Do you have a recurring doubt?
For me, it’s the marital status of other people. They say comparison is the thief of all joy and it’s true. I feel content in my life until I see younger people getting married.
It makes my heart turn cold and jealous.
I say younger people because it doesn’t hit as hard to see people my age or older get married. Seeing that doesn’t make my feel like I’ve missed out on something for the last few years of my life. I don’t feel like God has held something back from me.
The idea of missing out and Him holding something back upsets me and is difficult to push past. It steals the attention of my heart and doesn’t let go. I don’t experience a strong faith in God when I think about it and my relationship with Him suffers.
This is important because God uses with my relationship with Him to more than make up for anything I’m missing in marriage.
Over the last six months, my relationship with Him has grown considerably. God has used a variety of people and experiences to get me closer to Him. The fruits of this growth have brought a sweetness into my life which I believe outmatches the fruits I would’ve experienced in marriage.
I use the word believe because I can’t know for sure; I’ve never been married. I say this with confidence though because I’ve never heard a married person say marriage made them feel like Dorothy stepping into Oz. They say marriage is great and yet their life feels surprisingly similar to being single.
While I haven’t experienced marriage, I have experienced an incredible stability and peace resulting from the growth in my relationship with God.
The last year has brought it’s fair share of interesting twists and turns. Few of them were expected and most of them required me to give God more of my trust than I had in the past. I rarely wanted to trust God and many times I didn’t.
All of those times led to less stability and peace in my daily life. The more I worried about a problem, the bigger it seemed to become and the more it affected me negatively. At one point, life became an emotional roller coaster in which my mood and state of mind depended almost entirely on the circumstances of my life.
This is not a fun way to live.
Even when problems were solved in one area of life, issues would arise in another area. The only consistent theme was the up and down of the rollercoaster. I didn’t start to experience a real change in my heart until I started to lean back on God alone and nothing else.
I didn’t lean back on my relationships, my ability to problem solve, or predict how things might play out. I just trusted in God’s love for me. Even when I didn’t know what was going to happen or thought something painful might happen, I trusted that God cared about me and knew what was best.
This trust created a stability and peace in my life which is sweeter than all the earthly pleasures I’ve experienced.
The sweetness came from experiencing God’s incredible constancy and power. Every earthly pleasure ebbs and flows like waves. Relationships have great days and bad ones, eating is fun but overeating creates problems, games are fun and yet we can’t give all of our time to them.
Relying on God is a pleasure which is constant. It follows me into fun experiences and painful ones too. No matter where I go or what happens to me, I know it’s going to be there.
On top of that, the sweetness of relying on God is powerful enough to grow along with my desire for it. If you can remember Edmund’s difficulty with Turkish Delight in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, you’ll think back on how his enjoyment of the candy grew smaller with each bite. Lewis used that as allegory for sin and he was right on the mark because sin becomes less pleasurable each time we indulge in it.
Relying on God has the opposite effect. The more often we rely on Him and the more we trust Him, the greater stability and peace we experience. The circumstances of our lives may become less stable but that just leaves more room for the amazing stability of Christ to shine into our hearts.
If I had experienced the exact same year as a married person, I would not have enjoyed the same sweetness of relying on Christ.
Even if I had gone on the same trips with the same teams, heard all the same sermons, and had the exact same spiritual conversations, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the same sweetness because I would have had a wife to lean on instead of God. Even though a wife could never take the role of God, I would’ve attempted to lean on her in a similar way I’ve had to lean on God.
Physical affection, personal intimacy, and consistent empathy are great ways to combat the stress of life and are the fruits of a good marriage. I would have leaned on those things instead of leaning on God. This would have robbed me of the chance to experience a sweetness I didn’t know existed.
Learning about this sweetness and beginning to experience it is well worth being single this year and all the other years since graduating college. I can say with confidence that I’m grateful for my singleness over the last twelve months. If it’s God’s plan for my singleness to continue, I’m confident it will be for my good and not a year of missing out on what could’ve been.
Does this sound like a sweetness you want to experience? Do you know what it’s like to lean back on God alone? Has God given you any opportunities recently to do that?
Image Copyright: Public Domainby