Happy Tuesday, friends!!
Last week I talked about my desire to really dig deep into the word, to soak up wisdom from married couples, to get to know my fiancé more, to draw near to the Lord in these last few weeks of our engagement.
Truth is, I have some very real fears about marriage, about loss, about pain, and have been struggling to fight against the lies the enemy wants me to believe. Sometimes I hear him try to whisper that love doesn't last, that people always leave, that marriage just doesn't work in today's society. But as I press into the Lord, he calms my heart and feeds me with His truth instead of fear.
The next few weeks, I want to share with you some wisdom from a few of my friends who are married. Three of them are "real life" friends who I love and value and respect with my whole hearts. But one of them is a new friend, a friend I can thank blogging for. Her posts are encouraging, her heart for Jesus shines through her posts, and I know that if I ever was struggling or needed advice for my marriage, she would be a quick e-mail away. And for that, I am thankful.
But today, first, I want to take a look at something else. I want you to hear from another friend of mine via the blogging world, who has a lot to say on the subject of singleness. I have to be honest-being "alone" was a very real struggle for me. It was a fear that was rooted deep in my heart and I think what Annie has to say is important and real and beautiful. Even though I am engaged, about to be married, I want you to know that being single and unmarried was a fear, an insecurity of mine that I struggled to overcome. I want you to know, single gals, that I am not going to forget you once I am a married woman. I am not going to forget the hurt, the loneliness, and oh the way the Lord uses that to work in our hearts and prune us into the women he desires for us to become.
That was the theme for this past Tuesday's for Fat Mum Slim's photo a day meme on Instagram (search #fmsphotoaday).
I was by myself in the house, waking up with the morning, reading 1 Corinthians. I took a sip of my coffee and and read on.
Alone is how the world views single people.
Alone is a disease we often think we have. We are alone, which to us means bereft, lacking, unwanted.
Alone is itself unwanted. No one wants to be alone.
I'm tired of the definition of "single" being "alone." You with me? I'm there. I'm done.
I think the problem with looking at singleness the way we, especially as Christians, so often do, is we don't look at it critically. We don't weigh what it means to be single without including the stigma we assign it. And that's wrong, because to continue including that stigma in our evaluation of what it means to be single, we write Jesus and His sovereign plan straight out of the picture.
To be discontent in singleness is to tell the Lord we have no respect for what He's working in our lives. It is downright disobedience and ungratefulness. We forget: He is the LORD, the I Am. He is above everything we see as binding, and He sees just how it serves to grow us, for our good, but more crucially, for His glory.
I won't say, at least not today, that singleness is a gift, that it's a beautiful season, and all the other cliches we use to convince others that we're content when really our souls rot in yearning to be on the other side of a wedding. Because sometimes, it sucks.
But it doesn't have to.
It can be, instead, the marvelous unfolding of a soul lain open for the glory of a mighty kingdom. It can be, instead, the patient sacrifice of a soul lain down for the use of a King. It can be, instead, the precise catalyst of a soul lain flat by desperation to see His face.
It can be what changes everything, if we are willing to let it be nothing. If we are willing to let it go.
But it isn't easy. Chasing Jesus never is.
And that, the chasing, is exactly where it starts. We hear that so often, chase Jesus. And I'm not a whole lot sure what exactly it's supposed to mean, because it's a little difficult to chase an invisible being whose flesh and blood has been resurrected and raised to heaven. But I think it starts with a whole lot of dialogue. Or even just your own monologue.
When singleness is an overwhelming tidal wave that threatens to hold my lungs captive to uselessness, I tell Him. When singleness is the joy that rings church bells in praise and thankfulness, I tell Him. When I'm pondering it, confused, curious, anguished, I tell Him. He knows what it is to feel forsaken. And yet He turns our perspective to His because He is the only One who knows what it is to be forsaken.
Chasing Jesus isn't just keeping in communication with Him, but acting on that communication as well. Being single means He has gifted us with time, and one of His great joys, I think, is to see us gift that back to Him. Because we have time that those in relationships don't have, we're able to spend a great deal of it serving the body. I think singles are more critical in this aspect than others, not because they're inherently better, but because they have the time required to serve the body well. And people who are deeply committed to serving the family bound to us by communion are a crucial aspect of the church, whether they are married or not.
When He speaks service into me, I want to respond by pouring it gladly out. I don't want to be held in false bondage by cultural chains. He set us free from those at Calvary. Why are we still wearing them?
We forget single is not our identity. We forget alone is not our identity.
We forget Christ is.
We forget He defeated death and slavery on a mountain in an empire enslaved to itself, and we cry out like the Israelites wandering in the desert for relief, when the relief has come and His name is Jesus. And the veil torn in the temple is the veil torn from in front of me; I turn timid eyes up, and I see His face so much more clearly.
Annie Wiltse is a twenty-two-year-old who studied English Language and Literature and usually refuses to capitalize. She believes strongly in Jesus, dessert, and Michigan football. She tweets, reads, and travels. She also spends copious hours on the internet exploring the intersection of the ethereal with the mundane on her blog, What She Saw.