Two years ago, my older sister and I, along with a group of amazingly talented friends, organized a Valentine’s Day Banquet for the couples in our church, complete with food, games, and dancing. For the weeks before the banquet, I was neck-deep in love songs, romantic ideas, and all the stress that comes with planning something like that. The banquet was to be held the day after Valentine’s Day, so my Valentine’s Day was full of last-minute preparations, including all of the little tweaks and details that would, hopefully, make the night more romantic for the moms and dads who hadn’t had been able to enjoy a night to themselves since their last child was born.
Needless to say, it did not bode well for my mind.
Throughout the entire day, I couldn’t stop thinking about my pathetic love life. How single I felt. How I wished I could participate in something like that. How I couldn’t wait for the day when all of my dreams would be fulfilled with my marriage to the man of my dreams.
Looking back, all I can think is, “YIKES!”
I had sunk so deep in pity for myself and longing for something I didn’t have that I couldn’t think of anything else. I could only focus on myself and my nonexistent love life.
How incredibly selfish and immature is that?!
I had completely forgotten the rules I had made for myself regarding my future marriage – rules that included standards for myself about purity of mind.
I think that this is what happens with a lot of Christian girls. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we get caught up in the hype of Valentine’s Day. No matter how strong our convictions regarding this area of our lives are, we’re still humans and we still have desires. We, as girls, have an especially hard time with stuff like this because we’re so emotional. (The commercialism that surrounds Valentine’s Day that says you need a significant other to be happy doesn’t help much, either.)
So how do we get like this? More importantly, is there a way out of it?
Yep. And the short answer is: Through Jesus.
I’m not going to give you a “Three Steps to Contentment”-type blog post. Partially because I haven’t found the three steps and partially because I don’t think it can be narrowed down to three steps. (Although I’d love to hear what they are, if you know them!)
Let’s face it, the Christian life is hard. Jesus didn’t say it would be easy – in fact, He said to take up our crosses and follow Him. We make it hard because we feel entitled to things that we don’t have – things God hasn’t blessed us with, AND PROBABLY FOR A REASON. In my case, I didn’t have a boyfriend/significant other/whatever because I wasn’t ready. I was too immature to realize that. (Now I realize it. Boy, do I realize it.)
For a lot of single people, today will be hard. That’s just how it is sometimes.
But it’s not how it has to be.
If we really think about it, how are we desiring to be fulfilled today? Is it a shallow desire that the world tells us is love – something like 50 Shades of Cray-Cray, maybe? Or is it something far deeper than any man could ever complete in us – the true desire for fulfillment in Christ?
This is what I had to discover – or, rather, what God had to reveal to me.
So often, it looks like what the world has to offer is better than what God has. After all, what the world offers is tangible. We can feel a man’s arms around us. We can look into his eyes. We can audibly hear the sweet nothings he whispers into our ears.
But we won’t be content.
We’ll want more and more and more – and that’s mostly due to the way we’re designed. We’re engineered to desire a husband, and we always want more. And if we look for fulfillment in men, we will never be satisfied.
Last year, I spent my Valentine’s Day riding in a car… all day. My dad had gone on a business trip to Ohio and had decided to take us with him. I introduced my siblings to Boy Meets World that week while we were stuck in the hotel, so, obviously, we watched it the entire way back. (We blazed through an entire season in a week. By the end, they were addicted. *fistpump*) All that to say, my Valentine’s Day last year was drastically different than the one before, and in more ways than one. I was still single. But you know what? I didn’t mind.
As I watched the love story unfold between Cory and Topanga, I realized that I was content. It wasn’t that I didn’t want what Cory and Topanga had – no, quite the opposite.
I wanted what they had, and nothing less.
I wanted a pure relationship, with one person, saving myself for him even as we dated. I wanted a strong, intelligent, funny man like Cory – and I was going to be patient as I waited for him. Not only that, but I knew I needed to try to make myself into the kind of woman a Cory would want, too.
So what changed?
I had found my fulfillment, and not in a guy – but in Christ. The desire for a husband was still there, but I wasn’t giving into it and letting myself sink into self-pity. I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. I knew God hadn’t given me a significant other because there were things I needed to do before that could happen.
I’m not trying to lift myself up here. I’m just trying to tell you all that there is another way to spend today. The Bible says “ask and you shall receive.” So ask God for peace, contentment, and fulfillment in Him while you’re waiting. And then go out and do something with your life. We were given these precious years of being single for a reason. We can do so much now, while we’re not married.
“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:34-35)
Now, while we’re single, we have the amazing opportunity to live with undivided devotion to Jesus. It’s ultimately up to us decide how to use these single years, but I can guarantee that you’ll find complete fulfillment in Christ if you’ll use them to glorify Him.
This looks different for everybody. You don’t have to be out in the streets all day, passing out tracts and giving your money to homeless people… but that might be what some choose to do. You also don’t have to stay at home and play Cinderella every day while watching after your younger siblings… but that might be what some choose to do.
Your single years will look the way you decide to make them look – and they’ll look even better if you decide to obey the calling God has placed on your heart and do His will for your time spent being single. If you obey Him, He will bless you with more contentment and fulfillment than you could ever receive from a guy. That’s the pure and simple truth. You’ll have bad days, and you’ll have better days. But you will find your fulfillment in Him and this amazing capacity to be able to wait for His best while you’re doing His will.
It’s completely worth it – trust me. I’m not content all the time, and there are days when I want a deeper relationship with a guy – ANY guy – more than I want a relationship with Jesus. But I always, always feel more content when I surrender those feelings of discontentment to Jesus and ask Him to satisfy me. I’m still working on this, and I am NOT anywhere near perfect. I’m just incredibly grateful to God for giving me contentment and want to share with you what I’ve learned over the last few years.
Today, I’m going to be making cookies and singing Broadway show tunes and watching my younger siblings as my parents share their testimony at a couples’ retreat. (I’ll fit Boy Meets World in there somewhere because it is now a tradition!) Tonight, some friends are coming over and we’re going to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I’m going to cry because feels. But, most of all, I’m going to be happy today. I already am! I’m going to praise God for all of the amazing things He’s done for me this past year and ask that He bless me with contentment and satisfaction in Him alone as I continue to wait and do awesome things that glorify Him while I wait for my future husband. So much has changed since that horrible Valentine’s Day two years ago, and I’m so blessed. There will probably be a moment today when I think about how different today would be if I were in a relationship… but I’ll remind myself that I probably wouldn’t be able to spend time with my best friend or eat cookie dough or write a blog post in my pajamas if I had a boyfriend. So it’s all good. 😉
So, in conclusion, we have a choice. Today can be just another day and we can glorify God in it. Or we can let ourselves be caught up in the hype and mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. I made the wrong choice two years ago, and had to suffer through unhappy thoughts because of it. Today looks radically different because God has revealed the secret to true contentment to me.
I’m not telling you what to do, and I’m definitely not trying to glorify myself. I’m just asking that you think about how you’ll spend today: Being satisfied or dissatisfied? It’s your decision.