Guest blog post: Naomi Thomson
Falling in love. I think all of us want that, deep down. To be in love. Don’t we? We know that marriage is not the way to a perfect life; after all, none of us are perfect. Still, it looks pretty great on the outside, and despite its imperfections we still hold on to the ideal that it is somehow going to be more perfect than what we are currently experiencing: singleness.
As a Christian, and knowing that love comes from God, I wanted to first be fulfilled in the love of Christ. My attitude was that I wanted to be content as single– while I was single; and then I wanted to get married. I told myself at an early age, “I am not going to be one of those girls who just sits around waiting to get married; I am going to be productive!” Doesn’t sound too bad, right? I certainly thought it was a good place to be. I was productive, and I wanted to honor the Lord. These were, and are, good things.
Yet something in my attitude wasn’t quite right. I recall one day in particular, as I was feeling incredibly single (you may know the feeling), asking myself, “what am I even doing? I’m as busy as anything, spinning my wheels, with no real vision for the future.” It was then that I realized I wasn’t just “waiting around to get married, doing nothing.” Rather, I was waiting around to get married, keeping busy through the wait.
Ah ha! Waiting. My attitude was still, “when I get married.” I guess I’d never really considered that some people never do get married. Granted, most people do; but why should I assume that marriage was going to be a part of my future? I came to see that I needed to ask myself, “what am I doing? Toward what goal do my daily actions strive? If the Lord were to ask me to spend my life by His side as single, would I be okay with that?” I knew the answer to that question right away, and I was convicted. In all honesty, I was not okay with that. I wanted to marry a godly man and spend my life walking in Jesus with him.
Now, let me say again that these desires are not a bad thing. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that these are your desires too — and that’s wonderful! God gives us a desire for marriage, and He delights in giving us good things. The problem in my situation was not so much with the desire itself, but with my attitude toward it. I wanted Godliness. I wanted contentment. But I wanted it on my own terms, rather than trusting that God had given me all I needed to be satisfied already. As I was. As I still am. As single.
“Now Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-7
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:33-34
I also had to ask myself, “If Christ were to come back right now and ask me what I was doing, what would I have to say?” Would I be able to say, “seeking first your kingdom, O Lord,” or would I have to say, “patiently waiting for you to bring the right man along, O Lord, so that we could seek first your kingdom together.” I was not living with the right focus. Also, it struck me that the kind of man I wanted to marry was a man who would already be seeking first the kingdom of God. Not seeking first a wife.
For me at the time, this was big. This was hard. When God opened my eyes to see this side of myself, I knew that He wasn’t asking me, at least not at this point, to give up my desire to be married; but He was asking me to lay it down at His feet. To surrender. To let Him ultimately make the decision for me as to whether or not I would ever marry. Even if the decision was no, He was asking me to say, “Yes, Lord. Thy will be done.”
This was terrifying to me. I was afraid that if I really gave it to Him, He’d take it from me. That if I really let go, I might never get it back. After all, I had spent so much time looking forward to this future of being with someone.
With much turmoil, I decided to lay it down. I prayed, “Lord help me to let this go… I don’t feel like I can. But I’m saying it because I want it to be true – Help me, Lord. Thy will be done.”