THE SEASON OF SINGLENESS – ON PAIN
“When will I ever get married?”
It goes unsaid that this is one of the prevalent questions asked by them in the season of singleness. Even if not you, at least a bigger percentage of them in waiting have had this self-talk. At some point, in my season of singleness, I got to ask myself too.
The truth is, we never know “when we will…anything.” The Bible says that we draw up our plans, in big ways, but it’s the Lord who directs our steps – Proverbs 20:24.
More often than not, He, directs them towards a different direction than what we had in mind. It’s as humorous and ambiguous as that.
Life carries more uncertainties than we could possibly bear alone, and if we are hooked onto control more than trust, it’s easy to be swallowed up in the vortex of despair. But you see, our humanness loves control. Since the creation of man, control has been our greatest undoing.
“Did God really say…” continues to be the greatest tool that the enemy uses, as he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for a vulnerable and desperate soul to plant seeds of doubt in. He knows how to harness from our low moments, our despair…our pain. In our pain, he reaps a big harvest.
Most of us have our lives well planned through, prior to jumping into the boxing ring with life. After graduating, we dream of landing on a six-figure job, renting or buying a house, have an out of the world experience in our “dream wedding”, have an amazing honeymoon, get a baby after 1 year, get promoted after 3 years, and our long list goes on and on.
But reality quickly steps in, grins at our hard thought out plans, then huffs and puffs our dreams into oblivion. Everything pales away. Soon after you graduate, a long wait begins, staying on for years without getting any formal employment. If luck knocks, then it comes with a lesser package than anticipated. If you go into business, the economies of scale prove to be toll order. Business doesn’t pick up as fast and you may encounter losses in the process.
Then comes the elephant in the house – relationships. Your relationship at first feels so sure, and so right. The flutters deep in your belly signal of an unbreakable union to come, the universe agrees that indeed, you two are meant to be.
The conversations never end at the beginning, but when the flamboyance dies, and you are forced to face each other with unthinkable truths, then it quickly mutates into a leech. It sucks every ounce of life out of you more that it adds any value to you. She proves to be materialistic, unreliable and needy to a point of being manipulative. He becomes too controlling to a point of being narcissistic. Life just hands us a bitter pill to swallow!
Plans quickly pale, and angst becomes the daily portion. The pain of singleness.
As if God doesn’t get our misery, He says, “Do not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. – Matthew 6:34. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This absolute truth does work, but it’s not the truth we love to hear when grinding at life’s bumps! This truth, instead of being a balm to our aching souls, always provokes pain in us, especially during the season of singleness. This season can prove to be the cruelest and hardest moments in anyone’s life. It carries a lot of uncertainties, in- betweens’, not-sure, heartaches and loneliness. Being told to “wait” on longer carries another reminder that one might be single for yet another week, month, or even years.
It hurts, but therein lies a big breakthrough that most of us miss while we are busy scuffling for devotion and validation from everyone else. We miss to get the best out of our valleys, and forget that the journey to the peak needs some stocks from the valley.
Did the Lord really promise us a life without pain? Did the Lord say that our life would be devoid of angst, betrayal, fear, tears and hurt?
As I read through the Word, God has given us His immutable promises that offer us comfort at any given space of time, but has not made explicit promise about offering us a life full of bliss without experiencing an equal or greater amount of pain. Paul says in Roman 5:3, we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
He is God, who is able to command the raging seas to quieten and the deafening thunderous to cease, yet in His all sufficient power, He allows pain at every stage of our lives – because pain has a way of seasoning, shaping and sharpening us.
See, God works for His glory in our peaks, but He loves to glorify Himself more through us in our trough periods. It very unlikely that God would up in our merriment, when all circumstance are placid and calm. After all, in our peaks, it is so human so forget that the Lord exists. Puffed up by our accolades and achievements, we chest thump and castigate others for not “working hard enough’, ‘not praying enough’ –not just doing enough.
I am not saying that God wants us to be miserable and all He has for us is pain, or to make us die at old age with no cute pictures to show our grandchildren of how loved we were, No! He rejoices when we live life in abundance. It’s His joy to see us prosper. Psalm 35:27.
