One of the hardest things about being a Christian single woman is the waiting.
We wait to meet someone. We wait to be asked out on a date. We wait for our boyfriends to pop the question. Of course, what we’re really waiting for is God to bring His choice for our husband into our life. As we wait, we sometimes wish we could remind Him that although a day is like a thousand years to Him, we don’t measure time that way!
There’s no doubt about it---waiting is hard. Sometimes it’s so hard that single women begin to feel the temptation to STOP waiting. After all, there are other ways to find a man than waiting on God. Frequently, they are much quicker.
On a lonely summer night, we may begin to feel the temptation to:
Log onto findahusbandquick.com (Okay, you know what I mean---I’m just not giving them free advertising)
Maybe we think about switching churches and trying one that has a “single’s” group (The Christian version of the single’s bar---although why we choose to go through that experience sober is beyond me. And I’m not condoning alcohol---It’s just not my idea of a “fun” night.)
Some women decide to go on a man hunt. They see their target and do everything imaginable to convince him that “you belong with me”.
No matter what “method” you’re tempted to use, the heart of the issue is the same. You’re tired of waiting and you feel like it’s time to give God a little help. After all, you’re not getting any younger!
Of course, trying to “help” God along isn’t a new idea. People have been trying it out for centuries---usually with the same result: REGRET.
Take, for instance, Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Don’t write her story off just because she was married. Yes, she had a husband, but what her heart craved was a baby. She wanted to be a mommy just as much as you want to be a wife. After years and years of waiting, wishing, hoping, and praying, Sarah was tired of waiting.
So she decided to take matters into her own hands. No matter what it took, she and Abraham were going to be parents. That’s when she began formulating a plan.
She decided to do what was customary at the time. (By the way, whenever you start using the excuse “It’s what everybody else is doing”---it’s probably time to rethink your plan. Christians are called to be separate, not do what everybody else is doing.) At that time, if a couple couldn’t have a baby, they would use one of their slaves as a “surrogate”. When the baby was born, he would be the legal heir of the couple.
Well, tired of waiting, Sarah decided to do what anyone else in her situation would do, and she gave her servant, Hagar, to her husband Abraham. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out exactly as Sarah originally envisioned. (They rarely do.) After the baby was born, Hagar, (the baby’s mom) began to resent Sarah. Sarah couldn’t stand Hagar or the baby!
Eventually, things got so bad that Sarah went to Abraham and said, “Fix this mess YOU got us into” (Funny how when things go wrong, we tend to play the victim---as if we had nothing to do with creating the situation.) However, as with most consequences resulting from jumping out of God’s will, there was no easy fix. Sarah had to live with the miserable circumstances she created for the next 13 years.
“But that won’t happen to me! As soon as I’m married, it will be happily ever after.”
Oh, how I wish that were true. Unfortunately, I could line up dozens of women who got tired of waiting for God’s perfect will, took matters into their own hands, and jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
For example, I knew a Christian Mom whose husband left her for someone else. She got tired of waiting for God to bring someone into her life, and decided to go “husband” shopping at the Christian singles group down the street. Soon she met a desperate soul who promised her the world. Ignoring many warning signals, she quickly jumped into marriage. A year later, she was divorced with a broken heart.
I know another Christian woman who appeared to have a very promising future. When we first met, she told me she was waiting for God to show her the next direction for her life. Then she got tired of waiting and went “man shopping”. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very choosy. A year later, she was a single Mom attached to a man with “abusive tendencies”.
The stories could go on and on. Christian women meet someone online, hook-up with an old friend on Facebook, or settle for someone they know doesn’t love God or live according to His principles, then jump into relationships only to suffer the emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences. When you ask them why they made the choices they did, the answer is usually, “I was tired of waiting.”
I’m not telling you these stories to be hard on these women. Quite the contrary. As a single woman, I know how difficult it can be to keep waiting on God when everything inside of you is saying, “Don’t you think it’s time to take matters into your own hands?”
Christian single women are no different than other women. We have the same needs and desires as married women. All women were created with an inner longing for relationships, closeness, and intimacy. We all have a desire for a family, instincts to nurture and care for children, and the craving for stability that marriage and family bring. It’s perfectly normal to want these things.
In the same way, it was perfectly normal for Sarah to want a baby. In His timing and in His way, God had a plan to give Sarah the desire of her heart---a child. For most women, God has a plan to give you the husband and family He has planned for you. The difficult thing is waiting for His timing to fulfill His plan. Still, that’s the ONLY path that will lead to true fulfillment, happiness, and love. Most plans that aren’t His plan will lead to heartache, loneliness, and pain. Which path will you choose? Will you run after what you want or will you wait?
Through the computer screen I can hear you asking now, “Okay, I hear you. I don’t want my way, I want God’s way. But isn’t there anything I can do instead of just sitting around waiting?”
Who said anything about sitting around waiting? In fact, the worst thing a Christian single woman can do is focus all of her attention on waiting for God to bring someone into her life. Girl, you’ve got a life to lead RIGHT NOW---get out there and live it. When it’s time for God to bring the right man into your life, he’ll find you while you’re living your life, not while you’re sitting around waiting.
Here’s some things to focus on:
Focus on your relationship with Jesus.
