Photo by Mary Holt
Choosing Joy in Singleness
Originally Written in 2010 for a Women's Newsletter
Rebekah L. Holt
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11
Many of us can get pretty discouraged when we focus on being single. We wonder:
- What is wrong with me?
- Why has marriage not happened?
- Am I too picky?
- Are there ANY righteous men out there?
- Am I not attractive enough?
- What am I to do with life?
- How can I survive another year or 5 years or 10 years like this????
Some of us can identify with these questions or have heard them expressed by other young women rowing along in the same boat of being unmarried. This burden of being unwedded really does—at times—lurch large and is an agonizing dread to consider going through life carrying.
I too have had my bouts of great fears of being a stale, leftover old maid ...to not have someone to fix meals for, or iron clothes for or to pick up the dirty socks after... to not have the pitter-patter sounds of bare little feet running through the house. All my life, I have been prepared to be an excellent wife and mother, seeking the Lord as the center of my life, obtaining practical life skills, investing in resources, collecting tools for the future, being thought "strange" for desiring this high, Biblical calling of "wife, mother, homemaker, homeschooler, etc." over a sparkling career. And now, like many other young women in the Christian sphere, I have to WAIT on the Lord and completely thrust every desire, every concern and every fear at the Feet of the One Who only can make anything happen.
Those who wait on the Lord, He does renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). At the very worst moments of my past grief or discontent over my circumstances or even those of others, who's stories caused me great fingernail biting anxiety, the Lord rushed in and revealed some priceless, very timely truths that He offers us all—promises so specific, so tender, so close to heart to many a "damsel in distress:"
- Jesus Christ is our Knightly King on a White Horse. He will return to claim His "bride" on a white horse—overcoming all obstacles—victorious! (Read Revelations 6 & 19)
- Jesus Christ is our Protector and Champion. He laid down His very life for us that we might live with Him in eternity and He continues to protect us from the wiles of the devil. (1 John 3:16; Revelation 5: 8-10; Nahum 1:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:11)
- Jesus Christ offers us a Gown of White, that we might be beautifully adorned, reflect His purity and be His bride. (Revelation 7:9; 21:9)
- Jesus Christ offers us a New Name. Thus our name will change. (Isaiah 62; Revelation 2:17; 3:12)
- Jesus Christ invites us to a Marriage Feast where we will celebrate in the union and no more sorrow. (Matthew 22; Revelation 21:4)
- Jesus Christ is building us a Mansion custom built to meet our needs, far more glorious than we can imagine. We are promised a home of our own and it is prepared by the very nail scared Hands of the Creator of the boundlessly beautiful universe! (John 14:2-3)
Now this is just a sampling of the promises that Christ's peculiar treasures have in store for them. Perhaps I was just "slow" to see the correlation. I had always thought how "unrealistic" or "silly" it was for girls/women to have this "knight on a white horse/Prince Charming" viewpoint of the man in their life and yet, we do find that Jesus Christ comes to claim His "bride" on a white charger! I smiled despite myself! Here I began to see these promises were so specific to what so many women express anxiety over never obtaining in life. I stood in awe, once again, over the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus and how He overlooks nothing of meaning! He has never missed a detail and regardless of what we experience or are denied in this short, vapor of earthly life—we have the most complete, secure promises of receiving the finest of everything in our eternal, blissful life with Jesus Christ.
I discovered a very timely message from Elisabeth Elliot on one of her radio series, "The Principles of Joy"1. She shared a quote,
"Contentment requires humility, which requires a willingness to receive what He gives, to relinquish what He takes, to suffer what He sends, and to do what He says."
By applying this Biblical viewpoint everyday, I found greater, unadulterated peace in my day to day. I started to count the blessings where I originally only saw sorrow. I began to see all the many beautiful Fingerprints of my Savior in my circumstances where I originally wondered fretfully, "Where is God's Hand in this?" By completely relinquishing "my rights, my desires" at His feet, my eyes were further opened to see His orchestration of my life in the past, how He has strategically moved me within His will for my betterment and His glory. Yes, I even saw how the "blessings denied" were "blessings received" of the Lord's protecting me from what was not His best! Such revelations have been like a sunrise for the soul!
"For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?" 2 Samuel 22:30-32
Many young women have expressed apprehension of feeling this terrible longing, aching of heart and lonely emptiness for years and years and years—like having a heart wasting disease or being living martyrs just succumbing to a miserable life. We have heard of women well in the later years remaining single and we ask in gasping fear—"How can I LIVE like this for another 15 or 20 years?" At the moment, YES, the reality is rather foreboding, however, we must again remember the attributes of God. We must take every thought captive and cast it at the feet of Jesus.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
We must allow and want our minds to be continually renewed, our hearts recreated and our joy restored (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10; Psalm 51:12). It is a choice we have to make for ourselves. (Isaiah 7:15; Proverbs 1:29)
Can we trust God? Can we have faith that He knows what He is doing with our lives? We must chose to believe that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is capable of being true to His Word of being all knowing, all wise, all powerful and all creative. To doubt this would be as calling God a liar, which He is incapable of (Hebrews 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:12-13). If we are truly submitting ourselves to the God of the Bible, we will understand and recognize that we serve a God that is not the God of shattered or empty vessels—instead He is a God of a chosen generation, a peculiar set apart treasure! He is not going to leave us empty. No, our Lord desires to heal and fill our lives to full and overflowing abundance—that we may be whole and others may be completed in Christ by coming into contact with our redeemed lives.
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 2: 9-10
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
"But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:18-19
What is important for every Christian is to accept that God is enough to meet our needs. We can verbalize this—yet it must be ours. We each have to individually apply this to our lives. In many ways, if we cannot learn to accept God's will for our lives today without the blessings we desire, then any desire, whether husband or home or children, etc., will likewise prove to be unsatisfying and a disappointment when they too present struggles, unknowns or stretching circumstances. One way or another, God is going to have us learn to trust Him and it will be easier to learn our lessons of trust and contentment now than when our lives are more complex later. Now, this does not means we no longer desire for being a wife or mother (or whatever), however, we accept God's will—and rest in His will—for today and live as if today is all we ever have.
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him..." Psalm 37:7a
We are not given tomorrow yet—but today. We do not have to grope in fear of the future—it is safe in God's Hand (Isaiah 41:10). If we can trust Jesus Christ to atone our sin and to grant us eternal salvation from eternal damnation (John 3:16), then we likewise should be able to trust Him with our temporal lives, our heart's desires, frightening or bleak circumstances, baffling questions, etc. Nothing is too great or too small for His ability to work on our behalf.
"Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee." Jeremiah 32:17
There may be a weeping in the night, but there is joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Hold on to His promises, saturate yourself in the scriptures, pray unceasingly at His feet—and when all this is done, then stand fast and wait on the Lord (Ephesians 6:13; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 37:7). Unless God is enough in our lives—what He gives, what He takes, what He sends, what He says to do—then NOTHING will satisfy us and we will rob ourselves of perceiving the blessings He has for us to experience today.
"For he saith ...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 1 Corinthians 6:2
Remember in His presence there is fullness of Joy—and it is real! Go partake, be satisfied and Live (Hebrews 3:14; Psalm 17:15; 22:26; 36:8)!
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD..." Jeremiah 31: 3, 9, 12-14,16-17a
1. I HIGHLY recommend this series, though I have found that "Gateway To Joy" is no longer available for sale except through used copies on online auctions. Visit www.elisabethelliot.org for other resources by Elisabeth Elliot.