Y’all! I seriously thought it would take at least another month or two before I had something to write about again, but in fact I have TWO things! And one kinda leads into the other, so here we go!
Okay, so if y’all have read a couple of my other posts, one (which I posted in Feb of 2016) was all about Jamie Grace. A large portion of that post was about how she was very upfront and real about how she desired marriage but was still single and how that was okay.
Semi-side-note: Now, to me, that was just a little bit shocking. In theory it sounds perfectly fine, right? But what do we tell people who say they might never get married? Why do we doubt them if they say they’re fine with that? The reality is that everyone -not just society, but almost literally everyone – tells us that marriage and relationships are desirable and being single is bad. When put that way, many people would argue against it, but in every-day life that’s the way we all act. It’s in the people who tell us our time will come, it’s in all the people we look at, it’s in the news, and it’s even in the people who tell us to wait until we’re older. That last one sounds good! Wait until later, right? And that is good! Except…it’s still all about marriage. And in this way – I know it’s shocking – marriage has become a god. We’re all waiting for and longing for marriage. Marriage is good, but only in it’s proper place. I’ll explain more in a minute.
Back to Jamie Grace. She, very recently, got engaged! Woohoo! Go, Jamie! But here’s where I really want to explain some things. A year or two ago, I felt like God was telling/showing me that marriage was in his plan for me. To be honest, I was kinda excited! To put this in perspective a little, I haven’t “dated” anyone since the 5th grade (if that counts, hence the quotation marks around “dated”). I haven’t been asked out since 8th (I’m a freshman in college now), and honestly I’ve really never experienced romance AT ALL. But I’ve daydreamed about it! And, when I felt like God was telling me that that was in His plan, I was so excited! Of course, I had no prospects AT ALL (still don’t), but whatever! Now, I kinda doubt that feeling. It may have been a product of my overactive imagination. But all that to say that, at the time and since then, listening to Jamie Grace talk about being single but wanting marriage made me feel less alone. Honestly, she probably played a significant role in my current thoughts about marriage (which I’ll get to in a bit). It made me feel a little less alone, a little less hopeless, and a little less pitiful. Jamie Grace is the one who introduced the idea to me that it’s perfectly okay to be single, and it’s perfectly okay to want marriage. It’s all okay! But, it does need to be put in it’s proper place. Marriage in not the end-all be-all. Our lives do not start when we get married. Being single is valuable, and just as important as marriage. It’s not just okay to be single, it’s even desirable. Jamie Grace introduced this idea to me, and Stephanie May Wilson (who I’ve also talked about in a previous post) has expanded further on this idea in some of her podcasts (seriously, go check them out). Marriage is NOT more important or more desirable than being single. As I was listening to a video song that Jamie Grace wrote about her engagement, I clearly felt something from the Lord. And when I say clearly felt, I’m going to borrow an explanation from Stephanie May Wilson: it’s like a stone being thrown in a pond. It’s a disruption in my flow of thinking. It isn’t really sudden, and it’s actually very quiet, but it’s just a though that’s thought (or thought in a way) that I wouldn’t have thought on my own. And what I felt from the Lord was this: that now is NOT my time to get married, and that is GOOD. Let me repeat that. That is GOOD!
God’s plan for me right now is to be single. And despite what society says (and to be honest, what many many many christians unintentionally say), marriage is not the goal. What is the goal, then? The goal is to chase after God. The goal is to grow closer to Him. The goal is to become more like Christ. Even in marriage! I’ve heard it before, and you probably have two: that when two people (in this case, spouses) draw closer to God, then they also draw closer to each other. Even in marriage the goal is not to draw closer to your partner! The goal is always, always, ALWAYS to follow God and become more like Christ. So when God tells me that His plan for me right now is to be single, then I should WANT to be single. And in that moment, when God spoke to me unasked for, it was nice. And it was nice because it was peace. It was not jealousy towards Jamie Grace (although to be honest, I am kinda jealous). It was also not fear – because within the past few months, I thought to stop just daydreaming about being in a relationship and actually think about what it would actually be like. Which is kinda terrifying, because I am NOT ready for that. I can barely talk to the majority of my peers, I’m just beginning to really grow in God – I am an absolute MESS. Realistically, a relationship would be horrible and not even fun right now. So it has become a little scary (although I still daydream, because daydreaming is fun). But I wasn’t jealous and I wasn’t scared. It was the thought that yeah, one day I might get married, but today God wants me to be single. And that’s okay. And it’s not just okay, but it’s desirable and even exciting! I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I can focus on making friends and growing in God and growing as a person. And that – which is where God wants me, where I should be – that is good and it is desirable and it is better than marriage. It’s a powerful thought, isn’t it?
It also leads me to my second point, which is that God is good, and absolutely trustworthy. Of course, to many people that’s a “given”. To me too, actually. If someone told me that God is completely, absolutely, 100% trustworthy, I’d probably give them an odd look and say “of course”. What’s so special about that thought? Having grow up in the church, I’ve heard that spiel more times than I can count. I’ve probably heard more variations of that spiel than are existent. But – like all messages I’ve heard a hundred million quadrillion to-infinity-and-beyond times – as I begin to grow towards God and make my faith in Him my own, it begins to draw my intention. And so I want to draw attention to it as well. Now, I’ve actually been extremely blessed my whole life. I’ve never had a close family member die, my parents have raised me beautifully (if I do say so myself), and I don’t have any traumatic tales or anything. But still, as I step out on my own, I find that God has been pretty faithful, pretty good, and undeniably trustworthy in the little things.
