I looked back the other day and saw you.
Tired, broken, crying out in loneliness.
Because days are long, the future is uncertain, and the pressure to have your plans all scheduled and written out is terrifying. But that wasn’t it. Those were just the fuel to the smoldering pain in your heart.
No, it was because, near a certain holiday, your social media begins to light up with pictures of couples. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s not wrong. In fact, several of your friends had just began serious relationships, and you danced about and rejoiced with them.
You were happy, so very happy for your friends and their fiancés. But, deep down inside, hard as you tried to quiet it, the whispers rose up. Why not me?
And you hated yourself for it. You have a wonderful life, with a loving family and loving friends, and you were worrying over this? But when you searched your eyes in the mirror, it was still there. Aren’t I good enough? Aren’t I pretty enough? Why aren’t I getting any attention?
And you knew it was shallow. You knew it was emotional. You knew it was silly, irrational, and most likely untrue. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t feel it. That doesn’t mean the questioning, the wrestling wasn’t still real. And you tormented, tore yourself apart, trying to have the reasonable side of you drown out your pain with many words and arguments. Won’t I get a chance? When is it my turn?
And yet, you knew these feelings weren’t inherently wrong. God made man, God made woman, and God made a connection ‘tween the two of them. Desiring to be married is natural — good even! And you want it so very badly. A little home, little children running around, and someone to give a giant grin and a little kiss to when they came home from work. But the earlier answers of “It’s good, but wait until you’re old enough” had begun to start dying. Because, well, you were old enough. At least to start beginning. So why, when you had done everything right before, was there no result? Why was nothing happening? What am I doing wrong? Where did I miss my turn?
Why not me?
You cry out the question. Not out-loud of course, only the black dashes of a speeding pen chronicled your pain. The smudges of a wiped-off drop. The black scribble of words you regretted. Your heart, raw, ugly, broken, bleeding, spread out on page upon page.
But dear — don’t give up. Please. Keep fighting for answers, keep fighting for right.
Because I know how torn apart you are.
You’re so worried that Mr. Right won’t even be interested in you, because you’re not good at “Christianese” and your laughter and joking makes you look shallow. You want to look lovely, to look stunning, but also worry that others will think you’re self-centered, attention-drawing, and vain. And yet you also realize that if Mr. Right automatically assumes those things, he’s probably not the right one anyway. But still you stress.
You want to be with the One so very badly, to the point of almost lusting — lusting over someone you’ve never met, someone you’ve never seen, someone of whom you don’t even have a mental image in your head. And you recognize that you’re being caught up with this, and hate it and fight against it, and are angry at yourself for falling into it.
You fight against it and against yourself, trapped in loneliness and also in the disappointment that you’re lonely.
And I could give you the reasons, the arguments, the explanations for why — but you already know them. You know the right answers. You’ve read all the books, bookmarked all the blog-posts, heard all the sermons. You know the right answer, you know the truth — but truth isn’t easy. It’s hard — so very hard — to live it out. So I won’t repeat the explanations you know. I just want to cup your face in my hands, wipe away the tears, and whisper, “Don’t give up. It’ll be ok. It is worth it.”
“God is enough.”
Hang on dear. Keep fighting to be holy, keep fighting for right. Because there are answers. There is wholeness.
Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58)
Don’t give up. Because it’s worth it. And I’m not saying that because we’ve got it all figured out. We don’t. I still stumble over these same things on occasion. I’m not saying it because your hard work has been rewarded with Prince Charming. Because he’s not here, and I haven’t even caught the glint of the sun off his armor in the distance.
But it is worth it.
Because joy in the Lord is possible — and worth it. Because being fully satisfied in God alone is possible — and worth it. Because peace, because wholeness, because understanding is worth it. Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim 6:6)
No more dreading and over-analyzing every encounter with the other gender. No more joy-sucking distraction at every large gathering, wondering if ‘the one’ is there.
Because those are people. Those are your brothers. And they will make you laugh, help you up, further your growth. Why, now you can dance the night away with a good friend, looking back with only a sigh of quiet happiness; though before it would have been sleepless nights and stressing out over if it meant anything. (Which it didn’t.) You can discuss theology, life, writing, movies — anything and everything, with anyone and everyone — and have peace. Have joy. Live life fully. Live life completely. Live life abundantly the only way you can — in Him.
Because the end goal has never been to be married. It’s to be holy. Because the end purpose has never been to fall in love with the ‘right one’. It’s to fall more in love with the only Righteous One. Your struggles might not be preparing you for married life, but rather preparing you for everlasting life.
God has a plan. And His plan is good, His plan is wonderful, and His plan is best. Even if it doesn’t include a husband. In Him is fullness of joy. He is enough for all your loneliness, all your needs, all your longings. And He alone is worth it.
So thank you. Thank you for being willing to wrestle, to be raw. Though you don’t know it, you’re drawing closer to God than you ever have been. You’re screaming out your total, utter weakness, and He’s using it to whisper His grace, His strength into your soul. God didn’t call us to be happy, He called us to be holy. Which is the only way we can find joy anyway. So thank you. Don’t give up, it’ll get better. And… admittedly, worse. But through it all, through all your questions, all your pain, He’ll still be faithful. And perhaps that’s why you’re going through this.
But perhaps you already knew that. After all, you wrote it on that wrinkled journal page long ago, and maybe I just need to remind the both of us.
“Lord, make me lonely, so that there is nothing I love as much as you.”
…[T]hat ye, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. (1 Cor 2:9)
An Older Me