Lenten reflection: Seeking wholeness in singleness
One of the things I am exploring through this Lenten season is discerning what God is saying and learning to say yes to the nudging and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I started on another topic, thinking that’s what I wanted to reflect on and write about today. But I couldn’t find mental clarity and was struggling to say what I wanted to say. I felt the Spirit nudging, “Not today, Geni, not yet. You are called to write about something else today.”
I’m continuing to mull over the theme from my last post, that Jesus is the Bread of Life, that he satisfies. I pushed back on this, feeling like, “Already covered that one, God…” But how often is one moment of clarity and revelation all it takes for us to learn a lesson and have our heart transformed? I’m going to guess probably not all that often. So back again I go!
Being single in the church is hard. It can be extra challenging when you’re surrounded with girlfriends who are happily married, engaged, or in long-term stable relationships. It’s not jealously, I really do find so much joy in watching my happy couple friends. They remind me that God is so good, that he knows our hearts, and that he has a plan to prosper us. I thank God for the ways that their partners/husbands bless them with such generosity, compassion, and joy. When they find a good one and they both supporting each other, fulfilled and continuing to grow in their faith, it’s a joy to watch.
But I ask myself, and God, some questions when I find myself as a “third wheel” (or maybe fifth or seventh). And I can’t help but wonder, “God, what would that look like for me? What does a God-centered, God-seeking partnership look like in my life?”
I am so deeply impatient in this area of my life. I date and have dated quite a bit. I hate dating in our culture. My experience with dating has been a process fraught with disappointment and rejection — on both sides — and it all seems to be sped up, maybe made worse, by online dating. My generation has created a dating culture with an acceptance of indirect, noncommittal, path of least resistance ways of operating. It’s from this flawed culture that we get ghosting. There’s so little mutual respect and compassion in dating when you are trying to do what’s easiest instead of what’s best. I say that I want to live into God’s intentions for my dating life. And then I just go date. It’s often been a frustrating and negative experience.
But I often wonder, in my impatience, if I am just seeking another source of food that doesn’t satisfy. No man, no matter how much he may love Jesus, is going to make me whole, to feel the boundless love of Christ. Maybe it’s not my time. I know intellectually how good God’s timing is and have so many personal experiences I can point to when I was glad God moves on his own timeline instead of my own. I know, too, that I have a lot of work to do to fully receive God’s love. Right now, it’s something I have to remember to think and pray over daily.
Last year, a friend gave me a framed bible verse. I hung it by my door so it’s the last thing I see before I leave the house and the first thing I see when I return. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well” Psalm 139:14. I knew when she gave it to me that it was going to be a passage that would stick with me, and that its significance would shift and grow as I continue in my walk. It has given me a lot of comfort this week as I consider all the ways my dating life hasn’t satisfied. I am made fearfully and wonderfully. The more I think on it, the more profound that becomes. What incredible wholeness there is in knowing and believing that.
My prayer is that I would receive God’s love so abundantly, so fully, that it would permeate my being, and pour forth from me, that I would radiate God’s love because I would know, deep in my core, that I am loved.