About 3 weeks ago, I was home alone, and I was confronted with my deeply-seated, soul-ingrained desire for a husband. It wasn’t like my heart longed; it was like my soul ached, and I cried out to God with only groans.
For about 3 years, I’ve confronted all the ways and reasons I desire a man. I’ve written post after post after post, and they mostly follow the format: Desire – reason for desire – reason I’m believing a lie – truth – Gospel truth – Yay Jesus.
So on this particular day, I confronted my desire for a husband. I didn’t even know why I wanted one so badly; it took me a few minutes of talking to God to figure it out.
I finally realized, though, that I felt like my life wouldn’t begin until I had a husband.
Obviously, this is a lie. Obviously, I have a life (and a great one). But this lie was different; it refused to be covered up by slapping a few Gospel bumper-stickers on it or rooted up by throwing a couple of Bible verses at it. I deeply, deeply, for years – maybe even decades – had been believing this subtle lie that my life will begin when I’m married. It’s been embedded in the depths of my soul and woven into the fabric of my unconsciousness for as long as I can remember. So it took some major processing, praying, and digging to combat it with the truth.
It all pretty much comes down to hope.
I’d written about hope before, and I thought I’d processed it pretty well. But several verses about hope came up over the last few weeks, and they smacked me in the face:
- Hebrews 6:19 – We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain. (ESV)
- Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV)
- Romans 4:18-22 – [Abraham] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (KJV)
Three major things stood out to me:
- Hope is an anchor.
- God wants us to hope (it is, after all, one of the “big three” – faith, hope, and charity).
- The only safe place to put that anchor is in the promises of God.
The only safe place to anchor my hope is in the promises of God. And God hasn’t promised me an earthly husband before heaven. He just hasn’t.
I struggled with this a lot. I even had a heart-to-heart conversation with my dad, asking him, “But is it wrong to hope for good gifts from God?” And he pointed out that marriage isn’t a sure thing in which to place my hope. Marriage is wishful thinking. Another friend wisely said that it’s a “potential false reality” in my life.
If hope is an anchor that tethers us me to the promises of God and keeps me safe in the storms of life, then wishful thinking must be the water I’m floating on. Fickle, insubstantial, and ultimately the wrong thing to hope in. I’d been throwing out my anchor into the water and expecting it to catch on the very waves that were flooding my life.
What I realized that night about three weeks ago is that this idea that “My life won’t begin until I’m married” is affecting several areas in my life. Not surface areas – no, I serve and love and travel and save and give and invest in people and places and things. On the outside, I’m a model of what to do with your singleness.
But on the inside, I noticed that I…
- only invest about 90% in my career because “What if I have to give it up for a husband and family someday?”
- leave things unresolved with my roommate because “Meh, I’ll just move out someday when I get married.”
- put money into savings for a wedding someday.
- spend LOTS of time and money and energy on other people’s weddings because “Well, they’ll probably do the same thing for me someday.”
Those are the major things, but there are other, more subtle ways that I plan for/expect an earthly husband someday. I find myself doing things now “While I can” and not doing other things “Because I’m waiting to do them with a husband.”
My mind thought that maybe I should stop thinking like this, but my heart rebelled. If I don’t plan for a husband, I thought, I won’t be prepared at all!
And that’s when I realized how closely related wishful thinking is to worry.
|When I anchor myself to worry, I…||When I anchor my hope to wishful thinking, I…|
|forget that God is in control||forget that God is in control|
|lose sight of God’s promises||lose faith in the sufficiency of God’s promises|
|give tomorrow troubles it didn’t ask for||give tomorrow expectations it didn’t ask for|
|try to provide for myself||try to provide for myself|
I am so sinful. In planning for a husband someday, I’ve been neglecting the promises of God – both for now and for eternity. And the promises of God are a SURE THING. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
Here are some things the Bible promises for right now:
- Matthew 11:28-29 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (ESV)
- Isaiah 40:29-31 – He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)
- Romans 8:37 – in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (KJV)
And here are some things that the Bible promises for the future:
- Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (ESV)
- Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
- 2 Peter 1:4 – he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (ESV)
Nowhere in any of the Bible does it promise me a husband. So what do I do with that? How should that truth affect my life?
At first I thought maybe the answer was, “Serve where you’re planted.” I did a post on that, and that’s certainly true. But that wasn’t really my problem because I am serving. And planting, and serving some more.
My dad and I talked about trying to root out hypocrisy, because on the outside I’m single-ing well; but on the inside, I still believe I need to prepare for a marriage that may never come. That’s also a problem, but that’s more a matter of behavior modification, and what I needed was heart modification.
So I asked myself, “What would it look like for me if I truly believed I would never get married?” and similarly, “What would I try to accomplish if the hope (wishful thinking) of marriage weren’t holding me back?” And THAT’s when the heart modification began.
- I started investing in my roommate’s dreams for her future, because we could quite possibly be together for another 5 years.
- I started asking myself what I actually want as a career and talking to people about how to make that happen.
- I started off the summer wedding season by investing in people’s weddings because I’m happy for them, and not because I expect anything from them.
- I’ve met several single men (and women, but that’s beside this point) through a singles group on Facebook, and I viewed them all as potential friends instead of potential spouses.
And that was just in the last 3 weeks. I still have a lot of processing and growing to do.
Overall, this slow, purposeful pursuit of life geared toward God instead of marriage has been really . . . freeing. I feel free to make different decisions, to invest in people more deeply, to pursue friendships more meaningfully, to save money differently or to give it away more freely, to give of my space, my time, my money, and my stuff more generously.
Basically, I feel free to live up to my full potential as a child of God. In the past, my identity as a singleness blogger had become the weapon I wield to fight lies, when I should have been wielding the sword of the spirit. My singleness had been my shield against letting my heart be hurt by wishful thinking, when I should have been shielded by faith. I had been anchored in my desires instead of in my faithful, good God.
Contrary to what I expected to feel like, I’m don’t feel like I’m giving up on a dream. Rather, I’m purposely choosing to hand my future over to a good God Who loves me. If He doesn’t give me a husband, I will not have missed out.
But if He does, well, you’re invited to the wedding.
So go forth, my friends, and anchor your hope to the faith that sustained Abraham and saved your soul. Anchor it to Jesus.