Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Newly-Married Girl’s Thoughts on Singleness & Contentment

I know.

If you’re single and reading this you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking “what does she know, she’s married now!”

I know, because I’ve totally thought that! I really do totally understand and in no way wish to minimize how you feel because I remember feeling a very similar way. And I hope this is encouraging!

I got married about 2 weeks ago at the age of 32. It was a pretty long wait. I say “long” because it was, (although I know other people who have gotten married a lot younger and say it was a long wait… seriously? I really don’t think you’re allowed to say it was long until you’re at least late 20’s, but I digress….) I also say “pretty long” because I have friends who are the same age as me or are older and are still hoping to be married. I greatly admire and respect them for how they’ve sought to wait on the Lord even in the most difficult moments.And I know many people who suffer in other ways that I haven't... how I admire they're faith and trust in God in the midst of so much difficulty!

Being married now and looking back, it’s true, singleness is really hard (and if you’ve read my blog you know just how hard it’s been for me personally). But, it also had a whole LOT of sweetness.

I love being married. I love being with my wonderful husband who’s my best friend. But in all honesty I do remember thinking at one point before we were married “do I really want to do this?” ‘cause when you get married, you’re not your own anymore. All my money, all my free time (all my time pretty much), things like how much I slept in, how clean I kept my room, what I wanted to eat for dinner or buy at the grocery store – all these decisions would no longer me mine to make as I pleased. There was someone else to consider, a living breathing person with feelings (and good sense) living with me to make decisions with and to submit my desires to.

Hello marriage. Goodbye independence.

Is it worth it? YES, absolutely. But I’m just saying that it IS a sacrifice. And I’m saying, if you’re single, don’t take it for granted. Elisabeth Elliot wrote a lot about how singleness is a gift… and she experienced the hardship and the joys of it. I struggled to believe this as a single person, but I re-read 1 Corinthians 7 (where Paul talks about how single people are free to serve the Lord) recently as a married woman and it struck me in a new way. Truly I was much more distracted now; I had a husband to focus on and please. Before I could devote myself to God and to His people and I realized in a deeper way what a great gift that is! To be free and unhindered to serve, give, love… as a single person, I was a great gift to the Church! There are so many ways that I was able to serve that at the time didn’t seem important, certainly not exciting. But looking back and seeing all that God’s done in and through me it’s pretty neat! In my 12+years being a single adult I got to do a lot of amazing things! I went to college, got training in Biblical counseling, traveled various places, I lived for 2 short periods in Germany, went to Bible School for a year, interned for an amazing ministry in Colorado, took seminary classes and then went to seminary. And that’s not to mention all the great family trips, road trips with friends, summers at a Christian camp (I couldn’t go this summer and it was sad!), and many opportunities to serve in my church in ways that other people couldn’t! There were so many things that I didn’t realize till later the great gift each experience was to me and to others involved. They have made me into the person that I am today. And they have helped to shape and bless others in more ways that I even know.

I’ve learned over the years that discontentment can come at you no matter where you are in life. Just watch “Mom’s Night Out” to see that (I could seriously identify with Allyson’s feelings even though I was single and didn’t have any kids). I certainly struggled with discontentment while I was single, and at times I gave in to it. As a result there were opportunities for me that I didn’t take advantage of. Moments where I could have served, loved, given and been a blessing but I was too distracted by what I didn’t have. In a recent sermon at my church we were reminded that that this sinful world is discouraging, but even in the midst of that we ought to be pursuing joy in God and living the life He’s called us to to the fullest. Singleness is hard at times, but so is marriage. LIFE is hard! But it’s also filled with so many wonderful gifts!

All this to say, don’t begrudge where God has you right now. Don't end up wasting your time focusing on what you don't have and miss opportunities. He has a great purpose for your life. You are a gift to those around you. He’s given you a life to live so go live it! Enjoy every moment you can and remember that lasting joy only comes from the Giver Himself. Put Him first and then enjoy life as much as you can! 

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