Monday, April 29, 2013

Fishy, Fishy Swim With Me

"There are plenty of fish in the sea", is what they always said.

Whoa, ew. You had to have known this was coming. Seeing as my blog has been on a steady roll and my love life has not. The topic of singleness is one that I used to despise and probably still do {a little}. It's definitely not as fun to talk about as a new hubby or a thriving relationship. 
 But it's my life and this is what I am learning {in a very scatterbrained post that could probably be broken down into several posts, oh well!}

It's funny, I had most of this post written when I read Grace's blog post. After reading it, all I could do was send out a resounding - YES! This is it. If you have not read her post please please read it. I will fumble through the thoughts that she so eloquently lays out, but she says exactly what I'm thinking.

I always thought that if I was still single towards the end of college that God would give me a heart of contentment. That a void that would have been filled with the love of a man would now be filled with God until he came along, prince charming of course. But maybe that thinking was wrong but not entirely wrong, just very misguided? The love of a man is good and God will use that to bless you, but it won't replace God's love or His goodness. The love of a man will not fulfill all of your needs. 

I have wanted to write on this topic, to address how I feel about singleness and purity. But honestly, I wasn't quite sure where I stood with myself, with the church or with God.  

If I told you that I would be a peace with being single forever, that would be a complete lie. And yet, I felt that by saying that that I was an awful person. For some reason, I have put contentment and intimate relationships in the same category for years. If I am content in God, he will give me the things that I wait for. An ultimatum of sorts. Coming to Christ with an ungrateful spirit.

It turns into a never-ending wait and miserable future. If we are waiting for our future, how can we live now? How can we be present in the present?

After years of purity bible studies, girls weekends, and true loves waits talks,  my sister and I stopped wanting to go to church youth events. We heard it over and over and over. An emphasis of waiting for a future and not screwing that up left me feeling empty and not sure where to turn. One more thing to add to my list of "good girl" rules

And that is where they lose us. The church tries but in my youth, I was misguided. The focus is somehow twisted. Yes, purity is extremely important and God gave us guidelines about sex before marriage to protect us. But being pure for the sake of being a "good" person is not enough. It will never withstand the waves of temptation.
 And the focus is not God, it is waiting and sex

Purity is essential. But if you have messed up, God forgives. Yes, we will have to suffer the consequences of our sins but He forgives you, He loves you. The misguiding in my life came from taking the focus away from our love and relationship with Jesus, Lord of Lords, Abba Father.

From where I stand today, being content in singleness and staying pure are things that stem from a close and loving relationship with God in my life. Not that we will be 'always happy & smiling' about being alone, but that we can find joy in a season. We find joy in the Lord - That's where the emphasis should be. It's God. He fulfills, He loves. That is what holds us through the years of high school and beyond, through temptation or loneliness. It is our God. 

"If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in."

 God has stripped me of my expectations and plans so that he can work a greater plan, HIS plan. It is what I work towards, what I strive for - loving Jesus, giving Him the glory & imitating His character. 

 This week, I was talking with my mom about my plans for the future. I expressed to her that I am stepping out of a thought process that has held me back in my mind. Now, I am living - truly living and not waiting. Because after all, what am I waiting for?! God can use me, and in Him I am enough. 

"I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here."

Being single has allowed me to do some growing up. Stepping away from potential relationships has allowed me to think with a clear head about many decisions. After all, a marriage proposal your senior year of college is not guaranteed for anyone. And focusing on that or waiting patiently for that is exhausting. 

God is using me and He fulfills me. I didn't strike a deal with Him in the beginning of this relationship {I will love & follow you if...} I love Him because He is God, the end. He saved me, He redeemed me. He has put marriage and relationships in place so that we can better serve God alongside that person. That is my truth and I want to live like it. Falling in love with Jesus, putting my hope in Him. 

This Q&A with Jefferson Bethke & his wife Alyssa is really good. It might answer some of your lingering questions about dating & relationships! Check it out!

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