward God and loving others.

When you trust God, He won’t fail you. He’s as interested in your love life as He is in your every-day life, work life, school life, home life. Will you trust Him in this area too?

Continue Reading

Is Fear Making Your Decisions for You?

We all have to make big decisions in our lives. But how are we making those decisions? Are they made in faith or fear? How do we know which decision is the right one? Read more to find out!

Have you ever been faced with a decision and wondered which path is the right one to take?

I’m sure you have. We all have. Life is based on decisions. Lots of these decisions we make automatically, barely thinking about them. This morning, you made the decision to get out of bed and start your day. Other times, we have to make really big, “life-altering” decisions—where to go to school, what job to accept, who to marry. Other decisions are critical, but we don’t put enough emphasis on them. Who will we spend our time serving? How will we treat those around us?

Recently, I was talking to a close friend of mine. She is currently working her first “real job” after graduating college, and is faced with the decision of whether or not she should continue her education.

As we talked, I shared that recently, I’ve caught myself making a lot of decisions out of fear. I choose one option just because I’m fearful of the alternative. When we’re faced with a challenge, it’s often easier to take the easy route (which may not have as many benefits) instead of the more challenging path (although it could reap a richer harvest).

How often do we pray about a big (or small) decision we have to make, only to pick the easier or less-scary one? I think if we really consider the last few significant choices we made, we will find that one—or several—of those choices was made out of fear.

But God doesn’t want us to live like that. Over and over in Scripture, we are told to “not fear” and “be not afraid”. God is not a God of fear. He is a God of love and courage and blessing. He is a brave God. And we can have that bravery.

Next time you’re wondering which path God wants you to take, consider whether or not fear is a factor. God will never use fear to guide you. He guides by love. Satan will try to steer you away from God’s will with fear. Perhaps the route you’re fearing is actually the route God wants you to take.

God will not bring you to something if it is not His will. Even though you may be fearful, He is with you. Always.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

(2 Tim. 1:7)

Continue Reading

Figuring Out God’s Will for Your Life

It can be so hard to figure out what God is telling you what to do. How do you know what His will for your life is? It may not be as hard as you think. Click here to read more!

Have you ever read or watched Anne of Green Gables? It’s a wonderful novel and movie series about spirited orphan Anne Shirley fostered by a brother-sister duo who grows up to fulfill her dream of being a teacher. She has an incredible imagination as a child and knows that she wants to one day be a school teacher, just like her role model Mrs. Stacey. Of course, she goes on to charm and inspire everyone she comes in contact with and eventually marries the man she has always truly loved. It’s an all-Canadian story about cherishing the people in your life and following your dreams.

I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables (I think I’m due for another movie marathon now.) Somehow, I always thought my life would be like that, too. That when it came to going to college, I would simply follow my dreams. I would know what career I was called to. I also thought that I would be successful at everything I did and that it would all simply come together. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience an epiphany or revelation calling me to anything specific.

If you’re thinking about your future now, it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrases, “Follow your dream” or “Do what you’re passionate about.” But what if you just don’t know the answer to the pressing question, “What will you do for the rest of your life?”

I’m now in my third year of college, and I’ve been blessed enough to enjoy what I’m doing. But when I started college, I really wasn’t sure. So what do you do if you’re in those final years of high school or even a high school graduate and have no idea what you want to do with your life?

Consider God’s will, not just your own.

This one might sound a bit cliché, but when you switch your focus from “What is the best thing I could do for me?” to a perspective of, “What is the best thing I could do for God?” things change a bit. I had the desire to serve God in whatever job I did. I didn’t want to get a job just for the money but I wanted a job that would glorify God. If the goal is to glorify the Lord, it takes some of the pressure off. Now I’m doing what He wants me to do instead of trying to figure out the best career for myself.

Look at is as an opportunity to explore.

When I went to college, I really didn’t know if accounting was what I wanted to do. I did it mostly out of practicality, since I knew that business knowledge would be helpful in nearly any field. I also wasn’t going to be spending a lot of money since I was staying at home, so it wasn’t a huge financial loss if I decided I didn’t like it. Also, it was a two-year program—not a complete waste of time if it didn’t turn out to be everything I dreamed of. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it one hundred percent right the first time.

Take your God-given desires seriously.