(Don’t roll your eyes as if this isn’t really doing something.) Having a healthy, growing relationship with Jesus takes work. Stop worrying about finding a relationship and put your efforts into strengthening the relationship you have with Jesus. Spend time in prayer, read and study your Bible, and get to know the One Who loves you more than any human being every could---your Creator.
Focus on getting to know yourself.
As women, we spend a lot of time trying to be the type of woman a man will like. However, your season of singleness, is a great to get to know yourself and find out if YOU like YOU.
Who are you? What do you like about yourself? What don’t you like about yourself? What would you change if you could? More importantly, why aren’t you changing what you don’t like?
One of the biggest factors in failed relationships is one or both partners coming into a relationship looking for the other person to complete them or fill their empty emotional and psychological cup. This leads to a situation where one person is always giving and the other person is always taking, yet remaining unsatisfied. The pressure and stress in this type of relationship eventually destroys it.
Why? Because no one else can fill your emotional and psychological cup---only you can do this through your relationship with Jesus. A healthy relationship is involves two people sharing their lives with each other, not one person draining the other person. You will not be able to have a healthy relationship until you start dealing with the issues from your past, the difficulties in your life, and the emptiness in your own heart.
Many women try to avoid dealing with these issues by attempting to fill their emptiness with relationships. When a man finds them attractive, their cup feels temporarily filled. For awhile, they feel happy---until the moment wears off and they feel empty again. Rather than facing the emptiness inside of themselves, they chase the high of being “filled” in the moment. They do whatever they need to do to have attention from men, whether it be dressing provocatively, flirting excessively, or participating in sexual activity without being married. For a moment, the emptiness is filled. Unfortunately, the moment is fleeting.
But my dear sisters, life doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to spend your life looking for someone else to fill the needs inside of your heart. You have a Savior Who wants to save you, deliver, minister to you, and heal all that is broken inside of you. He wants to do such a tremendous work in your life that you never feel empty again. He wants to make YOU okay with YOU, no matter if you’re surrounded by people who love you or alone on a desert island. He wants to completely revolutionize your heart and your mind so you see yourself in a completely different light. He will help you truly love yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks. He can help you be full no matter if you have a man in your life or not.
He wants you to be Whole, Healthy, and Holy. How do you get there? The first step will be prayer and completely surrendering your life to Jesus. Right now, bow your head and ask Him to make you the woman He created you to be and to help you love yourself the way that He loves you.
The next step is spending personal private time with Jesus and devotional time in the Bible allowing the Holy Spirit to show you the hurts that need healed in your life and the behavioral patterns that He wants to change. Talk to Him about your broken heart, your past relationships---family relationships and dating relationships, and the things you don’t like about yourself.
Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a mature Christian who will guide and mentor you through this process. There’s nothing like having a woman who’s been through this process herself, making herself available to listen and give you advice. She’s been where you’ve been and she can help you get where you’re going!
If you find that your problems are deeper than a Christian mentor can guide you through, don’t be afraid to find a Spirit-filled Christian counselor. They can be an invaluable resource in helping you overcome the deep pain in your life, and pointing you in the right direction toward a healthier, happier tomorrow.
Because all of us are different and all of our situations are different, each of our paths to self-acceptance will be different. The important thing is not following my 3-step plan, but following the Holy Spirit’s plan to heal your heart and get you to the place where you genuinely love yourself and more importantly, like love who God created you to be.
Once you’re okay with you, you can start sharing yourself with the world!
You see, God created you with a purpose. He designed your personality, your abilities, your interests, and your capacity to love for the purpose of sharing it with others. Until those “others” become a husband and family, there is a whole world full of people that could benefit from all that you have to give. You weren’t meant to sit around and stew about being single---you were meant to love and be loved as you fulfill your God-given calling within God’s kingdom.
Look around you. Everywhere there are people looking for attention. Some of you are single Moms, and you don’t need to look any further than your own children and their friends to see empty vessels that are waiting to be filled with all you have to give.
Looking outside of your home, there are extended family members who need someone to listen, someone to love, and simply someone to care.
Reaching out even further, there are so many lonely people filling the pews of your local church: elderly widows, lonely children, other single women, married women who need a friend outside of their family.
Move out of the church and there are countless opportunities to touch lives in outreach programs. You are needed---there are plenty of people waiting to receive the love you have to give. The more you give, the more love you’ll receive. As you pour out your life for others, the Holy Spirit will continue to refill your cup so that you have more to give until you find that your life is truly full---to overflowing.
There may be some who are saying, “’Dess, that’s a nice idea---but it’s not really what I want. I want to be married and have a family.”
That’s what separates the Christian single woman from the average single woman. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
When you became a Christian, you gave up ownership of your life. It now belongs to Jesus. The Christian single woman understands this and knows that her life is not her own. When God is ready for you to be a married woman, He will bring the right man into your life. Until then, your life is committed to loving God and being “married” to Him. He chooses the path you take in life, where that path leads, and when that path changes. Because you have chosen to follow Him, you wait for Him to tell you where to go, what to do, and how to do it.
This brings us back to that word again---waiting. But here’s some encouraging news, Isaiah 40:-28-31 says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of Heaven and earth, has a very special plan and purpose for your life. It may not be exactly what you had planned. It may not even be exactly what you want. However, I can assure you that He knows exactly what you need. If you will “wait” on Him, and allow Him to accomplish His purpose in you while you are “waiting” for what you want, I can assure you that His purposes and His plans are greater than anything that you have ever imagined.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11