Starting with just recently: He has and is helping me with a major fight with my best friend. He totally blessed me unexpectedly when I had to “consolidate” for college – aka my roommate moved out so mid-year I had to attend a meeting to see if one of the other roommate-less girls wanted to move in with me because otherwise we’d be charged for a private room. Not as recent: When I first came to college, I got involved with a campus Christian ministry and got the best LifeGroup leaders (aka small group leaders) a girl could have asked for. I think I wrote a post about this, too, a couple months ago; He removed my identity as being socially awkward and replaced that with my identity in Him (no, I’m not talking about being saved, that happened when I was like four). When I went to my residential high school, I was blessed to meet an amazing and inspiring Christian friend who has become one of my best friends today. When I just recently went on a missions trip to Texas I grew much closer with the girls from my BCM that I was down there with. As a college student, I have yet to run out of coffee because my mom works at Starbucks and my grandfather knows how essential coffee is to life (don’t laugh, it’s true)! As a freshman, I managed to gain a paid research position with one of my professors. At home I have a well-paying job at my dad’s workplace that probably pays too much for what I actually do (which is almost literally just copying and filing). I’ve been an absolute brat sometimes, and I’ve failed God so much too (hello masturbation my old friend), but he has continued to work on me, and bless me, and love me, and guide me. God is SO good, SO trustworthy, and SO reliable. Also, I passed both AP Calc and Chinese (no joke, through a tutor, my AP Calc grade went from a 68% to getting an A on the final and a 4 on the AP exams in the last half a semester. Did I mention that if I’d gotten a tutor any earlier it wouldn’t have been the same tutor? Yeah. If that isn’t God, I don’t know what is). Isn’t He great?
It sounds cliche. But if I can trust God to save my grade and help me make friends and bless me as I look for a roommate, how in the world can I not trust Him with bigger stuff? If He blesses me when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it, and even when I do something to NOT deserve it (hello masturbation my old friend), how can I not trust Him? It’s actually surprised me. I’m the type of person who likes to give gifts but hates to receive them. Not like Christmas gifts or birthday gifts! But if someone just buys me a gift, or especially for things like if someone wants to buy me a coffee. It makes me uncomfortable! I didn’t do anything to deserve it, and then I feel like I owe them, and I just really don’t like it. But God…It makes God sad when I disobey, I know it does. But it doesn’t change His love for me one bit. He doesn’t say “Oh, she disobeyed, now I’m not gonna bless her”. No! Every time this happens (which is more than I’d like to admit), He continues to bless me GREATLY, and it always reminds me of the Psalm that says “my cup runneth over”. Which, by the way, brings me to another point.
It’s okay to fail. If you’re anything like me, then every time I can’t seem to focus on God and every time I get lured away by something worldly, I feel terrible. Even now, I’ve been going through a period where I can’t seem to want to chase after God. In fact, I struggle with wanting to disobey Him! And…that’s okay. It’s okay. God still loves me, and He isn’t giving up on me. He isn’t growing angry with me. He loves me, and He’s even continuing to work in me! And what proof do I have of this? Well, the past. Just this past year I really struggled with feeling close to God. And yet, that time passed and yielded to a period of great growth and blessing. God wasn’t angry. He was glad that I was where He could work on me, and He squeezed love into me. Until now, I’m in a place where I can choose to allow myself my failures and decide to believe that God is not mad. I can choose to cling to the truth – which is that God loves me, and is waiting for me not with a hammer but with a hug. I can choose that – even when I fail, even when I succumb to sin, and even when I enjoy it when I know I shouldn’t – God still loves me. He still loves me, and He’s still working on me, and I’m not somehow evil and out of reach and hopeless. Instead, whatever temporary victories my sinful flesh and treacherous heart revel in, God is still chasing me and still working in me. He hasn’t given up. He hasn’t been surprised or set back. He isn’t stalled. He is still working, even if I can’t see or feel it. He is perfect. He is Holy. And He isn’t stopped by me or my sin. (This is not to say that I should not be worried about my sin, because I should be and I should do everything in my power to stop sinning. However, when I fail, I shouldn’t wallow in the shame. I should just stand up and try again, setting my eyes on God and asking Him for help).
Alright! I’m sorry for the long post, guys, but I think this was important to share. God loves you guys, even when you fail to meet the standard! Just keep trying! Ciao!
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:7-8 *also look at pretty much all of Romans 4 and 5
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“…But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” Nehemiah 9:17
“…being confidant of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
P.S. If you need more similar verses from the bible, look up verses about forgiveness and verses about the fruit of the spirit. God makes a lot of promises that give us hope. Of course, they aren’t to be used as excuses, but we were not made to wallow in shame or hopelessness either. We must persevere to conquer our sin, even if it takes years, and keep chasing God. Alright, ciao for real!