Daily Archives: November 14, 2013

Shared Post: What God Can Do With Singleness by Jessica Morris

Article found here.

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It sometimes seems like singleness is regarded as some sort of disease, often even by those who are single themselves.

The elusive search for the husband or wife can sit at the forefront of our minds. It has motivated many us to attend camps, workshops and Sunday services.

If we are to look at things realistically, Christian singles (sadly we even have our own category) have few places to go to find their future spouse. Most bars and clubs are out, and the majority of our week is taken up by work and church-related activities. It therefore makes sense that church camps and young adult “retreats” have become the norm for finding our soul mate.

But what happens to those of us who have reached that late twentysomething age and still haven’t found a suitable partner? We have attended the conferences, read the books and perhaps even have a list of qualities we are seeking in a future partner that we pray about daily. Yet every time we walk into the Sunday service alone, we are acutely aware that God hasn’t granted us this desire as of yet and are forced to sit next to the loving couples or our single friends we are simply not interested in.

As a twentysomething Jesus-loving, Bible-reading, church attending female, I am aware that I have already failed to meet the expectations of the older generation and even my peers by not having a significant other, and, to be quite honest with you, I don’t even know who I want him to be yet.

Passionate about Jesus and others? Check.

Authentic, full of integrity and a good leader? Check.

Great fashion sense and the ability to play guitar? Well, I’ll take what I get.

But I could not give you a name or even an image of the person I believe I am meant to live the rest of my life with. And as a twentysomething Christian, that can sometimes be a little embarrassing.

I have come to realize that God may just be happy for me to stay single for a time yet.

Perhaps it is the innate need in most of us to be intimate emotionally, spiritually and physically that drives us to desire a significant other; in Christian circles this can often result in marriage at a young age due to our values surrounding intimacy. In any case, it can seem that if in our mid twenties we have nothing to show of the future son- or daughter-in-law and (gulp) grandchildren our families and the church congregation seems to expect, we have passed our use-by date.In all this, it has occurred to me that perhaps there is a reason I am still single. And unlike our culture, which tells us we “need” a partner, I have come to realize that God may just be happy for me to stay single for a time yet. Here are some reasons why it may be beneficial for us to stay single until we meet someone truly worth giving our hearts to:

We can focus on fulfilling God’s will in our lives

By not having a significant other, our motivation to seek after God’s plans for our lives can be concentrated, as we do not have to divide our attention with a relationship. This means we are able and willing to act quickly when asked to move or dramatically alter an aspect of our lives for Christ.

We can learn to love ourselves

Females can chronically look for affirmation in males, so how can we expect our future husband to love us completely when we don’t even love ourselves? Males and females alike can use their ‘single years’ to truly learn their own self-worth and appreciate who God has made them to be.

We can grow in maturity

When the time comes and we do meet the right person, we hope to be mature enough to have a healthy relationship with them and with God, making for slightly less baggage when we get out of the “honeymoon” stage.

We can learn to take care of ourselves

The time we spend waiting and seeking God before meeting our spouse is more valuable than we realize.

By increasing our strengths and developing our weaknesses, we will one day be able to contribute to a healthy marriage and know we capable of doing things when our spouse is working or out of town.

We can learn to fully find our identity in God

By refusing to seek a partner due to our insecurities, we can focus on knowing Christ more intimately, thus having a fuller knowledge of our identity once we enter into a relationship.

Considering the positives to the single life and the fact that God values it does not mean we should devalue the notion of marriage or even our desire to meet and do life with someone. Rather, it can show us that the time we spend waiting and seeking God before meeting our spouse is more valuable than we realize. Therefore, I feel I can celebrate my single status, because it shows that God is still working on my behalf as He prepares my future spouse and me for the day we begin life together.

So, if you are like me and are one of the seemingly few “singles” left in your church, do not despair. As C.S. Lewis said, “There are far greater things ahead than any we leave behind.”

 

More on Jessica Morris: Jessica Morris is a 23-year-old Aussie living in Melbourne, Florida. She is a freelance journalist and is passionate about popular culture and how this intersects with the Christian faith. You can view her work at jessicamorris.net.

15. true beauty

Beauty

Google the word and you get tons of images of models. Some dressed to the nines on the red carpet. Others showcasing the latest make-up trends (personal favorite of mine since I like to “dress-up” my eyes). A few are flaunting gorgeous hair.

After it’s all said and done and the airbrush and photo software is closed down for the day, you’re left with a perfectly normal person…who hasn’t had her body altered or “puffed up” in effort to make her more beautiful.

She is beautiful.

