Seasons of Singleness

 “If you are single, your singleness is not just where you happen to be right now.  It’s where God has you right now, and there’s world of difference between those two outlooks?”                -Dr. Tony Evans, Living Single

The second outlook is the best outlook!

I just turned 40 years old and I am still single.   I am not new to the idea of being single.  I have never been married.   Every single season in my life of singleness has been different, and ordained by God to make me into the person that I am today.   Let me explain why I say “every single season.”   The word “season” indicates a shift in attitude, a change of pace, a change or place, or a different vision or purpose.      I would like to talk about two very contrasting seasons of my single life that I know anyone can relate to if you’ve been single for 1 year  or 10 years.    My purpose in sharing these is to give you, child of God,  hope and inspiration that you can walk out of one season and into a new one!

The Season of Woe-Is-Me 

If you’ve been single for any amount of time, you know exactly what I mean.   It’s that kind of a wanton emotional state that doesn’t seem to ever go away.   It’s the season when everyone was getting married around me  – both of my sisters, every friend I’ve ever head, etc. etc.  BUT NOT ME!

After about the 10 engagement announcements or wedding invitations I received I felt like I wanted to wallow in self-pity and stare into the pit of despair.  I felt some amount of happiness for everyone getting hitched, but yet found myself at home by myself saying, “Why, God, why? And when God, when?!”  The questions ranged from – “What is wrong with me?” “Do I smell?”   “Do I need to dress better?”   “Am I too picky?”   Not a pretty season.

I’ve hit this season more than once.  Lasted several months to even a couple of years.   And possibly no one would ever know it.   I am a good actress.

I can remember watching a baby dedication at church one time in my late twenties and crying crocodile tears.  Not because I was touched, but because I was feeling sorry for myself and like – “I will never get married and have a baby. It’s over for me. It’s just never gonna happen.”   And then on top of it, every relationship I ever had was dangled like a carrot in front of my face by the Enemy of my soul, as He taunted me with lies and more lies….. “You missed out.”  “You can still have that guy, if you really want him.”  “You really screwed that one up.”  “You missed your last chance. There will be no more opportunities for love or romance.”   To top it off a lot of anger and resentment towards God really crept in, which completely rob me of my peace and joy for days on end.    Yeah, those haven’t been pleasant seasons, and usually I’ve gotten so miserable being miserable that I’ve crawled my way out of the pit and back into the arms of Jesus where life truly makes sense.

The Season of Being Enraptured with Jesus

That’s kind of a dramatic word, but I can’t think of a better one that more suits this season.   It’s the season where I cared for nothing but being with Jesus, loving Him, serving Him, and knowing Him.   The season where I could care less if I got a date on a weekend night, cause being with Him was enough.   He was all that I needed.   I remember one of these seasons succeeded the end of a relationship in my twenties.   I can remember someone saying to me, “Wow, you are so glowing.  You look amazing. What’s going on with you?!”   My response, “I just feel so in love with Jesus.” I wish I could remain in that season forever, but the desire for marriage does eventually pop back up again.    I am probably more in love with Jesus than ever now.  That love has matured and grown in each one of these seasons.  I became a different person in many ways.  More purposeful, more loving, more creative, more adventurous.  It’s the one where I relished my single days of having no other obligations to anyone and often spent a whole day or morning with Jesus with nothing pressing on me.    Tremendous security,  confidence, peace, and joy grounded me in these seasons.  Why?  Because I didn’t get to know myself better, but I got to know the One who made me better.   In that intimacy with Jesus all things were made new.  He made the Word come alive in me and it truly changed me from the inside out.

Next time,  I can tell you about some other seasons that I’ve walked through, and all the wisdom that I’ve learned through them.

What I want to leave with you today is….

You are not alone.  You may have feelings of feeling lonely, but you are never alone.  Bare your heart before the Lord, let Him take all the shame and the blame.  Surrender your heart and your life to Him in this season of singleness.     It’s where He has you right now.   He’s not punishing you.  He wants you to want Him more than a mate.   He knows that this is the key to your life.  Don’t be mad at Him, yourself, or anyone.   He loves you enough to have given you this gift of singleness for a season. It’s divinely ordained state.

