[1 Corinthians 7:34]
An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs:
Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.
Singleness is such a precious season. And not just singleness, but intentional singleness. Singleness that isn’t focused on when the season will end and playing all the “what if” games mentally with the people around you. But singleness that is focused on all that can be done and accomplished within and through you during this time.
Back in January I pledged myself to six months of intentional singleness. And what I meant by that was – I didn’t want my heart, and especially my mind, to be divided between man and the Lord.
For the seven years leading up to this past January, I’d been in emotional relationships. [Six of those years I wasn’t actually dating anyone.] Relationships that were up, down, went all around, and eventually led to us going our separate ways. But not after months and months of holding onto something, that was never going to be mine.
It was distracting. I once noticed as I re-read my journals from college, they were filled with prayers about boys. Rarely were they filled with prayers about other things.
I was so focused on that one relationship. It was all I cared about. It was all I prayed about. It was all I thought about. Everything went through the tunnel vision of figuring out how to end up with this guy, or that guy, and ultimately find my husband.
Very rarely was I ever focused on making sure I was checking in with the Lord, listening to the Lord, and growing myself to look more like Him. And I don’t mean looking like Him so I could finally find my husband. But looking like Him so I could look like a beautiful daughter of the King.
So in January I chose intentional singleness. I wanted these six months to be about Him and me. An intentional walk just the two of us to figure some things out together. To create a space for Him to work in me and completely transform me.
I honestly I have no idea what I was hoping would happen. I just knew I didn’t want to find the next guy to jump to in my mind, regardless of if anything was happening in real life [you know that game we all play in our head with the “What if’s” and how fun yet detrimental it can be]. And I knew I wanted to be able to keep my eyes on Christ and not turn to the left or right at any potential distraction.
It has been transformational. I wish I could publicly declare all the specific things the Lord has done. And maybe one day I will, but for now I’ll just say, wow.
Since my ears and heart are only trained on Him, I’ve begun to recognize His voice again. Something I’d begun to fear over the past two years.
He’s wooed me into safe places in the middle of what should’ve been a devastating tornado.
I’ve started to pray for my enemies because I genuinely want to love them with God’s joyful and peaceful love. Because I care more about treating them like Jesus than I do protecting myself from their harm.
My community has strengthened and I’ve made some fun and random memories because I just want to live life to the fullest and enjoy every random moment. [Surprising my bestie for her bachelorette party in Boston. Standing by her side as she got married. Learning to ski. Seeing King’s Kaleidoscope. Speaking at a woman’s event about being “Wholehearted.” Playing pool [and winning once!]. Bowling. Going on a 9 mile hike. Going to a fancy Tea at my church. Going to Hillsong Worship. Learning how to curl like in the Olympics and seriously considering joining a league. Flying to Florida to visit my grandparents because I wanted to be tan. Playing the cello on Easter Sunday.] All of these things were done because I wanted to do them, and not because I was trying to impress or woo anyone with how cool I could make myself seem.
I’ve learned that my husband is going to be one radical, spirit-led, insanely in love with Jesus hunk of a man. A man who can lay down what he thinks his life should look like, for a life that Jesus has perfectly designed for His glory. As my heart has learned more about who my God is and what plans He might have for me, my heart will no longer let me settle for anything less than the radical things He’s placed on my heart to do for the Kingdom. And in such a loving way, the Lord has gently whispered “He’s not the one” anytime I’ve caught myself trying to play the “What if” game over the past few months. Because oh man, the Lord is growing and preparing my husband’s heart for some crazy, but crazy beautiful paths in the Lord’s kingdom.
I’ve begun to love myself more because I’ve begun to understand how deep God’s love is for me. I’ve learned more about what love really means and looks like with Him, with others, and with myself.
These lessons are so good. They are so sweet. They have been transformational. And I don’t know if they would’ve come if I had allowed myself to be distracted by the idea of the next guy.
Singleness is such a precious season. It is a precious and intentional time to be devoted to the Lord and only the Lord, before our interests become divided between spouse and God. It is also a time to do and accomplish all you want to before you have to consider what someone else does or does not want to do.
Think about it this way. If the Lord told you that exactly four years from now, you’d be married to the person of your dreams, how would you live out your last few years in singleness to the fullest extent for His Kingdom? How would you want to grow and be transformed? And if you’re not doing it now, why not?