Friday, May 14, 2010

One Single Struggle

I started this post as another edition of Blog-Linkity Goodness but this one link I have to share kind of calls for a whole post of its own.

Let me preface...

Lately, I've been burdened a bit (read: a lot) by the direction my life is headed. I've prayed for many years Psalm 37:4.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

I think for a long time I've just been praying the second half of that verse.

Recently, I've really been confronted with frustration about my singleness. If you would have asked me four years ago if I would still be single at the age of 26, I would have laughed in your face and told you my whole wedding plan.

Nowadays, I'll tell you my whole wedding plan, but I just am not laughing as hard anymore.

So many thoughts run through my head. My parents were married at my age. My sister was four years younger than me when she got married. All but two of my best friends are married. I see college friends who have now been married for four or five years and are now having their first or second child. Girls who were freshmen when I was a senior in college are married and having kids. I'm watching people live the life that I thought I would be knee deep in by now.

And it is a little bit disheartening. And I guess it is okay because that is the way God made me. He gave me these desires and these emotions for a reason.

However, over the last two or three years, I really started concentrated on the first part of that verse.

"Delight in the Lord."

For a large part of my life, I didn't really understand what that whole "delight" word was about. Except that is was half of the title of the best Stone family dessert - Chocolate Delight.

But God has recentlyshown up in my life in a way that I've never seen before. He has shown me things about myself and Himself that I had failed to notice before. And I think that I wasn't noticing those things because I wasn't looking for them and I had been distracted.

I'm a believer in the notion that nothing is coincidence. God has a purpose and plan for everything that happens in our life because it all fits in to His will to bring glory to His name.

I think the mixture of maturity and singleness, along with the grace of God and the love of family and friends, have made me who I am today. I think that at the end of high school and throughout my college career, I was distracted by the feeling of falling in love and finding a husband when I should have been actively pursuing my One True Love.

I had replaced desire to be loved and fulfilled by God, the one who loved me first and will never stop loving me, with the desire to fall in love to a guy and be married and start a family.

It's what every girl dreams of, right? The guy, the proposal, the ring, the dress, the church, the house, the picket fence.

What I have just become to grasp is that I've been going about it all wrong.

God has commanded us to love him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and to love each other as we would love ourselves. THEN everything else flows from that.

I have realized that what I need to focus on is being in the center of God's will. After that, everything will fall in place. And if I'm not pursuing a relationship with God day after day, what the heck am I doing? Why would I not want to spend my time getting to know the person who created me, who knows my ins and outs and still loves me anyway. Isn't that really what all of us girls are looking for in a guy anyway?

You know, Psalm 37:4 is written the way it is written for a reason. In elementary school, we are taught cause and effect right? One thing leads to the other. If push the gas pedal on my car (cause), it goes (effect).

When we delight in God, when we actively pursue him and long to fall deeply in love with him, his desires become our desires.

I know there were times when I dated a guy and became interested in something that he was passionate about because he shared that passion with me. And vice versa. That's what happens in our relationship with God.

After "the break-up" my junior year of college, I really (surprising myself and taking a lot of advice from my sister) dove deep into God's word and tried to figure out where my fulfillment was coming from. Was it coming from God or was it coming from this boy? Before I could really figure that out, I became entangled in that relationship and again and never really learned that lesson. It took God transplanting me into a completely new life for me to figure out that was tapping into the wrong source of fulfillment.

So...I say all that to say this. This morning I stumbled upon, or shall I say, God led me to Jimmy Needham's website for a reason. Not only is this guy and talented musician who loves the Lord and writes about it from his heart, he's given his wife, Kelly - a girl who struggled with the same burden I am currently struggling with - an outlet to share her story and to encourage girls like me. The wisdom and humility in what she writes is overwhelming and I found myself feeling like I was reading the inside of my own heart.

I know that I'm not the only girl struggling with this burden because I know that I'm not the only girl out there who feels like the desires of her heart aren't being satisfied on the timeline that she thinks they should. So I wanted to share Kelly's Page with all of you fellow singles out there.

Kelly gives some amazing insight in how she walked through this struggle before meeting Jimmy and backs it up with some incredible scripture. As all things should be.

One of my favorite quotes (because I have a lot) from what she writes is this: "Instead of finding fulfillment in Jimmy, I found in him an incredible gift from God that daily turns my attentions back toward Jesus. I love that our God is a jealous God. he longs so much for our affection, that he won't give us anything that will threaten his place in our hearts."

I don't want my husband to be a distraction from my affection towards God. I want our relationship to be a gift that we praise him and give him glory for everyday of our lives. Because that kind of love only comes from God and only He alone is worthy of the glory.

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