Just. As. She. Is.

A few weeks ago, this video made the news: a time-lapsed transformation of one model. That video has been all the rage and rightly so: It isn’t real. Make-up does the same thing (minus the photo-shop).

That is not the beauty I’m thankful for.

Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
Psalm 45.11

I’m talking about the beauty of creation, the beauty that illuminates a person from the inside out, the greatest masterpiece he’s ever creation (you and me) and the beauty that can stem from the ashes of a lost life…the only beauty God supplies.

ColoradoHave you ever watched the sun set or rise, stood at the base of mountain or walked through a state park during the peak colors of autumn? I have and am still left in awe and wonder at the memory (or even the site since the latter is still fresh in my mind…just look to the right).

All of those things are reminders that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19.1). God is a great artist; there is no question about it.

But God’s greatest masterpiece isn’t some of the sunsets you may have had the privilege of seeing orFall Beauty the Rockies (as spectacular as they are), or the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti (as gorgeous and beautiful as they can be).

God’s greatest masterpiece of all creation is you. It’s me. Humanity is God’s greatest masterpiece.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2.10

The word “handiwork” could be translated “we are His work of art.” We are his poem; God’s masterpiece.

Man is God’s greatest creation. Man is his crowning masterpiece.

Psalm 139 declares this:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (vs. 13.14)

And God has a plan for his beautiful creation:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1.5

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter3.3-4

That’s what God wants to do for you.

That’s what God wants to do for me.

If he were to reveal exactly how much he loves you and me today, we would be overwhelmed. It would be devastating to think of the love He has for us in light of the way we behave sometimes.

And that’s where His Spirit comes in. As overwhelming as that can be some days, His Spirit is our glimpse into the future glory we will one day share with Jesus. It’s kind of like a down payment.

I’ve always been a fan of nature and can easily see the beauty in others, but when it comes to me, not so much. I am my own worst critic and when I’m not feeling particularly beautiful, my opinion of myself can sometimes get downright ugly.

When I look at my life, I don’t necessarily see rhythm, order, or beauty. I see chaos, flaws, and a lack of perfection. I see things that need to change; parts of myself that I hate.

Enter in the comparison battle most of us face:

Why can’t my legs look like hers?

I wish my eyes were bluer.

I wish I could get my hair to curl that way.

Can I even attain a somewhat agile athletic body like the girl on the treadmill next to mine? Maybe, if I work a little harder.

It can also swing the other way, to talents and giftings rather than the physical:

I wish my prayer life were more like Jane’s.

I wish I played like him.

I wish my voice could do that.

I should volunteer more. Jenny’s life seems so much fuller with the things that she does.

Why can’t I lead like John does?

Not to mention the fact that I used to seek out words of affirmation in those areas.

I have been learning that I don’t need those opinions or statements to get out of bed in the morning. God’s opinion is the only one that matters and as long as I see myself through his eyes and lean into his opinion of me, my self-depreciation doesn’t stand a chance. I still have my off days, but I’ve been learning to humbly love myself even more and that’s all due to God’s Spirit dwelling within me.

He says, “You are my work of art. You are my masterpiece.”

He’s looking at me and he alone sees what I will become. And boy, has he been changing, shaping and challenging me to grow from the inside out. He’s making all things new and has been in that line of work since the dawn of creation.

In the last two years, I’ve dropped a chunk of weight and have kept it off. My energy levels are that of a person in her late 20s, and on some days, I feel younger. My feet don’t ache at the end of a long day (perks of not working in retail or the food industry). I’m a size smaller than I was when I graduated high school. I’m happy with my curves and overall, I love my body for what it can do. It is God’s magnificent creation and He gave it to me. I simply have to be a good steward of it and take care of by being active and nourishing it with healthy food. And I love my hair, bad hair days and all. They’ve actually become quite the amusement factor during my morning routine and I’ve learned to enjoy find a little humor in the situation. God loves humor too, you know.

I’m learning to love and adore the woman I am becoming. I pray for a gentle and quiet spirit and the heart of a Proverbs 31 woman.

As I like to put it, I’m a W.I.P. (a “Work in Progress”). We all bear that sign and it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take all of your life here on Earth and will not be completed until Jesus either calls you home or returns to take you there.

Once you get there, you’ll see the whole picture. All of this will make sense. You can even look back over your life to where you started and where you are now and situations that didn’t make sense at the time make sense now.

So that’s why God brought me through that season…I get it now!

This is one truth I’ve been learning to embrace – to see myself the way my Father sees me:

I

Am

Beautiful

I am His

So are you.

beauty