Tuesday, March 27, 2012

singleness: a perspective.

at a weekend retreat with 40-something teenage girls, you hear a lot about their aspirations, their dreams, their desires.

pretty well every girl has the exact same goal: to get married and have babies.

we are created to desire this, it is apart of our biological makeup, but hearing so much about it on the weekend made me think about singleness.

[oh, the so-often-dreaded singleness!]

what a special season this is, to be single and not tied down by the distractions and expectations that a romantic relationship and caring for and about someone else brings.

don't get me wrong: i am 100% the girl who has had her wedding planned since i first saw my parents' wedding photos, and i still find lists from when i was 12 and named all of my 8 children. i am the girl who, when i picture myself in my mind, is a 30-something with a wonderful husband and being trailed by my [beautiful & well-dressed, might i add] offspring. i am the girl who, when leaving wal-mart or the grocery store, looks back to see if i've forgotten anyone, when i came in alone. i am 100% the girl who desires to be married and a mom. [to the left you can see a picture of me at age 3, on the phone while also nursing my dolly!] but that doesn't define my dreams and aspirations and that doesn't dictate my next steps in my present reality. i very much look forward to those days but since that is not something i am facing in this moment, i am going to make the most of where i am right now. i have come to realize in the past few months just what a blessing it is to be single. what a blessing it is to be single right now.

in 1 corinthians 7, paul writes,
"don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. where you are right now is God's place for you. live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life."[v. 7, the message]

not only does this verse strike me about the topic of marriage and singleness but in every area of life. right here, right now, is where i need to be. whether that is at a mundane job, babysitting your siblings for free, sitting in a boring classroom or awkwardly alone at lunchtime; or perhaps something "more exciting" like fundraising for a mission trip, a weekend retreat with your youth group, or planning a wedding. the fact is, that your ministry is wherever you are and each step of your life is shaping you more and more into who God wants you to be.

and you need to be shaped. think back on the last five years of your life. heck, consider who you were two years ago! you have changed significantly - as young people, that change is totally necessary and inevitable and constant ["older" people would probably say the same thing too!]. every step and lesson along the way is going to help make you into a better wife and mother. some of these steps will include painful relationships, conflict, heartache, joy, betrayal, excitement, pursuit, discipline, and wisdom. but these things are important.

maybe you're at a place where you see yourself in these words. if someone asked you right now what you want to be when you grow up, would the honest answer be "a wife and a mom"? and there's nothing wrong with that! but i challenge you, in this time when you're neither a wife nor a mom, to make the most of it.

"i want you to live as free of complications as possible. when you're unmarried, you're free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. the time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. i'm trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. all I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions."
- 1 corinthians 7:32-35 [the message]

this is a special time to build your relationship with God, and with others. it is a time to figure out who you are in God's eyes, and what He desires for you. there's the saying, "you reap what you sow", but i am a firm believer in "you catch high quality fish with high quality bait".

if you're looking for a certain type of man- "ohhh he has to love Jesus, and babies, and me. and he has to like coffee, and strawberry-picking, and kitty-cats, pretty waterfalls, and breakfasts in bed, and long walks on the beach..." - those last things are a joke, but if you want a man who "loves Jesus", you have to love Him yourself.

the best advice you can receive on this subject is to be everything you are looking for in someone else. if him having faith is important to you, you should have faith. if him going to church is important to you, you should go to church. if him being healthy and active is important you, then you should also be healthy and active. if him being the leader in your relationship is important, than you have to let him lead. you reap what you sow, and you reel in what you cast out.

i am so thankful for a season of life where i can focus on my Heavenly relationship and not be distracted by earthly ones. i'm thankful for this time that God uses to glean and teach and mold me, without being influenced or swayed by my relationship status.

dating is awesome and fun and exciting, and marriage is also awesome and fun and exciting. but you only get 20something years of sweet singleness, and then you promise 70something to loving and being committed to someone else.

consider this image...


girl, Lord willing, you're going to have a long life. don't wallow about how you wish to be married and pumping out babies in your young age - focus on honing your God-given talents and passions, deepening your relationship with Him, and honestly becoming what you seek in another through purposely sought heart-change and spiritual growth!

"i do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. there is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. keep it simple —in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. this world as you see it is on its way out. friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. hold the high ground with Him at your side.
- 1 corinthians 7:29-31, 24 [msg]

you're in the best season of your life for right now. grab hold of all it has to offer!

12 comments:

  1. So much great wisdom, advice, and truth to this! Love this post Allie! =D

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  2. This was great and really funny too!!

    It's funny how being single isn't by choice. It's something that just IS and I say we just fully live it out!

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  3. Great post Ali - so many ideas here I wish I'd explored more fully in my 20s. And I love the pic of you - you look like a future CEO with a power suit and heels to match! :)

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  4. @Natalie Thanks Natalie! That means a lot coming from someone who's posts I always appreciate! ;)

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  5. @hannah love thanks hannah! it's also funny how "taboo" singleness is when we don't CHOOSE it. but it is hard to hear a bunch of 14 yr olds say how they want to be married, it's like ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN! ha!

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  6. @Kathy Slessor haha thanks kathy! maybe the picture is foreshadowing something... ;)

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  7. woowww! this is so good! you are such a well spoken (written) lady!! Thank you for the wisdom

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  8. Just stumbled across your blog. Wholeheartedly agree with this post! I know a lot of single girls who waste such a blessing just waiting for marriage! thank you for sharing!

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  9. I found your blog from 20sb and I am so glad I did. I really needed a reminder that there is much to live in the right now. The verse you posted from 1 Corinthians 7 is one of my all-time favorite verses. Once again, thank you.

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  10. @Bethany thanks for reading and visiting bethany! have a great day :)

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  11. @Leelee so glad and blessed to hear that. thanks for reading leelee!!

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  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this! I found myself relating to every word. You put into words what I have on my heart, but I'm not sure how to communicate. You wrote it so beautifully too!

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thanks for reading! leave sweet comments here! i appreciate them so so much!