There I was at 29, getting dangerously close to that next milestone birthday, feeling lost and wondering desperately what in the world was going on with my life.
Being 29 and single, especially in the South, will make you question everything. It will make you question if God is paying attention to you, like He seems to be your friends. It might make you question if you screwed up along the way and this prolonged season of singleness if just a form of punishment. It could even make you question if God loves you.
Thankfully, through this string of questioning and sessions of pouring out my heart, the Lord spoke such truth to me in those low moments that forever changed the way I view life and my circumstances. Not only did it change my outlook, but it also led to unleashing some blessings He had in store for me that eventually changed my circumstances.
How My Perspective Changed
What became almost way too simple to me was that singleness is not that important to God.
But eternity is.
My relationship status on earth is not His focus.
My relationship status (with the Lord) for eternity is His focus.
This world has made us believe that marriage is the goal. That the way to find fulfillment is to find your spouse. That to be completed is to be wife. But those are all lies from the enemy.
Eternity is what is on the Lord’s heart for you… not just your earthly life, which is what we tend to put the most emphasis on.
As we broaden our perspective to include eternity, it is much easier to see that the Lord has not been unfair, passed us over, or forgotten us entirely. He is just looking at a much bigger picture than we are. A.W. Tozer (one of my favorite authors!) describes it as a stream of time and asks you to picture God stepping outside of it and into full view of the entire stream of time and history. When I really began to understand (and believe) this it built a trust in Him and His plans over any of my own plans.
Coming to this realization brought the following truths to my attention :
- God hadn’t forgotten me. This was just the BEST plan for MY eternal life based on God’s view of the FULL picture.
- I wasn’t being punished for any past sins. This was just the BEST plan for MY eternal life based on God’s view of the FULL picture.
- My friends weren’t “doing life better” or “had everything figured out”. This was just the BEST plan for MY eternal life based on God’s view of the FULL picture.
Is that getting a little redundant? Good. I want that truth to really sink in!
You might be asking, “But doesn’t He care about my desires for marriage?” Yes! He cares about your heart and the things you most desire, but just like a parent, knows what’s best for their child, so the Lord knows what season of life will bring us closer to Him. Marriage can be a gift, but singleness can also be a gift. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, like we’ve been made to believe. Either season can be a gift, because it will be what you need in the moment… the season that will bring you closer to Him.
Another thing to think about might be to ask where those desires for marriage came from. Could it be that those desires have come from the lies of the world and the persistent ability of the those lies to make you feel like marriage is a fairy tale, the end game, the goal? Could it be the lies that have told you that you will never truly “be complete” or live “fully alive” until you have a romantic partner by your side? Your desire for marriage MAY be a deep desire that the Lord has put in your heart, but it could also just be the expectations that have been placed on you from the world. Pray about this and ask God to search your heart and show you the truth!
How My Circumstances Changed
Now that I knew all this, the only thing left to do was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had to surrender.
Sitting in my living room with my hands stretched out and open to Him, I truly surrendered my future to Him for the first time. I surrendered my hopes of marriage, my desires for family, my expectations for what was to come, … everything.
I no longer wanted to be the one in charge while there was a God who not only knew what was best, but loved me so much that He wanted to give me His best.
What I couldn’t have predicted was that everything that He had been wanting to bless me (that I unknowingly was standing in the way of) were finally able to come to be, just by releasing the reigns. It actually allowed God to amaze me in all the ways that He had planned all along. I had been holding the reigns – keeping such a tight grasp on what I thought was going to be the best for me – but it wasn’t till I released it that I was able to ACTUALLY receive the best for me. Just a few months after this and within 2 weeks of each other, I received a very clear Word from the Lord, about my calling in life, and I met the man that I would eventually marry.
Surrender unleashed His big plans for my life. Yours may look different. But you can rest assured that the things He has planned for you are more than you could dream up for yourself.
If marriage is your primary goal, then you are limiting God. You are limiting Him from pouring out blessings you will never know because your heart is set on something that the world is telling you should be a top priority.
What I have experienced is that the things He had planned all along, (like from the very beginning, when I was frustrated and questioning Him), they have FAR exceeded anything I ever could have planned for myself. And I know that the same will be true for you.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)