Will you embrace it?

I highly recommend Get a Love Life by Michelle McKinney Hammond.    I’ve read a number of her books over the years, and her insight has helped me so much.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death,  its jealousy a unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. b

7Many waters cannot quench love;  rivers cannot sweep it away.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NIV

 

 

 

These Man’s Eyes Don’t Lie

I don’t define myself by my failures.

I don’t define myself by my successes.

I don’t define myself by my outer beauty.

I don’t define myself by my clothes.

I don’t define myself by my stuff.

I don’t define myself by my income.

I don’t define myself by my social status.

I don’t define myself by my job.

I don’t define myself by the words that others use to describe me.

I define myself by who He says I am.   All else can and will fade away.

I heard the gentle voice of the Lord in middle of the night when I was having trouble going to sleep.    I was thinking about some comments that were made by friends about me at my birthday party.    As kind as their words were, they are not what defines me.

For years I fell into the comparison trap.  I felt as if I wasn’t really where I was supposed to be in my life because I didn’t have a husband or a family of my own.  Many a friend and family member have I watched get married and have a family.   This is not my story.  God has had a different plan for me.  It’s different than what I would have chosen for myself years ago, but yet I am satisfied with right where I am.

It has taken me awhile to get to this place of satisfaction and completion.   At times I have come into what I thought was satisfaction, but then quickly fell back into the comparison trap. A few months ago, I had a breakthrough in this area.  The breakthrough came out of utter and total despair about the state of being alone.   Yes, no kidding.  Isn’t that when breakthrough comes?!  It often comes when we are the bottom emotionally and have no where else to look but up.   It comes with the cry, “Only You alone, Lord can pull me out of this despair and loneliness.”

And all of this to say, I haven’t always been in this state.  It’s been an up and down journey. However, this time, I believe that so much has changed in my pattern of thinking about myself, that it will be hard to go back to that lowly emotional state.

Let me tell you how and why a revelation of His love for me has pulled me out of that pit.

It’s become a season of love where I have begun to sit with Him for much longer periods of time and just BE WITH HIM.   Not just be in the Word or be in prayer for others, but BE WITH HIM and allow Him to just BE the GREAT I AM to me.   Sit still in His presence and fill up on His love for me.  This is new to me.  I’m used to worship and praise.  I’m used to interceding in prayer for others, and praying in the Spirit.   But just sitting and being still, and bringing nothing but my gaze is not something I’ve done much in my life, and I’ve been a Christian since I was a child.  I’ve walked with Him for many years, but the depth of the relationship has become sweeter and deeper and more full of joy now.  In a more real way than ever before.

I’m so in love with the One who made me and redeemed me and counsels me.   What matters most of all is how He looks at me.   I want to behold Him and become like the One I behold.

Jesus loves me so much that He gave up His life for me.   In his eyes I see who I truly am.  My heart is has become intertwined with His unfailing love and that’s why I am only defined by who He says I am. When I keep my gaze on Him, I remain in the place of satisfaction and completion no matter what I am lacking in terms of my natural life.

There’s no possible way I could explain this in human terms. This is nothing like a relationship on this earth with a human being. There’s no possible way to relate it to a relationship between two human beings. The reason why is because human beings have a sinful nature. Yes, we’ve been redeemed. However, we have a sinful nature, but when you behold yourself in the eyes of Jesus, you are beholding the perfection that is in His eyes. His love is beaming with no condemnation or guile. His love is selfless and kind, and it’s not fragile. It’s not even dependent upon our love for Him.

That’s why you have to define yourself by who He says you are.  Do you understand? Do you understand that He knows the beginning from the end of your life?  Do you understand that He has always known the number of hairs on your head? Do you understand that He is the light of your path? Do you understand that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and fashioned you for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill?  This purpose can only be found by staying close to His heart, by listening to his voice, and looking into His eyes.

I am so grateful for the love of Jesus. Grateful is not even the right word for it. I am satisfied in Him.  These man’s eyes never lie.

 

*Please read Eric Gilmour’s book School of His Presence.  Attending His conference and reading this book has encouraged me to bring my relationship with Jesus to a deeper level than ever before.