All am saying is that our low moments define us, and test our character, more than any high moment would. It is in those trough periods, those cave moments, when we don’t understand anything and the ground feels as if its spinning, that our despair can either lead us away from Him, despising God for not looking out for us, or we can take that time and dig deep in us, to find our deepest worth in Him.
The pain of loneliness, a breakup, or rejection serves to remind you that you got to have your jar at the right filling counter and store up in the right pantry – He is simply teaching you what he teaches all of us, dependency on Him.
Your desire for marriage is inherently God given. God has wired us to love and to be loved, but greater than that, He made us to display him in every season we are in. To draw from Him. Therefore, singleness doesn’t make your display of Christ any lesser. Truth be told, it gives you a further spread to prove to the world that Christ can surely make you whole and complete without necessary being joined to another.
Actually before He joins you to your spouse, He desires that your whole heart will be entirely dependent on him.
It’s also true that marriage can be very fulfilling, but it can equally be draining – especially if it is unhealthy. Paul would rather have the singles avoid the anxieties that marriage comes with.
Ask yourself this, do you want to be in relationship because you feel lonely? Are you seeking out a spouse because you believe that your happiness will come from him/her? Do you want a relationship because you feel that you are missing out on the marital bliss? Are you seeking a relationship out for validation and acceptance? Do you feel any less of a person without a relationship?
That said, if you don’t believe that His best for you now is your singleness, everything around you will be agonizing.
It will pain you if you give your heart room to mope in self-pity and pity-parties. It will pain and bring you to a point of vulnerability if the insatiable hunger for a relationship consumes you more than God does. It will still pain you if you fall into the comparison trap, because comparison has a way of stealing our joy.
Singleness can be such a gratifying season, but can also turn you into the worst form of idolatry. Pain then act as a catalyst to serve the idol called “marriage”.
I know this, because I have been on both ends. But then, Christ re-defined it all for me.
I was not single because I was unloved or unwanted. I was single because he was teaching me to seek out for Him even when the situation wasn’t favorable to me. He was drawing out a strength in me that I did not know I had. He was bringing me to a place of sheer confidence in Him. A greater dependence on Christ.
That same lesson repeated itself in our marriage, but the lessons then were our reference points. It was not without its discomfort, but pain proved to be our greatest teacher than comfort.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
Will you like Habakkuk choose to rejoice in the Lord and find your strength in Him even if “your fig tree doesn’t blossom” – a relationship doesn’t come through?
Will you like Habakkuk choose to rejoice in the Lord and find your strength in Him even if “there are no fruits in the vines” – your relationship ends in a break up?
Will you like Habakkuk choose to rejoice in the Lord and find your strength in Him even if “the yield of olives falls and the fields produce no food” – you are betrayed?
Will you like Habakkuk choose to rejoice in the Lord and find your strength in Him even if “the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls” – you are rejected?
Like a pot in the potters’ hands, God is tearing you off from yourself and the idol called marriage, and is working to re-mold your every being. That right there will be painful. Tearing and molding you to conform to Him will be painful, but it is worth it. Instead of throwing a pity party for yourself, why don’t you seek to embrace the season with a joyful heart. His molding is turning you into a master piece worthy to behold, that whoever finds you or you will find, will for sure know that they are indeed blessed.
God is churning your impurities out, turning your broken-self into a wonder, but you’ve got to let Him work.
He doesn’t need you to do anything to earn His blessing, because you can’t. It’s His essence to Love. He loved us while we were still whoring in sin – and yet, still came down and laid down His life for His sinful bride. He sees, He understands pain, those indefinable and felt peculiarities, but he would rather you lean on Him all through – how else would He teach egocentric selves like us the depth of His love?
It is in the season of singleness, as painful and unwanted, as it is, that God seeks to bring you to a point of knowing that He is the God who seeks to fill your heart with His love, experience Him to the brim that you will understand the depth of intimacy, and won’t take nor give any less than that. It is in that season that the fruit of the Spirit which is Joy is born.
A fruit that is God borne, not affected by circumstances nor situations.
James 1:2 tells us to count is all joy…The season of singleness isn’t excluded from the list. It is a season of counting it all as joy, that God’s delay is working for your good. To bring you to a point of perfect dependence on Him, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2).
Such a promise of hope should drive all despondency away!
Singleness in Christ…