I am a little hesitant to post this blog because I have a feeling it will be quite honest... I often seem to subconsciously just write what's on my heart only to later find out it was very real and honest, but this time, I know it will be. It's one of those times where I am debating whether to hit publish or not... but, I have a feeling that maybe someone might benefit from what I have to share and if nothing else, this will help me organize and process my thoughts!
Recently I happened to catch some radio broadcasts containing interviews with Elisabeth Elliot speaking on her one of her "specialties"... relationships. I was especially eager to listen to this 3 part series because all three were directed to singles.
Over the years (that makes me sounds so old!) I have had many up and down moments with this gift of singleness that God has chosen to give me. I've had moments where I couldn't love being single any more because it is so wonderful but I've also had moments where I just plain old want to be married. It is a daily "struggle" (I don't like using that word for some reason) to consciously decide to be content with the stage of life God has placed me in right now.
These days, I have to say I'm somewhere in the middle. I am content, but every now and then a day of discontent sneaks up on me and I start wishing I was married. I think especially because I am on the mission field, I can see the benefits to both sides of serving the Lord while being single and while being married. And to be honest, there are some days where I just wish I had someone to go through the struggles and joys of being a missionary with, especially when I think about returning to Japan as a career missionary.
I'd love to have the opportunity to serve alongside someone and work as a team to please the Lord. As I watch the way my married teammates work together and use each others' gifts to serve, I do look forward to being able to do that one day myself.
But, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7, I know that there is a big advantage being a single woman... I can focus on "the Lord's affairs" and be "devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit" because I don't have a husband/family to take care of. For that I am truly thankful! What a privilege! As I write this, it really makes me wonder if I am using that gift to the fullest. (Here's where this blog is more beneficial to me than anyone else!)
I deeply want to be content with being single because I know that God has chosen to have me be single for a reason... I need to trust that He knows what is best for me (He did create me after all and He knows me like no one else does). and accept and enjoy this period in my life. I know that if God does allow me to get married one day, there will be times when I look back and wish I could live my single days again!
I know for a fact that He has chosen this time for me to be single so that He can shape me and mold me into the woman He created me to be. I feel like I have grown (and am continuing to grow) so much in so many ways in the past year and I am pretty sure that I would not have grown in the same ways if I was married or in a dating relationship! Again, for that I am truly thankful!
Back to the radio broadcasts I listened to... I listened to all 3 broadcasts at once so I can't remember which thoughts come from which broadcast but one of them really challenged my perspective on the word "dating" and what our culture has turned that into. It also affirmed my desire for high standards for physical boundaries when the time comes for me to be in a dating relationship. (That's a whole other topic that I think I'll refrain from writing about today!)
It was also affirmed that I want my parents to be involved in my dating relationship(s). That's always been important to me and I've always wanted my future spouse to be consulting my parents at every stage of the relationship from the initial desire to "court" to thoughts about engagement (and beyond!), not just because I am old fashioned, but because I value and deeply respect their opinion and advice. And, they know me a lot better than anyone else because I've been blessed to have a very open relationship with them.
I was also pleased to have my thoughts about 'male initiation' affirmed. I've always been a firm believer that guys are supposed to be the pursuers and initiators and I refuse to be one of those girls that tries to take things into her own hands and does everything possible to let a guy know she's interested. Elisabeth is also a firm believer of girls just trusting God and waiting for Him to give the men the courage to act on God's leading.
The biggest theme from one of the broadcasts was that I need to just sit back and trust that God will bring the right person to me at the right time. Although I am only 23, sometimes I "write myself off" as a single missionary for life. I know that God has so many plans for my future and have no right to put limits or restrictions on what He has in store for me. Who knows, maybe I will be married in a year or 2 or maybe I won't get married until I am 60... or maybe I won't ever get married. The point is, I don't know and I have no control over it so that means I need to trust that God knows what He is doing and He will reveal His plan for my life in HIS TIMING, not mine!
Anyway, I know that I am by no means a relationship expert (because I've never actually been in a relationship) and I know that haven't done justice to these broadcasts so I highly recommend listening to them if you have time. Part one here Part two here and Part three here
I think that's all I have to say for now. I hope that all made sense and that it will be worth the hitting publish button. Please share your thoughts and comments too!