I sat across the dinner table from my friend of several years. She was married and a mom of 4 and was sneaking off from her family to meet me in my time of need. We had planned this for some time but I did not foresee that I would just so happen to be brokenhearted at this meeting when we originally planned it. Brokenhearted again. How silly of me to find myself in this predicament yet again. But wisdom was crouching near, and I had to go through this pain to begin utilizing her knowledge. My friend shared about her dating experiences. The men that came before her husband. The man she thought she would marry but did not. I soaked up her words like the oil with herb mix on bread at Olive Garden. They were life and I was desperately trying to cling to life. We had wine in dim lighting and I’m sure she was relishing the “girlfriend” time. The time I had in overabundance and more often than not took for granted. I poured out my woes. Why did I have to give up this man? He was so great. He was so much of what I wanted. I did not understand. She looked me dead in my eyes. She was sympathetic. She knew what I was going through. She had been through it herself and had been interceding for me as I walked out this path. She said, “Nicole, being married to the wrong man is hell on earth.” I heard her in my head. I understood mentally that what she was saying was truth, but all I felt was the pain raging in my heart from the constant surrender and relinquishing of my desires for His. I could not imagine a pain greater than what I was already experiencing. How could anything be worse than this?
So often people will impose their wants and desires on others. It is common for single people to be asked, “When are you going to start dating?” especially around the holidays…especially over 30. And those dating will hear, “When will you get engaged?” Subsequently, married couples are asked “When will you have a baby?” And then, “When will you have another?” I am guilty of these questions myself. It is human nature to want others to be “happy”. The problem lies in the value our society places on happiness and that skewed definition of what happiness is. Happiness is fleeting and doesn’t last. It can be birthed from temporary moments of bliss and romance, but there is nothing of substance that will remain.
But these are character traits that are only produced through taking the more narrow way. As a single there is pressure to achieve these milestones that produce happiness w/in the first decade of adult life, that is, the 20s. There’s a secret race going on amongst peers to experience the American Dream by that good old fashioned age marker: 25. College, marriage, house, kids, all in that order. And what happens when one does not complete these designated assignments in their designated time frames? One feels like a loser. One feels “lesser than”. One feels overlooked and forgotten. Even by God Himself. Because after all, He could make those things happen right?
The reason He doesn’t, and what these people who are trying to pile their opinions on to you do not understand, is that He really wants the best for you. Can I say that again?
God wants the best for you.
And the best is not marriage (prematurely). Is not a house. Is not a baby. The best is you getting to know Him. Is you maturing into the person He destined for you to be. Is you becoming a healthy and whole person and walking in freedom from dysfunction.
I sat at that table across from my friend 9 months ago, and I could not fathom what could be worse than the pain I was experiencing at that time. Now I know. I would have experienced worse pain had I not obeyed God. The pain I have experienced in my obedience, fails greatly in comparison to what I would have experienced being out of His will.
Does that mean my pain from this surrender is irrelevant to Him? Definitely not. But it gives me peace to know that I am not behind, but in fact am ahead. That He is not withholding from me but instead holding His best for me. And that is something it took me 9 years to see.
Singleness is not better than marriage. Marriage is not better than singleness. But being in the will of God is His best for you, whatever that looks like. Singleness, in this season of my life, is what is best for me.