Over Thanksgiving weekend I opened up my Facebook page. The first thing I saw was a friend's announcement that she was having a baby. Next was a notice that another friend had just delivered her baby. Following these were a half-dozen engagement and "save the date" announcements.
As much as I rejoice in the happy news from my friends, each notice also reminded me that I am single. Especially at this time of year, the "engagement season" between Thanksgiving and Christmas when lots of proposals happen.
With every engagement I see, I can’t help but feel inadequate. I feel more alone than ever. Suddenly, I’m transported back in time to every failed relationship. My heart involuntarily turns bitter. My stomach knots up. I’m instantly consumed by a spirit of loneliness. When I’m continually surrounded by peers falling in love and getting engaged, I feel as though my life is in transit to the next stop in my life. Just waiting for the next thing to happen.
I find myself asking, “Does God even see the desires of my heart?”
If you’re anything like me, you dread the feelings this season brings. I want to reassure you that your feelings are real, valid, and Jesus sees them. Your feelings and your heart matter to Him greatly.
We all have a desire to experience a passionate, deeply rooted, compassionate love better than any novel, movie, or love song. We look to another person to provide that love. What we need to learn is that this love is something only God can provide.
Although those desires are real, feelings of inadequacy and doubt come from the enemy. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The enemy wants nothing more than to steal truth, kill the hope you have in Jesus, and destroy all faith that God will fulfill His promises.
Every promise He makes, He fulfills. As much as I desire to be married, God does tell me that He loves me with an "everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). In Romans 8 He says nothing will separate us from His love. So here are some practical things I've done to put my eyes on Christ.
1. Focus on and abide in Him. In Matthew 14:29-33, the story of Jesus walking on water, Jesus calls for Peter to come to Him. When Peter steps out of the boat and has his eyes on Jesus, he is able to walk on water. But as soon as he takes his eyes off Jesus, he begins to sink.
In life, when our focus shifts off the Lord and onto fears, doubt, and other problems we face, we lose sight of Jesus. When we don’t focus on who He says we are, we become consumed by the raging waters of doubt.
2. Be in conversation with God. If Jesus made it a priority to get alone with God, we need to make it a priority as well. It’s not enough to just be around the things of God; we also need to be in conversation with God.
Ask Him to align your heart with His. Invite the Holy Spirit to walk with you daily. Ask God to give you the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26) so that emotions about engagement season aren’t a hindrance. We need the Holy Spirit to work in us so that He can work through us.
At the end of the day, you can’t give what you don’t have, so seek God about it. Ask Him to show you the areas where you need growth. Pray that God will work within you to make you more like Him ... and that if marriage is in your future He will mold you into the person your future spouse needs.
3. Praise Him. Philippians 1:6 says that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Knowing that God completes what He starts and fulfills all of His promises, we should praise him for our “eventuallys.” In this growth period, praise God also for what you will eventually become. He deserves our praise now when we are in the middle of transit.
Praise Him for who He says you are. I once had a pastor that said, “I know who I am, because of whose I am.” Praise Him for who he says you are and declare it.
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