My true desire as a young woman is to be at home raising my own kids and loving and inspiring other kids. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have much to say about being a stay-at-home mom—especially when that person is just leaving high school. Not a lot of seventeen-year-olds go around saying they don’t want a career. Sixty years ago, career women weren’t the norm. Now, women at home aren’t the norm. While my desire to be a stay-at-home wife and mom someday was real and honorable, it didn’t authorize a refusal of college education. One thing I knew I loved doing was teaching piano. I had been doing it for two years and loved it. I knew I wanted to continue teaching, but again, it wasn’t a full-time job at that point. By going to school for a job that could be part-time or full-time so that I could also teach piano and stay at home, I felt like I had made a good use of my tuition fund.

But what if you still don’t know? If you can’t figure out God’s calling in your life, do you just wait for Him to give you a revelation?

As Christians, we tend to think like this:

I need to do God’s will for my life. What is His will? I can’t figure it out. If I make the wrong decision, that means that I’m out of His will and it will take me who-knows-how-long to get back on track. I won’t be able to serve God properly and I will have messed up my whole life. I’d better just wait on God.

These conclusions are not true. We will not mess up God’s plan for our lives if we make one or two or seventy decisions. God has given us free will and the ability to make our own decisions. If God is telling you to do something, you’ll know. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us. If you truly just don’t know what God is telling you to do, chances are He’s leaving it up to you. God is not there waiting for us to make one wrong move and mess up His plan. He will fulfill His plan no matter what you do. When your desire is to truly serve Him, He will honour that.

Take a deep breath and relax. God may be calling you to something specific, or He may be calling you to just make a decision. Instead of sitting around waiting for God to tell you what to do next, do something now. Serve Him and He will show you the next step.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:6)

Continue Reading

Allowing God to Use Us in Our Fear

As Christians, God asks us to step out of our comfort zones for Him. But how do we work through our fear and get to where He wants us? Click here to read about our fear and how God can work through us!

Remember when you were just a kid and you were suddenly inspired to ride your bike without training wheels? It was like you had a burst of courage, ready to step into a new frontier of big-kid-ness.

 

My brother, two years younger than me, had this experience at the age of four. I did not. But if there’s anything about being a big sister, it’s the unwritten rule that you must always be more proficient than your brothers at everything to keep them in their place.

 

Apparently, six-year-olds don’t have a whole lot of pride, and my young reputation was not enough to convince myself to try to ride a bike without training wheels. No way.

 

No, to this day I am not riding a bike with training wheels. In fact, I went on to learn how to drive a golf cart at the age of eleven, a four-wheeler at the age of sixteen (well, sorta…but that’s another story), a car at the age of seventeen and a manual transmission about six months ago. (Next up: boat.)

 

My parents eventually got me on just two wheels by openly shaming me into it (I guess I did have some pride). If my four-year-old brother could ride a bike, I—a big girl of six—surely could.

 

The reason I didn’t want to learn how to ride without training wheels wasn’t because I liked training wheels. They were actually kinda annoying—wobbly and noisy and for babies. But I was too afraid to try riding without training wheels. My dad assured me he would hold the back of the bicycle seat so I wouldn’t fall. “You won’t let go, right Daddy?”

 

“Nope. I’ll hang on the whole way down.”

 

Did I mention we lived in the country and had a 50-mile-long gravel driveway?

 

Well, my dad held onto the back of my bike and away we went. After what felt like two seconds, I looked back and he was standing at the top of the driveway. I was halfway down the driveway. Panic ensued. The result: scraped knees and tears.

 

This story reminds me of how often we resist the Holy Spirit when He tells us to do something. He wants us to move into unfamiliar territory—the kind that will urge us into complete reliance on Him. So often we feel that firm nudge but respond with, “Is that actually You, Lord? ‘Cause that seems like a strange thing to do. It will hurt if I fall. I’d rather feel stable where I am.”

 

The problem with being in a stable area of life is that we start thinking we got this. When you feel in control, you don’t cry out for help.

 

There will be times that God asks us to do things we just flat-out don’t want to do. There have been times that God has asked me to do something and my answer has been no. “No, God, I can’t. I want to make You happy, but I just can’t.”

 

And yet, through tears and heartache, I hear the ever-gentle, “No, you can’t. But I can. I can because I AM.”

 

Folks, He really is enough. And when you really, truly, in your heart of hearts know that He is going to be holding your bicycle seat all the way, you can enjoy the ride. You can focus on how you ride instead of how you’re staying on. And even when it feels like He’s still standing at the top of the driveway, He is really right beside you. Guess what? You might still crash.

 

But if it means being in God’s will and enjoying the life He has set before me, I would rather crash on two wheels than be safe on four.

 

Let me encourage you to say yes to God in something He is asking you to do, big or small. Fully rely on Him. He will show His power to you if you let Him.

Continue Reading